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ADVICE WANTED!   July 31, 2002
www.findstone.com info@findstone.com

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Sandstone Characteristics - General

Physical, chemical, technical characteristics of sandstone in general

  General, Marble, Granite, Limestone, sandstone, Travertine
  other, bluestone, slate, onyx, engineered stone, manufacture stone, basalt, pebbles, flagstone, lava

Q 2279: I have been trying to find information about SANDSTONE because I would like 
to use it in my house. Could you please send me as much information as possible regarding: durability, insulation performance, rate of expansion/contraction, ability to withstand  weathering (including ultra violet light & water), reaction when in contact with other materials, ability to accept surface or other finishes, susceptibility to damage/or insect attack, and the general advantages and disadvantages of using sandstone. Thanking you, Wayne, July 23,  
R1: Wayne: you are asking for a lot of information, but have not identified the particular sandstone you are planning on using. As with most types of stone, sandstone comes in a wide range of hardness, compactness, and grain cementing characteristics. Generally speaking, a soft, loosely cemented sandstone will not weather worth a d!#%. Hard, dense tightly cemented sandstone will hold up to the elements for a long long time. Also one
needs to consider the bedding direction when the stone is laid. Stone laid up with the bedding planes horizontal tend to weather better than stone laid up with the bedding planes vertical, and if it is laid with vertical bedding parallel to the face of the wall, an extreme amount of spalling can be the result. The key here is to look at some older buildings in your area that have the stone you are considering, (assuming you are considering a local stone), and see how the stone looks after years of exposure. If you are planning to import the stone, then get some representative samples, and have your mason evaluate it. Good Luck, JVC, USA
Q 2249: Do you think that very hard, dense calcareous sandstone would cleave well to form building stone? Thanks .Smith, July 17,
R2: Yes. Maurizio, USA 
Q 2244: Does anyone have empirical information (or even an opinion) regarding the comparative heat resistance of granite and "manufactured stone" (such as zodiaq and Silestone)? Because I would wanted a very light colored countertop, I was leaning towards manufactured stone. I read, however, something that suggested that manufactured stone shouldn't be used as a regular "landing pad" for stuff coming out of the oven. Marianne, July 16.
R1: Dear Marianne: Whoever told you that was right. The approximately 6% of resin in engineered stone (which is the bonding agent of the quartz chips) could be damage by the 
heat of a pot.
Now, about this thing that light colored "granite" is usually bad as far as maintenance is concerned> True geological granite is either white, or light gray, or pinkish, and its porosity is quite controllable with a good quality sealer! are those color light enough for you? Check the "Bianco Sardo" granite (a.k.a. "Luna Pearl"). It's a great stone! Maurizio, USA
A 1273: What is the weight per cubic foot of sandstone? What is its hardness? Thanks, Bob Dec 19.
R2: Bob, There are too many variables to give one specific answer. Weight per cubic foot depends on mineral content, grain size and sorting (compactness), and the inter grain cementing material. A loosely cemented (friable) calcareous sandstone may be on the order of 130-140 lbs / cubic foot, while a well sorted, densely packed, silicate cemented stone could be in the 180 lb range. Hardness of the stone also depends on these same variables. Some can be scratched with your fingernail, while others give diamond saw blades a good workout. Again this depends on how well the little grains of sand that make up the stone are cemented together, and by what. And finally, as a carver, I need to consider the fact that the predominant material in a sandstone is quartz sand, a silicate mineral with a hardness of 7, while good tool steel has a hardness of about 5.6, which means the sandstone is going to be hard on my favorite chisels, and as a silicate, hard on my lungs. Hope I haven't confused you too much. JVC, USA,
R1: Sandstone typically weighs 120 -140 pounds per cubic foot depending on the grade. The hardness is more difficult to evaluate as it depends on what scale you want to use. Most people know of Moh's scale, but it isn't much use on friable sandstones as it is difficult to see a true scratch. There are other true hardness methods such as Knoop and Brinell hardness that give an overall hardness but these are very specialized. Measuring hardness by determining its abrasion resistance is the most universal method via ASTM C1353 "Abrasion Resistance of Dimension Stone Subjected to Foot Traffic". Using this method, sandstone has a typical abrasive index from 2 to 18 with anything less than 8 not being really suitable to for paving. Regards Jim, Australia,  

A 1152: I want relevant information on the properties of sandstones and their uses in construction please. 
Roberts, USA, Oct. 23.  

R1: Sandstone has been used as a building material for as long as man has been building.  However, the term sandstone encompasses a wide range of material, and, as with limestones, all are not suited for construction purposes.  Factors involved include grain size, and how well cemented together those grains of sand are. A poorly - cemented loose grained stone will not hold up for very long, while some of the tightly packed, well cemented stones, particularly those with a siliceous cement, are hard to work even with diamond saw blades.  The down side to sandstone is its porosity.  They tend to absorb a lot of water, and freeze thaw cycles can do a lot of damage.  Here in Texas, we are doing a lot of restoration on 1880-1890 vintage court houses. Some are built of Texas Granite, and, for the most part, that stone is still in good shape.  Most were built of one of the several Texas limestones, and many of these utilized a red sandstone for trim details and ornamentation.  Its this sandstone that has deteriorated and is needing replacement.  The limestones also have held up well. As a carver, I can tell you this. Sandstones are often beautiful stones, but they are all hard on tools, hard on the lungs, and not a lot of fun to work with. JVC, USA,

A 1005: I want to know more about sandstone technical data, how and where to use it. Advantages and disadvantages, and how to look after it. (Industrial and domestic use.) Ewaldl, zimbabwe. June 11

A 943: Please help me with comparing sandstones and limestones with regards to composition and structure. Craig, March 20, USA,

R1: I will keep it simple for you (if you want it more complicated let me know and I will oblige!). Limestone used to be alive. Sandstone did not. Limestone it's a sedimentary rock that derives from the decomposition of (formerly) living organism and, because of that is mostly made of Calcium Carbonate. That classifies it as a calcite rock Sandstone is still a sedimentary rock that was formed by layers of sand that, somehow, sunk deep into the belly of Mother Earth. Once there, high temperature partially melted the sand, and high pressure bonded the components together. Since it is of an inorganic origination, it's a silicate rock. Is that good enough for you? Ciao, Maurizio, USA,

A 932: My name is Kate, I am a student at UNSW college of fine arts. I am currently researching stone.
I am wondering if you could send me, either my e-mail or the post, any info you might have on the following specifications:
* material properties
* structural qualities
* characteristics
* construction methods
* uses and applications
* fittings and connections
* finishes
* representation of material in technical documentation
* lists of suppliers and manufacturers
* history and use of application
* environmental issues
* health and safety
of course, I am not expecting you to go to too much trouble, any information on any type of stone would be most appreciated, thanking you in advance for your help. Kate, Australia, Feb 28,