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The Difference Between Marble and Limestone

Both marble and limestone are excellent materials for many masonry construction projects. And although they might sound like interchangeable terms, there are several important distinctions between them. Here are some of the key differences between marble and limestone.

How They’re Made

Part of the confusion between limestone and marble is that they have a very similar origin, and are made of the same materials. If you remember the three main types of rock from geology class, which are igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic, then you might recall that sedimentary rock is formed by deposits, sediments, concentrate naturally over several years. In particular, limestone is a sedimentary rock made from sand, shells, and even fossils. The only change between limestone and marble is heat in pressure. In fact, what started as limestone can become marble as it is gradually compressed beneath the surface of the earth. The reason why marble is a completely different rock from limestone is because of the metamorphic process it undergoes that puts it in the separate category of metamorphic rocks.

Outward Differences

Fortunately, it can be easy to tell marble and limestone apart once you know what to look for. Naturally, limestone is usually limited to just a few simple colors including tan, gray and brown. The difference with marble, however, is that it can come in a variety of hues from white to black, and red, pink, blue, and green. Another characteristic of marble is its veined pattern, and this “marbled” look as been used to describe many things from jewelry to cake. 

Inward Differences

One important factor to measure the quality of stone is hardness, and for that we have the Mohs scale. On this scale, marble and limestone can both rank at a three, but the additional pressure involved in creating marble means that it is often a bit harder than limestone and can go into a four on the Mohs scale. However, marble and limestone are similar in the sense that they are both relatively soft stones. For reference, granite can rank up to nine out of ten on the Mohs scale by comparison.

Commercial Masonry Contracting from Del Prete Masonry

If you are ready to upgrade your home with beautiful limestone or marble, Del Prete Masonry has the experience and expertise to get the job done right for the right price. To explore our residential and commercial services and set up a consultation, please give us a call at 410-683-0650 or contact us online. We currently serve Baltimore City and County, Harford County, Carroll County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County. To see examples of our work and get more updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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