Using Limestone in Construction

08/09/2016

If you examine the construction materials of many of Britain’s most important, well-planned and architecturally excellent buildings, you will often find that at least part of it uses limestone in its construction.

Some of Britain’s important buildings which use limestone as part of their construction include Windsor Castle, the Houses of Parliament, York Minster, Kings College Chapel (Cambridge) and the Examination Halls in Oxford. The limestone used in all of these buildings is Clipsham limestone – from the quarries of the Rutland town of Clipsham – and one of the best types of limestone to be used in construction.

Limestone

Limestone is a sedimentary rock, made up mostly from minerals calcite and aragonite. It is mainly composed of the skeletal fragments of a number of marine organisms like molluscs, corals and forams, and about 10% sedimentary rocks are limestone.

Limestone is made up from rocks which were formed in the seas millions of years ago. Clipsham limestone, for example is thought to have come from subtropical waters, 168 – 174 million years ago. It is a material which is used commonly in construction but also in creating glass, cement and lime.

Limestone in Construction

Limestone is especially sought after in restoration projects or extensions to old buildings because it can weather quickly, allowing the new construction to blend in well with the old part of the building, relatively quickly. That isn’t to say however that it isn’t durable. There are a number of different types of limestone – each, of course with their own properties, but some – such as Clipsham limestone – are very durable whilst being extremely versatile, and therefore excellent for use in construction and restoration.

Limestone can absorb and be weakened by a number of factors, such as water, frost and pollution – and the consequent acid rain. However, Clipsham limestone, thanks to its chemical make-up absorbs pollution at a much slower rate – another reason why building such as the Houses of Parliament were repaired and reconstructed with Clipsham limestone.

When it comes to constructing a long lasting, British looking building, if you are looking for a stone based construction, limestone – and especially Clipsham limestone is an excellent choice, thanks to its many factors which lend themselves well to construction.

Find out more information about Clipsham limestone and to see the progress on the construction of the Clipsham limestone Orangery at Rushton Hall, here.

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