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Light limestone flooring - advice

(24 Posts)
westernunion Fri 08-Apr-16 09:02:28

Light limestone flooring....

Is this a good idea for a new basement in a kitchen dining room... the stone will also go out into the patio (which itself leads into a garden).

the architect likes the idea, but i am worried about dirt and maintenance.

My friend ha a similar shade floor and says it's a night mare to clean.

I 1) hate cleaning and 2) I'm messy and 3) will be renting out this house for the next three years so it needs to be easy to maintain.

Any thoughts on limestone please. I try and ask the architect and he says it will be fine but I think his eyes are on the aesthetic end game and not on me trying to clean up.

Also what about cost (the architect never discusses costs of materials with me)? is limestone expensive.

Chapsie Fri 08-Apr-16 09:19:15

There are some lovely porcelain tiles that look quite similar to limestone around and I guess these would be easier to maintain.

NancyDecca Fri 08-Apr-16 12:28:31

We had a light limestone floor in a bathroom once. It looked lovely. For about 6 months. Eventually we ripped it out and replaced with porcelain tiles. In our case it was an expensive mistake. I do know someone who had it in a kitchen and it looked good for a long time but I believe she had it professionally cleaned and some retreatment once a year - so quite high maintenance.

It may have been that ours weren't sealed properly, but limestone is porous so more liable to dirt getting ingrained. When we had our kitchen done I think I probably drove the people in the tile shop a little mad with my constant - Is this one non-porous?, Is this one non-porous? (repeat at length).

I would say you are right to be worried about dirt and maintenance and the architect (ours was recommended by an architect too) will skip off into the sunset whilst it's looking fabulous with nary a thought to the ongoing cleaning/ maintenance.

Your friend is wise - listen to her. grin .

longpricklygrass Fri 08-Apr-16 12:39:19

Oh my gosh. This reflects my experience too. My current architect wants me to put in limestone, not just in the kitchen and bathroom but in the patio. I keep asking if it's durable and easy and saying I don't want to maintain it. He keeps saying it's ok and brushes my concerns aside. He says we can double treat it and also jet spray. . I don't want to jet spray. I have tenants! My dad keeps telling me he doesn't care about practicality he just cares about his portfolio. Think twice!

NancyDecca Fri 08-Apr-16 12:45:59

I've ended up with this
In the kitchen and the outside version on the tiny patio garden. Mine is light so shows the dirt, but crucially the dirt is on top of the tiles so can be mopped off - not worming its way into the tiles where it just sits and laughs at my pathetic cleaning attempts grin .

longpricklygrass Fri 08-Apr-16 12:52:22

How does it compare in price to limestone. any idea?

NancyDecca Fri 08-Apr-16 13:01:42

Sorry long - I don't remember. I think if it was cheaper it wasn't by much (although we were ordering enough to get a discount.) But no ongoing maintenance costs. It wasn't done as a cost cutting thing - it was more the bad memory or having had to replace limestone before which ended up being way more expensive iyswim. You'd need to check - ours was long enough ago I am not sure I still have receipts etc , otherwise I would look for you.

longpricklygrass Fri 08-Apr-16 13:09:16

Thanks. What would you think of limestone outside on a patio. My fear is that tracking in from the garden it would just look dirty as opposed to light and bright very easily?

NancyDecca Fri 08-Apr-16 13:15:27

Long- I may be the wrong person to ask - I would never ever ever buy limestone for any flooring what so ever ever again. (The bathroom walls on the other hand - no problem - we didn't put them in the shower enclosure though. That said we used it for the basin surround and that didn't wear well. So in our experience vertical and mainly dry - fine , horizontal and gets wet - poor. ) . I would have the same worry as you though about trekking in from the garden. You may want to get another opinion though in case mine was a bad experience.

NancyDecca Fri 08-Apr-16 13:16:11

Flooring inside or out - although I guess outside you wouldn't expect it to stay so pristine anyway.

longpricklygrass Fri 08-Apr-16 13:37:37

I told the architect that low maintenance was key as I am lazy and sloppy and hate cleaning up and cooking and also tenants will live there.
but i don't think he understands the degree to which this is the case. a power wash once a year is a step too far for me.
also i don't want to spend that kind of money...

NancyDecca Fri 08-Apr-16 14:57:10

Have a scout round the various porcelain ranges with both indoor and outdoor options (if you want a continuous look ) - I think there are a variety of price ranges. . We had a relatively smallish area so price per sq m was not so crucial - I think we could have got a cheaper option. Anyway - wish you well with it!

ParrotFashion Fri 08-Apr-16 15:07:55

Definitely don't do it. We had pale limestone in the last house - the toddler spilled some apple juice which wasn't wiped up right away (didn't notice for a few hours) and it etched a dark stain on the floor that couldn't be got out. This despite being only down a few months and despite being correctly sealed, Plus the scratches and general wear and tear, it was a nightmare, so delicate and easily damaged - looked awful after a year down...

We now have this Mosa porcelain in a pale limestone colour and it has been totally bombproof - dogs, bikes, toddlers, teens, red wine, juice, soil, grass etc etc. It's indoor/outdoor. Great stuff.

wonkylegs Fri 08-Apr-16 17:48:48

I'm an architect and think your architect isn't listening to you. I wouldn't ever suggest limestone for low maintenance especially in a kitchen. Personally I'd go for a porcelain tile (and have done so in my kitchen) they are much more hard wearing, I've used them both domestically and commercially. We even did a scratch test on the ones in our kitchen to check they wouldn't be damaged when they slid the appliances into place as they are rather pale which they passed with flying colours.

longpricklygrass Fri 08-Apr-16 21:41:44

Wonky legs.
The limestone is the tip of the iceberg I'm afraid.
Can I ask you about whether you think limestone works outdoors (the plan is to have it throughout the basement including the kitchen and then out onto the patio).
I'm worried it will be very dirty and also needed power cleaning out there, and also be slippy in the rain.

wonkylegs Fri 08-Apr-16 22:20:26

It does work outside and can look absolutely gorgeous but you must be careful where you source it as some limestones will crack with frosty/ cold weather.
It's better outside than in kitchens as you are less likely to get oil/grease stains on it, however for those reasons I'd also be careful around bbq areas and driveways.
I love the one material running inside to out look but it's not always the practical choice.
Whatever material you get has the potential for slippiness when wet, so I usually go for a lightly honed/riven surface rather than a completely smooth one, you can get this on natural stone or porcelain tiles. You can get the same material and have a smooth finish inside and a lightly honed one outside, if detailed and laid well this works well and is more practical.
I must admit I'm the kind of architect that goes practicality first, style second, which is not every bodies cup of tea but I tend to find it makes my clients happier in the long run even if it's not quite as wow factor initially as some of my contemporaries.

MrsFlorrick Fri 08-Apr-16 23:49:47

Limestone can be fantastic.

A big part of the issue (which I don't think you architect actually understands!) is different types of limestone wear differently and hard different hardnesses.

Jura limestone is ultra hard and very dense. Good indoors and outdoors.
Mostly comes as beige or blue grey so not a uniform colour and has little ammonites and fossils in. Very hard to stain but can react to oils and acids. Also hard to seal because it's so dense.

The softer paler uniformly coloured limestones (Portugal, Spain and France) are not as dense. Will absorb stains more readily and not always as good outdoors (some French ones are ok).

There are some very hardy Jerusalem limestones and Egyptian ones (Triesta) which lovely and work well.

I have had three different bathrooms with limestone and rear hallway too. No major issues as such.

However I'm the lady who has white marble as kitchen worktop smile

I have oak parquet in my kitchen. And Slate on my terrace outside.

I had wanted Triesta limestone outside but decided it probably wouldn't stand up to the weather too well. Slate is lower maintenance.

So don't discount limestone if you'd like it but don't get just because an architect says so. He has a vested interest in getting you to spend as much as poss as his fee is a percentage of project cost. Higher the cost = higher his fee.
Limestone is between £30 right up to £130 p sqm. Plus installation cost (approx £20 p sqm).

wonkylegs Sat 09-Apr-16 00:35:14

MrsFlorrick - that's rarely true on fees, my fee would be fixed by this stage of a project even if it had started as a % and I know that to be the same for most practices around here.
I suspect the OPs architect has 'a vision' that they haven't necessarily thought through with the practicalities that the OP has mentioned.

longpricklygrass Sat 09-Apr-16 00:38:47

Thanks so much Mrs F. I really appreciate it.

"I must admit I'm the kind of architect that goes practicality first, style second, which is not every bodies cup of tea but I tend to find it makes my clients happier in the long run even if it's not quite as wow factor initially as some of my contemporaries."

It's what I want. I long for practicality.

I don't suppose, WonkyLegs, you have any idea about glass skylights in extensions in south facing gardens? I have some questions; I want answers!

longpricklygrass Sat 09-Apr-16 00:43:07

The architect has a very strong aesthetic and my requirements have sometimes taken a back seat to it (so for e.g. he refused to consider a central skylight, which I wanted, as he said it would be ugly. I'm still a bit sad about this even though I can see his design does look better from the outside - from the inside, it just means I can't see the sky as I'd hoped).
He charges by the hour. this was a terrible mistake as it means that if I don't agree with what he's drawn, I have to pay to change it or even dispute it.

wonkylegs Sat 09-Apr-16 00:51:26

Oh dear doesn't sound like the ideal client architect relationship and that you've got a raw deal on the fees - even though I understand the need to pay for changes which can take up a lot of time and do cost is money to do , if his not listening is the reason you need changes that seems a bit unreasonable. I do try to encourage some clients not to continually change their minds by charging a lot for changes but they are usually ones I know that take the piss (guy who moved his idea for a fishtank in a wall and all the internal doors on a weekly basis I'm thinking of you!)
It's all very well having a strong aesthetic but at the end of the day the client is paying you to do their job and you need to find a balance between their requirements and that aesthetic that works for the client - well that's how I do it.

longpricklygrass Sat 09-Apr-16 08:46:05

I have another related question re brick.
The architect has settled on a very light near white brick for the outside party walls to go with the limestone. It will look lovely but again I'm worried about maintenance. He didn't seem to be. Should I be worried. Does light brick require maintaining.
Also, he has now suggested lead for the extension roof. Which sounds fine - but what does lead look like? Is it expense? Any ideas?

wonkylegs Sat 09-Apr-16 09:25:12

Light bricks shouldn't be a problem, they were in an age of soot staining but not so much of an issue these days unless in a fireplace.
Lead is a common and traditional roofing choice (churches use it a lot) although we use it less than we did due to thefts, however this is less of a problem on domestic properties. It can be expensive but so can the better alternatives (rubber, epdm, single ply membranes, liquid membranes, zinc - lots of choices available these days)
It can look very smart (as long as it's laid correctly) but again so can the alternatives it hard to say what's best without seeing the roof.

MrsFlorrick Sat 09-Apr-16 17:46:56

Lead roof on the extension??!! Lead is very expensive compared to most other roofing materials (possibly except zinc). I think Code 5 lead is about £120 psqm plus another approx £80 psqm to lay it. No counting the insulation etc etc. And the lifespan of lead may be fairly long but repairs will be expensive and it can develop pitting plus the risk of theft is quite high. Zinc would be less hassle (but cost more.

Fwiw zinc roof is a thing of beauty.

Light brick won't add to the maintenance but is clearly designed to match a light limestone. And obviously this will still work with a light porcelain tile too.

I think charging by the hour to change a design you're unhappy with isn't a great way to go. Could you not just get another architect? Or a design & build contractor who employs an architect/designer?

You wanted a sky light and he just dismissed your wishes?

What do you want to know about sky lights. The options are almost infinite. There are big ones little ones, ones which are motorised and open. If you want to pm me with some more detail, I'm happy to give you my email and some more help if you like?

Wonky. Sorry!! I wasn't lumping all architects in with each other!! There are lots of fab professional architects.
Sadly it's not always the case. I've recently worked on a project where the architect was on a % of total cost and on the first day on site he had the foundations for the extension dug and laid a meter wider along the whole extension (this was an extension to double a brick barn in size) so it added £20k cost to the client (and upped his fee). And client had to go back to planning (more drawings from architect and more money for him). Nobody could stop him as he was "in charge" (according to him). Anyway long story. Some are, well, like that.

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