Investigations into the causes of failure of a Jerusalem Limestone floor

Honed Jerusalem Limestone tiles have severely pitted in a residence after only a few months of service. Although failure commenced adjacent to north-facing windows pitting progressed rapidly to all parts of the room including areas covered by rugs. The honed finish was achieved by acid-washing the original polished surface rather than through the usual methods of production. After laying the tiles were sealed as an aid to cleaning and the prevention of stains.

The problems experienced in this location have been duplicated in a number of other Australian locations and the problems associated with this variety of limestone are well known overseas. It is clear that there is a considerable variation in the quality of the limestone tiles based simply on the occurrence and abundance of the natural partings as described. Of interest is the fact that the importer of any stone into Australia is not required to provide any accurate and reliable information on its suitability irrespective of whether there are inherent problems with the material in certain situations in other countries. Decisions of whether or not a certain stone is suitable in its intended application is generally left to the architect or specifier. It is unfortunate that advice on the composition and suitability of stone in certain applications is rarely sought by architects or builders in Australia and the US.

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