Sandstone is a sedimentary stone made up out of sand-like particles of minerals, generally made up of quartz and feldspar. It is similar, in some ways, to Limestone, but is formed in an entirely different way. It can form under little to no geophysical pressure whatsoever, and is commonly mined from cliff edges and pre-exposed stone. It is effectively formed by layer on layer of sand (or specks of certain minerals) which may be deposited by water or by air.
Sandstone is 'clastic' in nature, meaning it is formed of pre-existing minerals, rather than geochemical breakdown of elements from organic matter. This means that it forms far quicker than limestones, and other subsidiary stones of the limestone family. It, too, can be almost any colour under the sun as well, and can range in hardness and strength, depending on the cementing material and size of the grains.
Commonly seen as a mostly red stone, this is brought on by the presence of iron oxide, and is just one of the many pigments which can completely redefine the stone. Quartz and feldspar are naturally light grey and, as such, the lower the level of impurity within the minerals which make up the stone, the closer to a light grey colour the stone will look.
Generally speaking, sandstone is less dense than limestone, and is considered a far 'softer' stone. It is more porous as well and, when largely exposed, will begin to erode and weather quicker than limestone.
It is a popular building material in Britain, enjoying a large boost in popularity recently. It is relatively abundant in almost all corners the globe and most 'local stone' refers to the naturally abundant sandstone deposits in an area.
The Cotswolds, in particular, has a classic cream sandstone to which it lays claim. Given the ease of mining of sandstones, they make up a large proportion of naturally sourced building materials the world over.
Processing sandstone is much the same as that of the softer limestone tiles and, as such, it is most common to find sandstone with quite a rugged, seasoned finish. It lends itself wonderfully to country and farmhouse floors. Lately, harder sandstones which have been honed and polished have been becoming prevalent, starting to bridge the gap with limestone for the more minimalist and contemporary style stone floors.
Sandstone is often considered to have more warmth and earthy hues than limestone and is more forgiving when wet. Because it's a softer stone, though, be aware that it will require more attention when sealing, and will have to be kept up to date with sealing more often than comparably harder stones.
For more information on sandstones and to see some of the sandstone tiles in our range, visit our showroom.