City Hall Selects Indiana Limestone - Pro Masonry Guide

City Hall Selects Indiana Limestone

Indiana Limestone sills, window heads, watertables and a jack arch add a new façade to Tipton’s City Hall.

The City Hall building in Tipton, Ind., recently underwent an exterior remodel. The fresh look of the new façade incorporates red brick with limestone sills, window heads, watertables and a jack arch above the main entryway. Full-bed-depth Indiana limestone was the limestone material chosen by the architect, general contractor and mason contractor.

Indiana Limestone comes from a geographically unique area centered in just two counties in South-Central Indiana. It is considered sedimentary bedrock, comprised mostly of calcite and aragonite. Indiana limestone can range in coarseness from an extremely fine-grained stone to a coarse-grained material. It also is available in a range of neutral colors, from a warm buff to a cooler blue or silver gray.

Indiana limestone has no grain, no large inclusions and is uniform in hardness throughout.

Indiana limestone has no grain, no large inclusions and is uniform in hardness throughout.

This limestone started its life as the sediment of a vast ocean, where the shells and skeletons of marine organisms collected. Over time, this debris lithified and became what we know today as limestone. A close inspection of the stone will show the fossils of these organisms, lending beauty and interest to the stone.

It is this natural variation, the hint of fossils within the neutral tones of the stone, which allows Indiana limestone to be beautiful in a large unbroken expanse. This natural variegation means that a large Indiana limestone installation never gets monotonous or boring.

Consistency

Indiana limestone is a very consistent, homogenous material comprised of more than 97 percent calcite, with no weaknesses in any plane that would compromise its integrity. The nature of the stone is that it has few partings or imperfections, allowing for the creation of large blocks or veneer panels. Because the small variations in the stones do not exist in large, noticeable concentrations, there is no need to pattern blend the stones during application to maintain a consistent look.

Indiana limestone can be shaped by turning on a lathe, hand carving, planing or sawing in any direction without fear of compromising the stone.

Indiana limestone can be shaped by turning on a lathe, hand carving, planing or sawing in any direction without fear of compromising the stone.

Versatility and durability

Because Indiana limestone is a freestone, it does not tend to split in any one direction, so it can be easily worked. Indiana limestone can be shaped by turning on a lathe, hand carving, planing or sawing in any direction without fear of compromising the stone. Indiana limestone allows fine carved detail, making it appropriate for accent pieces that lend elegance to any structure.

Indiana limestone develops a hardened layer, or “skin” over time that protects the surface from external forces such as pollution and acid rain. Weathered Indiana limestone is actually stronger than un-weathered stone. Studies by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP) clearly show that Indiana limestone resists environmental damage, maintaining crisp lines and detail even decades after installation in polluted environments.

These characteristics mean that limestone can actually approve in appearance over time. Rather than looking dirty or worn, aged limestone gains character and patina naturally.

Using Indiana limestone means low long-term maintenance costs that contribute to a low cost of ownership.

Using Indiana limestone means low long-term maintenance costs that contribute to a low cost of ownership.

Maintenance

 This limestone is the definition of a “set it and forget it” stone. For the most part, long-term care is limited to re-pointing of stone joints and occasional cleaning. Unlike manmade stone substitutes that may develop shrinkage cracks or problems around the internal reinforcing bars over the years, Indiana limestone will remain a stable and durable part of the building for decades or centuries to come. This makes Indiana limestone a value as maintenance costs for a building can be reduced without sacrificing quality or beauty.

Many masons prefer working with Indiana limestone. Cutting and shaping can be accomplished quickly on the jobsite with total confidence, using the hand and power tools that masons commonly have on hand. Indiana limestone has no grain, no large inclusions and is uniform in hardness throughout.

The value

Indiana limestone is priced competitively with other natural stone and manmade stone substitutes on the market. Kathy Baker-Heckard, president of Indiana Cut Stone in Bedford, Ind., enjoys working with Indiana limestone.

“We believe that Indiana limestone is the best natural stone for building, period,” Baker-Heckard says. “Nothing else can match the beauty and patina of Indiana limestone. It’s one of those rare building materials that actually gets stronger and more beautiful with age. We were very pleased to fabricate the limestone for the Tipton City Hall project.”



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