Tiling With Limestone
An earthy alternative to the cold, austere look of marble, limestone is easy to work with and maintain.
Synopsis: This article offers a good description of working with limestone, an attractive alternative to marble and ceramic tile for bathroom showers and walls. Limestone can be worked almost as if it were wood. Sidebars explain how to make a waterproof niche in the shower wall, and the basics of adding a tile mural to the bathroom wall.
My wife, Lane, and I own a tile store on Cape Cod, so I’ve gotten used to seeing tile of many different colors, shapes and materials all in the same room. But I’ve never met a homeowner who wanted to turn a bathroom into a tile showroom. I did come close recently when I tiled a bathroom that combined striking black marble, gray granite, tumbled marble and a large, colorful hand-painted ceramic mural. The unifying element that made this unlikely combination successful was limestone tile.
Sort the tiles before you mix the mortar
As an experienced tile installer, I had the dream job of integrating all these different types of tile with limestone in a single room. Limestone, which can be fairly soft and porous, is usually a breeze to work and has subtle, earthy tones that form a perfect complement to almost any type or color of material.
Because the color of limestone can vary from tile to tile and from box to box, I begin by opening boxes and checking the tiles for differences in shade or slight veining that might make one tile stand out from the rest. The differences are usually subtle, but a misplaced tile in a different shade can stick out.
As I went through the boxes of limestone tiles for this bathroom, I culled some tiles that had slightly different shades or that had chipped corners. I also came across some tiles with…