Why choosing for the authentic Blue Limestone of Hainaut?
Only real blue limestone from Belgium is as resistant to wear and compression. It is impervious to water runoff, weather and temperature changes. These many qualities present in the natural stone make it unalterable. 100% 'made in Belgium', the Blue Limestone of Hainaut is an ecological choice. Difficult to choose a more local sustainable material.
What is the difference between blue limestone and other, similar rocks or ceramic?
The authentic Belgian blue stone is a compact crinoid limestone, sedimentary in origin. Its non-porosity and density make it more resistant than other, imported stones of similar appearance. The oolites in Asian dolomitic stone, for example, oxidize with time and create unsightly rings.
Foreign stones or imitation blue stone do not have neither the same sparkle nor the properties of blue limestone. Unlike them, the unpolished Belgian blue stone takes on a beautiful patina with age.
How is authentic Blue Limestone of Hainaut of a better quality than other stones of similar appearance?
The Blue limestone of Hainaut is a compact limestone, which spent 345 million years as part of the very bedrock underneath us. Non-porous and highly resistant to wear and compression it is impervious to water runoff, bad weather and temperature changes. Adapted to our harsh climate, the Belgian stone can withstand repetitive periods of freezing and thawing. Its many qualities, present in its natural form, make it an unalterable stone and unmatched durability.
The entire operation of the Blue Limestone of Hainaut is approved by the technical certificate issued by the Belgian Union for Technical Approval in Construction (ATG). The quality standards at Carrières du Hainaut exceed European requirements. The statements of performance (EC) for finished products are available on request.
How can one distinguish the true Blue Limestone of Hainaut from imitations or foreign stones?
3 simple tips to ensure the authenticity of the stone:
The authentic fossils
The visible presence of fossilized crinoids gives Blue Limestone Hainaut its incomparable character and charm and is proof of the authenticity of this local stone, which is far more resistant than any other stones of similar appearance. The Asian dolomitic rocks have no fossils, but they do have oolites that oxidize over time. Look closely, touch and compare. The authenticity of formerly living organisms makes all the difference.
Tip: Soak the stone in water. If it shows rings or brownish zones of a different shade, it is dolomitic stone, most of the time from Asia.
Certificates of authenticity
Carrières du Hainaut guarantee the origin and absolute quality of each of their finished products by issuing a certificate of origin - issued at the time of purchase - and validated by a code and a unique stamp.
Selected distributor network
Carrières du Hainaut relies strongly on a network of professionals, which include a large number of stone and marble masons whose professionalism and know-how second to none. Ask for their advice, and allow yourself to be guided by the professionals identified and recommended by the ‘Carrières du Hainaut’.
Where can I find the Blue Limestone of Carrières du Hainaut?
Where can I buy Blue Limestone of Hainaut?
Carrières du Hainaut relies on a network of professionals - stonecutters and masons – who are passionate about natural stone, and have an extraordinary artisanal expertise. These professionals both sell the Carrières du Hainaut finished product and transform our stone into decorative shapes and elements according to their clients’ wishes. Ask for their advice on how to give life to your project.
How can I be sure that a dealer is selling the authentic blue limestone from Carrières du Hainaut?
Some retailers clearly identify the blue limestone from Carrières du Hainaut by presenting it in our own display units. These distributors, who are equipped to present the complete range, are identified as key distributors, while other stone masons also offer our stone and the same quality of service. If in doubt, you can always ask your distributor for the Carrières du Hainaut certificate of origin. To learn how to recognize the Blue Limestone of Hainaut, see 'How can one distinguish the true Blue Limestone of Hainaut from imitations or foreign stones?' in this FAQ.
Where can I find a worktop, a table, a bench, or other custom-made pieces?
Your natural stone professional, or stonecutters or masons is the person to speak to about custom pieces. They alone have the expertise and know-how needed to work blue limestone. Whether you need a bench, a table, a shower, a basin or a vanity unit ... your stonemason is where you’ll find the passion and inspiration you need to give life to your project.
Where do I find crushed stone, or other aggregates?
Carrières du Hainaut only puts on the market matter meeting the most stringent standards for constructive and decorative applications. The crushed stone, a by-product of the stone quarried on our site, is processed locally by our specialist external partner Holcim. Contact Holcim for more information, or check with your building materials distributor.
And where can I find gabions (wire boxes filled with stone)?
Building materials distributors generally sell this product either ready-filled or to be filled once laid. Two options are available: a gabion filled with crushed stones or filled with BrickEno neatly placed side by side, giving a very orderly effect and ideal for use in landscaping.
Your stone day-to-day - Cleaning & renovation
Can one use soap to clean and maintain blue limestone?
It is perfectly alright to use soap to maintain your blue limestone, though regular cleaning with clear water should be enough. Every third clean, use slightly soapy water to clean your blue limestone. Avoid using too much soap. It doesn’t clean any more, and excess soap risks leaving unsightly marks on the surface of the stone.
If you want to use soap when cleaning, choose a neutral pH soap, such as Marseilles soap flakes, or Carolin ... avoid maintenance with acids, chemicals or descaling agents for sanitary use! The blue limestone is a compact limestone and therefore reacts badly to descaling agents.
For outside use, regular maintenance is not in itself necessary - the weather will take care of that for you. Once a year you should remove vegetation build-up after the winter with water and bleach, or with a product from the Lithofin, Imperplex or Akemi range.
If you use a natural stone cleaner, take care to follow the manufacturer's instructions. Measure out the product correctly and test it first on a hidden part of the stone.
There’s a white veil or film on the surface of my blue limestone. What should I do?
If you’ve used too much soap in cleaning, a white film, rings or cloudy traces may appear on the surface of the stone. Relax! All you have to do is clean the limestone a couple of times with clear water. For a thorough cleaning, add baking soda to the bucket of water or use a multi-cleaner product for natural stone (Lithofin or Imperplex).
The hardness and non-porosity of blue limestone naturally protects against external aggression. Everyday accidents may leave traces of surface but they never will penetrate the stone and, with time they fade into the patina. Blue limestone is a natural living material – don’t be afraid if it gets a couple of marks or scratches! It’ll only gain in character and charm.
A simple cleaning with soap (in moderation) nourishes the stone, helps protect and blurs any micro-scratches. Caution: Avoid using too much soap. An excess of soap can create an unsightly film on the surface of the stone.
If you want to apply additional protection to your worktop or to your patio, for example, chose protection products that are produced specifically for natural stone, such as Lithofin, Imperplex, Akemi…. Or use the traditional method, which is to coat the stone with a linseed oil and turpentine solution.
Outside, bluestone does not require regular maintenance. The weather takes care of it for you. Good maintenance after installation and once a year in the spring can be useful to remove vegetation that has settled during the winter.
Can I use spreading salt during the winter on my bluestone?
Blue Stone of Hainaut is a forgiving material. This means that bluestone can’t be damaged by the application of de-icing salt, which can in no way alter the beauty or strength of this natural stone. After thawing, remember to rinse the stone.
How can I speed up the patina effect on my stone?
Blue limestone is a natural and living stone, it evolves and develops a patina over time. Think of churches and castles of centuries past. Regular cleaning with soap will effectively darken the stone and accelerate the patina effect. Caution: Avoid using too much soap. An excess of soap can create an unsightly film on the surface of the stone. (See ‘There’s a white veil on my stone' in this FAQ ).
Carrières du Hainaut advises against waxing your blue limestone floor – a waxed surface shows up scratches and marks more than a non-waxed one.
Is it possible to restore blue limestone?
If you’re renovating an old building and would like preserve the authentic parts in blue limestone you should first call a professional stone mason for an appraisal on how to re-cut and revive your stone.
You’ll find a choice of top quality artisanal masons in our list of distributors.
If you’re the unhappy victim of vandalism and your facade is covered in graffiti don’t worry – there are many natural stone renovation services that can achieve miracles, including, for example, Stone Attitude (stoneattitude.com), App All Remove (appallremove.be)...
What about black stains that appear on my stone?
From time to time black spots may appear on the surface of your tiles, and small splinters may break off occasionally. This superficial flaking phenomenon is inherent in all limestone and presents no danger to the durability of your flooring. If you look at the paving of older buildings, you’ll see this effect regularly, even if it is less visible thanks to the patina of the stone.
Is it possible to remove rust stains from my blue limestone?
Rust stains can appear on your bluestone for various reasons, for example by leaving oil pots or garden tools on your terrace. There is no need to panic at the sight of these easily removable stains.
The first solution to remove them is to use a specialised product for natural stone such as Imperplex, Akemi or Rouille-Net from the brand Lithofin for example. Let the product react and then rinse with water.
The second method is to use the natural method, moisten the stain and use a very fine sandpaper with small rotating movements to make the surface smooth again. Rinse and the job is done.
How to choose one's stone? - What applications are available?
Choosing a finish
Each finish gives the stone a different shade, so combinations of finishes create new harmonies. While the choice of finish is mainly an aesthetic one certain technical limits have to be observed. Thus, in order to make the right choice, take into account the application intended and the ideal thickness recommended.
Interior - while both dark and light finished are equally suitable, it’s handy to remember that the stone will always darken over time – a patina that becomes more and more beautiful as the years go by. For the exterior, we recommend a preference for lighter tones – this way neither the sun nor the elements will affect the look of your stone.
For your floor coverings in wetter areas, or in frequently used passages, use slightly structured finishes such as Blue Flamed, EnoSkin, EnoStyl … Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but above all, their anti-skid surface offers total security, while at the same time total comfort when walking barefoot.
A Polished finish is to be avoided for floors, but can be ideal for interior walls where its polished aspect will shine.
Roughly textured finished such as Chiselled, Charred, Sclyped, Old-Cut, Pick-Dressed or Dimpled, with their highly decorative effect, are perfect for mural applications. It’s important to be aware of the minimum thickness necessary for these finishes and, if necessary, to preview the correct fixing system. These finishes are equally adapted to floor coverings, but here it is recommended to use them in areas where one wears shoes.
What thickness should be used in interior application?
The laying technique depends on the application and the surface on which the blue limestone is to be placed. This has an influence on both the thickness and format used. For flooring, if you are renovating a floor, check the state of the screed, its flatness and cover, as well as the space available under doors, whether or not underground heating is installed etc.
For wall application, the thinner tiles are much easier to install. For thicker ones, specific techniques are to be used. For worktops, furniture and other decorative elements, the thickness is a matter for you and the person making the piece or installation to decide between you, according to your aesthetic and technical criteria.
For your interior applications, Carrières du Hainaut offers thin paving (15 mm) which is suitable for both paving and wall decoration, for new build and renovation.
What thickness should be used in exterior application?
Placement technique depends on the application and the surface on which the blue limestone is to be placed. This has an influence on both the thickness and format used. Where you live is also an important consideration. For facades in Belgium, the official standard is 3 cm minimum. In France and in the Netherlands, 2 cm is sufficient.
For underfoot use (paving or flagstones) the minimum thickness varies according to the intended use. If the paving is ornamental, or if it’s intended solely for walking on, 3 cm is sufficient. For your private garage driveway, 5 cm to 8 cm should be used, with the latter especially recommended for car pathways or parking or stopping areas for delivery vans or other heavier vehicles.
For more decorative elements such as windowsills, door surrounds of wall skirtings, aesthetic criteria will also have to be taken into account. Ask your professional mason or the person responsible for the works to help you decide on the thickness to be used according to aesthetic and technical criteria, as well as the official standards in use.
Use the pictograms under each finish and product in the product catalogue to determine the most appropriate finish(s) for the purpose. The indication of the minimum and maximum thicknesses also helps you to determine which finish to choose. In any case, let yourself be seduced by the colours and textures.
Can blue limestone be used around a swimming pool?
Water simply pearls on the surface of Blue Limestone of Hainaut - its non-porosity acts as a natural shield. Hardly surprising as blue limestone was originally laid down deep underwater, hundreds of millions of years ago when our region was at the bottom of a tropical ocean.
For your swimming pool surrounds and submerged steps, choose a lightly textured finish, such as Blue Flamed blue, EnoSkin, or EnoStyl… They’re anti-slip, and soft and comfortable to walk on.
Can blue limestone be used for a fireplace or a barbecue?
The real Blue Limestone of Hainaut is perfectly at home beside the fire. Highly heat resistant, it adds a touch of nobility to your fireplace. However, it is recommended not to place it in direct contact with the flames.
Does blue limestone suffer from ice or extreme cold?
Authentic Belgian blue stone is compact and non-porous. Water simply doesn’t penetrate the surface. This intrinsic quality makes it unalterable and unaffected by temperature swings or repetitive periods of freezing and thawing.
Renovation: remove tiles and lay a new floor
Is it always necessary to remove the old tiles first?
The rule is: look before you start. In many cases, removing your old tiles is not the best option. Sometimes, for example, it is better to lay your new floor on top of the old.
How do I go about removing my floor?
That depends on the type of floor. For example, an old tiled floor that lies on sand or gravel is easy to remove with a crowbar or a jackhammer. Break the floor into small pieces so that you can transport them in a wheelbarrow. But remember that removing a floor and laying a new one takes a lot of time and involves a lot of mess and dust. So be realistic and plan enough time for the work and the cleaning up afterwards.
Does the subfloor have to be perfectly level before I start?
Yes, if you have removed your old tiles, it is crucial that the subfloor is completely level before you lay the new floor. You may therefore have to level the screed again. Bear in mind that such a layer - depending on its thickness - needs to dry for several weeks. Count on about ten days per centimetre and two weeks per centimetre if the screed layer is thicker than eight centimetres.
How thick should my new tiles be?
When renovating, a floor that is too thick often causes problems. You may have to dig up the subfloor or adjust the door height to make the floor fit. So it is always better to choose a thin floor. Are you looking for a high-quality floor that doesn't take up too much space? Then Carrières du Hainaut thin tiles are the ideal candidate. Our tiles are only 15 millimetres thick, which makes them very easy to install. They are also available in a wide range of finishes and sizes. So you can still have a thin floor, without compromising on quality and character!
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