Moleanos Stone: A Brief History

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It is probably fair to say that Moleanos Stone—quarried in the namesake area of Portugal—is the most popular and ubiquitous limestone building material in the world. It’s a lot like the font, Helvetica… once you learn to recognise it, you’ll start noticing it everywhere.

Moleanos is a beige coloured limestone, although hues can vary quite widely from quarry to quarry. It is versatile, strong and durable.  There are several types of Moleanos Stone, although the ones that lend themselves to the widest number of practical applications are called ‘Classic’ and ‘Fine Grain’ Moleanos. These are the lightest in colour of all the Moleanos variations and are both fantastic materials for staircases, fireplaces, surrounds or even flooring and wall tiles.

It is worth noting however that due to the subtle differences in grain and hue from quarry to quarry (and even from stone to stone from the same quarry) it is always worth asking an expert such as Ian Knapper to source flooring and wall tiles that match any existing Moleanos stone and marry with their surroundings. We can do this for a very reasonable price – please don’t hesitate to ask us.

Moleanos Classic

moleanos classic
This is the most common type of Moleanos limestone. Due to extensive quarrying (and the fact that the quarries are close to a national park, often restricting access), larger blocks of Moleanos Classic are becoming harder to come by. But medium-sized blocks are still very common and it is also used extensively in ‘slab’ form, often for tiling, cladding and/or paving. This medium grain limestone is particularly popular because of its uniform colour which lends itself to many uses.

Moleanos Fine Grain

moleanos stone - fine grain
No prizes for guessing what the main difference is here — the grain is much smaller while the background is much the same as with the Classic variation. Moleanos Fine Grain is the second most common variant, after Classic, and is commonly used for many of the same purposes (cladding, tiling etc), although due to the slightly more refined look and finish, it is also widely used by interior designers; for fireplaces, staircases, furniture and ornate decorations.

Moleanos Stone Fireplace by Ian Knapper

This beautiful Moleanos stone fireplace designed by Ian Knapper has a Mediterranean aesthetic; very apt given that Portugal, where this stone is quarried, has always enjoyed a rich mixture of Mediterranean and northern European culture.

Moleanos fireplace

Moleanos Stone Staircase by Ian Knapper

Moleanos Stone Staircase 1

Moleanos Stone Staircase 2


Moleanos Stone Staircase 3

If you’d like to talk to Ian Knapper about Moleanos Stone or choosing a stone-type, please feel free to get in touch. Call 01538 722 733 or email us.