Are you looking for a bright and hard-wearing natural stone that makes rooms shine in a warm atmosphere and is very environmentally friendly? Then find out more about the unique Solnhofen limestone.
From modern stone floors to luxurious wellness baths - the possible applications are many and varied. And the special thing? Take a close look at the surface. On some surfaces you can admire beautiful fossils and dendrites.
Wir können aus unserem gesamten Produktsortiment Wandriemchen und Mosaike nach individuellen Vorgaben fertigen.
Im Folgenden eine Auswahl unserer standardisierten, lagernden Produkte.
Table of Contents
- How you can use Solnhofen natural stone
- Top features
- Prices of the Solnhofen plates
- Which natural stones are suitable for your building project? - a guide
- Interesting facts about the Solnhofen plates
- Extraction by hand
- Processing of the Solnhofen natural stones
- Any more questions or requests?
How you can use Solnhofen natural stone
In principle, you can use the Solnhofener panels in all living areas. However, it is not suitable for outdoor use.
Whether it is an easy-care entrance area, a noble fireplace or wall panelling - the possible uses of the easily workable and natural Solnhofen stone are very diverse.
The classic areas of installation are mainly kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, hallways and offices. The natural stone slabs can be used as wall cladding and also as floor covering. In addition, a high slip resistance makes the limestone slabs the ideal subfloor for barefoot areas. Private builders also rave about the possibility of installing them together with underfloor heating.
Thanks to the different colours and shapes, every customer benefits from many design possibilities and receives a completely individual living arrangement.
In addition to private use, natural stone slabs can now be found in many public buildings such as shopping centres, bathrooms, town halls and churches. Because historical buildings in which Solnhofen slabs were used will easily outlive many generations.
How would you like to use Solnhofener natural stone? Are you possibly still looking for inspiration for your building project? Then get an overview of the possible applications in the following.
Possible uses in the interior area
- Baths and wellness areas
- Floor coverings (ideal for floor heating systems)
- Entrance areas
- Fireplace and wall claddings
- Edge and skirting boards
- Door panels
- Further individual design elements
- Protected conservatory
Solnhofen natural stone cannot be used outdoors. The background is the high density of the stone. If water penetrates the limestone slabs and freezes to ice in winter, the volume increases. This can cause frost damage, especially in the form of cracks. This is also the reason why we do not declare Solnhofer as "frost-resistant".
"For those who value an ecologically sensible, sustainable lifestyle, I can only recommend the Solnhofen natural stone."
Advantages of our regional natural stone
What makes Solnhofen such an extremely popular and exclusive natural stone worldwide? It is the total package of the individual components. The limestone impresses with its variety of uses, a warm appearance, unique haptics, sustainability, good heat storage capacity, easy repair possibilities, a fair price and uncomplicated care and cleaning.
Finding the ideal building material can be a real challenge. With the resistant stone, building owners are on the safe side. As the hardest limestone in the world, which for this reason has a high density, natural stone is considered a stable and very resistant stone. Due to this robustness, it can be used for surfaces subject to heavy wear.
What happens if the stone is dirty or even damaged? Don't worry, cleaning is easy compared to other building materials.
The Solnhofer is chemical-free, odourless, abrasion-resistant and radiation-free. Thanks to these properties, various building projects can be realized without hesitation. With Solnhofer natural stone you build ecologically, stylishly and individually.
No artificial imitations - 100 % natural product
Compared to porcelain stoneware, which is produced industrially, the Solnhofer slab is a 100% natural product and is considered an organic building material. Each limestone slab has different colour spectrums and can be provided with ferns similar patterns or impressive fossilizations. This creates an unmistakable unicum for each individual natural stone. In contrast to porcelain stoneware tiles, such as ceramic tiles, the Solnhofer convinces with its natural aesthetics and lively appearance.
Solnhofen limestone has no naturally radioactive radiation. Compared to other building materials, it is therefore considered an excellent material for ecological building and healthy living. Furthermore, unlike slate or granite, it is radiation-free and shows no emissions.
Fascinating appearance with fossils & dendrites
From beige and cream to ochre yellow and even very light light grey, red and pleasant brown tones - the interesting colour scheme allows residential landscapes and public buildings to shine in a pleasant spatial effect. The light marbling underlines the natural effect of the fossilizations. But it is not only the different colour surfaces that make Solnhofener Stein a real eye-catcher.
In the middle of the Altmühltal, the small town of Solnhofen caused a worldwide sensation in 1860 with a spectacular find. The first evidence of the primeval bird "Archaeopteryx" was discovered on a limestone plate. This is a feathered dinosaur from the Jurassic period. Due to a large number of other fossil finds, the Solnhofer Plattenkalk is still known throughout the world today.
Structures such as floral inclusions in the form of small plants and tree-like formations as well as fossil inclusions, for example in the form of feathers and dragonfly wings, can be found particularly frequently.
Very often you can admire dendrites. Dendrites are chemical compounds of manganese and iron, which are formed by diffusion processes in the limestones. Mostly they show beautiful and discreet crystalline structures, which remind of plants due to the light brown ramifications.
In the meantime about 900 petrified animal and plant species have been discovered in the Solnhofener Plattenkalk. Here you can get an insight into the fossil finds made so far: Pterosaurs, ammonites, sea lilies, swimming crabs, crayfish, lizards, turtles, bony fish, shells, snails, jellyfish, echinoderms and various insects.
Who knows, perhaps you too will discover fossils, dendrites or another unique structure on your unique natural stone in the course of your building project. You may also see different colours and subtle veins. These are quartz veins that have developed quite naturally.
Do quartz veins produce a higher fracture sensitivity?
The answer is quite simply: no. Don't worry, the veins do not cause greater fracture sensitivity. Natural stones with quartz veins can be laid without any problems.
In natural stones, narrow and wide veins of different colours are often found. These are originally cracks that were formed millions of years ago in the stone by mountain-building forces. In the course of time, the furrows were filled up again by lime clefts and have grown together further.
Our Solnhofen natural stone slabs and tiles also have the so-called "glass or quartz veins", which are often wrongly regarded by laymen as "puttyled areas". However, these are not material defects, but rather completely natural and million-year-old components. The rock has grown together and represents a solid mass.
Ecological and environmentally friendly natural stone
Millions of years ago, limestones were created from pure biomass. This is the reason why they are radiation-free and contain no harmful substances.
But what about the life cycle assessment or energy balance?
PE International AG conducted a study on the sustainability of natural stones and glass facades. The results showed that the Solnhofen stone has strong ecological advantages in the complete life cycle of extraction, processing and reuse and convinces with a lower energy input than porcelain stoneware.
One reason for this is the energy required for extraction. Since the effort is rather low, a lot of manual work is required and some stones are used directly quarry-rough, only very little artificial energy is needed to process the stone. This in turn means that less CO² is produced.
In winter at the latest, the excellent heat storage capacity, which minimises temperature losses within buildings, becomes apparent. Due to the storage effect, however, the Solnhofener already shows its best side in summer, as the stone helps to prevent the heat from being let in so quickly.
Prices of the Solnhofen plates
If you want to buy Solnhofen slabs, you should think about what you want to use the natural stone for. The seller will first want to know in which size, format and surface you want to order the limestone slabs.
One of the main purchase criteria is usually the format. Very common are both rectangular and square format slabs. The latter start at 150 x 150 mm and can be ordered in a format up to 600 x 600 mm. However, excess lengths are also possible. Very popular are usually the web panels, which can also be ordered in different versions.
The price also depends strongly on the choice of surface. If fracture-rough panels are cheaper, ground or even matt polished surfaces are more expensive.
By the way, polygonal panels are recommended for very price-sensitive building owners. As they require less effort for dismantling, the costs are lower here than is the case with rectangular and square format panels.
Please contact us and we will find the right natural stone for your project at a fair price.
Which natural stones are suitable for your building project? - a guide
The right laying pattern for you
Do you need more square formats to bring a straight and clear style to your new bathroom? Or should it be quarry rough stones that perfectly integrate your terrace into the surrounding nature? Are you looking for a special pattern for a large area? Then the noble, Roman pattern might be the right choice.
Find out more about the laying patterns of Solnhofen tiles below.
Square or rectangular format plates
Format plates are so popular because they can be used very universally and also have a clear, bright and natural appearance.
As a real all-round talent, the tiles are suitable for both walls and floors. Be it your own home or a company building - square or rectangular natural stone tiles are a stable, easy to lay and visually very attractive choice.
The Solnhofer is not only an all-rounder with regard to the many room possibilities. Various laying patterns are suitable for format tiles, such as the cross bond, half bond, third bond, quarter bond and the wild bond.
Robust sheets for large buildings
Sheets are natural stone slabs that are either the same length, different lengths with the same widths or excess lengths.
Railway tracks are often used in public buildings such as official buildings, churches, hospitals and factory buildings. Expertly sawn and professionally calibrated by us, they are characterised by a natural and at the same time orderly appearance.
Elegant and impressive Roman patterns
The special feature of this very noble Roman bond is the combination of precisely defined square and rectangular dimensions. Installed in a certain number in each case, the limestone slabs appear at first glance to be composed rather arbitrarily.
At second glance, a geometric and impressive pattern is revealed. The secret lies in the exact combination of, for example, 3, 6 or 8 different formats, which correspond to the rules of the Roman associations.
This creates a unique and elegant look. Compared to classical railway bandages, Roman patterns are worked more elaborately.
They are particularly suitable for large indoor areas, such as entrance halls or larger wellness areas. Because here the elegant, representative and extensively worked patterns really come into their own.
Polygonal panels for price-sensitive building owners
You want a natural, modern and affordable design? Then polygonal panels are exactly the right choice. By the way, polygon comes from the Greek and means "polygon". These are fragments that are put together in an irregular shape.
Due to the very varied shapes and surfaces, they give the rooms an exciting and at the same time pleasant atmosphere. In bathrooms, winter gardens or corridors they are therefore very popular. With polygonal panels you can show your creativity in the design of the rooms and create a particularly beautiful living flair.
Can the laying patterns be used with each other?
Yes, the formats and patterns can of course be freely combined. A line of polygonal panels across straight lines or even a single polygonal panel with a special pattern, such as a fossil, can create an amazing effect.
Popular laying patterns at a glance
Although there are limits to the sizes and strengths of natural stone, we can provide you with very different formats.
Get an overview of possible laying patterns:
- Square format tiles
- Rectangular format plates
- Tracks in fixed lengths
- Webs with the same width and free lengths
- Layers of mixed covering (= same running metres per width)
- Roman bandages (various designs possible)
- Polygonal plates (= broken plates with different shapes)
- Fish Bones
- Rose Tip
- Octagon with inlays
- Straps as wall facing bricks
- Excess lengths
- Edges, steps and mouldings
Would you like another individual cut? Then simply contact us. We will find the right format for your construction plan!
Surfaces and slip resistance classes at a glance
You are still unsure about the right surface of your natural stone? Besides the focus on the appearance, the choice may be easier for you if you think about the exact use.
Should the tiles be mounted on walls or should they be used as floors and thus be walkable? In the latter case you should consider the slip resistance class.
But let us first take a look at the appearance of the surfaces:
The rough surfaces of the Solnhofen limestone slabs offer a wonderful play of colours. The most natural variant is the surface variant "quarry rough". This is because here the surface of the stone is not processed further after quarrying in the quarry.
As a general rule, the more natural stone is removed from the surface, the more uniform the colour and appearance becomes.
So if you want rough and natural shapes, quarry-rough surfaces are the right choice. However, if the stone surface is to have a more filigree, shiny and noble appearance, then ground or polished slabs are recommended.
What about the risk of slipping?
Not with fracture-rough Solnhofen slabs! Because particularly fracture rough limestone slabs are very suitable for wet areas, such as bathrooms or complete wellness areas.
This is followed by brushed surfaces where the material is treated with special bristles. The contained abrasive grains create a smooth and velvety surface, which still retains the natural look of natural stone. And the big advantage? Brushed stones are easier to clean because the dirt does not adhere well.
These are the anti-slip groups
There are five slip resistance values in total: R9, R10, R11, R12 and R13.
The higher the value, the more slip-resistant the floor surface. Broken limestone has the highest possible slip-resistance class.
Below you will find an overview of the most common surfaces, sorted according to their slip-resistance class:
- quarry rough - R13 (highest possible slip resistance class)
- slightly ground - R11
- brushed or heavily sanded - R10
- finely ground with easily visible grinding marks - R9 (lowest anti-slip class)
Get now an overview of the surfaces and machining
The natural grain is lightly sanded with machines to create an irregular surface. Natural phenomena, such as dendrites, are retained and can still be seen discreetly.
Due to the rotation in the mixing drum, the edges are rounded and get an antique appearance.
Here, the stone is separated at its natural cleavage surfaces and used without further processing directly after extraction in the quarry.
Complete sanding creates a straight surface with uniform colours of the individual panels, which creates a very even and clear appearance.
The rough surface of the natural stone is smoothed with various brushes, such as steel and plastic brushes. This creates a slightly wavy and at the same time velvety surface.
High gloss polished or matt polished
The polish is a very fine surface treatment that provides fresh shine and light mirror effects.
Choosing the right thickness
Especially the later installation and the floor structure play a role in the choice of thickness. For example, the 13-30 mm thick boards can only be laid in a thick bed.
The first question that arises is whether the flooring or wall covering should look more natural and rough or whether it should have a uniform, smooth and velvety appearance? Depending on your wishes, you can choose between natural and calibrated thicknesses. In contrast to porcelain stoneware, Solhofer can have a material thickness of over 2 cm.
Find out now what the difference between natural and calibrated thicknesses is. You can also get an overview of the thicknesses you can choose between.
In addition to the laying pattern and the surface, the choice of thickness is important. We offer natural thicknesses in the grades 7 - 9 mm, 9 - 12 mm and 13 - 30 mm. In the case of natural thicknesses, the thickness of the individual tiles can vary by a few millimetres. This shape later emphasizes the natural aesthetics of the stone.
Calibrated thickness with uniform slabs
If you want stone tiles with uniform thickness, calibrated tiles are the right choice. Here you can choose between the thicknesses 7 mm, 10 mm, 13 mm, 15 mm or 18 mm.
When choosing the thickness, please note that thinner formats are more suitable for wall coverings and thicker thicknesses for floors. Thinner natural stone tiles can also be used as floor tiles, but the robustness increases with a higher thickness of the material.
Interesting facts about the Solnhofen plates
Millions of years old - how Solnhofen natural stone was created
Now immerse yourself in the history of natural stone from the Solnhofen region.
Because several million years ago, today's Altmühltal was not only made up of land masses, but was also characterised by idyllic lagoon and island landscapes. At that time pterosaurs flew around, dinosaurs crossed the country, sharks swam through the Jurassic Sea and many different insects swam through the countless rows of ginkgo trees.
When was the natural stone created?
The limestone slabs were formed about 150 million years ago. The Solnhofen natural stone is - considered in the period of the earth's history - slightly younger than the Jura marble. It was formed about 30 million years later.
While the Jura marble contains mainly deposits of sponges, algae and ammonites, the larger species from the plant and animal world, such as fish and reptiles, lie between the slab limestone from Solnhofen.
So how exactly was Solnhofen natural stone created?
When the primeval animals died, the remains fell to the sea floor. There the mud petrified the bones and shuttering over time. The high pressure ensured that lime layers pressed the animal remains flat together. In addition, the lagoons were regularly flooded with fresh seawater, which increased the salt content overall.
This natural process meant that the animal and plant remains did not decay as much and have been preserved to the present day.
Millions of years later, the marine landscape changed to mainland and brought the fossils back to the surface. This is how it happened that the famous primeval bird of Solnhofen, called "Archaeopteryx", was discovered and still causes amazement among scientists and fossil fans worldwide.
The limestone slabs have been used for building houses since ancient times. Thus one found historical floor and wall coverings and stairs made of the Solnhofen natural stone. The Romans appreciated the excellent properties of the Solnhofen slabs. So they used the stone for their famous and magnificent bathing landscapes.
Later, the stones were very often used in kitchens and tombs. For example, the grave of Emperor Heinrich II is made of Solnhofen stone.
The natural stones had not only a practical use. The natural, velvety and warm appearance was also used by a number of artists. For example, beautiful and detailed reliefs from the 16th and 17th centuries were found, which showed Adam and Eve or depicted a scene in Paris, for example. Especially through lithography (= picture printing), the Solnhofen limestone slabs achieved great fame.
The natural inclusions of small creatures, fish and crustaceans can still be seen today when the slabs are removed from the quarries.
In which regions is the natural stone extracted?
Solnhofen limestone is not only found in the region around Solnhofen. Today, the term is used all-encompassing and includes other regions, as the rock has the same properties. Other quarries can be found, for example, in Eichstätt, in the district of Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen, in Mörnsheim, Langenaltheim as well as in the whole of Upper Bavaria and in Middle Franconia.
Extraction by hand
The Solnhofener lime plates are removed in our quarries. The extraction itself is done exclusively by hand in open-cast mines during the summer months.
When opening up a quarry, the layers of earth above the stone deposits must be cleared away at the very beginning. In earlier times, this process was carried out in laborious manual labor. Today, the overburden and rubble removal work is carried out using crawlers, excavators and wheel loaders.
After the quarry has been cleared and the very calcareous slabs - also known as "Flinze" - have come to light, quarrying can begin.
Today the so-called Flinze, i.e. the usable stone slabs in the Solnhofen area, are found in a total thickness of 40 to 50 metres. Flinz" means a technically usable slate or slab limestone with a minimum thickness of 6 to 7 millimetres.
From here on, professional manual work is required, just as the traditional work was done centuries ago. Accordingly, they are lifted by hand. This is because the use of machines would destroy too much valuable raw material during crushing.
Stone crushers carefully lever out suitable and large slabs along their natural crevices using crowbars and stick floodplains. The layer packs are then split into individual slabs at the parting lines parallel to the layer with hammer and flat chisel. The resulting slabs are sorted according to their lime and clay content.
The sound betrays the quality
Afterwards, each of the suitable, very calcareous flint is checked for its "health". At this point an experienced master chopping block maker carries out strict quality controls. Light blows with a small hammer reveal whether there are any cracks in the rock. If this produces a characteristic, high and clear tone, the limestone slab is further processed.
If a rather muffled tone is heard when striking the slabs, they are sorted out. These unusable stones are also known as "rotting" stones, as they usually consist of a finely slate-leaved marl lime, which is easily weathered.
Since the Solnhofen limestone is a natural sedimentary rock, the individual areas do not form an unlimited, large slab. The vibrations and movements of the earth's surface over the last 150 million years have created countless and irregularly large slabs.
The aim here is to cause as little waste of the valuable building material as possible. For this reason the stone is cut into the largest possible squares and rectangles.
Slabs that tend to be smaller are usually sold on directly in unprocessed or polygonal form (= polygonal, irregular).
The processing of larger stones is done in our works by techniques such as sawing, drumming, brushing and grinding. Alternatively, the unprocessed and quarry-rough limestone slabs can also be delivered directly to the trade.
After processing, we either first sort the Solnhofener into our warehouses or deliver them directly to natural stone dealers and stonemasons. In some cases, we also deliver just in time to our customers or directly to the respective construction site.
Processing of the Solnhofen natural stones
How to lay the natural stone correctly
There are many ways of laying and grouting the Solnhofen slabs. Learn more about the correct laying of the natural stone in the following.
Laying in a thin bed
If there is a calibration where the stones have been brought to a uniform thickness, the craftsman or tiler can lay the limestone slabs in a thin-bed procedure with the appropriate tile adhesive. The calibrated formats are mainly available in thicknesses of 7 mm, 10 mm, 13 mm, 15 mm or 18 mm.
If you choose to lay the tiles in a thin bed, you should use a natural stone tile adhesive that has been specially approved for Solnhofener Stein.
Laying Solnhofer tiles in a thick bed
Would you like to order the limestone tiles in different thicknesses? With the thick bed, quite different laying methods are possible, such as the cross joint or the Roman bond. Very popular here are the 7 - 9 mm thick slabs, which are often used for walls, and the thicknesses 9 - 12 mm or 13 - 30 mm, which are often used for floor surfaces.
Skill is required when laying them, as the different heights of the limestone slabs should be compensated for.
Laying in the middle bed
Stone slabs that have not been calibrated beforehand are also suitable for laying in the middle bed. In this case, slabs with a thickness of 7 - 9 mm or 9 - 12 mm can be used very well. The advantage? With this variant the laying is simple. In addition, a good portion of mortar and tile adhesive can be saved.
The right tile adhesive
When choosing the tile adhesive, you should look carefully at the packaging. Because the wrong adhesive can cause discolouration or deposits on the natural stone. White natural stone adhesives that have been specially approved for Solnhofener are recommended. Another advantage here is that the special adhesives prevent the adhesive from shining through.
They can be used in the thin bed, middle bed, but also in the fluid bed. Most natural stone adhesives are also weather and frost resistant and waterproof.
Jointing mortar especially for Solnhofer
The last step of the laying includes the professional grouting of the limestone slabs. Here it is advisable for builders, tilers and craftsmen to only use grout that has been approved for Solnhofer natural stone.
If this is not the case, stains or discolouration of the limestone may occur. You will find more detailed information on the product descriptions of the respective mortar.
How to clean and protect the Solnhofen panels
Solnhofen natural stone slabs are very easy to clean. With warm water and normal soap you can remove dirt from the surface. Always make sure that you only use acid and wax-free agents.
The question often arises whether the rough or smooth surfaces are easier to clean? Here there are different opinions. In principle, finely sanded surfaces are easier to clean, but stains on them are also much easier to spot.
Rough and brushed stone slabs are a little more difficult to remove impurities. However, you cannot see the dirt directly here
The natural stone should be impregnated before regular cleaning. Now learn how to carry out the correct impregnation.
First protection from grouting - the impregnation
After you have laid the Solnhofener, you can apply an impregnation before grouting. The impregnated surface protects the stone from damage and staining. When choosing the impregnation agent, you should read carefully whether it matches the corresponding surface of the stone.
It is best to apply the impregnating agent very thinly and only use it when the tiles are completely dry. Ideally, the agent should be used at a temperature between 10 and 25 degrees. Brushes or even a mop are suitable for spreading. Any remaining residue should then be wiped off with a cloth.
If you have used an impregnation, the surface should be protected for at least two days so that it can dry and harden well.
For regular cleaning, water and, if necessary, a little soft soap are completely sufficient. Dirt caused by oil or grease can be removed with simple basic cleaners. For stubborn soiling, special natural stone cleaners, wiping care and stain protection agents are recommended.
Attention when choosing the cleaning agent!
The following agents should never be used for cleaning:
Lime cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, fat-dissolving agents, washing-up liquid, scouring milk, pot and scouring sponges.
The products mentioned above can cause scratches and cracks or even dissolve the surface of the plate.
However, if you have a more serious soiling or even surface damage that simply cannot be got rid of, then this is not a problem.
Severe damage or extensive stains can be removed by special natural stone cleaners or with the help of simple grinding or mechanical processing. Afterwards, your natural stone will look like new again and will easily last for many years.
You need exact information about the characteristics of the Solnhofer? In the following overview we have compiled all technical and also chemical facts for you.
The listed technical values have to be The Building Technical Information Natural Stone (= BTI) of the German Natural Stone Association applies:
You have chosen our unique, stylish and ecological Solnhofener? We are very pleased about that. Find out now in which formats we can supply you with the natural stone.
We can offer the Solnhofener in very different formats and excess lengths/lanes.
A note on size: Due to the geological conditions and the difficulties in quarrying, Solnhofen natural stone slabs cannot be produced in every size. It is rather the case that nature dictates the size of the raw pieces. The polygonal raw slab is cut to the largest possible square or rectangular slab (excess length) during further processing in the factory.
Standard squares: 150/150mm - 600/600mm
Standard excess lengths: 150mm wide - 400mm wide
fracture-roughened, fracture-roughened-brushed, fracture-roughened - lightly ground, finely ground, ground, tumbled, tumbled and brushed, high gloss polished, matt polished, polished, cleaved, cleaved and brushed
Natural thickness grades: 7-9mm, 9-12mm or 13-30mm thick
Calibrated to uniform thickness: 7mm, 10mm, 13mm, 15mm or 18mm thick
Finishing work and individual cuts
Steps, window sills, cover plates etc. can be produced up to an individual length of approx. 1.50 metres. However, the raw material for such individual pieces is limited and is only offered and sold in connection with floor tiles!
Any more questions or requests?
Do you need advice on your individual building project? Would you like to learn more about the Solnhofener Platten? We would be pleased to help you with information and processing tips about the unique Solnhofener.
General information about quarries in Germany
Natural stone database of the Deutscher Naturwerkstein-Verband e.V.
Information about natural stones for building construction
Sustainability aspects of natural stone
PE International AG – Study on the sustainability of natural stones and glass facades