Marble tile flooring brings instant beauty to every room. It is one of the most luxurious of all-natural stone flooring, but it also can be problematic in certain areas. It is also one of the most expensive types of natural stone.
Marble flooring has been used throughout history. According to industry leader, Sefa Stone, marble flooring is the most popular natural stone of the construction sector. It has been used as flooring for hundreds of years, and homeowners will continue to use it for its beauty and strength.
Marble Tile Flooring Basics
What is Marble?
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate like calcite or dolomite. At the beginning of its life, marble is limestone that has been subject to intense pressure and heat. This causes the chemical changes that result in the unique look of marble.
Marble comes in a wide range of colors including white, pink, green, gray, beige, and black. These different colors are the result of impurities in the soil around the rocks that are recrystallizing. Colorations in marble can appear as veining throughout the stone. These vein patterns can be distinct from the background color or more washed out depending on the background color and vein color.
Types of Marble Tile Flooring
There are various types of marble flooring from all over the world and in many colors. Here are some common types of marble tile flooring.
- Carrara Marble – Carrara marble is one of the most popular types of marble for countertops, floors, and backsplashes. This marble has a white/gray background with feathery gray veining. This is one of the most cost-effective marble floor options. Carrara comes from Italy.
- Calacatta Marble – Calacatta is another white background marble. In contrast to Carrara, it has more defined veins of gray, black, and gray. This marble is one of the more expensive varieties of marble. Like Carrara, Calacatta originates from Italy.
- Crema Marfil – This is a warm looking marble which comes in a range of colors from light beige to dark yellow. It has indistinct veining in a deeper brown. Polished, Crema Marfil looks beautiful in traditional design, but honed or tumbled Crema Marfil tiles work well in rustic design. This marble originates in Spain.
- Emperador – This is a brown marble that ranges from light to dark with distinct white veining. Emperador is exceptional for its strength, durability, and hardness. This is one of the most popular varieties of marble for flooring. Dark Emperador originates in Spain and Light Emperador in Turkey.
- Nero Marquina – This is a deep black marble with distinct white veining. The dramatic look of this marble makes it popular in contemporary design. They quarry this marble in Spain.
Marble Tile Floor Finishes
Marble floor tile comes in different surface finishes. Choosing a finish for your marble floor tiles depends on the look you want and the type of wear your floor will receive. Some of the most popular finishes are polished, honed, tumbled, and brushed.
- Polished Marble Tile – Polished marble is one of the most popular finishes as it works in both traditional and contemporary settings. Polished marble floor tile has a high gloss sheen. This high sheen makes the marble less porous and easier to maintain. Polishing marble tile makes the colors the most visible.
- Honed Marble Tile – Honed marble floor tile has a finish with no reflective shine. These floors do not show scratches and wear but are more porous. This means that they stain easier than polished marble tiles. Honed marble tile floor is often used in relaxed or “old world” style home designs.
- Tumbled Marble Tile – Manufacturers create tumbled marble floor tile by placing tile into a drum and tumbling with abrasive material like sand and stones. This creates a finish that looks distressed and worn. The colors in tumbled tile are muted and the edges are more rounded. Tumbled marble floor tiles are popular in bathrooms as they have a slip-resistant surface.
- Brushed Marble Tile – Brushed marble floor tiles are created by scuffing the surface of the tile. This gives the tile a natural and aged look. It also makes the stone more porous and less resistant to staining. The pits and divots in this floor also tend to collect more dust and debris, so it needs to be swept or vacuumed more often than other marble tile types.
Marble is a porous natural stone. Therefore, it does absorb water if left in its natural state. Polishing marble also makes it less porous while honing and brushing opens up the pores of the marble more. Applying a sealer to marble floors will make them more water resistant.
Marble is a hard natural stone, but it is subject to scratching and staining. Honing marble tile floors makes it easier to hide scratches but easier to stain. Sealing the floor will inhibit staining.
Marble Flooring Maintenance
The most important maintenance strategy of your marble floors is to apply sealer on a regular basis. Good quality sealants will protect your floors from water, stains, and scratches.
According to the Natural Stone Institute, it is important to look for an impregnating sealer. This doesn’t seal the stone but instead, acts as a repellent.
How to Clean Marble Tile Floors
Vacuum your marble floors on a regular basis to keep them free from dust and debris. Make sure that your attachments are not scratchy as this can cause damage to the floor.
Clean up any spills as soon as you see them to prevent staining and etching.
When you mop your floors, use a wrung out mop with a cleaning solution made for natural stone. It should be free from any acidic products like citrus to avoid etching. Follow the maker’s instructions for use.
For stain removal, refer to this helpful guide from the National Stone Institute.
Location for Use
Marble tile flooring works for both indoor and outdoor use. Indoor tiles are used in both elaborate and more casual venues. Landscapers use marble outdoor tile and pavers on patios, gardens, and porches.
Marble tiles, like other natural stone tiles, are difficult to install for a beginner. They are more brittle than standard ceramic tiles and the subfloor needs to be even to ensure a solid foundation. You will need specialized tools like a wet tile saw in order to do the job well. Consider using a professional to help you with this installation.
Marble Flooring Cost
The cost of marble tile flooring ranges from $8-$47 per square foot. For installation, expect to pay between $3-$7 per square foot plus more if you want specialized tile patterns, floor removal, or subfloor repair/replacement.
Marble Tile Flooring Pros and Cons
Marble is a lovely and popular natural stone floor. It has unique qualities that mean it will not work for every home.
- Appearance – Marble flooring is beautiful and looks timeless in any setting. It also gives your home the look of luxury. The veining in the stone gives the floors a unique sense of movement.
- Versatility – Marble floors are versatile and work well with diverse home styles. There are also multiple colors and finishes so that you can complement different styles.
- Home Value – Natural stone floors increase the value of your home and attract potential home buyers.
- Long-Lasting – Marble floors are strong and hard and will last over time.
- Cost – Marble floors cost more than other natural stone floors like travertine or limestone.
- Maintenance – You need to seal marble floors on a regular basis in order to keep them resistant to water and stains.
- Durability – Marble floors can scratch or stain easier than harder natural stone like granite floors.
Marble Tile Flooring Design Ideas
Marble tile flooring has a varied look that depends on the shape of the tile and color marble. We have rounded up some ideas for your inspiration.
Bathroom Floor Marble Tile
The interior designers, CG & S Design-Build, used Carrara tiles of various shapes. On the bathroom floor, they used a square marble floor tile to create continuity with the walls. They used hexagonal marble floor tiles in the shower to create some distinction.
Black and White Marble Floor Tiles
Fordham Marble Company used Carrara with Absolute Black Marble floor tile to create this gorgeous floor.
Outdoor Marble Floor Tile
The use of the outdoor marble tile around the pool creates a look of supreme luxury. Hollub Homes used Turkish White Marble for this patio.
Marble Mosaic Floor Tile
All Marble Tiles created this stunning bathroom floor mosaic using varied shaped Calacatta Gold tiles.
Grey Marble Tile Flooring
The use of the grey marble floor in this transitional kitchen is effective. It provides a soft but distinct contrast to the natural wood cabinets.
Green Marble Bathroom Floor Tiles
Green marble tiles work well in this high-rise bathroom to keep the look simple and elegant at the same time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Is marble tile a good flooring option?
Marble tiles create some of the most beautiful floors out there, but they are expensive and require some regular maintenance like sealing. If you are willing to live with some imperfections, marble tiles will work better for you. Choose honed marble to minimize the look of scratches.
What are the standard sizes of marble tiles?
The most popular large size tiles are 12×12, 18×18, and 12×24, but there are many other sizes including small and large hexagon marble floor tile, subway tile, and more unique mosaic marble tiles.
What is the best natural stone floor?
The best natural stone floor depends on your perspective. If you want the most durable natural stone floor, choose granite flooring. Textured natural stones like slate, travertine, and limestone are popular for more traditional or rustic designs. Marble tile floors have a look of luxury and elegance that cannot be matched by other natural stone floors.
How can I remove etching from my marble tile floor?
Etch marks can happen when you spill food and drinks on your floors. They will not harm the floors, but you can remove them for appearance sake if you desire. Use a commercial product like an etch remover. Polish it into the dulled area.
Marble tile flooring is one of the most elegant and timeless flooring options available. It has been used in buildings for centuries, so it will stand the test of time. But, it is expensive and can require more maintenance than some people are willing to give. Consider all your options before you invest in marble flooring. For many people, the beauty and elegance of the floors is worth the extra cost and time.