Marble Flooring: Pros & Cons, Design Ideas and Cost
Marble is the most popular natural stone in the construction sector where it is used as marble floors. It is from the family of limestone and it is formed when limestone encounters extreme heat and pressure leading to metamorphic state of the stone. It is found in a variety of beautiful colors which are a result of impurities like iron oxide, mica, graphite and quartz, etc. The veins can be less or more visible depending on the quality of the marble. Higher grade marble has lesser amounts of impurities in its composition and therefore has fewer veins.
It is a soft stone that becomes a reliable material once installed and it is used all across the globe for floors, walls, showers, countertops, backsplashes and even in furniture items like coffee and dining tables.
Marble flooring is a timeless hot topic for homeowners. Throughout history, marble floor has been seen as a symbol of royalty and wealth. From the Palace of Versailles to the wondrous Taj Mahal, marble floors are present in with their outstanding beauty. Marble, in its natural form, is cut out from stone quarries and taken to factories where it is sliced into tiles, pavers, slabs and mosaics. These marble products are then shipped to various vendors and later sealed and polished according to the requirements of the buyers.
Marble is an elegant stone that serves as a beautiful flooring material and adds a touch of magnificence and refinement to its surrounding as well. It can be used in kitchens, hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms, entryways and even foyers. By varying the color, finish and design, you can easily adorn your whole house with marble floor and nothing will feel out of place. Marble floors can be designed according to your taste as the stone is quite soft and can be cut into any shape of your choice. This gives the homeowners freehand when coming up with design patterns and ideas.
Marble Flooring Pros and Cons
Marble floors have an everlasting appeal. Marble tiles are at the top of natural stone flooring materials in the market but there are advantages as well as disadvantages that homeowners need to be aware of before any remodeling plans are executed. Some of these pros and cons are listed below:
Marble Flooring Pros:
Appearance: Marble floor tiles have an outclass appearance. Their regal appearance can immediately elevate the look and feel of space. It is available in a huge variety of colors and shades. You can mix different colors and come up with a brilliant color scheme and design for your floor. Some of the famous marble colors in floor tiles are:
- Crema Marfil
- Calacatta Borghini
- Carrara Venatino
- Brescia Sinai
- Translucent: For centuries marble has been a cherished stone for artists and architects for it is a naturally translucent stone. Statutes and floors were favored in this medium because of the glow the stone emitted when exposed to sunlight. Even today the radiance of marble floors is unmatched.
- Distinctive and Unique: As marble is a natural stone, each tile is unlike any other which makes every tile a unique piece that has its veins growing without any pattern. The distinct marble features are more subtle in solid colored tiles as compared to those with multiple colors. But this does not mean that your floor would look odd. When marble is quarried, it is taken to factories in the form huge chunks or slabs. The tiles that come out of a single slab are close in appearance and form a color symphony on the floor on which they are laid. It is therefore advised to always buy an extra box of marble tiles. This makes the replacement process easier if a tile is damaged, cracked or broken during installation. In case some tiles become stained over the time then these extras can save the day instead of renovating the whole floor.
- Eco-Friendly: Natural stones like marble do not require any kind of chemical processing and they prove to be environment-friendly as compared to synthetic floor materials which lead to emission of harmful gases and toxic wastes. Marble floors also bring nature’s beauty inside four walls of your home. The ethereal beauty of marble floor tiles channel Mother Nature’s energy which has a calming yet potent effect on human mind.
- Shine: Marble floor tiles can take high dosages of polish while other natural stone tiles can get ruined. You can add as much polish as you desire and the floor will sparkle with glamorous elegance. The shimmering and silky effect of marble floors makes them stand out even in empty hallways.
- Density: Marble is a high density stone, therefore making it an appropriate choice for flooring for areas with lots of traffic or continuous use.
Marble Floor Tile Cons:
- Easily Scratch-able: Marble floor tiles are easily damaged if not properly maintained. They can be damaged from scratches. Even scraping and chipping can ruin the surface very badly. These damages are more noticeable if polished is applied. The only remedy for these damages is replacement of the faulty tiles.
- Softness: Marble, like any other stone, is both hard and soft. Even its solid crystalline structure can get dented or smashed after a while, therefore it’s necessary that you get your marble tiles sealed right after their installation, as a sealant not only helps in minimizing damage caused by heavy furniture or foot traffic but also helps in preserving the marbles polished and refined appearance.
- Stain prone: Marble is a metaphoric form of carbonate minerals which are basic in nature. Because of this basic inherent nature marble tiles react violently when in contact with acidic substances. These reactions lead to staining and etching of tile with permanent discoloration. Spillages of wine, coffee, orange juice or even ketchup should be cleaned immediately to avoid damages. While choosing cleaning products stay clear from those that have high pH levels as these products contain acids and can stain the tiles. For weekly cleaning of the marble floors always use non-acidic products intended for its cleaning. Clean and dry mops should be used for daily cleaning purposes.
- Sealants: Natural stones come with pores and cavities which can be penetrated with water and other liquid if not sealed. Sealers protect the marble tile’s surface and helps in retaining its original color. For best results, marble floor tiles should be resealed annually.
- Professional Installation: Marble floor tiles are prone to all kinds of damages like cracks, chips and breakages. If installed incorrectly then chances of the whole floor getting ruined are high. It is recommended that stone professionals should be hired for the installation of the floor. It will be a pricey but longtime investment with almost zero chances of damages.
- Slippage Hazard: Marble floors are extremely slippery when polished which can cause severe accidents. The hard surface of these floors can even break bones if not careful. Marble should not be installed near pool decks or other areas that can get wet to avoid slippage.
- Fragility: Marble’s crystalline structure can make it vulnerable to breakage so special care should be taken of the stone during its shipping and installation. Placement of the tiles on bumpy surfaces can result in permanent damage thus it is necessary that the installers be very careful with its handling.
- Expensive: Even though marble floors are the best natural stone floors and most popular with the homeowners, they are also quite expensive. Their per tile cost, installation charges and maintenance costs are higher than any of the natural stones used in the construction sector.
Marble Floor Design Ideas:
Marble is a highly flexible stone with which you can create designs and patterns of your choice. You can have the tiles cut in custom shapes and sizes. The design possibilities are unlimited. But if you like conventional designs then some of the popular patterns of marble floors are given below:
- Herringbone Pattern: Herringbone is a beautiful pattern that looks ravishing in a modern kitchen. It is made with rectangular tiles. You can create variations of this pattern by using different shades in alternate rows or a dramatic combination of dark and light tiles.
- Brick Pattern: A brick or subway layout is a perfect choice for a patio or an outside kitchen floor. It is
- Regular Pattern: A regular pattern is the one in which big sized tiles are laid horizontally. This pattern is perfect for kitchens or rooms that need to look big and airy.
- Repeating Pattern: A repeating pattern can create either a simple checkered floor or it can become a dazzling design that can complement the furniture and artwork present in that room. Repeating patterns can incorporate a combination of colors that look wonderful.
- Bordered floors: An old classic marble floor design is a bordered floor. Different color or shade is used for the border which can either cover the whole room or be in the middle of the room covering a small section. Different sizes or shapes can be used for the border as well to make it more distinct. Hallways or entryways can be more defined if bordered with a dark colored marble tile.
- Mosaics and medallions: Mosaics and medallions are creative pieces that can express a person’s inner artistic soul. A medallion inlaid in the middle of a hall looks majestic. A beautiful mosaic or a complex motif can easily put rugs to shame. Simple geometric designs also look amazing whether in multicolor or a combination of two colors. Creativity in such designs have no bounds.
- 3D effect: The latest design that has taken the world by storm is the optical illusion floor or the 3D floor. In this design different colors with varying shades are used to add depth and dimension to a design. The result is outstanding which gives the onlooker a three dimensional element in the most unexpected place.
There are two ways you can buy marble flooring tiles that is either by yourself or outsource them to the tile installing contractor. Contractors get discounts from suppliers and in turn offer packages that can help in saving some cash.
While buying marble tiles you will find different prices in the same color or type. The difference in prices is due to the varying grade or quality of marble or different finishes. For a lower grade marble the price can start from $5 per square foot while the higher grade marble tile can cost up to $10 per square foot. If the marble tiles are painted, polished or engraved then the rate can go up to $40 per square foot. A good price hack for engraved marble floors is to use engraved tiles for creating the border of the floor and keep the rest of the floor simple with standard tiles of same color. This approach will drastically reduce the overall cost of the tiles while keeping essence of the engraved marble.
There are a number of factors that have an impact on marble tile’s price. Some of these factors are listed below:
- Marble Grade: A grade is given to the stone by the manufacturers. There are four levels of grades: A, B, C & D. These grades are granted on the basis of impurity levels, veining cluster size, structure and design inconsistencies on the marble tile’s surface. Grade A is considered the best in the market with higher price due to its lower amount of veining, strong structure and fewer flaws in design while Grade D is the cheapest with a large number of veins and softer structure.
- Size: The standard marble tile is of either 12″ by 12″ size or 12″ by 18″ size. A larger or custom sized tile increases the price.
- Thickness: Marble tiles have thickness between ¼” to ¾”. If the thickness is increased then the durability of the tiles will also increase and it will be more costly.
- Finish: The prices of marble finishes can vary depending on the type that is chosen i.e. the textured or tumbled ones usually cost more than the smooth ones. The smooth finish results in polished tiles with an overall matte texture which are less slippery thus making them an ideal choice for areas such as bathrooms, kitchens and pool sides.
- Veining: The veining structure of marble varies from stone to stone and so do the prices. Most people prefer the heavy veined marble tiles due to their intricate vein detailing and also because they are less expensive than the uniformly patterned ones.