Marble has a unique, timeless beauty that, until recently, was only accessible to royalty and high-end dignitaries. You can also admire its sleek elegance in the work of some of the most famous artists mankind ever had.
But, as the technologies used to process this natural material advanced, marble started to move into the homes of regular people. So, nowadays, you can admire it in gorgeous countertops, jaw-dropping wall decorations, and palace-worthy flooring.
Furthermore, marble, like all-natural stones, has the advantage of being unique in the patterns it presents. The material is a type of rock that only formed in certain areas of the world and its colour and veins are influenced by the minerals involved in the process.
For instance, the marble from the Spanish region of Markina is dark in colour, with fine white veins that create a gorgeous visual illusion. The slabs of marble from this region are used in creating the exquisite Nero Marquina material that looks impressive in any interior design projects.
However, marble is considered a pretentious and rather expensive material. So, if your heart is set on installing marble flooring, we recommend reading our guide before taking the final decision. We’ll go through the costs of the material, installation costs, choosing the design, and even pros and cons for this choice.
Marble Tiles Price
As we already mentioned, marble needs to be extracted from the quarries, cut in slabs to make it easier to transport, and then processed into what you see in stores and in various interior design projects. This entire trip marble takes from stone to tiles is not without risks. As a result, producers have premium marble tiles, that look perfect and have an elegant pattern, and lower quality marble tiles, that have small imperfections or discolourations.
Quick note: As the buyer, you have the option to purchase the material directly from the producer or via the company that performs the installation. If you let the contractor make the purchase, you may save some money, since they usually have special deals with the suppliers (the price tends to go down for larger jobs).
Now, the price of marble is established at pounds per square meter, and the cost varies depending on factors such as:
- The quality & durability (or grade) – Manufacturers usually grade marble from A to D, with A being the strongest and with the least inconsistencies and D being softer and with more pronounced veins.
- Thickness & size – the bigger and thicker the slab, the more expensive the marble. The size is important for the overall design, while the thickness speaks about durability in time.
- Finish – Since marble has a low friction coefficient, it is rather slippery even when dry. Of course, the surface becomes more slippery when wet, which is why it’s best to purchase tiles with a tumbled finish (but this increases the price).
Prices can start from around £24/m2 for basic tiles and go as high as over £100/m2 for high-quality tiles with special markings and engravings.
For a Tight Budget: You can still enjoy the beauty of marble in your home by buying from discount tile stores. However, you can expect to find cracked or irregular tiles, given the low price. Also, you can use marble mosaic tile, which is more affordable.
Marble Flooring Price
Besides the cost of marble tiles (discussed above), you also need to consider the cost of installation, which includes materials and labour.
Because marble tiles are soft in nature, this type of flooring is tricky to install if you’re not experienced. So, even if you installed any other types of flooring before, we recommend enlisting the help of a specialist for marble.
Usually, specialists charge by the square meter, as this is a lengthy project, with many challenges. There are also situations when additional work may be necessary, and some specialists ask that you buy all the necessary materials (instead of just including them in the final price). So, make sure to dot the I’s and cross the T’s before you start the project!
Overall, you can expect to be charged somewhere in between £25 to £35+ per square meter, depending on the size of the project and how you want the tiles to be arranged (diagonal tiling costs more than regular arrangements). Furthermore, if you want someone that can offer a warranty for their work, the cost may be considerably higher.
Marble Flooring: Type, Design, and Finish
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about marble flooring? Is it a white, luxurious surface with elegant veins that create a gorgeous, continuous design? Or is it an artful display of gorgeous red/black marble tiles?
Regardless, the term marble is used generic, to define a certain type of natural stone. However, when you start looking up information about costs, you’ll discover that there are lots of different variations that feature a plethora of colours and patterns.
Basically, the reason there are so many types of marble tiles on the market is the difference in the rock’s magnesium carbonate saturation. Thus, there are three basic types of marble:
- Dolomite: with a saturation of magnesium carbonate greater than 40%
- Magnesium: 5 – 40% magnesium carbonate saturation
- Calcite: 5% or less magnesium carbonate saturation
The higher or lower concentration of magnesium carbonate influences the overall colour of the tile, its veins, and texture, but it does not affect the stone’s quality. Now, there are several hundreds of marble types on the market, but some are more popular than others.
Below we listed the most popular among homeowners and their characteristics:
Renowned for the pure white marble floor tiles it gives, this type of marble is among the most luxurious in aspect.
Its name comes from the Italian region (Carrara) where the stone is mined from, and you can also admire its sleek aspect in works of art such as statues and sculptures.
To get an idea of how it looks, have a look at the Carrara Gioia design – you’ll see that the appearance is uniform, with subtle veining.
Also extracted from the Carrara region, this marble is similar in aspect to the first type. The difference is a warmer nuance and more pronounced veining, which makes it work best with tones of red, yellow, or orange.
Overall, the contrast between the veins and the luxurious white nuance of the stone make these tiles perfect for statement rooms.
For homeowners who don’t want the opulence of white Italian marble flooring, Breccia is quite the opposite. This is a darker stone, with nuances of red, brown, and even green, that creates a more dramatic impact.
Breccia makes for a great marble bathroom floor tile, but it works for living rooms and kitchen areas as well.
With nuances of brown (from dark to light), light-coloured veins, and a grainy aspect, this type of marble gives the most powerful impression of natural stone. Due to its gorgeous patterns and nuances, the Emperador tiles are a fantastic choice for flooring because dust and dirt are not as visible.
This is a textured stone, with creamy nuances of beige highlighted by soft veins in a wide range of colours going from cinnamon to yellow and even gold nuances. While there are lots of colour varieties, the main aspect of this marble is its light hue, that opens up any small space and creates a sunny atmosphere even on a rainy day.
If natural marble is too much for your budget or you don’t feel you have what it takes to maintain it, you always have the option of using the man-made variety (also known as cultured marble). Made from a blend of stone particles and resins, this material can be shaped and designed as per your requirements.
Furthermore, it is non-porous and can be designed in any size you need! Also, the costs are lower than for pure marble.
Besides being cut into tiles, marble also gets a specific look before it reaches suppliers and then, your home. So, while there are several types of finishes, the two most common are polished and honed.
The first finish creates those luxuriously polished marble floor tiles that enlarge the spaces and reflect every beam of light creating a sparkling effect. However, it’s also the type of floor with a low friction coefficient, which means a lot of slippery surfaces.
The honed finish creates a coarser surface that’s less prone to slipping but is also less sparkly and exquisite-looking. This finish is recommended for high-traffic areas and rooms where it’s very likely to get water on the floor (bathrooms, showers, or kitchens).
Marble is such a popular choice for floors, wall tiles, countertops, and backsplashes because it opens the world to a plethora of unique and gorgeous designs. The veining, colours, and hues allow the specialist to create beautiful works of art on your floor!
Still, if you haven’t decided if you want white marble tiles or grey marble floor tiles, below are some of the most popular designs all over the world.
Some of the most impressive marble designs are represented by mosaics and motifs! You can create anything from concentric circles, geometric designs, shapes, and even special patterns. This type of flooring is a test to your creativity, and you can go as crazy as you want!
These designs are a great fit for living rooms and other open areas, where they can be fully admired by your guests.
This is easy to do with slabs of marble that are not grade A quality and have discolourations or intense veining. When placed cleverly, these tiles can create a nice repeating pattern, that leads the eye and keeps the mind engaged.
We recommend using this design in areas with high foot traffic, where it’s difficult to keep the surface clean at all times.
This is created with a combination of marble tiles, to set the border apart from the rest of the design. Borders are great to accentuate certain areas in a room (such as the bedroom) and look great in smaller spaces, such as the bathroom or the foyer.
Herringbone & Chevron
While this design is most common for wooden floors, it also works with marble tiles. In fact, if you combine dark and light tiles, the effect will be a lot more dramatic!
This design looks great in the kitchen and lobbies, but it also works in the living room.
Is Marble Worth It?
In spite of its challenges, marble is one of the most sought-after materials for home decorations and functional areas. However, before you go with the trend, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of marble flooring.
- Overall aspect – There is a reason why royalty and artists chose to use this material to create some of the most astonishing designs we admire even today! Marble looks amazing and it impresses both the eye and the mind with its unique colours and patterns.
- High reflective surface – Floorings with a polished finish create an optical illusion where the space is larger and brighter.
- A plethora of Designs – You only need a creative mind to get a design that’s unique and impressive! But you also have tons of established designs that combine well with other interior design elements.
- Durability – If it is properly maintained, this natural stone will keep its beauty for years to come.
- Status– Since it is a pretentious and expensive material, not anyone can afford Italian marble flooring. So, just like other expensive materials, marble has become a way to show your status.
- Maintenance – Natural marble is a porous material, which is why it stains easily (if not sealed). It also reacts with acids, which means that a marble floor in the kitchen may be quite tricky to maintain (one of the reasons why granite may be better).
- Doesn’t retain heat – Unless you’re using a heating system under the floor, you’ll always have cold feet on marble. So, if you use it in spaces where you may be barefoot (bedroom, bathroom, living room, and so on), you may want to use rugs. If not, the cold floor may be problematic for health (in time).
- It scratches easily – One of the reasons why people choose granite for various home projects and not marble is the scratching. Even though durable, marble is easier to scratch and thus damage its perfect look.
- Difficult to Install – Marble tiles are easy to damage during the installation (if you don’t know how to handle them).
Overall, marble is a gorgeous material with lots to offer. It looks amazing in your home, but it is rather pretentious and requires a lot of attention. So, if you don’t feel like investing a lot of money in a floor that’ll only become more demanding over the years, granite is a fantastic alternative.
Author Bio: Nicole Andrews is the marketing manager for euromarble.com.au in Sydney, Australia. With a background in interior design, she enjoys writing about the latest industry trends. In her spare time, she walks her dog Rusco down at Bondi Beach.