A Better Understanding for Marble
What’s is Marble?
Marble is a metamorphic, calcareous stone that’s been used for centuries in construction and art because of its great beauty and the ease with which it’s sculpted. Metamorphic means that it began as one kind of rock and then, after many millennia of heat and pressure, was transformed into another. In marble’s case, it began as pure limestone, then was re-crystallized into marble after eons. Marble is quarried all over the world, from Albania to Uzbekistan.
Marble can be bought in all different sizes, colors, and thickness. Standard sizes for marble slabs are 12 x 12, 16 x 16 and 18 x 18, and even down to tiny scrabble sized tiles that are used for mosaics. The standard sizing is commonly used for floor and wall applications. Marble can also be bought in large slabs, which can be used in areas such as mantels and countertops. The slabs used for mantels and countertops usually anywhere from ¾” to 1 ½” in thickness. Marble can also be bought in larger slabs, more commonly used in commercial lobbys.
A person could write a book on different variants of marble and someone probably has. They range in color from the purest white to the deepest black. Veins in slabs and tiles of marble mean that each one is unique. Marble is quarried in dozens of countries and most are named after the place they come from, or their color. Some are: • Rose aurora, a white marble with pale pink veins • French blue, a beautiful marble of gray blue with white and gold veins • Breche Pernice, russet with beige and white veins • Devonshire Gray, which can come in both dark and light gray • Cremo, a beautiful, creamy white marble from Italy, shot through with golden veins.
The Uses of Marble for the home or business
One of marble’s attributes is that it’s versatile and can be used for many things. Here are some uses marble can be put to: • Statuary • Boards for rolling out pie dough • Stair steps • Balustrades • Countertops • Fireplace surrounds • Mantel shelves • Sinks • Bathtubs • Tile for shower stalls. • Tabletops • Mortars and pestles • Flooring • Wall tiles • Slabs • Backsplashes on bathroom and kitchen sinks.
Average Installation Cost and Approved Methods for Installation
A NYC Commercial tiling Contractor would urge the client to examine samples of marble before they commit to buying. When they do finally pick the tiles they want, they should make sure that their angles are at 90 degrees and they have no depressions, stains or cracks. We happily assist all our clients choose the best marble for their remodeling project.
Marble tile can come glazed or unglazed. The glazed tiles are water resistant and can have a shiny or matte finish and can be smooth as glass or have a pleasing, rough texture and of course can come in just about any color. Unglazed marble tiles resist scratching, but they’re subject to being stained and have to have regular care. This is the type of tile that needs a sealer and is usually for an outdoor application.
The average installation cost for marble tile can be anywhere from $5.74 to $7.58 per square foot. We always provide written estimates to all our clients in full detail outlining product specifications and installation procedures. Our goal is simply to simply the whole contracting process.
When stone tiled floors are installed, a thinset mortar specifically designed for marble usually backs them. The spaces between them are filled with grout. If both a floor and a wall need tiles installed, as in a bathroom, the walls should be done before the floors. Both the floor and the walls must be sturdy and rigid enough to support the weight of the tiles as well as the mortar, and they should be absolutely flat or plumb, with not even tiny bumps or dips. Even small irregularities might cause the tile to crack. The surface must also be utterly clean as well. Tiles should never be installed directly on wood. Make sure your contractor is installing your floor a properly prepared surface prior to installation.
Thinset mortar is best to use on marble tiles and of the types of thinset mortars, it’s best to buy the premixed type that comes in bags specifically designed for marble. Thinset mortar’s advantage is that it doesn’t dry or set immediately and so tiles can be adjusted. Organic mastic is a latex based mortar that’s good for wall tiling because it grabs on to the tile immediately. Epoxy thin set mortar isn’t recommended for marble. It sets too quickly for the installer to adjust the tiles and, again, is very expensive. The appropriate high quality mortar should be used at all times when installing marble. Often, to cut corners, contractors use low grade thinsets to perform installations. This often results with a poor bond between the subfloor and the tile, which eventually will separate.
Grouting Options and Joint Widths
We also advise to use our professional tile installation services to lay the marble tiles for their floors or walls, but there are some pointers about grouting options. There are a few types of grouts used for marble tile.
Acrylic grout is the ideal grout for marble floors, because it’s unsanded. Most installers use unsanded grout when laying marble tile, for sanded grout risks scratching the stone. Some floor grouts already have the acrylic added. These grouts are identified as “polymer modified.” The installer can add acrylic latex themselves, which is used instead of water for turning the dry grout into a paste. Grout is usually white, but can come in other colors that match the tile. The adhesive that sticks the tile to the wall or floor should be allowed to dry before the grout is applied. The grout shouldn’t be allowed to dry on the tile, but removed by scrubbing with a clean cheesecloth. Then, the grout has to set for a while before it can stand water. The retailer will let the homeowner know how long this is.
Portland cement based grout is standard grout that’s been used for centuries. Once again, the homeowner should use unsanded grout when working with marble tiles, especially if they have a small grout joint width.
Epoxy grout is not good for residential floors. It’s really for commercial spaces that get a great deal of traffic, and it’s very expensive. However, epoxy grout cleans very easily and is stain resistant to the common stains. Steam cleaning is the preferred method to clean marble and the grout lines. A good grout joint width would be about 3/16 of an inch. If the space is small and the tiles are nearly identical to each other in size and shape, spacers can be used to set the joint width.
How to Care For Marble
Unglazed marble is porous, so it can stain relatively easily. This means it has to be cleaned, even if it’s sealed. Sealers can be bought from the marble retailer and should be applied according to manufacturers specifications. The retailer might also want to give the homeowner a cleanser or recommend one. On the other hand, marble should do well being washed with dishwashing detergent in a bucket of warm water. If a countertop or tabletop is being cleaned, the marble should be gently dried with a soft, clean cloth. Marble should never be left to air-dry because it’s subject to water staining.
Hot items shouldn’t be put directly on marble. Coasters or trivets should be used.
When mopping a marble floor, the homeowner might want to use two buckets, one with the detergent and one with clear water for rinsing. The rinse water should be changed fairly frequently. The homeowner might even want to use two mops, one for the clear rinse water and one for the water with the detergent.
Marble floors can also be cleaned with a clean dust mop and can be vacuumed when it’s necessary. The homeowner might want to judiciously lay area rugs or floor mats over a marble floor to help protect it.
Marble that’s deeply stained can be refinished. The homeowner should remove as much of the film with a fiber brush and detergent, then polish the stone. If the stains are very deep, a paste of alkaline cleaner and water can be used. The stain should be covered with a half inch layer of the paste, then it should be covered with a damp cloth for 24 hours. After that, the paste should be left to dry thoroughly for another 24 hours. Then, the mixture can be removed by wetting it and carefully lifting it off with a wood trowel. The process should be repeated as necessary. Don’t hesitate to ask your installer on how to properly maintain and clean the stone to ensure its integrity.
Advantages and Disadvantages
As desirable as marble is as a building material, it does come with some drawbacks. It’s relatively soft, compared to granite, it’s porous and it’s shine can be dulled if it’s not taken care of. The homeowner should take care that a marble floor is not walked upon with high heels, or shoes with cleats or that grit from the outside is brought in and ground into the tiles, which can damage them. It might be a good idea for the homeowner to request that everyone coming into the house take off their shoes at the door and that family members coming in from inclement weather come in through the mudroom and strip off their muddy or slushy boots before they walk on the marble floors. Marble countertops and tabletops can also be damaged from acids such as those from fruit and fruit juice, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. For this reason, vinegar must never be used to clean marble, though it can be used to clean other surfaces. Marble can also be stained from wines, Kool-aid, hand cream, mustard, dairy products and cooking oil. A shower stall faced with marble is subject to accumulating a film of soap scum.
The advantages of marble is that it’s simply beautiful and speaks of elegance and luxury. It can also be refinished. Has anyone ever entered a great hall faced and floored with well kept and polished marble and not been awed?