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Are marble floors in your bathroom the right choice for you?
Marble is undoubtedly one of my favorite materials for a number of reasons. It is a natural material that has been used for centuries, a classic choice that never goes out of style, and it’s simply beautiful despite, or maybe because of, all its “imperfections.”
Because it is a natural material, no two slabs of marble are the same. The variations in color and depth can’t be replicated by anything man made. I used marble for my kitchen countertops, and have zero regrets. I always recommend natural materials over their man-made counterparts in any application. But because of its unique characteristics, there are some things to consider before you install marble floors in your home.
Marble Floors Cost
Depending on the type, bathroom marble floors can be more expensive than other materials like ceramic or porcelain tile. It may be a splurge but in my opinion it is worth the investment. Because it’s a classic choice that has been used for centuries, it will not look dated in a couple of years unlike other more trendy but fleeting options. The cost of installation is a big investment as well. Flooring installation is usually large square footage. The cost of marble floor tile can really add up. It is understandable why many people opt for the more economic porcelain alternative.
Marble floors installation can be more labor intensive. Because marble is so brittle, it is difficult for contractors to work with. It breaks easily, especially when dealing with mosaic tiles. Another issue that you may come across is different marble type tiles might have different thickness. This happened to me when combining mosaic with 12×12 tiles for our primary bathroom remodel. Since contractors might run into problems like these, they might charge you more to install marble. It is something to consider and bring up with your contractor to avoid surprises at the end. And it is definitely something you need to be aware of before deciding to install marble floors as a DIY.
High traffic areas
As much as I love marble, I would think twice before installing it in high traffic areas in my home. For example, areas like a hallway or mudroom are not a great place to choose for marble installation. Family members and guests enter your home in those locations. If they are wearing shoes, they will likely scratch the marble. Stiletto heels, especially, will easily cause damage. Pebbles and dirt stuck on shoes scratch marble, but can also bring in mud or dirt into your home which can permanently stain the marble flooring. A good cleaning product could help, but that is not always the case. If you are interested in using marble in your home, I recommend a bathroom, shower, or counter surfaces that are low traffic areas and receive less wear.
Frequently used shower floors do not get a chance to dry out. This results in permanent looking water stains. Contrary to popular belief, water does not stain marble. It restores to its natural look once the floor is fully dry. On the other hand, mildew from soap and other bacteria grows faster in a shower setting. Finding the perfect cleaning solution can be difficult. You do not want to purchase any harsh acidic cleaners because it can etch and permanently damage the marble.
Cleaning of your bathroom marble floors
Marble floors are subject to an increased likelihood of dirt than marble countertops. which makes cleaning a regular and more strenuous activity. You cannot use harsh or acidic cleaners to clean marble. Avoid common cleaners, such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Those products will permanently etch and eat away the material. Although the cleaning process will require special marble friendly cleaners and frequent cleaning, the unique beauty of marble makes it a worthwhile investment for flooring installation.
Here are a couple of recommendations for marble safe cleaners and a sealer:
- 511 Impregnator: Seal your marble surface once or twice a year to prevent staining.
- Microfiber cloths: You get the best results with gentle cleaning cloths instead of a sponge.
- Method Daily Cleaner: The Method products are great for showers and floors as they are mild. Avoid the citrus scents.
- Black Diamond Marble Cleaner: USDA certified biogases and safe on marble. If you get the concentrated cleaner, make sure to follow the instructions for diluting
Marble is a beautiful material and it is my first choice for countertop applications. I have also used it in two bathrooms that don’t get a lot of shoe traffic. However, when it comes to high traffic areas like hallways and mudrooms, one must consider the implications of installing a brittle and easily scratched material like marble. Having said that, I have also seen marble flooring with all of the scratches, stains, and wear from years of traffic mesh and blend beautifully to create a patina and a vintage look.
Marble floors in my home
- 12×12 Carrara marble honed
- 12×12 Bardiglio marble honed
- 2″ Carrara hexagon marble
- 6×12 Carrara marble honed
- Pencil trim molding honed
- Carrara basketweave with tan dots