There are so many stone look-alike products available, and it’s easy to be confused when comparing marble and ceramic tiles. Natural stones including marble and granite range in availability and price as they are quarried in various locations. Ceramic tiles are composed of clay and inorganic materials, which are oven-dried and glazed.
What is the benefit of ceramic and marble? Do you want to spend the extra money on marble?
Ceramic tiles are generally made from red or white clay. They are easier to cut than porcelain and are suitable for light to moderate traffic. Ceramic tiles also have a high water absorption rating. They are also more prone to wear, but with new technologies, ceramic tiles can always be considered by its specifications such as durability.
Ceramic tiles can be cold to your bare feet, but you can install radiant floor heat to change that. When protected with a high-grade glaze, ceramic will resist wear and scratches.
Benefits of Ceramic Tiles:
• Does not require installation by a professional
• Relatively inexpensive
• Heat resistant
• Low maintenance
• Many available colors and sizes
Cons of Ceramic Tiles:
• Susceptible to chips and cracks
• Uniform color
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Similar to ceramic tiles is porcelain tile, which is made by pressing porcelain clays. This results in a tile that is dense, impervious and smooth. Porcelain tiles have a much lower water adsorption rate than ceramic tiles. Glazed porcelain tiles are much harder and more wear-resistance.
Marble is one of the more popular natural stones. It is a metamorphic rock that has been used for thousands of years. Each piece of marble is different, which many view as a positive for the variety in veining and coloring. Because of this, it has a less uniform look.
Most marble products are generally softer than granites and have more porosity than granite. Because it is so soft, marble is very absorbent. You can easily stain the marble in a shower or bathroom with hair dye or fingernail polish.
Benefits of Marble:
• Look and feel is unique
• No two slabs are the same
• Heat resistant
• Long lasting beauty
• Many patterns and hues available
• Can be restored and refinished
Cons of Marble:
• Susceptible to scratches, chips and cracks
• Requires maintenance including cleaning and periodic sealing
• Requires installation by a professional
• More expensive than tile products
• Very absorbent
Special Considerations For Marble In Bathrooms
Since marble is a natural stone, there are more factors to consider than manmade materials such as ceramic tiles. Marble can be easily etched by acidic materials such as lemon or cleaning products. If you want to use marble in your bathroom, you may want to test these supplies on samples to see the reaction.
Also, marble contains minerals, so there is a risk that its iron content can rust in a bathroom. Marble can then become discolored from humidity and moisture.
Experts suggest performing a soak test to make sure marble will work in a shower. This means taking a sample tile and placing it in a bucket of water for one to two days and then letting it sit for an additional two days. Notice any changes to the marble carefully. You may want to have an original sample handy for a comparison.
There is only so much marble available. You also need to be aware of some suppliers of poor-quality or unsustainable marble. Quarrying and transportation can contribute to a big carbon footprint if you haven’t done your research.
Do your research before deciding which is best for your bathroom. Budget can also play a big factor – can you hire a professional contractor or do you want to save money be installing yourself?