Marble Flooring: Pros, Cons, Costs, and Maintenance

Marble Flooring: Pros, Cons, Costs, and Maintenance
There are few floors more beautiful than those made from marble. Here’s what you need to know about them.

If you’re looking for bare flooring and want something aside from the usual recommendations of hardwood, laminate, and ceramic tiles, you might want to consider marble tiles. Made from mother nature, marble is naturally found in mountains throughout the globe and was once used to cover the castle floors of kings and queens. However, despite its undeniable beauty, elegance, and crystalline nature, marble can be a difficult floor covering to stand–metaphorically and literally. Today we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of choosing marble floors for your home.

Marble floors are among the most beautiful yet created

While different people have different preferences, it’s hard to find a homeowner who doesn’t at least acknowledge the beauty of a marble floor. They’re regal, attractive, and immediately increase the visual appeal of a living space. They’re also amazingly smooth to the touch and give the impression of walking on a work of art. You can find marble in a range of colors and blends, meaning you’re likely to find an option that works with any décor. You can have tiles formed as triangles and rectangles instead of the traditional square look if you want to design intricate mosaics.

Because marble is mined from the earth, each tile is unique

Marble, unlike synthetic floors (e.g., laminates and tiles) is a completely earth-made material. As a result, every marble tile ever made has been different from every other, and you’ll never find two exactly alike. As a result, if you want something unique and never-before-seen in your home, you can achieve this dream with a marble floor.

Beyond the pride that comes from having a completely unique style, a marble floor is a potent way of harnessing the energy and dignity of mother nature in your home. Marble floors are mined from mountains, and standing on one is a simple way of reminding us how connected we are to the earth.

Marble scratches easily, and the scratches are relatively permanent

Although marble is classified as a hard floor, along with ceramic tiles and solid and engineered wood, it is a relatively soft rock that can be damaged easily through chipping, scratching, and scraping. If you polish your marble, you’ll be even more likely to notice these defects, as they’ll stand out against the otherwise smooth and flat surface. To make matters worse, you’re not going to be able to remove or repair scratches and chips in most cases unless you completely replace the affected tiles.

Marble reacts by discoloration to acid, and the acid stains are also permanent

Do you remember high school chemistry? Don’t worry; neither do we. However, as a refresher, there’s a PH scale that covers bases (e.g., bleach), neutrals (e.g., water), and acids (e.g., lemon juice). Marble counts as a base, and whenever it’s hit by acids, you’re going to recreate a chemistry experiment. You’ll find acids in a wide range of foods (e.g., tomatoes), sauces (e.g., salsa), cleaning products (e.g., vinegar), and beverages (e.g., sodas, or pops, depending on where you come from). As a result, marble doesn’t work well in kitchens unless you don’t mind staining. The staining, by the way, is permanent.

Marble is sensitive to water penetration

Like any natural stone, marble is porous. As a result, not only is marble vulnerable to staining from acids, it’s also liable to take in water. To avoid this, you’ll want to engage in a two step process. First, you’ll want to add a chemical sealant below the marble itself; then you’ll want to add an above-surface sealer once you’ve installed the tiles themselves. Unfortunately, you’ll need to reapply the surface sealer on an annual basis if you want it to last.

Marble is slippery, especially when wet. And it’s hard. Very hard.

If you polish your marble floors, you’re going to make them beautiful, but you’re also going to make them a slick and slippery hazard, which means people will be far more likely to slip and fall on them. If someone spills a liquid on marble and doesn’t clean it up immediately, the dangers will be compounded for as long as the marble is wet. And because marble is very hard at a surface level, you’re much more likely to be bruised by falls on it than you are by falls on nearly any other hard floor, including hardwood.

Price is high and durability is low relative to other natural stones

While marble is undeniably beautiful, you’re going to pay for the privilege of owning it. Marble tiles are considered a premium flooring addition, and they’ll typically land on the high end of the scale for natural stones and bare floors in general. They’re also going to last for a shorter amount of time than natural tiles with greater durability like granite and slate.

Which vacuums are best for maintaining marble floors?

Marble Flooring: Pros, Cons, Costs, and Maintenance
We recommend Parquet heads for effective marble floor maintenance.

While you can maintain marble with any vacuum (or even a broom, if you’re willing to do the work), we tend to recommend vacuums with Parquet heads for bare floors. Unlike regular brush heads, Parquet heads help polish marble floors without marring or scuffing them, and they also help collect dirt, dust, and pet hair efficiently instead of simply pushing them around.

Marble Flooring: Pros, Cons, Costs, and Maintenance
A Miele Cat & Dog is an efficient way to manage a house full of marble and carpeted floors.

We’re also fond of vacuums that are capable of cleaning carpets and area rugs with ease, as most homeowners are unlikely to use marble in the most intimate areas of their homes, like bedrooms and nurseries, and it’s convenient to have vacuums capable of cleaning any pile and style of carpet along with any kind of bare floor. Two strong examples of do-everything vacuums are canisters like the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog (reviewed here and here) or Miele Compact C2 Electro+ (reviewed here and here). Both include Parquet heads to work efficiently with marble and other bare floors and powered electric heads to tackle every pile and style of carpet on the market. Your time is limited; choose a vacuum that uses it wisely.

You  can buy the Miele Complete C3 Cat & Dog here on Amazon or buy the Miele Compact C2 Electro+ here.

Canadians can buy the Miele C3 Cat & Dog here or buy the Compact Electro+ here.

If you find our research on PMC helpful, you can follow our efforts to keep maniacally reviewing home cleaning tools by shopping through our links above. We promise to keep fighting the good fight against every horror children, animals, and grown, yet messy humans can inflict upon a clean home.

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