For centuries, marble flooring has been a preferred option in Indian homes owing to the element of luxury and beauty that it brings to the ambiance. The natural stone is suitable for almost every room in the house so long as it is coated to preserve its porous surface from absorbing dirt and stains. Besides the floor, marble can be used on the walls, window sills and on furniture such as benches.
However, as with other flooring materials, it has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s vital to be aware of the pros and cons of installing marble floors in the house before one decides to have it in one’s home. We’ve put together this guide to cover everything there is to know about marble flooring for helping homeowners to make an informed decision.
While both marble and granite are natural stones, they differ when it comes to their mineral composition. Marble is composed of limestones such as calcite and dolomite, whereas granite is made of quartz, feldspar and mica. The difference in their composition also makes the two stones vary in terms of porosity. Granite is harder, less prone to scratches and not as porous as marble. The porosity of marble is one of the negatives of having a marble floor as it absorbs liquids that drop on its surface and makes it less resistant to scratches.
The two stones also differ in appearance. Granite visually looks speckled or dotted and comes in a range of colours. Marble has a smoother look with veins running through. Although one can find a few shades of marble, the range is not as much as granite offers. Before choosing marble over granite, it’s important to be aware of its pros and cons. Granite is the best option for outdoor areas that are exposed to moisture or even in bathrooms or kitchens where there is a risk of water falling on the floor. It’s also preferable for a place with heavy foot traffic or movement as it is less likely to get scratched than marble flooring. This doesn’t mean that one should avoid using marble on the floor. With proper care and maintenance, marble can last for several decades.
Get inspired by these pictures of homes with marble floors.
In India, white, pink and green are the most common colours of locally sourced natural slabs used for marble floors. Most of the marble in India comes from Rajasthan – Rajnagar and Makrana for white marble, Jaisalmer for Ita Gold, Kesariya for green and pink marble. Besides this, although it is more expensive because it is imported, one can also find Italian marble flooring tiles. The most common types of marble in the market are:
· Afyon Travertine – It’s mainly beige-toned with long veins running through. This type of marble is ideal for indoor areas.
· Blue Jeans Marble – It gets its name from the bluish tones and has beige veins. It is suitable for the exterior and can be used for counters, window sills, stairs and floors.
· Carrara Marble – This is the most commonly seen marble. The traditional stone is almost clear white with light gray veins. However, it is extremely porous.
· Bursa Emperador – This type of marble is light brown with beige veins. Once polished, it has an elegant appearance.
· Dolomiti – It’s pure white with thin grey veins on the surface. The pure-white look that it brings to the floor once installed is unrivalled.
· Light Travertine – Its most commonly used for interior and exterior paving. This type of marble has a light beige tone.
· Makrana white marble – For those who like a pure white flooring, this type of marble is the best option. It is the type of marble that was used to construct the world-famous Taj Mahal.
Get ideas for using marble to create a luxurious look in your home.
The price of marble flooring depends on several factors, including the source, colour and quality. Light pink and light green marble are among the cheapest options at INR 35 per square feet, while dark green marble is slightly more expensive at INR 50 per square feet. Ita Gold costs around INR 70 per square feet. Flawless white Makrana marble is usually the most expensive at around INR 400 per square feet. However, one can find cheaper white marble at prices starting at INR 120 per square feet. Imported Italian marble flooring tiles are upwards of INR 200 per square feet.
It’s best to consult a professional tiler or a design professional to get the best rates for marble as they have contacts with reputed suppliers.
Imitation or cultured marble is manufactured using a blend of powdered stone and resins combined with pigments to produce natural-looking patterns that resemble marble. The advantage of cultured marble is that unlike the natural stone, it is not porous, thereby resistant to moisture. It’s mostly used for counters, sinks and baths in bathrooms. However, it is slippery and is not ideal for flooring.
For those who are hesitant to install marble because of the high price or the porosity of the material, marbonite tiles that resemble marble are an alternative. Their prices start at INR 60 per square feet. Unlike marble, they are non-porous and therefore, maintenance-free.
It’s all a matter of preference. While there’s no denying the sophistication that marble flooring brings to a home, not everyone might be willing to undertake the required maintenance to keep it looking as good as new for decades. We outline the pros and cons to help with the decision making.
· When it comes to stylishness, nothing beats the natural look of marble. Whether it’s a single colour that one chooses or a combination of dark and light shades to create a pattern or a border, the luxurious look that it adds to the ambiance is unparalleled.
· It brings a unique look to the home as no two marble slabs are similar since they are created by nature. This adds a lot of character to any room.
· Once polished, marble flooring has a lovely shine that reflects light and brightens up the environment.
· It’s non-toxic, and if the tiles are locally sourced with minimum carbon footprint, they are a relatively sustainable option.
· For homes that require radiant heating, marble tiles are an excellent solution as the natural material is a good conductor of heat.
· Marble tiles can be replaced easily in case of damage. However, one should remember to buy a stock of extra tiles and store them so that they match the existing flooring.
· Marble is prone to scratches as it is a soft material compared to other natural materials such as granite or even manufactured alternative such as porcelain tiles.
· It can get stained easily, especially when acidic substances such as lime, vinegar or even certain cleaning solutions fall on the surface.
· Due to its porosity, marble absorbs water. While this can be prevented by coating the surface, it needs to be done regularly to prevent the stone from getting damaged.
· Polishing makes marble flooring slippery, thereby increasing the risk of accidents.
· One of the major points that work against marble is its price as it is one of the most expensive flooring options.
For more tips on whether marble is suitable for the home or to find out if it suits the overall style of the house, we recommend consulting a professional who can provide the right advice after evaluating the family lifestyle and the home.