The words elegant and timeless are often used to describe marble. It is a metamorphic rock that began as limestone or dolomite and with heat and pressure over time has changed composition to become marble.
It comes in a wide variety of colors ranging from snow white to grey and black and including, yellows, pinks, greens, and creams. Various trace minerals found in the stone contribute to the color.
Marble frequently contains veins giving it pattern and personality. The veins are often weaker than the base material so highly veined marbles should be installed with extra care and in lower traffic areas.
Although, Italy is the most famous, supplying Cararra and Calacatta, two of the most popular stones, marble is quarried all over the world- Canada, Germany, Spain and even in the U.S.
Marble is best used for light use countertops, showers, shower floors, and backsplashes. Despite its special needs, marble remains a material that can last through the ages.
An interesting read: My Experience Living With Marble Countertops: One Year Later
Textures & Styles
Honed: Honed marble is gaining popularity and is currently on trend. It has a smooth surface and a matte texture. The resulting feeling is warmer, softer, and less formal than the traditional polished stone. Honed marble is able to fit into a broader range of design styles from contemporary to provincial.
Polish: Polished marble has a shiny surface. It is usually used in a traditionally styled home. Polished marble is the most sensitive to the elements.
Tumbled: Tumbled marble comes in many different sizes making it ideal for backsplashes and wall accents. Due to the manufacturing process, tumbled marble is found in sizes smaller than twelve inch and has rounded edges. This tile is very comfortable to walk on and is a popular choice for shower floors and backsplashes.
*Note that tumbled marble requires slightly different methods to clean than other forms of marble. Due to the opportunity for water to get behind the tile, grouting and sealing are imperative.
Brushed: The surface of the tile has been treated with a silicon carbide brush that removes the softer material and gives the stone a soft satin finish with textural variation. The result is a very beautiful, elegant look.
Split Face: Split face marble has a very rough, highly textured surface making it a good option for fireplaces, cladding, and accents. Instead of being cut into a tile, the stone is chiseled along a fissure to split open revealing a natural tile face. This process can only be done to smaller pieces of stone, limiting the sizes this style can be found. There are only a couple of marbles that are able to be manufactured this way.
**A Note on Acids**
Liquids with a high level of acid can etch the surface of marble; from vinegar to red wine in the kitchen to toothpaste, hairspray, and perfume in the bathroom. This is true especially with a polished surface. With continued preventative maintenance and diligent cleaning your stone will age gracefully.
With a little maintenance your stone can last an eternity. Test all cleaners and sealers in an inconspicuous area before full application.
Sealing & Cleaning
Sweeping, vacuuming and just water mopping is the best way to keep your stone dirt free. When it comes to light cleaning there are several different products and methods that we recommend. Miracle Sealants Company offers a wide variety of supplies that you can purchase through our showroom.
Mira Clean #1: For floors you can mop it on and leave it wet for ten minutes, agitating periodically with a nylon brush then rinse the floors with clean water. This is a pH neutral cleaner that can be used on all marble.
Mira Soap: Mira Soap is a one of a kind product that over use and time adds a beautiful patina to the surface of the stone. This is intended for use on honed and tumbled marble only. Used as directed, this no rinse natural stone soap will react with the surface to create a protective film that will enhance the natural patina.
Liquid Poultice: Used for deep cleaning, Liquid Poultice is designed to penetrate deep into the pores of the stone to safely lift out dirt, mold, and stains. Apply both the A & B parts of this system per instructions on the label.
As for sealing, Baptista Tile strongly recommends sealing your stone with a penetrating sealer. The need to reseal will vary depending on porosity, density, foot traffic, and cleaners used. There are several different options that we would suggest.
511 Seal & Enhance: This color enhancing, penetrating sealer is designed to leave the stone with the color it is when it is wet but with a matte finish. This is intended for honed and tumbled marble.
511 Porous Plus: This penetrating sealer has an added polymer that is large enough to clog the larger pores, providing a durable, natural finish. This is intended for honed and tumbled marble.
511 Impregnator: This penetrating sealer is perfect for sealing your polished marble. It will not change the color of the stone.
White marble is like Carrara and Calacatta marble should be sealed if your shower is tiled. Wait 2-3 weeks after shower installation, or until all grout and stone is completely dry (water will become trapped in the stone if not dry). To ensure that the sealer can absorb properly, wipe down your shower beforehand so there is no dust or debris on the stone.