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Marble as a material has signified luxury for centuries now. From the Taj Mahal in India and the Parthenon in Greece to the Lincoln Memorial closer home, monuments of grandeur have always chosen marble as the medium.
Therefore, it is not surprising that marble is on top of the list of most sought-after home flooring options as well. If you are looking at different types of flooring for your next home improvement project, read on to find out how much marble flooring costs, what the factors that affect the cost are, how to maintain your new marble floor, and more.
What marble flooring costs
Let’s start by addressing some basic facts about marble as a flooring material. Marble is a lot more expensive than tiles, and in most cases, more expensive than other natural stone flooring options as well. The main reason for this is because while tiles are man-made, marble is a natural stone. Mining the stone, polishing it, cutting it, and making it ready to be installed is quite an expensive process.
On average, getting a marble floor installed will cost you between $10 and $20 per square foot. If you want customized design work, that price can be more than double. On average, labor costs between $3 and $7 per square foot to get marble flooring installed.
Basic low-grade marble will cost you between $8 and $10 a square foot, but high-grade specialized marble can cost upwards of $50.
Marble flooring costs factors
Square footage is just one of the elements of what your marble floor will cost. Let’s take a look at the other cost factors that affect the total cost of installed marble flooring.
Tiles vs slabs
Marble flooring is sold both as tiles and as slabs. Marble slabs are more expensive than tiles are. One of the reasons for this is because the slabs are thicker and larger than tiles.
While marble tiles cost between $5 and $10 per square foot, marble slabs can cost upwards of $20 per square foot. However, the price of tiles can also go up based on the grade of the marble used to make the tiles.
While slabs are often used for kitchen countertops and even for walls, tiles are best used for floors.
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The quality of marble is measured in grades.
Grade A marble is characterized by very few flaws, a strong structure, and very subtle veining. This is the most expensive grade of marble.
Grade B marble will have more flaws and more pronounced veining, and grade C will have more of these flaws. In fact, it may even need some filling and repairing before it can be used.
Grade D marble is the cheapest, and also features the softest structure as well as veining. This almost definitely will need repairing and filling.
Marble comes in a variety of finishes. For example, while polished marble may be a great option for living room and dining room floors, it is sure to spell disaster as a bathroom flooring choice. This is because of the slippery nature of polished marble.
If you want marble on your bathroom floor, you ought to invest in a tumbled finish, which will offer you increased slip resistance but will also cost more than polished marble.
There are other textured finishes as well, such as flamed marble and chiseled marble, which also cost more than a plain finish.
For some unique finishes, such as the Emperador finish, expect to pay more than $90 a square foot.
Can you save money installing the flooring yourself?
A lot of homeowners save money by handling aspects like flooring themselves instead of getting it professionally installed, and that is something we generally encourage. However, with marble flooring, we’d advise hiring a professional flooring contractor to handle the job. Here are some reasons why.
- Marble slabs can be large, heavy and need professional knowledge to cut and install.
- Marble tiles are delicate and brittle. You could increase material costs alone if you damage them while cutting and installing them.
- Marble is a heavy material that needs a strong subfloor to handle its weight. Professionals have the required knowledge on how to actually prepare the subfloor before installing marble flooring, making sure there are no additional expenses setting right errors with time.
- Renting the tools needed to install marble flooring can cost quite a bit as well. For example, a medium-sized tile saw alone will put you down around $55 a day.
- Expect to take between two and three days to finish installing marble tiles for an average-sized room. Tiling professionals, on the other hand, can finish the job in 10 working hours or less.
Types of marble flooring
Marble is quarried all over the world in countries like India, China, Egypt, Turkey, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Iran, and Brazil. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of marble used for flooring.
This marble type is named after the region in Italy it is mined in, and is the most commonly used type of marble. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most affordable ones as well. It is recognizable as being greyish white with feathery veins.
This marble comes from specific quarries in the Carrara region of Italy but is among the rarest, most expensive, and luxurious marbles in the world. It features thick, dark veining on a white background. Sometimes, the veining can have a golden hue to it as well.
This luxurious marble is quarried in Spain and comes in different shades of brown with irregular veining on it.
Levadia black marble
A visually striking black marble from Greece with smoke-like veins that are light grey in color, this is rarely used for flooring but makes a statement when it is.
This type of marble is also called silver beige marble and finds its origins in Turkey. It features irregular vein speckles of beige or silver on a light grey background.
The key to making sure your expensive marble floor lasts a long time is regular maintenance. Here are a couple handy tips to help you do just that.
- Use a soft, non-abrasive duster to dust mop the floor on a daily basis to make sure the floor stays clean. Damp mopping is also a good idea. However, make sure you never leave water puddles on the surface. Marble is porous in nature, and any standing water can seep into it, causing discoloration.
- Marble is alkaline in nature, as a result of which, it is advisable to make sure acidic foods, beverages, and sauces are not spilled on the surface. The staining caused by these can be permanent.
- Alternatively, you could also use a chemical penetrating sealer and a post-installation surface sealer for protection. Keep in mind, though, that the surface sealer needs to be reapplied annually.
- Extend the life of your marble floors by paying professionals every few years for polishing and restoration. This could cost you anywhere between $400 and $1,200.