Marble Tiles are one of the oldest and most functional decorative materials in the World. Marble has been quarried in Italy and many other European countries for centuries. Traditionally, people used marble as a building block and tombstone in ancient Rome and Asia Minor. Due to proximity of old quarries like White Carrara and Afyon White (two of the oldest quarries in the World); buildings in surrounding areas use marble blocks to dress and construct various buildings. Eventually, Romans were able to cut marble blocks thinner to use in marble flooring and marble countertops.
How Marble cutting technology evolved?
Late 18th century marble cutting technology improved and marble became more of a decorative interior element in various forms. Thin cutting technology with diamond tools improved the process and ¾” thick marble slabs were sawn. Various diamond tools were also used in polishing the surface and give it a smooth finish.
Most popular Marbles in the world
Today some of the most popular marbles are Italian White Carrara, Italian Calacatta, Spanish Crema Marfil and Turkish Afyon white. These marbles are also known by variety of names in Italian and other languages. For example, White Carrara is also known as Bianco Carrara and so on. In addition, each marble quarry produces different styles of marble distinguished by its veins, background color, and markings. All of these unique attributes make each slab of marble a unique piece of stone.
Interesting facts about Marble Tiles
Marble, like all-natural materials vary from shipment to shipment and from block to block. Different quarries produce more or less desirable look and veins from time to time. Carrara region of Italy is particularly rich in beautiful marble quarries. White Carrara, Statueretto, Statuary Classic, Calacatta Gold, Calacatta Arabescato, Calacatta Caldia, Vagli Oro, and Zebrino are some of the most desired stones in the World.
Anatolian Marble Quarries
Similarly, Turkish region of Afyon produce some of the best translucent marbles in the World. Marbles from this area have a translucent look and it is often compared to Onyx stones. Afyon white, Afyon Gray, Allure, Tundra gray, Silver Shadow are highly desired stones. One also has to Drama area of Greece for Marble. Drama area is also very rich in marble production. Snow white marble, Dolomite marbles, and Volakas are some of the well-known materials. Marbles from this area is a little softer but has dramatic look and feel.
Thinner and better Marbles
Marble tiles or thin tiles became available in late 80’s and it is one of the most popular forms and shapes of natural stone. They usually come 3/8” thick and thin form makes it easy to transport and install. Marble tiles are a fantastic way of decorating kitchen floors, kitchen backsplashes, bathroom walls, and bathroom floors. Marble floor tiles are easy to install and last forever. Unlike other forms of material, marble tiles can be re-polished over time. Most popular sizes are 12×12 tiles, 18×18 tiles and 12×24 wall and floor tile. A good sealer is always recommended to seal marble tiles after installation.
Usage of Marble Tiles
Kitchen backsplashes use a combination of small size marble tiles or mosaics. 3×6 subway tile can be installed in a straight joint or staggered joint. Water-jet cut marble tiles also add an element of dimension to any kitchen installation. You can use several colors mixed or solid to achieve a highly decorative element in your kitchen.
The effects of Marble on temperature
One of the less well-known qualities of marble is, its ability to keep indoor temperatures cool. In general marble is lower than room temperature and keeps cool. This particular quality is important in warm areas since it reflects sun and keeps the room cool. Builders in Resort areas like Miami and the Caribbean Islands tile the entire floor with marble. Large format tiles like 24×24 or 36×36 marble tiles are used on the entire floor to give a rich look.
Marble as mosaic tiles
Marble mosaics is another popular form of this material. Mosaic art has been around for centuries. It was mostly hand clipped with artisans and laid on cement beds. Today modern technology enables us to cut marble mosaics almost into any shape and size. They are usually mounted on mesh or plastic net for ease of installation. One of the most practical application of mosaic tiles is shower floors. Especially with small format marble mosaics like 1×1 you can create a slope inside showers. Furthermore, grout joints in these mosaics create a natural non-slip surface.
Marble Slabs is the most challenging shape of marble. Best marble slabs come in smaller sizes and shapes. In order to get the best marble slab for marble countertops, you have to look for a slab that has good color distribution, free of cracks and has a good contrast between the background and veins. A typical marble slab is 8 ft by 4 ft and you can easily get two pieces of countertops from it. Most popular surface is polished surface. However, honed marble slabs are preferred to make wear and tear less visible. Honing marble slabs is usually done by skilled marble finishers or marble factories.
High quality sealer is a must
We recommend sealing all marble floors and countertops with a good quality sealer after installation. There are different types of sealers such as oil based or water-based sealers as well as color enhanced or plain sealers. Some of these sealers provide a wet look which bring out all the colors and veins in marble to the surface. One can also achieve what is called a book match veins by polishing the opposite sides of alternating tiles to give a dramatic look.