Really nothing beats the beauty of natural products for the interior of your home. And with a product like marble flooring, almost nothing can beat its durability either.
Origins and Properties of Marble
A type of metamorphic rock, marble is formed when the natural forces beneath the earth's crust act upon carbonate rocks and completely "metamorphose" them into calcite or dolomite. Marble flooring can be elegant or rustic, elaborate or simple, colorful or muted. This is why it has been a highly prized construction and design material for thousands of years. No two slabs of marble are ever the same and marble can be found in colors like pure white, deep green, brown, grey, and blue. Marble is machine quarried into giant 2-ton blocks. The blocks are sent to marble fabricators who cut it into slabs and tiles, polish it, and send it out to local marble suppliers and wholesalers.
Grades of Marble
Grades of A, B, C, and D are used to classify marble quality, with Grade A marble being the most resistant to breakage and having the least amount of natural inclusions, veins, and inconstancies, and Grade D being the most soft, having many faults, and needing the most reinforcement.
Marble flooring is often used in kitchens, bathrooms, and foyers. Tiles are used for most flooring replacement projects due to their ease of installation. Marble tiles are available in 12" x 12" or 12" x 18" size, with thicknesses of 1/4", 1/2", or 3/4". Lower grade tiles will have wire mesh reinforcement backing. Marble slabs of approximately 6' x 12' can also be used for flooring and offer a more seamless look than tiles. Marble flooring is usually finished to a highly polished sheen.
Marble Finishes, Sealants, and More
For areas like bathrooms and foyers marble flooring with a less slippery finish should be chosen. One finish choice is "tumbled," which has a slightly rough and antique-looking surface, and another choice is "honed," which presents a dull, matter surface. Properly cared for marble flooring can last decades. It is susceptible to abrasions, which can usually be polished out. Because of its porosity common household liquids like wine, shampoo, juice, and nail polish remover can stain it. An application of a breathable neutral pH sealer after installation and at regular intervals can help prevent stains.
Alternatives to Marble Flooring
Composite stone flooring that mixes real chipped or ground stone with a fixative, stone-effect ceramic tiles, and stone-effect vinyl flooring can offer economical and aesthetically pleasing alternatives to marble flooring.
For further information on marble flooring see the following article from HomeDoctor.net: Kitchen & Bath - Marble Flooring.