If you are about to choose the flooring for your house, you need to make some serious research as there are so many options on the market. Two of the most popular floorings now are ceramic and marble tiles. They both have significant advantages and disadvantages, so today I have prepared an ultimate guide on which tile is actually better — ceramic or marble.
Ceramic Tile vs. Marble Tile — Which Is Better?
The demand for marble tiles is explained by the unique characteristics of durability and decorativeness. Marble tiles are used in interior decoration and facade decoration. Marble tiles are mostly used in the rooms with a high level of humidity and are indispensable in the arrangement of saunas, baths and swimming pools.
While сeramic tiles are one of the oldest finishing materials but, at the same time, it continues to be widely used now without yielding their position to other numerous finishing materials that have appeared on the market. Ceramic tiles are extremely durable that is why people use them for kitchen, bathroom and even bedroom.
Now let’s look at the pros and cons of ceramic tile and marble tile and decide which type is better for you.
Ceramic Tiles Pros & Cons
Ceramic Tiles Pros:
- Ceramic tiles are eco-friendly. Ceramic tiles are made of sand, clay and natural minerals which makes them absolutely safe, hypoallergenic and non-toxic. Ceramic tile manufacturers always strictly control the entire process of extracting clay from special quarries. Then all raw materials undergo anti-radiation control and only after that they can be used for tiles. Ceramic tiles are also completely non-allergenic material since all allergens and toxins are removed from them during the firing process at very high temperatures.
Ceramic tiles are often used in operating rooms as they are practically sterile.
- Ceramic tiles are durable. Ceramic tiles usually last up to 100 years according to the Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components, which was prepared in 2007 by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) The strength and durability of ceramic tiles in relative proportion are higher than the similar characteristics of concrete and cement, which allows this finishing material to have excellent performance properties and successfully withstand serious loads during operation.
What makes ceramic tiles durable? It is the method of hot pressing and firing makes that make ceramic tiles durable.
If ceramic tiles are selected and installed correctly, then they will serve without losing its original appearance for many years. Ceramic tiles do not crack and they can withstand almost any pressure. Ceramic tiles are also resistant to temperature changes, mechanical stress and do not conduct electric current.
- Ceramic tiles are moisture resistant. The density of the surface of the tile does not allow it to pass not only water and grease but also mould or absorb odours. Ceramic tiles are the most hygienic and moisture resistant finishing material. The tile is not afraid of moisture and household chemicals and ceramic tiles do not absorb odours, which makes the process of caring for it very simple.A high degree of moisture resistance of ceramic tiles makes it possible to use them in swimming pools, saunas, baths and hammams.
- Ceramic tiles are wear-resistant. As it was said before, ceramic tiles as flooring are one of the most durable materials. The method of baking and applying a protective layer protects the tile surface from scratches, rubbing and other minor damage. In addition, the colours and patterns on the tiles do not fade.
- Ceramic tiles are practical. Ceramics are fire-resistant and they will never deform under high temperatures. A huge advantage of ceramic tiles is that they are non-flammable and can withstand high temperatures. Also, due to their high thermal conductivity, tiles have become widely used in warm floor systems.
And what is very important, based on the natural composition, ceramics do not emit toxic substances even when heated strongly. High fire resistance allows the use of tiles in areas adjacent to fireplaces and stoves.
- Ceramic tiles are easy to clean and maintain. Cleaning and caring for ceramic tiles is simple as it is enough to occasionally wipe the surface with a damp cloth.
- Ceramic tiles are multifunctional. They are used for interior and exterior decoration of different rooms, for pools and facades of buildings. Due to their durability, ceramic tiles are suitable for installation in shopping centres, shops, train stations and offices.
Ceramic Tiles Cons:
- Ceramic tiles are fragile. If the ceramic tile is laid without observing certain technical recommendations, it can easily crack. That is why it is crucial to ask for the help of a professional. You cannot instal ceramic tiles yourself unless you have expertise and experience.
You need to be extra careful when transporting and installing ceramic tiles because they easily break and crack. Sharp and heavy objects, especially metal objects, are dangerous for ceramic tiles since they can get chips, cracks and other damage.
- Ceramic tiles have low sound insulation. Ceramic tiles are a source of a loud sound. In order to get rid of unnecessary noise, before laying ceramic tiles, you might need to think about an additional layer of sound insulation.
- Installing ceramic tiles, mosaics, porcelain stoneware requires professional skills. That is why you will need to spend some extra money. However, considering that ceramic tiles last up to 100 years, it is definitely a good investment.
- Ceramic tiles have a cold surface. Ceramic tiles have high thermal conductivity, so their surface is always cold, which does not feel very good for the feet. But the use of a “warm floor” system can solve this problem. However, you will need to pay more money for that. So, sometimes it can be more reasonable to just opt for another type of floorings such as laminate or linoleum.
- Ceramic tiles are slippery. Ceramic tiles are very dangerous as they slip a lot, especially when water gets on them. Therefore, it is worth choosing coatings for bathrooms with a special non-slip surface.
- Ceramic tiles are pretty expensive. Ceramic tiles usually cost 10$ per square foot. That is why if you have a big room, it will be pretty expensive to get ceramic tile flooring. But you will not need to replace this flooring in another 100 years, so this might sound like a very good deal.
What You Need to Know About Ceramic Tile Maintenance Care
- If you just want to wash ceramic tiles, it is enough to wipe the surface with a damp sponge and a soft dry cloth.
- If you have a small stain on a ceramic tile, you can use a window cleaner or a warm solution of weakly alkaline household detergents, increasing the concentration of the solution if necessary.
- Do not use soap containing organic acids and fats to wash ceramic tiles, because, in conditions of high humidity, this can provoke the appearance of mould spores, as well as the appearance of a fatty film on the tile surface, which significantly reduces the gloss of the glaze.
- You need to avoid the use of aggressive acid-based detergents because they can disrupt the integrity of the structure of cement-based materials, which fill the joints between the tiles and damage the top layer of glaze and decorated elements.
- You also need to avoid the use of metal brushes and abrasives, especially when cleaning ceramic tiles with a glossy glaze, because this may lead to the formation of scratches and chips.
- Sand and dust increase the abrasive effect of constant walking on the tiled floor surface. Therefore, it is very important to keep the floor clean and avoid dust, sand, and fine gravel from outside. It is especially important to maintain cleanliness at all times in areas with high traffic.
- Ceramic tiles can be cleaned with chalk and water. After you have whitewashed the tile, simply wipe it down with a dry cloth. This will give the tiles shine and a fresh look.
- Shine can be given with a cloth moistened with denatured alcohol (when using this agent, ventilate the room).
- It is good to wash ceramic tiles with water and ammonia (in a ratio of 2 – 3 tbsp. per 1 litre). After washing, the surface of the tile is wiped with a soft cloth (ideally with a suede cloth)
- If you need to remove fat from ceramic tiles, it is better to replace ammonia with table vinegar (3-15%), the proportions are the same. If the stain is pretty serious, you can use undiluted vinegar but it must be washed off with water immediately after removing the stain
Are Ceramic Tiles Any Good? The Bottom Line
Ceramic tiles are very good flooring since their pros definitely outweigh their cons. One of the most significant advantages of ceramic tiles is that they are made directly from clay, which ensures the complete safety of this material. The glaze covering the tiles provides moisture resistance and also protects against electric shock. That is why ceramic tiles are used in kitchens, bathrooms, swimming pools, hospitals and cafes.
Also, ceramic tiles are easy to maintain as can be easily cleaned of dirt, which is an important factor. Everyone can choose a ceramic tile to their taste, as it is rich in various colours and designs that are crucial when choosing a designer interior.
The disadvantages of ceramic tiles include the fact that it is a durable material so it is quite difficult to cut it when needed and this can be done exclusively with the help of special tools.
However, in spite of its strength, ceramic tiles are quite fragile. If dropped, ceramic tiles break instantly and cannot be restored. With insufficient experience, it is quite difficult to replace a split tile, which is a disadvantage since you will need to spend additional money on their replacement.
Marble Tiles Pros & Cons
Marble tiles are one of the most attractive flooring options for a variety of spaces, including bathrooms and kitchens. Marble is a natural material that is mined in the mountains and then processed into decorative, mosaic and floor tiles. There is now a significant increase in the demand for marble tiles, which is associated with the frequent use of the material in various construction and renovation projects. Now let’s look at the advantages of marble tiles.
Marble Tile Pros:
- Marble tiles are presented in a variety of colours and shades. Whatever you would like to get — whether you need tiles of a single colour or multi-coloured with different shades, the choice is really huge. Since marble is a natural stone, all tiles will be slightly different from each other. However, it will make your flooring unique and stylish.
- Marble tiles are stylish. The surface of the marble tiles is smooth and shiny. The shiny marble floor looks very impressive and emphasizes the luxury of the home and the wealth of the owner. The polishing feature of marble tiles allows creating extraordinary shades of colour.
- Marble tiles are natural and eco-friendly. Marble is a completely natural and eco-friendly material. When you decide to replace your marble flooring, throwing marble tiles away will not lead to chemical or biological pollution of the environment.
Natural stones such as marble do not require any chemical treatment and are environmentally friendly compared to synthetic flooring materials that release harmful gases and toxic waste.
- Marble tiles are durable and dense. Marble tiles can last up to 150 years, that is much longer than ceramic tiles. However, we will definitely want to renovate our flooring much more often than once every 100-150 years. Marble tiles are more durable than ceramic tiles, that is why they are used for areas with a lot of movement or continuous use.
- Marble tiles are resistant to moisture and dirt. For this reason, marble tiles are often used in kitchen areas and bathrooms.
- Marble tiles absorb noise and vibration. Ceramic tiles do not absorb noise as much, that is why if you need proper sound insulation, opt for marble tiles.
- Marble tiles are fireproof. Just like ceramic tiles, marble tiles will not set your house on fire.
- Marble tiles are easy to maintain. If you thought that marble tile is hard to maintain, you are wrong. Mostly, all types of tiles are pretty easy to maintain as you just need to wipe them with a damp cloth. You do not need to be scared to use some special household chemicals for your marble tiles as they can be washed with just a damp cloth.
Marble Tiles Cons:
- Marble tiles break easily. Marble tiles are fragile because of the crystalline structure of marble that makes tiles vulnerable to breaking. That is why you need to pay special attention to marble tiles when transporting and installing the stone. Placing tiles on uneven surfaces can cause permanent damage, so it is very important to install marble tiles correctly.
Since marble tiles are more fragile than ceramic tiles, marble tiles are much harder to install than ceramic.
- Marble tiles are easy to scratch. Marble tiles are easily damaged if they are not properly maintained. Scratches and chips can seriously damage the surface of your marble flooring. Scratches are even more noticeable if a tile is polished.
- Marble tiles need additional treatment. Since marble is a relatively soft stone, its hard crystalline structure can be damaged over time. That is why it is necessary to treat marble tiles with special substances that will give additional protection layer. This will help marble tiles to last longer and preserve its original appearance. Natural stones have pores and cavities into which water and other liquids can penetrate if they are not clogged.
For best results, marble floor tiles should be treated once or twice a year.
- Marble tiles stain and discolour. Since marble is a carbonate mineral stone, it enters into reaction with acidic substances. These reactions lead to discolouration of the tile. Spills of wine, coffee, orange juice, or even ketchup should be cleaned up immediately to avoid damage. When choosing cleaners, avoid those with a high pH, as these products contain acids and can corrode the tiles. For weekly cleaning of marble flooring, always use acid-free cleaning agents. You need to use clean and dry mops for daily cleaning.
- Marble tiles are slippery. Marble flooring, just like ceramic tile flooring is very slippery when polished and can cause serious injury. You can easily break your arm or leg if you slip on a marble flooring. That is why marble should not be installed near pools or other areas that are usually wet in order to avoid slipping.
- Marble tiles are expensive. Marble is one of the most popular floorings, but, unfortunately, it is very expensive. Its cost, as well as the cost of installation and maintenance, is higher than that of any other material used in the construction sector. The price of marble tiles is usually 10-15$ for square foot.
Marble Tiles: Natural Stone vs Porcelain
What You Need to Know About Marble Tile Maintenance Care
- When you get the furniture to install on marble tile flooring, you need to cover furniture legs in silicone covers to avoid scratching the expensive coating of marble tiles. These covers are transparent and virtually invisible, that is why no one will even notice that you used them. But this will save you hundreds of dollars in the future.
- If liquid of any kind is accidentally spilt onto the marble floor, it should be removed immediately. This is especially important when you spill some chemicals or coloured drinks as they will ruin the marble tiles. If you wipe the liquid quickly, you will avoid staining the unprotected surface of the natural stone.
- The best way to clean marble tile flooring is warm water and a microfiber cloth. Do not use any household chemicals as marble is very demanding when it comes to cleaning. If you got a serious stain on marble tiles and the water cannot help, you could use alcohol, which will not harm the natural material.
- The absorption of liquid and fat leads to a deterioration in the appearance of the marble and its premature destruction. Even after normal wet cleaning, stone floors must be wiped dry, otherwise, moisture will begin to break down salts and the strength of the tiles will decrease.
- It is not recommended to use a vacuum cleaner for marble tiles because its wheels and brushes, over time, will leave noticeable scratches.
- During daily cleaning, marble tiles can be treated with special polish-cleaners, which not only clean the surface well but also create an additional protective layer.
- Marble tiles can be damaged by dust, dirt, sand from the street, so you need to put a rug that will keep all the dirt on its surface to protect fragile marble tiles.
Marble is easily exposed to mechanical stress. Do not walk on marble floors wearing high heels. Even sand and small debris that is brought into houses with shoes are harmful to this stone, it works as an abrasive material and scratches the floor surface. The marble fades and loses its appearance.
- Marble should be protected with special products. Use water-oil products that prevent the penetration of not only liquids but also fats into the stone. When using any new detergent, firstly you need to test it in inconspicuous places to make sure that it will not cause harm. Depending on the intensity of use of the surface, protective agents should be applied once every one to three years.
How to Remove Stains from Marble Tile?
To get rid of marble tile stains, you need to do the following:
|Stains on Marble Tiles||What to Do|
|Greasy stains (grease, sunflower oil, cosmetics)||Gently wipe the surface using detergents containing ammonia or mineral spirits.|
|Organic stains (coffee, tea, fruit, food)||Wipe the stain with a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia.|
|Rust on marble tiles(metals)||These stains are very difficult to remove, therefore compresses are applied, although the stain may remain.|
|Paint stains||Small paint stains can be gently scraped off with a razor blade or removed with solvent.|
|Water stains||Rub gently with zero emery paper.|
Marble tiles will last long enough, retaining their impeccable appearance and charm, if you properly care for them. But it’s not difficult at all if you provide careful handling, correctly selected care products, regular cleaning and marble surfaces will shine just like new.
Are Marble Tiles Any Good? The Bottom Line
Natural stone flooring is very popular nowadays because it is durable, stylish and eco-friendly. However, one of the biggest disadvantages that marble tiles have is their price. This flooring can be classified as elite. The high price, combined with the increased requirements for stone floor care, make many consumers opt for other materials such as ceramic tiles or maybe laminate.
Marble tiles last long and if you decide to invest in them, you will not need to renovate the flooring unless you want to. Natural marble is rich in a variety of patterns and colours. The ornaments on the tiles are exquisite and unique.
The quality of marble somehow resembles granite. It is very durable, due to its high density, it practically does not absorb moisture. As a floor covering, marble is very durable, does not undergo abrasion, fading, is not afraid of mechanical damage and can withstand significant loads. It is unpretentious in cleaning and is able to maintain an aesthetically attractive appearance for a long time.
Marble tiles are in many ways superior to their ceramic counterparts. A marble tile floor will make any room elegant, preserving its original beauty and quality for a long time.