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Why Marble Floor Tiles Are a Good Choice

Updated on September 29, 2012

The Attraction of Real Marble

Marble was used extensively throughout history for its ease of working with and great beauty. Many of the ancient civilizations are remembered for their exploitation of this stones great looks and regal appearance. Greece, Rome and others all carved statues and line their buildings, the roofs, walls and floors with marble. Great marble columns held up the buildings and tables, chairs and many other household items were constructed from it.

The installation of marble and the skill to turn it into private and public features within buildings over the years became one of the leading business opportunities for many centuries. Nowadays it still flourishes in many countries, for example Italy and Greece, but is nowhere near as popular an artisan's skill as it used to be.

The Uses of Marble

Marble lends itself to cutting, chiseling and shaping such that it can form complex shapes for decoration or structural supports and cladding in construction of buildings. It is calcium carbonate (CaCO3) or limestone that has undergone a metamorphic process over millions of years, involving great heat and pressure to the sedimentary deposits of the bony exoskeletons of fish and crustacea to form a much harder crystaline substance - still not as hard as granite but somewhat easier to shape.

It is carved into massive staues as well as delicate jewelry - with its natural "marbeling" unique in each piece of work. Although quite porous its surface can be polished to high gloss, and is durable and hard wearing. Evidence of its strength can be seen in the marble street paving in many archeological excavations - where the orignal well worn ruts of charriots can still be seen in the marble paving.

Supportive columns for many of the large structure built in the ancient world, such as the Parthenon in Athens, were carved out of solid blocks of marble and many of these have stood the test of several thousands of years.

Marble is also used industrally as a source of calcium carbonate. Finely ground marble is used in all sorts of products including toothpaste, paints and plastics. It is a food additive and an inert filler for medicines - when reduced by heat in cement as "lime" and to impart stiffness and quality in the manufacture of paper.

The natural patterns found in each marble tile are unique
The natural patterns found in each marble tile are unique

Why Marble Tiles?

Marble floor tiles, marble wall tiles and marble work surfaces are very poular in the modern world - along with other naturally occurring stones such as slate and granite. Slate floor tiles are just as popular as marble floor tiles, and both need to be sealed by propriety sealers to prevent staining by spilled liquids. For example if blackcurrant juice is spilled onto natural white marble floor tiles laid in a kitchen the purple stain is impossible to remove. Similarly in a bathroom light coloured marbel tiles will take on any colours withing dirt, grime, shampoo and makeups.

However, the natural beauty of marble and other natural stones makes up for the need to seal the tiles in vulnerable locations.

How to Buy Marble Tiles

We often think of marble as an ancient building medium. However, marble extraction is more active today than it ever was in the ancient cultures. Over 50 million tonnes of marble in colours ranging from white, black, red, grey, purple, yellow to all colours in between are produced from countries including the United States of America, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and India.

However, buying marble tiles in the UK and USA will normally be through a specialist tile importer and dealer - who can give the best advice on the appropriate tiles for a given situation and how to install and protect them.

There is no doubt that the quality of installation is of paramount importance to the finished look and its long term durability. Good coloured natural marble is expensive but the resulting tiled walls and floors are stunning and unique.

Online dealers will provide a great indication of what is available on the market and in many cases can order direct from the quarries. One good tip is to ensure that you order adequate for the job in hand and make sure there is enough over to cover cutting losses and accidental breakages. Going back for a few extra tiles may mean that the next batch will be significantly differently from the first - coloration and p[attern striation can vary enormously from one part of the same quarry to another - and even a week between extraction of marble can result in tiles of markedly different hues and overall pattern. Such is the attraction of this unique building product!

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