My Marble Tile Lookalike Recommendation

VictoriaElizabethMay 4, 2012

Like everyone says in their first post... I've lurked here for a while. I've found the forums a fantastic resource for ideas and inspiration.

The one thing I couldn't find was a marble look alike that I loved. There are plenty of recommendations, and I saw ALL of them in person. Even ordered samples online of stuff I couldn't get locally. None of them worked for me.

It didn't occur to me to take pictures of all the tile I hauled home, or take notes on what it was. I am sorry about that now, since that could have been valuable information to someone.

We are renovating an 1890, Victorian bath. I want to retain a vintage feel, but with a sleek, clean modern design. Trying to marry these two esthetics seems to hinge on the flooring. This is what I had in mind: What I had in mind

The tile became insanely stressful. Amazing how small details can be utterly absorbing and time-consuming.

My specific wants:

Oversized!! Small tile = lots of grout lines = OCD onslaught.

Marble look alike

Grey-ish Carrara look




Subtle pattern

I realize this is a super-specific list, but on the chance that one person will benefit from all of my searching, what we are going with is:

Peronda Museum, 18x18, polished, porcelain, bianca carrara

I don't think the online photos I found are really accurate. This has a lot to do with my opinion that you cannot know what a tile truly looks like; until you lay at least three in the space you're going to use it. I will post photos here once I figure out how to make them not huge. I linked to my online photo but the picture was massive. I guess I need to compress it somewhere?

Thank you to all the people who post their photos, experiences, and advice! The forums have been such a resource. I will be sure to post photos of the floor installed and grouted after the weekend!!

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Bath Renovation

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I love your choice! I think it's hard to choose a porcelain that has most of the features of natural stone. I love polished tiles--it's very pretty. Keep us posted on your progress!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 6:26AM
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Yes! It was hard to choose the tile... it's always hard to choose something other than what you really wanted (marble). But the tile is down, and I am actually surprised how much I like it. (Always nice to be happily surprised, rather than horribly surprised!)

Here is a link that might be useful: Tile Photos

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 10:10AM
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Can you explain your reasons for not using marble? Just starting my own bath renovation and am leaning towards marble -- but don't know very much about it. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 8:42PM
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I love marble. Especially polished marble. To me, nothing is more beautiful.
However, I tend to be obsessive about things I love. Especially NEW things I love. I want them to stay new and perfect--forever. And I would see any "flaws" that developed over time, and they would bother me.

So for me, it was better not to use any materials in this bathroom that would give me cause to obsess. It's a bathroom, not an art installation. For me, feeling like it was "art" was going to kick all my craziness into gear. I didn't want to have to use special cleaners, special sealers, or special anything. Once I think something needs SPECIAL care, I am like a crazy person about it. And I do not need any extra craziness! Especially about something that should be cleaning the bathroom!!

You shouldn't take my decision as an indictment of marble...there are lots and lots of people who've used it and loved it. And like I said, I love it. I think it's beautiful. I already put it in one bath. (Where I have total control of all factors.)

I posted my tile recommendation because I had a really hard time finding a marble lookalike that I was satisfied with. A lot of the recommendations I looked at came from gardenweb, and I found the resource so helpful (if ultimately not what I wanted). I figured I would post MY tile, to add to the list of tile that people might consider if they'd decided not to go with marble, but still wanted the look of it.

My tile is grouted now, and I am extremely happy with it. It's not marble, but it is large and bright and shiny, and I love the color. (And I can clean the heck out of it with whatever I want.) So, for me it was the right decision...

Good luck with all your planning! I'm finding the endless decision-making is getting overwhelming!!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 3:17PM
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@ VictoriaElizabeth - I 'm stealing your ideas!

Thank you sooo much for such a great writeup. Beautiful.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Just picked out our master bath tile yesterday. We too did a marble look like tile. It is by American Olean, called Catarina Glazed Field Tile in Coliseum White. 18x18 for floor, 10x13 for tub and shower walls, and 1x1 for shower floor. We are doing an accent tile border also, Carbon Blend 4x12 Empress Accent, of the Desginer Elegance collection. The tile looks like marble, but saved money because it isn't! Also, clear glass frameless shower door, to see the fake marble.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 10:11AM
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Pbx2-- I'm so glad someone found my agonizing decisions useful!! Hope your bath turns out beautifully.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 8:18AM
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Your floor looks great! I've been overly obsessing about the floor of my soon to be bathroom, ever since my husband vetoed the marble basketweave I had been planning on for lo these many months. Seeing the faux cararra looking so nice really gives me hope.

I'm thinking I want a honed or matte surface if I go for the large scale tile, and found a really decent look-alike by Dal-Tile at Home Depot today. But it is ceramic, not porcelein. Should I be worried? I really have no idea of whether the ceramic would be inferior in a 12x12 tile.

BTW, drewem, another poster in the home decorating forum was bemoaning the fact that the Catarina is not available. I guess you've proven that's not the case. Where did you find yours? I hope you'll post on your progress - would love to see more bathrooms of the look-alike kind!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 8:44PM
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I too would love to know where you found your tile?? I'm not having much luck finding it online except here and your blog!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 5:44PM
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kmcg- We are building a new construction house, it will not be ready until late spring next year. I am not sure where the designer is getting it, but she hasn't come back to me telling me it's out of stock. So I guess that's a good thing! It's a national builder, not custom, if that helps.

It really is nice tile, very marble like, without the cost. Hopefully it comes back soon for the other poster!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 11:59AM
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Thanks, drewem!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 8:19PM
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victoriaelizabeth, your tiles are lovely, thank you for posting. i am deliberating going the marble lookalike route myself. however, i have not found any matte versions I like though. The tiles you are using for your floors are polished. Are they slippery at all? that is the only reason i want matte to avoid slipping, but the polished lookalikes are so much more realistic and beautiful than the matte versions. I am hoping I could still use them without accidents..

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 3:37AM
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I LOVE the polished tile. And the large size. It's exactly what I wanted. For me, the matte finishes just weren't the look I wanted.

We haven't had any problems, but we've always put down a bath mat before showering, so we're not stepping out with wet feet on the floor... I'm sure they could be slippery--given the right circumstances. (But I would imagine that any tile, when wet, could be slippery.)

It's just my husband and me... no children or older people. So our concerns may not be the same as others.

Whatever you end up choosing, when it's all done, the effect will be terrific!
Good Luck!! Victoria

Here is a link that might be useful: Our 1890 Victorian Renovation

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 9:39AM
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American Olean and Daltile (which I recently learned are the same people!) have each discontinued their cararra look porcelain tiles known as Catarina and Navalli Star (or something like that). If you are lucky enough to find some at a supplier, I am jealous. There is none that I can find online or at local dealers. According to Daltile, a new tile with the same look will be available in 4-6 weeks. I assume the price point will be the same, but who knows. Tomorrow I go to a local store to look at two other possibilities, both of which are more expensive and neither of which offers a mosaic (for the shower floors). Maybe I should just wait for the new offerings from AO and Daltile. Sigh...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 3:46PM
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Daltile Navelli is back on their website, although I don't know about availability.

Lowes also has a new honed calacatta look tile:

I've seen it in the stores but since they now do their sample boards with pictures instead of the real thing I can't guess as to how many different patterns there are before it repeats. Unfortunately, it also doesn't offer anything smaller than 6 x 6--nothing for a shower floor.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 4:43PM
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I planned my remodel around Daltile navelli carrara star, and then couldn't get it. I used Iris USA's Marmi Statuary tile, which has the same warm tones as the navelli. It comes honed or polished. It's really lovely, rectified porcelain, and made in the USA of locally sourced materials (local to its plant, that is; they still had to ship it across country). I got it through, and am very pleased with the tile and the price.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marmi tile

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 6:24PM
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