Trusty Tile Gurus and Lovers of Marble - I need help, please!

thrilledtobuildJuly 30, 2011

Longtime lurker and infrequent poster here. We're in the middle of a new build and are trying to make our tile decisions. I want to use carrara basketweave for the master bathroom floor (not the shower, which will be porcelain), and have a question about the cheap options for it I'm finding online. I understand it is probably done with Chinese marble or other marble cut in China. But if we like the way the marble looks, and we're satisfied with the way the tiles are set in the mesh for the grout lines, is there a reason we shouldn't go with one of the $12 - $13/sf online options instead of the $25/sf version our tile store has priced? At this point in the budget game it's hard to justify spending more, but I don't want us to be pennywise and pound-foolish either!

Also, I like the look of the polished better then the honed. Is this a mistake?

Thank you so much for your time! I'm adrift in a sea of decisions!!

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You can get Chinese or Asian Marble also at Home Depot or Lowes. Check them out. I don't think anyone would notice the difference between the $12 vs $25.

We have had polished Italian Carrera on our master bath floor for the past 5 years without any slipping issues.

Funny, we just went through the Italian Carrera vs Asian Carrers dilemna for our walls in the master bath. Decided to go with 3x12 polished white tile with beautiful mosiac honed white carrera tile for our niche.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 2:36PM
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Went to chinese marble place two days ago.Brought home a sample of their sale marble.When I got it home I noticed it had cracks that had been filled with something.So it was poor quality tile.(you get what you pay for)I wouldn't buy marble on line.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 4:22PM
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Two things to watch out for with cheap marble mounted mosaics. First, being that it's carrara, there's a chance the marble may contain iron spots that will, over time, show rust. Secondly, cheaper mosaics will use a cheaper mounting system that during shipping, where it can get into the hundreds of degrees in the shipping containers, the mesh will sometimes stretch or contract, causing the sheets to be all kinds of different sizes, and making the finished product look like crap. Atleast with Lowes or HD, if you open up several sheets and find a problem with them, you can bring them back. Of course, that doesn't address the rust problem from cheap carrara.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 9:26AM
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Bill, Thank you for solidifying what I learned during our search and why the mosiac we chose for our niche is from Italy besides the fact the Asian stuff has way to much beige or gold or whatever that color is.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 1:09PM
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Thanks to all of you for your help! We received a beautiful sample from Oracle Tile online, but the thought of the mesh backing possibly being irregular makes the deal not worth it to me! Also, I saw a picture of an Oracle customer's bathroom with the same tile installed, and you could see some sheets were darker than others. With the slightly more expensive tile, should you be able to pick out where each sheet starts and stops?

Bill - Thanks for responding. I never would have known that about the mesh backing. Is the iron rusting a problem in dry applications? Should I be concerned about the more expensive carrara rusting on the master bath floor?

Jerseygirl - Your choices sound beautiful. I hope you'll post some pictures! I did check out the tile at Lowe's. You're right about the yellowish colors to it! Not the look we're going for. Thanks for weighing in on the polished floor. I'm glad it's worked out well for you because I like the polished look.

Pnkone - You're right, you get what you pay for. I just don't want to pay anymore for it than we need to!!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 11:01AM
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It's not as much a problem in dry areas, because obviously, water's not going to get at the iron in the stone as much. As for the more expensive carrara rusting, it happens, but it's rare.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 8:25PM
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Thanks for the follow-up, Bill.

I wanted to throw this out there for anyone who might possibly be interested in this either now or in the future. Today I received a sample from Empire Natural Stone online. It is beautifully cut, laid out in a tight even pattern, and backed in a sturdy mesh. The marble is not nearly as nice as the Oracle marble - it has the slight beige-ish/gold cast to it that Jerseygirl was talking about. It makes me appreciate the beautifully clear gray and white of the Oracle stone. The Oracle sample makes me appreciate the workmanship of the Empire sample. The good news is I am better educated to go to my final tile meeting tomorrow. I'll be looking to make sure the tile they're selling me is made of a stone like the Oracle and laid out like the Empire! Either way, both samples are head and shoulders above the similarly priced Lowe's basketweave.

Also, I placed a polished sample on the floor and put water on it. As Jerseygirl said, it's fine. It is much less slippery than the 12x12 porcelain tile we have in our current bathroom.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 9:26PM
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Will do. We are starting a minor bathroom reno since moved in to our newly built townhouse 5 yrs ago with standard 4x4 tile. Masterbath isn't grand size but it's large for a townhouse

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:53PM
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