FYI--Carrera Marble Look Alikes

karena_2009July 12, 2010

Hi Everyone,

I love the look of carrera marble, but hesitate to use it for the bathroom due to the maintenance factors. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Tile Shop carries a line of carrera glazed porcelain tiles that are very realistic looking. It's called the Sophia Series. They have three different colors: white, green, and gold. The white looks like Calcutta Oro, which has blue-grey veining with some red. I compared it against the Jeffery Court carrera marble tiles from Home Depot.

It comes as large as 12 x 12 and also in 6 x 6 and 3 x 6 sizes and it's made in Italy.

I'm also going to get samples from Dal Tile because they also make a carrera look alike tile, too.

If anyone else knows of a good source for other carrera look alikes, please let me know!

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If there is an Arizona tile distributer in your area, look at

I had to touch it in the showroom to know it wasn't real marble. Beautiful tile.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 10:59PM
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Hi cindaloutx,

Thanks for the link! I'll check it out.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 12:30AM
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I had the same concerns and the carrera marble look was the only thing that I loved how it looked with the granite I had selected... I had marble in my old bath and hated how it looked after years of use (I know myself and I will not treat it as kindly as needed after the excitement of the new bath wears off)we are doing Catrina Coliseum white (porcelein it has a lot of grey veins running thru it) for our shower, it is going in in the next couple of days so I can't say how it looks, but it was really inexpensive... 12 x 12 was 2.66 sq ft at Lowes.. our tile store had it but it was more expensive there even with the contractor discount (it also comes in 18x18 and 10x13 and mosaic)
I had also liked another marble look a like at Best tile but I can't remember the name it had a pretty blueish grey vein to it, but the blue was a bit overpowering with my granite and floor tile. Have fun selecting your tile...there are so many lovely ones out there, but I was so tired of hauling tile with me everywhere to compare, my arms were full of bruises from pinching myself with the larger ones.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 11:00AM
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Hi mm22,

Thanks for posting your experience and for mentioning the Catrina Coliseum white. My DH and son didn't like the samples from the Sophia Series because they have a warmer undertone. I think the Catarina looks whiter from the Web site. So, I'll make a trip down to Daltile and get a sample of it.

DH also brought a shiny faux carrera look alike from HD last night in a 10 x 13. Although it was whiter than the Sophia tile, it looked really cheap to me and didn't speak to me at all. I believe it was made in Thailand.

I guess I prefer a less shiny or matte tile. Even the polished marble 3 x 6 don't look as shiny as HD tile.

I know what you mean about lugging tiles around. I have managed to avoid the bruises so far, but sometimes one has to wait a week to get a sample.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 1:10PM
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We used the Catarina. The bath's not done yet, but here are a few pics:

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 9:11PM
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Thank you for those pictures! What a gorgeous bathroom! Is that your master bathroom? Will the shower have a glass door? How great that will be with a shower for two and a his and hers vanity. Very cool. Does the Catarina also have a 3 x 6 size tile?

How are you liking the tile so far? Are the tiles in the shower and on the floor more of a matte finish?

I can hardly wait to see the end result. Good job!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 9:31PM
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Porcelanosa has a good Carrara-looking tile. I almost went for it but settled on a stone. But the tile was quite nice and a good imitation. I don't recall the price.

Here is a link that might be useful: Porcelanosa carrara bathroom

    Bookmark   July 16, 2010 at 10:16PM
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Thanks for that link newyorking! I'm going to check them out tomorrow along with Dal Tile. I appreciate it :-).

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 2:39AM
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pps7 - I love your bathroom! It really looks great so far!

Did you use the Catarina 2x2 on the floor (it's hard to see in the pic). And the mosaic accent -- is that also the Catarina 2x2 or is it real marble? And the edging -- is that real marble?

I assume the threshold into the shower and the bench are real marble?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 2:44PM
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pps7 I love your bathroom, I am so excited for mine to go up this week finally... I have been dying to know what the Catrina is going to look like... so glad now I went with it

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 4:32PM
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The floor, accent tile and edging are catarina. The threshold and bench are real carerra. We also used 2 x 2 for the back of our cubbies. I was worried how it would look together, but it looks fine. Our countertops are going to be real also. They were installed last week, but we had a bit of a misunderstanding on what they should look like so they are making new ones. I'm loving it so far.

My last master bath was 4 x 8 so you can imagine how great this is!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 5:49PM
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pps7 - thanks for sharing the details. I am also planning to have wainscoting in our bath. I know that they sell the beadboard type at Home Depot, but, the type you have matches better with what I have in the rest of the house. Is this just something your contractor put in himself? Or is it ready-made somehow? Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 3:31AM
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I used the Daltile Navelli Carrera Star 12x12s in a new bathroom. (The bathroom is nearly finished... just wrapping up details such as towel bars and such before posting pictures.) I absolutely love the tile. The porcelain is very hard, easy to clean, etc. I love the look and am extremely excited about the end result.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 3:17PM
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pricklypearcactus - I am also considering using the Daltile Navelli in our bathroom. Did you use the glossy wall tile in the shower? I am considering using the floor tile (looks more like honed) on the floor and on the shower walls. Just curious what you did... Looking forward to seeing your pictures!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 11:40PM
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PPS your master bath is beautiful and huge. We considered using marble in the shower but went all white instead. Subway walls and 1 1/4 hex on floor. I wish the workers had put down cardboard like you did. I'm afraid our tile and grout are ruined. Hopefully it will clean up well. We used honed carrera on vanity top and tub surround.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:12AM
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I used the matte finish floor tiles on both the floor and the wall. I really like the matte finish and I agree that it looks more like honed.

I also forgot that Daltile has another marble-like porcelain tile: Cappella Gardini Blanco. It was about twice the cost of the Navelli and I preferred the matte finish of the Navelli, but it was really lovely as well.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:17AM
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thanks pricklypearcactus! So... just wondering... does the bullnose and quarterround/jolly pieces comes in the matte/honed finish or only the glossy?

Did you stack the 12x12s in the shower or do them brick style? And what tile are you using on the shower floor?
That's the main thing that is making me lean toward the AO Catarina - it has a matching mosaic.

Thanks so much!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 10:51AM
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The bathroom I remodeled has a tub/shower combo rather than a full shower, so I used a bath tub for the floor. :) However, I bought enough to do my master bathroom some day down the road and it has a shower (no tub). I have a couple of options: cut the tile into 4x4s (I have tons of scrap for this purpose), use a solid white porcelain tile, use river rock tile, use real marble mosiaic (probably not due to staining concerns), etc. Right now I'm leaning towards cutting down to 4x4s. The edges are straight so assuming I do the cuts well, it should work out perfectly. I want minimal grout lines since I hate cleaning.

Daltile definitely has a Navelli 12x3 bullnose in the honed/matte finish that matches the 12x12 floor tiles. I didn't look into the glossy at all (because I loved the matte look) so I'm not certain what's available. I think the wall tiles were different sizes than the 12x12s so likely the bullnose matches that (longer and glossy I assume?).

I stacked the 12x12s (grid pattern I guess?) rather than doing a brick style. I wanted something fairly simple and wanted to focus on the tiles rather than the grout lines. I think a brick layout would look lovely too. This also was my first tile job (ever) and I did not want to get into anything too complex for me to handle on my own.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 12:13PM
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pricklypearcactus - thanks for the info. I really appreciate it. Picking tile for the bathrooms has definitely been harder for me than picking the kitchen cabinets!

Still trying to decide between the AO Catarina and the Daltile Navelli. If I go with the Navelli, I am leaning toward using the matte/floor tile on the walls too. Just prefer the honed look -- although, I'm guessing the glossy is easy to clean...

As for the shower floor, I might use the Catarina mosaic - but the tiles are a bit smaller than I would like on the floor (look the look - just don't want to have that many grout lines to clean).

Also, I've order a sample of the Marazzi Timeless Collection tile. I guess it's brand new and I haven't been able tos ee it at any tile shops yet. It's a faux marble in a color bofy porcelain. Comes in 3x6, 12x12 and a 1.5 inch hexagon mosaic. I will take pics when I receive the sample...

Thanks for all your help. Can't wait to see pics of your finished bath!

Here is a link that might be useful: Marazzi Timeless Collection

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 5:23PM
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remodelmama, regarding the wainscoating, our trim carpenter just used the same wood as our window/door casing to create the look of waiscoating. The recessed portions are just drywall painted in the same satin paint. We then got a cap piece for the ledge.

Hopefully will be able to post a few "bathroom is done" pics in a few weeks. Right now, I'm looking for a window treatment for that huge window. SOmething that will still let the light in but give a little privacy. It pretty hidden behind trees but DH feels very exposed at night.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 7:45PM
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pps7 and pricklypearcactus -

what color grout did you use with these tile?

I am thinking grey on the floor to hide dirt - but maybe white on the walls? Maybe grey would be ok on the walls too? I hate cleaning grout lines...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 3:15PM
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I used white (I think Laticrete bright white -- I can check if you want the exact grout) on both the floor and the walls. I really wanted the grout lines to blend in, so I wanted a grout color that was close to the tile color. My tile store suggested that this grout was specially designed to be stain proof and I also sealed the grout on completion of the tiling. We do not have any children and are fairly careful in the bathroom (little or no products that might cause staining), so the biggest concern will be oils from our feet staining the grout. So far it still looks great. I think a silvery grey would probably look good as well, but will give the bathroom a slightly different feel.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 3:45PM
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We used a light gray. I can find out the name for you if you are interested. It's supposed to be some stain resistant grout, but I'm going to seal it too. Shower door is going in, marble vanity tops are in, we have light fixtures!!! Tommorrow the plumber is going to be fininshing up and we should be good to go in a few days.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2010 at 10:06PM
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Thanks ppc (pricklypearcactus;) and pps7! I "rented" the grout color palette tonight from Lowes so I can check out the different colors.

pps7: Sounds likes you are just about done! Can't wait to see the pics.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2010 at 3:20AM
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You might also try Johnson Tiles City Collection Marblestone. We used it here in white/beige, which is a smidge warmer toned than traditional carrera, but I'm pretty sure it also comes in a white/grey tone. The 12x12 we used was something like $6/ft. Sorry I don't have a picture that shows the veining better -- in person it really looks like a nice honed marble.

Here is a link that might be useful: Johnson Tiles website

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 10:33PM
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Thank you hudsonleigh and everyone who shared information on their tile and grout colors. This topic has a wealth of information!

It's great to see so many beautiful bathroom pictures, too!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 1:26AM
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hudsonleigh - the Johnson Marblestone tiles are very pretty. I am actually re-doing 3 bathrooms... and planning to do one in a beige/cream color.

I haven't been able to find it for sale on the web anywhere. May I ask where you bought it?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 1:42AM
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pps7-- Thanks for the great pix. I ordered a sample of the Catarina tile. And many thanks to the person who posted the American Olean website link for the tile. That was so helpful. I thought it would be simple to find a Carrera Marble look alike tile but it has been an ordeal! Guess I was looking in the wrong tile stores (about 7 total, with one find that turned out to be discontinued!)

**On another note: Where did you get your beautiful medicine cabinet? Is it wood, and do you like the quality? I found one at Pottery Barn online (Hotel is the brand) but can't look at it in person, so would have to buy first. I also saw one at Restoration Hardware but the quality didn't seem top rate. Thanks for any help.**

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 4:35PM
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remodel-mama, my local tile store (Sam's Ceramic in Westchester Cty, NY) happens to carry this line. I had never seen it before either, nor had i heard of Johnson, although they apparently have a large following overseas. On the "contact us" page of the website there is a US distributer in NJ listed....maybe they can tell you where to find it locally. I will say that it shipped very quickly and really wasn't expensive at all. Good luck!


    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 7:42PM
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With veined porcelain tile, how much variation in veining is there? Of course with stone, every piece would be different, but I thought I gave up on porcelain after seeing installs where every tile had the exact same veining? On the other hand I would love to have a marble look bathroom. If I do larger tiles will it show less?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 7:15AM
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"Of course with stone, every piece would be different, but I thought I gave up on porcelain after seeing installs where every tile had the exact same veining? "

This is a pet peeve of mine, and something I look for specifically in *every* tile that has any sort of pattern of irregularity. You need to get a box or two and set out every tile to see how many are the same and how many differnt patterns they have. Sometimes, it's 5 or 6; sometimes it's 2 or 3; sometimes it's only 1!

Visible pattern repeats are a sure way to tell 'faux' from natural products...

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 7:38PM
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I went with a travertine style porcelain. I just asked the people at the tile store how many different patterns there were in the different brands I was looking at. The higher priced ones have a higher number of tiles with a different variation. So be sure to ask that question when considering different tiles. They can look so beautiful when you're only looking at a few! The brand I bought is Serenissima, and was told that they use a unique process that provides a pattern that doesn't ever repeat. Ours was installed this week, and I cannot find 2 tiles that look the same! They also looked exactly like a real travertine tile sample I brought home. Don't know whether they make a marble look-alike...

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 11:47PM
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pps7 - I found this post while looking for a marble look tile. Your beautiful bathroom came up from this 2010 post. Do you have finished pictures you can share? Are you still happy with the Catarina Coliseum that you used? what color grout did you use?
What height is your wainscoting? Thanks is advance.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2015 at 11:48AM
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