Marble Tile: Stacked or Staggered?

it'sALLartAugust 28, 2013

We've finally found a ceramic tile that mimics marble pretty well. At 1.40 a sq. foot, this 9 x 12 tile is right in line with our budget, which, as any new home builder will tell you, swells with every passing day.

I've been over on the Houzz site looking at 100s of bathrooms and can't decide on whether to stagger the tiles (like bricks) or stack them in straight rows. I feel like the stacked looks more modern and like the concept, but not sure what the difficulty level is. Only my 3rd time doing tile, so....

Is one harder to do than the other? Opinions out there?

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I can't weigh in on how easy one installation or the other is, but I agree the stacked is more modern looking. One thing to keep in mind, since this is a marble look alike is the repeating patterns. I would think it would be easier to notice the pattern repeats from tile to tile in the stacked pattern.

Can you please share which tile you chose, as I am also weighing options...

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 12:29PM
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Using Mohawk Stonebrook "Carrera White", 9 x 12 available at Menard's for 1.09 each. From what we could see looking through a box and on the display, there's about 5 diff. patterns in the tile, so repeats might not be an issue if we can place them carefully. I'm not a fan of repeats at all, so I'm going to be extra careful. That is a big selling point, number of repeats in the line. I've seen too many tile jobs where it was terribly apparent.

It's a nice glossy tile and comes with bullnose as well for the edges. A pretty subtle marble pattern, not as strong as some more expensive ones but considering we were going to go with plain white in the beginning, this is a small leap for us. It's not the most expensive, but we're so far over budget we just have to start cutting wherever we can.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carrera Tile

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 12:44PM
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on the Menard's site the tile looks very subtile in pattern, and will be less of a noticeable pattern repeat in my opinion.

If you stack, just be sure to put corner spacers in to line up all corners and I think that would work. I have only done stacked in a 4x4 and it was easy. I didn't use spacers for them, as they had built in spacers.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 10:18PM
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I used a porcelain "marble" tile that has about 10 different tiles. We went with 12 x 24s and then 12 x 12s on the floor. I'll tell you what though, even with staggered, I can pick out the repeats in the veining. It's hard to say since I don't know what your tile looks like, but I think that would be more obvious with only 5 different tiles and stacking?

Plus, stacked is very unforgiving - you just need perfection which sounds easy but there are always funky spots (corners, threshold to shower, niches, places you've had to cut them.)

Now, I live in a 1917 colonial so you can imagine that I'm fairly traditional but you are going with a carrera look, so?

We went with the 30/70 layout instead of a 50/50 stagger and that makes it visually really interesting, plus repeat veining it hard to pick out. We also went with the smaller width of grout (forget what that size is...)

Here's how it looks - good luck!


Floor (hard to see - sorry!) It's 12 x 12s of the same tile set in a diamond pattern. There are actually four of the SAME tile in the center of the floor - laid when I wasn't home, of course! - but he turned them to make the veins into a square, so it's turned out OK but it bugs me! If you look closely, you'll see 'em! :)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 1:12AM
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Five patterns isn't a whole lot of variety, especially for a 12" long tile.

Realize that on the 5' long wall of a typical tub surround, it'll take five tiles er course, so you'll have the same five tiles in each and every course of tile.

You can better disguise patterns a bit by inverting an occasional tile, or by adding an in-wall niche or an in-wall decorative mural that will break up an expansive wall of field tile.

The "mural" or decorative inset can even be something as simple as taking your 9by12s, cutting them up into 3" squares, then setting those 3" squares on a diagonal, surrounded by a frame.

Or cut the 9by12s into 3by4s and set them in a herringbone pattern, or even set the 3by4s in a stacked or offset brick pattern, again surrounded by a frame or border.

So you can mix and match if need be.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Those are great ideas, however, we're very limited on space since it's a standard bath enclosure (basically the size of the bathtub, three walls). We're wanting a spartan, large tile-only, very clean, very un-fussy look, zero decorative stuff going on like niches or borders. We really like the plain, expansive walls of tile. Yes, def. planning on inverting wherever we can and just making sure it works. We'll probably lay out the tile beforehand on the floor to make sure.

Below is a pic of the look we like but it's in a larger space. Can't afford to do ALL the walls, but around the tub and on the ceiling will work for us. It's a 45ú ceiling in a dormer.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Unless I'm not seeing it correctly or world's most invisible grout, those all ALL slabs of Carrera? Yikes!

With only 5 patterns and a non-square tile, I might still consider the stacked 30/70 we have to avoid repeat of patterns? You will need to use all of the veins and then some in one vertical row, which will be easily seen if they are straight stacked.

That said, the bathroom is yours to enjoy, so go with your gut! Then you can't go wrong. :-)

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 12:39PM
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Sorry, duplicate post!

This post was edited by akcorcoran on Thu, Aug 29, 13 at 12:42

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 12:40PM
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akcorcoran, yes those are most likely large real marble tiles, fairly large. The pic isn't the best, and they are staggered in the photo, 50/50 with very thin grout if you look real close you can see the lines. Love the look with no niches or stripes or borders, just big tiles. Not sure why you say "yikes" but I would say that if I saw the price tag! LOL....

I think the best thing to do will be to lay them all out on the floor and put them in both styles and see what works best visually before we start. Thanks for all the helpful posts!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2013 at 2:58PM
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