marble vs porcelain tile in showers

elizabethb_z16August 3, 2008

We are about to remodel our master bath. Our contractor advises us to go with porcelain tile over marble, because he says the maintenance is too tough (he's given us different quotes for the different installations, so it won't make any difference to him as to which we go with). He says that he has heard too many horror stories from people who have regretted marble.

What are the pros and cons of going with marble vs a marble-look porcelain?

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He's right to a point. Rectified porcelain imitates stone extremely well- can even be bought with a high polish. But it's vitrually maintenence free. Marble, or ANY natural stone, will require making sure it stays sealed (which is really no big deal-- a coat of sealer should last you atleasst a few years), and making sure you use a ph neutral cleaner, being that an acidic cleaner will ruin the finish of the stone over time, and a basic cleaner will eat away at the sealer. But that's about all the extra maintenence you need to worry about.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 6:46PM
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In all fairness, I should add that in areas where the water is hard or high in iron content, it could conceivably stain the stone where it's tough to get the stain out whereas with porcelain, you can use harsher chemicals if need be.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 6:48PM
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Yeah... water quality is a big part of the equation, IMO.

My current house has very high iron water. If the softener isn't on [or is out of salt], turns stuff orange in a matter of days, can ruin a white shirt in a single trip through the wash. I'd never be brave enough to do natural stone here, no matter the sealer.

But the water at the new house is much better, and I'm very, very tempted...

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 4:29AM
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I'm considering marble, too. Is there a way to test your water for iron content? It would be a big disappointment to have the marble turn orange. I stayed in a hotel recently that had a beautiful marble 12x12 shower. Most of the tiles looked fine, but in a few areas, I saw the orange and wondered what could cause it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 9:34AM
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I too am in the same position. I'd never thought of having a marble shower - that is until vacation. The shower was beautiful and we both fell in love with "the look." Our neighbor just did their master shower in marble - very nice looking. Of course our design will kick their design!!! But I can hardly wait for this to begin. We're going for marble. Decision is made.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 11:00AM
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Talk to someone in your town office. They should be able to direct you to a local lab that tests water.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 4:54PM
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