Differing costs for marble mosaic

novice_from__ctMay 12, 2013

I am looking for 2x4 or smaller calacatta marble mosaics. I have visited 4 local (Connecticut) stone/tile shops. The quotes I have received for what appears to be the same or similar stone per square foot are: $13, $23, $35, and $45. I am completely confused! Are there levels in quality in marble which accounts for the drastic difference in price? I don't want to install a sub-par product but I also don't want to pay more for the same product. Anyone else have this problem?

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The short answer is that the $13 product is probably just fine. Make sure that if you have any issues with the order, you can return the tiles.

You are trying to buy Calacatta marble. Unless the stone is imported from Italy you are buying marble that "looks just like the marble from Calacatta". It could be from China or Alabama. This is how marble has been sold since ancient times. Very few stones are so unique that they actually come from the place they are named for (like Thassos marble).

In a way this is awesome. Why not buy your Calacatta from Alabama. You'll pay less for shipping. And labor prices in China make everything imported from there so relatively affordable, we all have access to stones we might not have been able to afford years ago. There's always the designer mark-up as well - works the same as it does with clothes, so an Ann Sachs marble mosaic is going to cost more that one you buy from a no-name vendor on marblemosaic.com.

So, what's the difference? If you were buying floor tiles, say 12" x 12", you might find that your cheaper tiles had been cut over veins that make them hard to cut for installation, and less stable, more breakable once cut. You might also find tiles that were epoxied together that you couldn't use. But you're not buying 12" x 12" tiles, you're buying mosaics, tiny pieces of marble that are already being pieced together.

You might want to consider whether there are differences in how the mosaics are put together, but most stone mosaics are adhered to netting, so that's not likely to be an issue. Ask your supplier whether they've had any quality issues, and how these are handled. All things being equal, why pay $45/sf when you can pay $13/sf? Once it's mounted on your wall, it's all the same.

On the other hand, if you're going to have to inspect each sheet in each box, and return multiple boxes and wait for new ones to come in before you get enough good sheets to mount your backsplash, you want to know in advance. Check out the customer reviews for the floor tile below from Lowes to get an idea of what I mean.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lowes

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 8:31AM
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Thank you so much for your response! Your post was very informative and now I feel I can make a good decision. Certainly the higher prices were coming from the nicest showrooms so I know there is a mark up for just walking in the door. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 1:36PM
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Happy to help. I hope you find something fabulous!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 12:33AM
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