In this blog, we are addressing a common dilemma that people face. While making their houses whether to use tiles vs marble and where to use them. A couple of years ago, this question of choice would not have troubled anyone because there was no choice. The options were limited marble or mosaic would have been for the house floors and ceramic tiles for the bathrooms and kitchen.

You can see this even now if you visit or live in an older house but then there was this revolution in the tile industry about two decades ago. This looked at addressing some of the disadvantages which traditional surfacing with marble was facing. India is home to a wide variety of marbles and also the house of one of the largest tile industries in the world. So, here are 9 points of looking at the advantages and disadvantages of working with these two materials.

1. Price

Let’s start this with a price which is always a defining factor in most projects. In the 90s both the tiles vs marble were of the same price around 50 rupees square feet. Marble at the same price has greater veins it doesn’t retain. Shine is weaker and more porous. It again adds to that the cost of wastage, labor, under bedding material and polish and hence, marble works out far more expensive.

That’s not the case today there is a definite change in perception. Statuary marble costs around two thousand rupees square feet and people are happy to use tiles at just 1/10 the price. But don’t let this make you think that tiles are cheap. A whole lot of high fashion brands like Versace and Roberto Cavalli, also create tiles and these are by no means inexpensive. It’s all about thinking about where you are getting your value for money. So, let’s be smart buyers.

2. Colour | Tiles vs Marble

Variety of Tiles

Now let’s move to another aspect that is Colour. Choosing the statuary marble or tiles sets the colour tone of the room as grey and white. If you use a bottle chino or any of the beige stone marbles or tiles then obviously the room shifts to a warmer tone. Marble is a natural resource that offers limited colours all obviously in the earth tone. Some colours like ocean blue which we use in swimming pool tiles. It’s just not available in marble, so the definite advantage of working with tiles is the infinite choices of colour that are available to us.

3. Texture

Again tiles hold an edge over marble as they are available in a variety of textures including marble. You can get tiles that are textured like stone, wood, glass, ceramic, leather any of these choices. In the case of marble, there are only a few limited choices available.

4. Porosity

Porosity - Tiles vs Marble

Another key issue that tiles address is porosity. Marbles are porous and prone to stains. This issue can be addressed by using a protector coat over the marble but for heavy-duty areas like kitchen west village is common where we use Haldi or turmeric. It’s best to go ahead with the tiles. As some people love using marble in their kitchens, so go ahead but don’t forget that protector coat.

5. Size | Tiles vs Marble

Tiles are about four inches by four inches in size then this moved to the eight-inch by twelve inches in size and now tiles are available as large as ten feet by three feet. So, the large slab advantage which marble slabs traditionally had over tiles has been countered by the tile industry. Also, these styles are three or four millimeters and that makes it really a lightweight material when we use it on building facade exteriors or in the interior as wardrobe shutters or kitchen Shutters.

6. Strength

Another aspect where tiles score high is strength. You can check the load-bearing capacity of a tile which is always mentioned in the technical specifications of the catalog. Especially if you are going to use it for heavy-duty areas like driveways or industrial floors. You just can’t use marble on a driveway or in the areas which are exposed to sunlight as it develops a crack.

7. Ease of Application

Combine these with the ease of application and ease of handling and it makes tiles a very friendly product to work with. Tiles that come sized and calibrated and they can be fixed with adhesives. On the other hand, fixing marble is a skilled and laborious job. So, then why should we be using marble at all. Let’s talk about it in the next points.

8. Pattern | Tiles vs Marble

Pattern - Tiles vs Marble
White marble pattern texture for background texture

One important reason for using marble is the pattern of the marble, marble is a natural product and its veins are part of its character. No two slabs are the same on the other hand tile is an industrial product and there may be just four to six variations of design that are available. So, if you are using it in a small area it works well. But let’s see you are going to lay it out in a big hall then the repetitive pattern of the toils. It may look potentially very monotonous.

9. Joints and Edges

Another advantage that marble retains over tiles is its joints and edges. You can get an extremely seamless smooth surface by creating very precise joints by using marble. When you polish it you can get a smooth surface and which takes care of any of the bends or undulations. Edges can be moulded in marble which makes them an excellent material to use in staircases and skirtings.

Now, how to resolve these issues in tiles. One way of course is to use joint spacers and fill them up with crowds. This way one can even resolve slight variations that there may be in size or the undulations as far as staircases are concerned, there is not an ideal product from the tile industry yet. Some products are available with the edges of the staircase tread moulded but then there are few and in limited sizes and then again there is nothing available to take care of the winders or the steps in a spiral staircase.

So, till something comes along in the tile industry, it is recommended to use marble on the staircases. The tile industry is a fashion industry it keeps reinventing itself and what you use today is outdated tomorrow. On the other hand, marble is a timeless classic it can be re-polished and renewed to last you forever. So, Check what suits you and go for it.

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