Types of Marble Flooring

Marble is a natural stone, and when properly finished can be transformed into beautiful flooring.  Marble flooring is one of the most luxurious and sophisticated floorings to install in a home and adds a whole new element of class.  Different types of marble will bring different looks to a foyer, hallway, bathroom, or any room where it is present – and there are thousands of different types of marble in nearly every color imaginable. With hues in black, brown, green, red, white and even pink, there’s no doubt homeowners can find the right marble for their home.

Each slab of stone will have its own unique vein patterns and streaks of color. Depending on the type of marble it’s classified as, tones will vary stone to stone. The three classifications of marble are Dolomite, Magnesium, and Calcite:

  • Dolomite: Contains more than 40% magnesium carbonate.
  • Magnesium: Contains between 5% and 40% magnesium.
  • Calcite: Contains less than 5% magnesium carbonate. 

Aside from these classifications, marble comes in endless colors and patterns.  Here are just a few of the hundreds of types of marble that one might come across when searching for new floors:

Breccia: Breccia marble can vary stone to stone, and it tends to be a warmer and darker marble.  Deep browns and reds are common with breccia and it looks great as a floor or countertop.

Carrara Marble: This is the classic marble that you see in Greek and Roman statues or fountains. It is a pure white marble and can maintain a pristine look, depending on the stone. It is also one of the lightest marbles available for flooring.     

Calacatta: Calacatta marble is often confused with carrara, and while they are similar, they have very different characteristics.  Both have similar vein patterns, but depending on the stone, calacatta is typically bolder and has more noticeable lines.  It is also warmer in hue and can bring a hint of drama to any room.  

Limestone: Believe it or not, limestone is a type of marble, and a very popular one at that.  A naturally occurring stone, limestone is often tan or beige and is visibly porous.  This is a great option for bathrooms, but should be placed strategically in a home.  Its porous and soft nature makes it susceptible to damage in high-traffic areas.

But, not all marble floors have to be actual marble.  Many homeowners achieve the same look they desire by using cultured marble.  Cultured marble is a mix of marble dust and cement.  It looks and feels similar to marble, although there are no veins or streaks of color.  While this is a great option for some, the uniqueness of real marble is what makes it a great choice when decorating a home!

Aside from the different types of marble, there are three main ways to finish it and achieve different looks:

Polished Marble: We typically see this finish in big hallways and grand foyers. It is shiny and slick and can even be polished to the point of reflection. 

Honed Marble: This type of marble is polished, but not to the extent of polished marble.  It has a matte-like finish and does not reflect as much light.  However it is still smooth and prevents slipping.

Sand Marble: Sand marble stones are a mixture of sand and marble and create an antique, rustic feel in any room. 

So, now that you’ve chosen your favorite marble, here are a few things you should know about your beautiful flooring: 

  • Being a natural stone, marble is known for its porous surface.  To keep it looking as good as new, it’s important to seal marble surfaces every six to twelve months.
  • Polished marble can be quite slick, even more so if it’s wet.  So while it is a great choice for bathrooms, bath mats and rugs should be placed in these locations to prevent dangerous slipping.
  • Because of its unique vein patterns, marble tiles can be difficult to match.  All tiles should come from the same stone to keep the floor consistent.  The best way to make sure the tiles match together is to lay out of the flooring before it’s permanently installed.
  • Marble acts a base, so if anything acidic were to come into contact with it, there will be a chemical reaction.  Spills like orange juice, harsh cleaners, or any other acidic liquids need to be cleaned up immediately.  Leaving spills to sit for too long and you can do irreversible damage to your marble floors.