Featured Image: Haisa Blue Honed 12 x 24 Marble Floor from Arizona Tile
When you’re designing your dream home renovation, it can be both thrilling and overwhelming. It feels like each decision comes with one-hundred other questions. For example, once you decide to incorporate tile and/or stone into the design, you then have to choose the material, color, finish, size, and style.
To make this selection process easier, let’s take a closer look at the first question: which product is right for you? Marble and porcelain are two popular material options that each come with unique differences. While marble and porcelain are both stunning options, each has a specific appearance, durability, usage, and maintenance requirements that are important to keep in mind when choosing which is best for your design.
Discover the key characteristics and differences between porcelain vs. marble:
Marble is nearly synonymous with luxury. Its mesmerizing veining and one-of-a-kind color variation create a strong impact in any design. This timeless material is created naturally inside the earth as limestone recrystallizes from extreme heat and pressure.
Image: Solto White Brushed 16 x 24 Marble Floor from Arizona Tile
Marble is a smooth natural stone that’s known for its milky white surface and unique veining. Even though you may think of marble as white, it actually has a variety of shades, like blue, black, pink, or cream. The mystical veining and striations are also diverse in hue and intensity. For example, Solto White Marble is smokey white with gray lines, while Haisa Blue Honed marble is a cool toned stone with layers of varying shades of light blue and grey.
As a naturally occurring stone, every piece of marble is unique. This one-of-a-kind nature adds to marble’s allure. With its smooth texture and clean look, marble is both timeless and modern.
As a natural stone, marble is a strong material, but it is a softer stone compared to alternatives, like quartzite. While some marbles have a more porous surface than some natural stones and therefore can be more susceptible to staining, with proper care and a bit of regular maintenance, marble can last a very long time. It is recommended that marble be sealed when installed and re-sealed every 6 months.
Image: Terra Nova Honed 12 x 24 Marble Wall & CS-Terra Nova Honed Picket Floor from Arizona Tile
This luxurious material is commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms. With its heat resistance, marble can be used for fireplaces and countertops. It’s also a great option for floors. Wherever you use marble, it becomes the eye-catching statement feature. For example, a bathroom that’s adorned with creamy Terra Nova Marble looks like a royal palace.
Care and Maintenance
Marble requires some vigilance and a regular care routine. Use coasters and mats to prevent “beauty marks” caused by usage and wipe up spills immediately. It is best to be cautious with acid-based food like citrus and tomatoes, as they can cause etching. Also, use best practices with marble as you would with any stone and avoid putting hot pans directly on its surface. Clean the marble with warm water, a non-acidic cleaner, and a soft cloth.
Image: True Marmi Extra 24 x 48 & 4 Inch Hex Mesh Matte Porcelain Tile from Arizona Tile
When fine clay particles are fired at a very high temperature, the end result is this hard, dense, and beautiful material. Porcelain tile excels in versatility and durability, making it an ideal option for many designs.
Image: Konkrete Grigio 24 x 48 Porcelain Bathroom Floor and Wall Tile from Arizona Tile
Porcelain is the chameleon of tile. This incredibly versatile material comes in endless styles and can fit into virtually any design. With digital print technology, porcelain can take on the appearance of wood, concrete, time-worn tile, glass, and even marble. For example, Tru Marmi is a rectified porcelain tile that mimics the characteristic veins and pearly white color of real marble, except it has porcelain’s incredible durability and easy maintenance.
Porcelain tile is known for its exceptional durability. This non-porous material is resistant to abrasions, stains, heat, and water. While it is sturdy, it’s not indestructible, it’s still susceptible to cracking under extreme stress.
Porcelain’s incredible versatility and stability also add to its ease of use. Porcelain excels over other materials for high-traffic areas, like entryways or residential and commercial floors.
Image: Anthology White 24 x 48 R11 Anti-Slip Finish Porcelain Floor Tile from Arizona Tile
With its heat resistance, porcelain tile is also a strong candidate for fireplaces Unlike many other materials, including marble, porcelain tile is a great choice for steam showers because of its non-porous and heat-resistant surface. Imagine a luxurious steam shower adorned with the ethereal, stone-like Anthology Porcelain tile that’s finished with the R-11 anti-slip finish on the floor for extra peace of mind.
Other common uses include backsplashes, accent walls, and many are the perfect choice for pool waterlines. This adaptable tile can be the style accent, or it can ground the whole room design with a bold pattern, color, or texture.
Care and Maintenance
You’ll enjoy porcelain’s low-maintenance clean-up. To care for your porcelain tile, just sweep tile floors regularly and clean tile with warm water and a neutral cleaner.
Marble vs. Porcelain Tile: Which Is Right for You?
Although much of this decision is up to personal preference, let’s compare porcelain vs. marble tile in a head-to-head battle:
Appearance: Many people would say marble wins this category because it’s one-of-a-kind, dramatic, and arguably impossible to fully replicate. Marble is more limited in its color selection and style, while porcelain is more versatile. Ultimately, it depends on the look you are trying to achieve.
Durability: Although both are strong materials that work in many settings, porcelain wins the durability category.
Uses: For steam showers and high-traffic areas, porcelain tile wins. For statement features, like fireplaces, cladding, or countertops, you may prefer marble.
Care and Maintenance: Porcelain wins this category because it requires less attention and maintenance. However, if you love marble and want it in your home, any maintenance or cleaning routine will be worth it to you. Both are incredible options for your renovation.
Whichever material you decide is right for you and your home, Arizona Tile has a wide selection of tile and stone to choose from at our many locations. Feel free to explore our Slab Yard’s extensive stone and tile collection or use our Online Design Tools to visualize how different tile selections will look in your space before finalizing your choice. If you have any questions or need assistance with your tile selection, contact us to hear from our tile experts.