If you are looking for clean, elegant flooring that comes in a wide range of colors and styles, marble floors make a stunning choice for many homes. Marble is a metamorphic stone made of calcite that can be tumbled into a smooth soft finish or polished to a brilliant shine. Marble has been used in flooring for thousands of years, and with the right care and installation, it can give you a beautiful flooring surface for decades. Numerous marbles are available, from common to exotic, and also in many styles and finishes to complement any home style.
The national average to install marble flooring in the home is $2,000 and $5,000, with the average homeowner spending around $3,600 to install a 200 sq.ft. foyer with 12” Crema Marfil marble with a contrasting border. This project’s low cost is $300 for an installed 40 sq.ft. bathroom floor with 12” Bianco Carrara in a straight pattern. The high cost is $12,000 to install 400 sq.ft. of 24” Calacatta marble in a diagonal pattern in a living room.
|Marble Flooring Installation Costs|
|National average cost||$3,600|
Marble flooring comes in an incredible range of colors, styles, and textures. Each marble has characteristics for color, veining, and durability. This also means the different marble types have a range of costs, running from $3 to $50 a sq.ft. for the material and between $4 and $10 a sq.ft. for installation for a total range of $7 to $60 a sq.ft. Rare marbles and complex installations typically cost more than common marbles and straightforward installations. Below are the average cost ranges for installing marble flooring in different-sized rooms:
|Size||Cost Range (Materials Only)||Cost Range (Installed)|
|50 sq.ft.||$150 - $2,500||$350 - $3,000|
|100 sq.ft.||$300 - $5,000||$700 - $6,000|
|200 sq.ft.||$600 - $10,000||$1,400 - $20,000|
|400 sq.ft.||$1,200 - $20,000||$2,800 - $40,000|
|500 sq.ft.||$1,500 - $25,000||$3,500 - $46,000|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$3,000 - $50,000||$7,000 - $60,000|
When referring to flooring, the term marble can mean several different stones. Most of these stones are metamorphic with a calcium or calcite base like true marble. Others may be metamorphic with a different base but with similar attributes to marble in appearance. Most of these stones can be broken into different groupings, impacting cost, installation, durability, and wear. Some flooring sellers may call them all “marble” indiscriminately, while others break them down into different categories. Below are the common types of marble flooring and their average costs.
|Marble Type||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|White Marble||$3 - $10||$7 - $20|
|True Marble||$3 - $20||$7 - $30|
|Green Marble||$5 - $20||$9 - $30|
|Breccia||$10 - $30||$14 - $40|
|Quartzite||$10 - $30||$14 - $40|
|Limestone Marble||$10 - $30||$14 - $40|
|Onyx||$15 - $50||$19 - $60|
White marble costs between $3 and $10 a sq.ft., depending on the color. The average cost of this material installed averages $7 to $20 a sq.ft. White marble may actually be a true marble, quartzite, or a dense and highly polished limestone. White marble is rarely completely white, the only completely white “marble” is a quartzite called Thassos. Other white marbles have a white or light gray background with gray or gold veining. If you choose this marble, it may stun if struck. High-heeled shoes, sharp impacts from dropped objects, or heavy boots can leave an unremovable bruise in the marble. This shows up as a whiter mark against the rest of the floor.
On average, true marble costs between $3 and $20 a sq.ft. Installed, it costs between $7 and $30 a sq.ft. True marble is made from metamorphosed limestone. It does not contain quartz, serpentine, or other materials common in other stones, but it can contain some mineral content, influencing its color. True marble can be many colors but is most often white, gray, black, gold, or a combination, depending on what deposits may have been in the soil. It can etch if it comes in contact with an acid, meaning the finish may be stripped off. It is also porous and can stain, so it must be sealed regularly.
The cost of green marble flooring ranges from $5 to $20 a sq.ft. Installed, green marble costs $9 to $30 a sq.ft. Green marble is not actually marble, but it resembles other marbles with varying amounts of veining. Instead, this stone is a mixture of serpentine and calcite, and while it is a metamorphic stone, it behaves differently. Green marble’s serpentine content can spall or become scaly and flaky if it absorbs water. It must be installed with an epoxy-based setting material and sealed regularly. Serpentine makes the material more durable and less likely to stain and etch than true marble, so it holds well long-term when installed and sealed properly.
The cost of breccia is $10 to $30 a sq.ft. for the material and $14 to $40 a sq.ft. installed. Breccia is a beautiful, unique, and highly unusual stone. It is not marble but is frequently sold as one. Rather than being made of one material, breccia is a mixture of several stones. Some of the stones may be metamorphic and others igneous or sedimentary. Breccias are considered sedimentary rocks, but because they can contain harder stones, they are more durable sedimentary stones like limestone. They can have a high polish and are often beautiful shades of pink, red, and gold.
Quartzites cost $10 to $30 a sq.ft. for the material. Installed, it costs $14 to $40 a sq.ft. Many quartzites are labeled as marbles, but this is changing as the material gains recognition. Quartzite is a metamorphic stone made of metamorphic quartz rather than calcite. This gives the quartzite superior durability and stain-resistance to true marble and a glittery appearance. Azul Celeste, Thassos, and Ajax are quartzites that are sometimes sold as marbles. They are much more durable, but they may have similar veining and coloration to marbles like Bianco Carrara.
The cost of limestone flooring ranges from $10 to $30 a sq.ft. The cost of limestone flooring installed is $14 to $40 a sq.ft. Limestone is a sedimentary stone made of calcite. Many marbles start as limestone and are transformed with heat and pressure. Most limestones are soft, cannot be polished, and do not do well long-term on flooring. However, some limestones are hard enough to hold a polish and can be used as flooring. These are called limestone marbles and include Jerusalem Stone and Crema Luna. All limestone should be sealed with an impregnator designed for highly porous materials to help it stay looking its best.
Onyx costs between $15 and $50 a sq.ft. Installed, onyx averages $19 to $60 a sq.ft. Onyx is a different-looking stone with a translucent surface, but it is chemically a marble. Onyx comes in many colors, including gold, red, green, and blue, and all can have great swirling veins and mixed colors. Because onyx is translucent, it must be installed on a white smoothed-out setting material because shadows and darker setting materials can be seen through it.
Marbles come in an incredible range of colors and vein patterns. Some are more subtle with thin veins and neutral color combinations. Others are wild with vivid colors and significant color changes. With the exception of green - created by serpentine - the color of the marble does not have a significant impact on its durability or performance. However, some colors may be more rare than others, making them more costly. Other materials may be much more readily available and popular, making them less expensive. Below are some of the most popular marbles and their average costs per square foot.
|Color||Average Cost (Materials Only)||Average Cost (Installed)|
|Bianco Carrara||$3 - $7||$7 - $17|
|Botticino||$5 - $8||$9 - $18|
|Crema Marfil||$8 - $10||$12 - $20|
|Ming Green||$10 - $12||$14 - $22|
|Calacatta||$10 - $20||$14 - $30|
|Nero Marquina||$10 - $20||$14 - $30|
|Emperador||$10 - $20||$14 - $30|
|Thassos||$15 - $20||$19 - $30|
|Azul Celeste||$15 - $30||$19 - $40|
The cost of Bianco Carrara marble is $3 to $7 a sq.ft. Installed, it costs $7 to $17 a sq.ft. Bianco Carrara is one of the most common and well-known marbles. It is quarried in Carrara, Italy and has been shipped all over the world for decades. This is a white to light gray stone with a darker gray vein. This vein may be thick or thin, diffused, or pronounced, depending on the lot. Carrara contains a high iron content, so it may rust when exposed to water. This causes the stone to turn a yellow/brown color with time.
Botticino marble costs between $5 and $8 a sq.ft. It costs $9 to $18 a sq.ft. installed. Botticino is also an Italian stone, ranging from beige to taupe. It has a thick white vein with a marshmallow cream appearance, but sometimes, it can be thinner. It becomes Botticino Fiora if it is cut across the vein, and the veins turn into tiny white clumps resembling flowers.
Crema Marfil costs $8 to $10 a sq.ft. Installed, it costs between $12 and $20 a sq.ft. Crema Marfil is often prized for its color. This stone is a true creamy beige with subtle brown and white veins. It may look mottled or have a solid background with slight veins. Crema Marfil is prone to fissures on the stone’s surface. Polished Crema Marfil often does not show these fissures, but honing or tumbling brings them out. These fissures are not considered defects in the stone, but they may weaken it over time..
Ming Green prices range from $10 to $12 a sq.ft. Installed, it costs $14 to $22 a sq.ft. Ming Green is a beautiful serpentine marble and very popular for its pastel green tones. This stone ranges from light blue-green to light yellow-green, depending on the lot. Both can have white veins or a swirling white mottled appearance. The amount of white can also vary from lot to lot. Like all serpentines, Ming Green can spall. When this happens, the stone develops a scaly texture like a snake. Install it with epoxy-based setting materials and grouts to avoid this.
Calacatta marble costs between $10 and $20 a sq.ft. for the material and $14 and $30 a sq.ft. installed. Calacatta is a white marble with a very bright white background. It has gray and gold veins of varying amounts. Some Calacattas are prized for being very white with subtle veins, but others have more gold. These may be known as Calacatta White or Calacatta Gold, depending on the color predominance. Often, Calacatta White may be more expensive. Calacatta stuns easily, so it should not be used in high-traffic areas.
Nero Marquina marble costs between $10 and $20 a sq.ft. Installed, it averages $14 to $30 a sq.ft. Nero Marquina is a Spanish marble with a very striking appearance. This is a black marble with dramatic white veins. Each tile may have a few veins or be covered in them. This marble is unique because it contains no other colors beyond black and white, so the veins stand out sharply. It is a popular flooring for bathrooms and foyers to make a statement. It may be paired with white marbles on occasion to create a border or a checkerboard.
Emperador marble costs between $10 and $20 a sq.ft. It costs $14 to $30 a sq.ft. installed. Emperador marble can be classified into two categories - Emperador Dark and Emperador Light. Both are brown stones with black and white veins. Emperador Dark is a very deep, dark brown rich color, making the veins stand out sharply. Emperador Light is a milk chocolate color with more subtle veining that is typically white or cream in color. They can be used alone or together to create dynamic floors.
Thassos marble costs between $15 and $20 a sq.ft. for the material and $19 to $30 a sq.ft. installed. Thassos is a Greek stone with a bright white color and glittering texture that sparkles like sugar Thassos is often called marble, but it is actually quartzite. Thassos is one of the only pure white stones, with grade A Thassos containing no other colors. Some lower grades of Thassos contain minor gray veining. Despite its bright white color, Thassos resists staining and stunning better than other white marbles.
Azul Celeste costs between $15 and $30 a sq.ft. Installed, it costs $19 to $40 a sq.ft. Azul Celeste or “Blue Sky” is also a type of quartzite. This is a very light blue stone with the same glittering texture as Thassos. It may have white, gray, or gold veining, depending on the lot, and may vary in and between each piece. The bluer the color, the higher the stone’s cost. Some lower-grade Azul Celeste may have green tones and brown areas. This is a very durable stone that does well long-term in all areas.
The cost to install marble flooring ranges from $4 to $10 a sq.ft. This cost range varies depending on several factors. Marbles that require backbuttering, are oversized, require epoxy rather than thinset mortar, or are particularly fragile cost more per square foot to install. For example, a 12” Bianco Carrara marble may cost $4 a sq.ft. to install, while a 24” Bianco Carrara, any type of green marble, or some very fragile Crema Marfil may cost $10 a sq.ft. to install.
While there are a few differences in installation based on the marble type and size, most marble installs similarly. All marble should have a dry layout before installation to ensure the colors blend evenly, and the material should be taken from several boxes to ensure a good color mixture. All marble needs white setting material to avoid staining and should always be sealed before grouting to prevent staining and facilitate easier cleanup.
Depending on the marble and the look you want to achieve, you may be able to have your marble installed in various patterns. Most marbles are available in 12” square tiles, usually with a polished finish. Very popular marbles, such as Bianco Carrara, may be available in a range of other sizes, from mosaics to oversized large-format tiles up to 24” square. For those marbles that are not as readily available in multiple sizes, it is sometimes possible to have your installer cut a larger tile into smaller pieces for different flooring designs. However, this increases the labor cost by about 25%.
Any time you have your flooring set in a pattern other than straight lines, this increases the cost of the project by 10% to 20%. This accounts for the added material necessary to create the pattern and additional labor.
Marble tiles can be installed in many of the same patterns as other floor tiles. Some of the more popular tile patterns include:
A straight-set floor pattern is made from square tiles set in straight lines. This is one of the most common flooring layouts and the easiest and least expensive to install. This pattern starts with a full tile in the center of the wall farthest from the door you enter the room and moves outward evenly. Straight-set patterns may have a border set one tile in or be combined with other patterns, such as straight-set for two rows around the room, followed by a border, and tiles set in a diamond pattern in the center of the border.
In a diamond pattern or diagonal set pattern, square tiles are turned at a 45º angle. This is a good pattern for long thin rooms and hallways because it draws the eye to the corners and makes the area seem wider. It is also a nice pattern to place in the center of a border for a dramatic flooring effect. The diamond pattern requires cuts on nearly every tile on the perimeter. This increases the amount of material and labor involved.
Step patterns are made of two different sizes of tile, one large and one small. Ideally, the smaller tile is at least half of the larger size, but the size difference can be as great as a 12” and 2” tile. In this pattern, the large tile is set straight, and the small tile is set at the top of it so that it appears as if the small tile is stepping off the larger. The entire pattern moves diagonally in rows across the floor. This is a good pattern if you want to combine two marble colors, such as Bianco Carrara and Ming Green.
A cut-corner pattern is a classic traditional marble floor pattern usually using two colors and sizes. One to four corners are cut off the larger tiles, and the smaller tiles are installed in their place. An octagon-and-dot pattern is an example of a cut corner, where all four corners have been clipped to turn a square tile into an octagon, with small tiles at each corner. This pattern looks best with light and dark tiles, such as Crema Marfil and Nero Marquina.
A running bond is an offset tile pattern. It can be made with square or rectangular tiles. The first row is laid straight, and the second row starts a half tile in so that the grout lines are offset by half a tile across the floor. When this pattern is laid out in rectangular tiles, it becomes a subway pattern. This pattern works best in modern homes, particularly if you use oversized 12” x 24” marble tiles.
A herringbone floor is usually made up of smaller rectangular tiles, either 3” x 6” or 6” x 12”, but it can be created from rectangular tiles of any size. This is a very decorative floor pattern, good for installing inside borders to create a statement in foyers and entryways. The rectangular tiles are laid at angles to one another, creating the classic herringbone look. Not all marbles come in 3” x 6” or 6”x 12”, so many installers cut the tiles to these sizes, increasing the project cost.
Any tile measuring 2” or smaller is considered a mosaic. Most marbles are available in ⅝” and 1” mosaics installed in 12” sheets. They may also be put together to create decorative and innovative patterns with multiple colors. This can create a mural or medallion, and each color and pattern of stone has custom pricing.
The finish of your marble refers to the top surface and how it looks and feels. Marble tiles can be given a high polish, a smooth matte finish, or tumbled, chiseled, flamed, or waxed with a Tuscan finish. Not all marble tiles are available in all finishes. The default finish for marble tiles is polished or glossy, but some more popular marbles come in other finishes. Extremely popular marbles like Bianco Carrara are often found in all finishes. Stones like Crema Marfil that do not handle honing or tumbling without causing natural fissures to become very apparent may only be found in polished finishes. Below are the most common finishes you can find marble tiles in.
Polished is the default finish and most common for stone tiles and marble. In a polished finish, the surface of the marble is ground with increasingly finer grit until it has a glossy finish. Polished marble reflects light, disguising minor imperfections like pits and fissures. This finish also brightens the space they are installed in, making dark or smaller rooms seem brighter and larger. The stone must have a certain strength to hold a polish, so many limestones cannot be polished because they are too soft.
A honed finish is a flat matte surface finish, while the edges of the tile have squared, straight corners. Many marbles are available with a hone, but honing shows off faults or issues in the stone’s surface. Pits and fissures not visible under a polish are suddenly very apparent. Fragile stones should not be honed. Some stones may also receive a high-hone finish. This finish is between honed and polished. Limestones that cannot be polished are sometimes given a high hone to give them a slight sheen.
Tumbling involves putting the marble tiles into a drum with pieces of concrete and sand along with water. The tumbling action rounds the corners of the stone and antiques the finish. Tumbled marble has visible fissures, pits, and occasionally broken corners. Because large tiles may break during the process, some stones are only available tumbled in smaller sizes. Larger tumbled stones are often much more expensive. Tumbling dulls the stone’s surface, making it lighter with a softer chalky finish. A color-enhancing sealer must be applied to return the stone to its brighter color.
Chiseled finishes are less common. This finish starts with a honed surface tile without the clean edges. The edges are antiqued, often by hand, giving the tile the appearance of a tumbled edge. Some larger tiles that cannot survive tumbling may be chiseled to get the rustic appearance. Unlike tumbling, chiseling does not dull the stone’s color, so a color-enhancing sealer is unnecessary.
A flamed marble floor has a rough sandpaper-like texture. Not all stones are available flamed, but it is a common finish for green marbles like Ming Green. This technique heats the stone until the top layers flake away, resulting in a rough but even surface. The heat strips off the weaker particles of the stone, so only the hardest parts remain. Flamed marble is less likely to etch or show wear. The stone must be strong enough to handle this finish, so some softer marbles cannot tolerate it.
Many popular marbles, such as Bianco Carrara and Botticino, can be found with a Tuscan finish, a softly undulating surface covered in wax. This makes the tile soft and smooth underfoot, and it requires less maintenance. Tuscan stones are pre-sealed before being waxed, so they do not require regular sealing. The Tuscan finish does not have sharp clean edges but softer corners and edges. This finish is available in many sizes, from mosaic to 16”.
Depending on the seller, you may find your marble flooring is given a grade or classification. These classifications are designed to help determine if the material is of good quality or designed for a specific area, such as floors or walls.
All marbles are graded A through D. What gives a stone this classification depends on its quality and color consistency.
Grade A marbles are consistent in color, higher-quality, and more durable than other stones. They can also be more expensive than the same stone with a B, C, or D rating.
A rating of D can mean a marble is weak, contains fissures, or does not support weight. However, it can mean it is not consistent in color. Stones like Verde Luna and Giallo Sahara are durable beautiful marbles that often get ratings of C or D. This is because both stones’ colors vary tremendously from piece to piece, making it difficult to achieve consistency.
For this reason, you may need to inspect the stones with ratings from B through D. It may be possible to find a very durable and good-quality stone that makes a beautiful statement in your home without the typical coloration found in that marble, allowing you to save money.
Marble is considered a high-maintenance material compared to other floors, but the amount of maintenance required varies from marble to marble. Most marble is porous and absorbs moisture, resulting in stains from spills or tracked-in water. In some cases, high humidity can harm some marbles like Bianco Carrara, which may contain high levels of iron. Marble should be regularly sealed with a silicone-based impregnating sealer.
Even with a sealer, marble may still stain or etch. Wipe spills as soon as they are noticed. Always clean the marble with a pH-neutral cleaner to avoid etching or discoloring the surface. Use a soft cloth or mop whenever possible. Never use a vacuum with a beater bar because this can scratch the marble. Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes on white marble floors because they may stun or bruise the stone.
Marble is a beautiful flooring material that dates back centuries. It can be found in quarries around the world and is used in homes of all styles. Marble comes in many colors, styles, and finishes and can enhance the appearance of any room. In many instances, marble can also increase the home’s value and make it more attractive.
However, marble has drawbacks that must be considered to ensure it is going to be the right fit for your home. No two marble types are exactly alike, which includes individual pieces of marble and different color lots. This can result in a floor that does not conform to your expectations in color, veining, or finish. Marble is higher in maintenance than many materials. It can scratch and etch easily, some marbles may stun or develop cracks, and they require regular sealing and special cleaners to stay looking their best.
Marble is beautiful and versatile, but it also has a tendency to be high maintenance. For this reason, many people who want a lower-maintenance tile that mimics marble may prefer porcelain. Porcelain tile is a man-made material created from compressed clay dust fired to very high temperatures. It can be polished to appear like marble or have the look of tumbled or honed marble.
While marble can etch, scratch, and stain, porcelain resists all these, making it lower maintenance. Porcelain is also more consistent in color and pattern than marble because it is man-made. However, marble is available in many more colors and patterns and has a natural appearance that cannot be duplicated.
Polished porcelain is completely non-porous, meaning it can achieve polished finishes even more reflective than marble. However, this makes the material very slippery underfoot. While marble appears slick underfoot, the pores help grab your feet, particularly when wet, making it much less slick than porcelain. The two materials have similar costs, but porcelain tends to have lower total costs because it is less rare than some exotic marbles. Below are the average costs to install both types.
|Material||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Porcelain||$2,000 - $4,400|
|Marble||$2,000 - $5,000|
When looking for a natural flooring material to enhance your home’s value and beauty, marble and wood flooring make great choices. These two materials can enhance any area and come in a range of colors, textures, and styles to complement any residence or interior design.
Both materials have been used for centuries around the world to create durable and long-lasting floors. Of the two, marble is higher in maintenance than wood, requiring special cleaners and sealers. Marble is also harder and colder underfoot than wood.
Wood is generally the more expensive material, but there is overlap, depending on the flooring you choose. Below is the average cost to install both floors.
|Flooring Material||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Marble||$2,000 - $5,000|
|Wood||$2,800 - $6,400|
Marble should not be installed over an existing floor because it could lead to cracks. If you have old flooring already installed, you need to remove it. This costs from $1.50 to $2.50 a sq.ft., depending on what was previously down. In some cases, you can do this job yourself, but you may have to pay disposal fees.
Your installer may likely install a cement backer board over your subfloor before installing the marble. This may need additional work if your subfloor is in bad condition. The cost of subfloor repair averages $250 to $750 per 150 sq.ft.
Many border materials can be used with a marble floor. You can use a contrasting marble, ready-made marble border tiles, mosaic borders, or other materials, such as wood. Borders cost $1 to $30 a linear foot, depending on the material.
Marble costs typically range from $3 to $50 per sq.ft. for the material and $7 to $60 a sq.ft. installed. Costs range depending on the marble type and its availability.
There are many different marble types, which can change how well they do when used as flooring. Many marbles make excellent floor choices, while others need to be in a low-use area. Always check the rating on the type of marble you are considering to be sure.
While the maintenance of a particular marble varies by type, marble is considered a high-maintenance material because it requires sealing and pH-neutral cleaners. Most people find they can get into a good routine of sealing yearly and using only marble cleaners, making the floor easier to maintain.
A well-maintained marble floor can last for centuries. Marble is a natural material that can and will change appearance over time. This is normal and an expected part of the floor.
Marble is made of calcite and is naturally soft and porous. It can scratch or etch under certain circumstances. This can include tracking in salt and sand or using a vacuum with a beater bar attachment.