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Marble Tile FAQ

BuildDirect is pleased to provide answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on a wide variety of our products. If your questions are not answered on this page, or you simply wish to speak with a Customer Service Representative, our customers can contact us toll free from anywhere in North America at 1-877-631-2845 or by email at customerservice@builddirect.com

Q. What is marble?

A. Marble is a metamorphic rock formed when a carbonate rock (either limestone or dolostone) is exposed to high temperatures and intense pressure. The heat and pressure cause the recrystallization of the original carbonate mineral grains, which forms a denser rock. The characteristic swirls and veins found in marble are usually due to the various mineral impurities (clay, sand, silt, iron oxides or chert), which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone.

Q. What areas are most appropriate for marble tile?

A. Marble is an extremely versatile natural stone that has been used as a building material for centuries. Ideal for foyers, hallways, kitchens, and bathrooms, its uniquely varied patterns and colours give it a timeless appeal. Due to its vulnerability to acidic substances, it is not recommended for kitchen countertops.

Q. What sizes of marble tile are available from BuildDirect?

A. Standard marble tile sizes include: 12”x12”x3/8”, 18’x18”x1/2”, 12”x24”x1/2”, and 24”x24”x5/8”.

Q. How durable is marble?

A. Marble has been counted on for centuries by cultures across the globe to last as flooring, wall tile, and other surfaces. Although marble is susceptible to acidic substances and metal abrasion, it is a surface that can be counted on to look great for years, given that a cleaning and maintenance regimen is incorporated to help it retain its original appearance. Sealing the surface of marble with an impregnator can also help it last, and can make maintenance much easier.

Q. What do I need to consider when buying marble?

A. Make sure that your choice in marble tile has been appropriately gauged (its edges are perfectly square) and calibrated (the back of each tile is made entirely flat). This will make it easier to install from tile to tile. When you order marble tile, expect color variation. This is a natural product, the color of which has been determined randomly depending on which mineral content makes up each batch when the marble is formed.

You can use this subtle color variation to your advantage when it comes time for a trial layout. Open all boxes in your shipment and see the range of color variation that is in your particular batch. This is a great way to determine what you want in terms of overall look. This also leads to a finished marble project that is unique to your installation.

Q. Can I purchase just one box of tile before I place my full order?

A. We’re unable to sell individual boxes of tile due to shipping costs. The cost to safely ship one box of tile can be more than five times the amount of the actual tile.

To see our tiles in person before you buy, check out our free sample program. We’ll send you up to five free samples right to your doorstep. No credit card required. Also, we offer a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, which means if you aren’t completely satisfied with your tile prior to installation, you can return it for a full refund within 30 days of delivery.

Q. What about samples?  Will they match my order?

A. Samples are a great way of finding out if the marble you’re interested in is what you’re really looking for. Since there will always be variation in terms of both color and surface pattern with this natural stone, a sample should be viewed in the broadest terms only. This means that the colors you see in your sample are a very general guide as to how the marble in your order will look. Aside from this, a sample offers ideas about textures, weight, and durability before you buy. In this, ordering samples is always a great idea. If samples are available for the product you are interested in, you can request a sample directly from our website. We will send you up to five samples for free with no credit card required.

Q. Are cracks and pits to be expected?

A. Minute crack-like patterns in marble are a feature of the stone. Sealing your marble is a great way to make sure it stands up to foot traffic and moisture. Otherwise, what is referred to as the veining in marble tile is due to the various minerals that have become trapped in the body of the stone over millions of years, formed by underground water sources; this accounts for what appears to be liquid-like patterns, which makes marble tile such an attractive addition to a property.

Q. Are sealers really necessary?

A. Absolutely. Marble is a porous material, which means that any liquids which spill onto the surface tend to leech into the body of the marble. This can negatively affect how your marble will look over time. A sealer, or an impregnator as it is also known, can make sure that any materials remain on the surface of the marble, until you clean them off, of course. This is the best way to make sure that your marble retains its original appearance for as long as possible. Talk to a BuildDirect Product Expert about which products to use, and how often you need to re-seal your marble tile. Always read the labels of the products you buy, take safety precautions where necessary, and follow instructions carefully.

Q. What’s the best way to keep marble tile clean?

A. The best way to keep marble clean is to remove dirt, grit, and other materials that are tracked in from outdoors. Many of these substances can cause minute scratches on the surface of your marble, which can become noticeable over time. So, it’s best to make sure that the surface of the marble is clear with a damp cloth, soft broom, or vacuum as regularly as you can. Clean up liquid spills immediately, particularly if they are acidic in nature. Fruit juice is particularly problematic, as is coffee and red wine because of their tendency to stain. Even if you’ve sealed your marble, it’s a good idea not to take any chances. Clear spills right away. Don’t use bleach, vinegar, or any harsh acidic-based cleaners as these will degrade the surface of your marble over time.

Q. What’s the best way of removing stains?

A. If a stain occurs on your marble tile, cleaning it up is a fairly simple procedure. The same reason marble is susceptible to staining is the same reason stains are straight forward to remove – marble is porous. A procedure called ‘poulticing’ is a great way to remove stains because it draws the stain up from your marble and into another material – a mixture of a reducing agent soaked into a cloth or paper towel is the most basic variety of poultice. The best methods should always be measured against the kind of stain you have. Ask a BuildDirect Product Expert for advice on what procedure to use based on the type of material that has stained your marble.

Q. Can marble be repaired if it’s damaged?

A. Yes. Ask a BuildDirect Product Expert about which products will work best for your marble repair. Most often, an epoxy glue or filler will be used. Wiping down any broken pieces with acetone to remove all foreign materials is the first step in making sure that they re-bond with the rest of the tile. Make sure to clear all bonding agents from the surface of the marble tile. Be sure to apply the right amount of pressure for the right amount of time. When in doubt, ask a BuildDirect Product Expert, and always read the labels of the products you buy.