Your next flooring project is around the corner. It might be that you want a new tile floor for your living room, your kitchen, the bathroom, the porch, or your bedroom. Well, congratulations and good luck with your project. But if you clicked over this title is because you narrowed your tile choices to marble vs porcelain.
Today, we decided to embrace the challenge and give you a detailed but straightforward analysis of the “marble vs porcelain floors” dilemma. We aim to showcase the pros, cons, comparisons, and costs of each flooring material. Grab your potato chips, and let’s dive into our topic.
Which Is the Best Option Between Marble vs Porcelain Tiles
When comparing your tile options beyond appearance, there are important features to think about, like durability, ongoing maintenance, costs, proper uses, water absorption, stain resistance, and others.
Marble and porcelain tiles are two popular materials, and both can be used in your next flooring project. That’s why we’ll go over the following aspects when evaluating these tile types:
- Durability and toughness
- Commercial usage
- Versatility and design
- Water absorption
- Maintenance and repair
- Resistance to stains
What Are Porcelain Tiles?
Porcelain tiles are human-made. They are a finer and superior version of ceramic tiles. Porcelain tiles are manufactured using white clay, finely-ground sand, and feldspar added to the mixture.
These tiles are fired at a higher temperature than ceramic, which makes porcelain tiles denser and super hardwearing.
What Are Marble Tiles?
Marble is a beautiful, unique & natural stone. It’s not manufactured by man. Earth created marble through heat and pressure. Marble is quarried and cut into blocks, slabs, and tiles for residential and commercial use.
Which Tile Material Is Most Durable?
Porcelain is one of the toughest flooring options available. Thanks to the manufacturing process that porcelain undergoes by being heated in a kiln, porcelain comes out very hard and durable.
The strength and durability of porcelain are enhanced when it’s installed following the best construction practices. With proper installation, porcelain becomes the perfect choice for any room in your house from your bathroom to your porch.
Porcelain is a hard, dense, and solid flooring material so it can withstand heavy use over time without showing signs of wear.
On the other hand, marble is a relatively soft and porous stone tile. It can be scratched and scraped. Thus, it requires sealing to mitigate damage.
And the bad news is that scratches can’t be repaired. The only solution is to replace the scraped tile with a new one (and good luck with that since there are no two equal marble tiles on the planet).
Winner: Porcelain Tiles
Commercial Use Between Marble vs Porcelain Tiles
You can use porcelain for commercial settings like high traffic halls, offices, lobbies, etc.
Most reputable lines of porcelain tiles are rated for use by the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) abrasion test.
In a blog published by BuildDirect, an online platform for the home improvement industry, they explain the PEI rating simply.
For commercial use, they recommend the use of the hardest groups of porcelain tiles, which are:
- Group 4 or PEI 4: These are tiles that can be installed in buildings with regular traffic. You can install them in restaurants, hotels, lobbies, and corridors.
- Group 5 or PEI 5: This is the ideal tile option for areas with heavy traffic, moisture, and dirt. Porcelain tiles with a rating of 5 are great for shopping malls, public institutions, airports, swimming pools, among others.
Now talking about marble tiles, they do have some share when it comes to commercial use.
Its wavy veined patterns and multiple colors options make marble one of the best decorative construction materials. Marble is commonly used in architecture, sculpture, and design.
But since marble tiles are brittle, they are prone to chipping under the wrong conditions or high foot traffic.
Marble floors are not tough enough for heavily trafficked buildings.
So, we have a winner.
Winner: Porcelain Tiles
Porcelain tiles take a 2-0 series lead. Is this the end for marble tiles. Can they make a comeback?
Versatility and Design
When it comes to design flexibility, porcelain tiles are a great flooring choice for homeowners. Right now, we’ll tell you why.
Porcelain tiles accurately imitate other flooring materials. These days, you can find many printed designs and patterns that will make your house look awesome.
You can find porcelain tile designs simulating the look of most hardwood floors like Red Oak, White Oak, Maple, Hickory, Black Walnut, and Cherry.
In addition, porcelain tiles can mimic natural stones like granite and even marble. What??? We feel betrayed.
So, visually, porcelain tiles can trick the eye and make it harder to know if it’s the real thing.
But bad news. Since in this blog we’re original, we only root for the real thing.
Marble tiles don’t need to copy cat other floors. Instead, its uniqueness, striking beauty, and opulence secured this win.
Marble is the real thing. And it can exponentially boost the appeal of your house, leaving anyone amazed by its sparkly beauty.
Some of the common types of marble floors are:
- Crema Marfil
It is hard to pick from such beautiful marble floors.
If you want to add opulence, class, and some luxury to your floors, click to learn about the 6 types of marble flooring every homeowner should consider.
Ahh… back to the game.
So, marble tiles win this round.
Winner: Marble Tiles
Water Absorption: Are Marble Tiles More Impervious than Porcelain?
Well, let’s begin talking about porcelain tiles. They have a harder and less porous surface than marble tiles. Meaning that porcelain tiles are more water-resistant than marble tiles.
Marble is porous, so it’s a bad idea to let water puddles on the surface for hours since it can penetrate your stone floor, staining it or discoloring it.
Marble vs Porcelain: Which Is Better for Bathrooms and Kitchens?
Well, you already know the answer. We just want to give you the details.
Marble is not a practical choice for bathrooms and kitchens because when the floor gets wet, it’s highly slippery.
You don’t want any falls or accidents to happen. So, we advise you to choose porcelain tiles for your kitchen or bathroom floor.
These come in many anti-slippery finishes, guaranteeing the safety of your loved ones.
Winner: Porcelain Tiles
Maintenance and Repair
When comparing marble vs porcelain, you need to take into account their maintenance and repair requirements.
What we’re going to tell you now is not a secret, but still, it’s worth mentioning.
Marble is a natural stone, and like many other stone tiles, it has higher maintenance standards.
Marble floors require regular cleaning. For instance, you should dry mop your stone tile daily. This will help keep dirt, dust & grit off your floors. And as a result, your marble floors will be shiny and without scratches.
One important thing: NEVER VACUUM MARBLE FLOORS.
Why? Vacuuming can easily scratch your marble floor. So, if you want scratch-free and shiny marble floors, you’ll have to clean and mop them regularly.
What happens if a marble tile gets cracked? Uhm, interesting question.
The uniqueness of marble tiles is marketed as “you won’t find two exact marble tiles in the world.” Well, sure, we love the uniqueness of marble, but when a marble tile gets cracked, it’s tough to find a replacement tile.
Now, when talking about porcelain tiles, the story is different.
A porcelain floor is easier to clean, and its hard-wearing surface can resist most types of cleaning products.
What happens if a porcelain tile gets cracked? Well, it’s easier to remove and replace a porcelain tile.
And yes, “you could find two exact porcelain tiles in the world.” What we advise homeowners when installing porcelain tiles is to save an extra box or two to make color matching easier.
Due to lower maintenance, cleaning, and repair standards, we’ll give this win to porcelain.
Winner: Porcelain Tiles
The score now is 4-1, leading the score porcelain tiles. We’ll wrap up this match soon.
Resistance to Stains
This is the last aspect you, as a homeowner, should consider when having the marble vs porcelain dilemma.
Let’s start with marble tiles. They are soft and porous, so they tend to absorb liquids. If you spill coffee, wine, ketchup, mustard, or any other pigmented liquid/sauce, you need to clean it as soon as possible. Keep some soft and absorbent towels handy for this purpose.
Since marble floors aren’t resistant to stains, you need to hire a stone professional as your consultant. He/she will help you choose a high-quality stone tile and advise you on the necessary maintenance.
Now, when it comes to porcelain tiles, they are highly resistant to stains.
We advise you to buy glazed porcelain tiles. The glaze is a layer of glass that creates the ultimate shield against staining.
So, that means that spills don’t have to be cleaned right away, and it also means you won’t have to worry about staining at all.
Winner: Porcelain Tiles
Final Score: Porcelain 5, Marble 1
Final Thoughts on the Marble vs Porcelain Dilemma!
After this “vs,” it may seem that porcelain tiles are quite superior. But that is not the case.
Marble floors’ beauty, opulence, and uniqueness will never be matched.
What this “vs” tells you is that porcelain tile floors are easier to take care of and clean. No wonder why marble lost this match. So, here we’ll leave you our finals thoughts.
If you are someone who can afford the maintenance requirements of marble, go for it. You won’t regret it.
But if you don’t have time for providing the right upkeep to marble floors, you better choose porcelain tiles since they demand less maintenance.
Take care. Till next time.