When undergoing my first bathroom renovation, I was seduced by the elegance of marble flooring. It gave the existing drab, pink 1980’s tiled bathroom a sophisticated, modern look. I paired Bianco Carrara tile, accented with Emperador, with dark wood cabinetry and an antique, six-foot, hand-carved mirror from India. “Absolutely gorgeous!” were among the many compliments my new bathroom received.

Fast forward ten years later, and I am regretting the choice of marble for my bathroom flooring. Don’t get me wrong, the wood and marble are still a timeless combination, but the years have taken a toll on the marble, which fails to shine with the brilliance and style of earlier years.

Marble Flooring is Porous

Because marble is a natural stone, its highly porous nature absorbs acidic liquids and can become a nightmare for upkeep and maintenance. As suggested by the manufacturer, the stone was sealed and cleaned with regularity, but the staining due to urine around the toilet (did I mention it is a guest bathroom?) and etching due to hard water and soap products have decreased the luster of what has now become blotched.

Marble Flooring is Slippery

To further compound my issues, wet marble creates a hazard condition when you step out of the shower onto the bare stone floor. No truer words of warning were “Slippery When Wet” than if you have a polished marble bathroom floor. On a positive note, the fact that the marble stone has proven waterproof on both the shower walls and the floor is a testament to how quickly water evaporates on the surface.

The Attributes of Marble Flooring

Attribute Marble
Durability Yes. The look is timeless and will never become aged like laminates.
Slip Resistant when Wet No. A shiny marble floor becomes dangerous when you add water to the mix.
Low Maintenance No. High absorption rate means it stains easily. You must reseal each year and clean regularly.
Waterproof Yes. Making it ideal for shower walls and bathroom floors.
Cost Effective Depends. The range for different grades varies. Not the most expensive, but not the least expensive, either.
Elegant Yes. Extremely elegant, and the primary draw of this stone.

 

Marble Flooring is Not Easy to Maintain

This is not to suggest that etching and other stains cannot be removed, it is just not the type of labor that I imagined in the upkeep of a bathroom floor. I have always been a once-a-week “set it and forget it” type of person on the house cleaning front, so anything other than this is considered hard labor.

So, now I must invest in marble etch remover and specialty stone care products and use them with a frequency that I had not anticipated. In parallel, though, I am also considering changing the flooring to something requiring less maintenance.

Furthermore, I can attest to the durability of marble as I have yet to see any crack or divots in the stone compared to my Mexican Saltillo tile in my entryway and dining room – but that’s another article.