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The Great Bathroom Tile Debate: Marble vs. Porcelain


Marble Vs. Porcelain Bathroom Tile Floor
Marble is more popular than ever in bathrooms, and this shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, marble is versatile and beautiful. However, it can also be incredibly expensive. Because of the high cost, more designers are cautioning homeowners that porcelain tile might be a better option. After all, marble may be elegant, but it isn’t perfect.

Stain resistance

Most people associate stains with just food and drink, but that’s an oversimplification. Hair dye, cosmetics, and even some lotions have the ability to stain porous surfaces, and marble is very porous. Properly sealing the marble every six months can mitigate this problem, but it won’t eliminate it. Additionally, higher quality marble is likely, but not guaranteed, to be less porous.

Tile, on the other hand, is far less porous. This isn’t to say tile can’t stain too, but it’s significantly more difficult. Rather, it’s the grout lines of porcelain tile that are more at risk to absorb color. Again, the way to avoid this is through proper sealing.

Rust Avoidance

It may sound strange, but some marble can rust. This is because of the iron content in the stone. When the iron concentration is high enough, the marble can start to rust after it’s been exposed to water. This is especially a problem in bathrooms; after all, it won’t take long for water exposure to happen in a room with showers, sinks, tubs, and toilets.

At the beginning, the rust on marble looks like yellow patches. This yellowing can frequently be removed, but it will likely come back. Higher quality marble is considered less likely to rust. Porcelain tile, on the other hand, cannot rust.


Don’t assume that rock is harder than porcelain tile. Sure, while porcelain dishes aren’t known for withstanding heavy forces, porcelain tile is. Drop things all you want because this flooring will be hard to break. Marble isn’t exactly a pushover, but it is significantly softer than porcelain tile. After all, it’s this soft quality that makes marble the perfect material for statues.


Marble is significantly rarer than the materials needed to make porcelain tile. Additionally, mining it can leave a rather large carbon footprint behind. That’s not to say that a home with marble is automatically stamped as not being eco-friendly, but it is wise to do some research on the supplier you’re considering.

If you’re dead set on marble, then there’s probably no alternative that can give you exactly the same look. Just be ready for a lot more maintenance than other bathroom flooring options bring.

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