A properly installed marble tile floor is not only beautiful, it creates an opulent and elegant feel like no other tile can. With its vast shiny and smooth surfaces, reflections of light play across the surface creating one of the prettiest looks in the tile industry. But installing marble tile has a few tricks to it that conventional tile overlooks. Use these tips and techniques when you install your own marble tile.
One of the most common problems when dealing with marble tile is cracking. Because marble has a natural tendency to crack, if improperly installed, it will crack. The key to installing marble tile is by first installing the proper substrate. The substrate is the surface under the tile, usually concrete or wood.
Proper substrate installation is a complex issue, but can be best explained by reading my article, tile substrates to get a feel for what’s out there for substrate materials. Remember, if the substrate isn’t strong enough and flexes easily, marble tile will crack. Reinforce substrate flooring as needed prior to installation.
When flooring is humped, dipped or otherwise deformed up to 1/8″ in height or depth in a 12″ area, then a floor leveler is required. Check out my article, using floor levelers in tile work for more details on creating a level marble tile substrate.
As marble tile is ordered, it is best to allow it to acclimate to the environment it will be nominally in. Let marble tile set in its box for at least 48 hours prior to removing them from their packaging.
It is also crucial to check marble tiles for cracks as they are set. Because marble tiles almost all look cracked, visual inspection might not be enough. Use your fingernail to drag the surface of the tile. If your nail catches on a crack, you’ve got a problem tile and it should not be used.
Another common problem with marble tile installation is what is known as lippage. Lippage is when adjoining pieces of marble tile are higher or lower than each other. Even though marble tile is supposed to be uniform, it rarely is. If lippage is allowed to occur over 1/8″, cracking will eventually occur.