Marble Flooring Cost & Contractor Quotes
Our marble flooring cost guide includes detailed information regarding marble flooring prices as well as up to 4 free contractor quotes for installation.
There is nothing quite like a luxurious marble floor to give a sense of opulence and exclusivity. Yet, the installation of a marble floor doesn’t have to cost the earth. Although a marble tiled floor is more expensive than most other types of flooring, its ability to look good and last a lifetime makes it really good value for money. You don’t have to completely floor your home with marble either, thoughtful use of natural marble tiles in selected areas can be a really cost effective way of giving your home a unique sense of class.
Marble is quarried from the ground in massive slabs that can be cut into thin veneers or tiles for covering a multitude of surfaces around the home. From floors to worktops and counters, from bathroom walls to table tops, whatever surface receives a marble veneer is transformed into something special.
Geologically, marble is limestone that has been subjected to intense heat and pressure. Whereas the sedimentary rock, limestone often carries fossils of sea creatures from when the rock was laid down, the metamorphic rock marble has had all trace of fossils destroyed by the intense pressure during its formation. The different colors within marble and there are many, produce bands, swirls and other patterns within the rock, and each one is unique.
Marble has been used for thousands of years in great buildings of antiquity and the marble floors that were laid in those far-off times are still in use today.
Advantages of a marble floor
✓ Marble flooring is just one of the many types of a natural stone floor that are available for the ordinary customer today. You don’t have to be royalty or live in a temple to experience the luxuriousness of marble.
✓ It is more durable and hardwearing than wood or carpet.
✓ Every piece of marble never fails to amaze with its beautiful colors and patterns.
✓ If damaged, marble can usually be repaired easily and with very little cost, because most repairs are fixed by the addition of a drop of mineral oil followed by repolishing the surface.
✓ Every piece of marble is unique and unlike any other type of hard flooring.
✓ It can be used in conjunction with underfloor heating.
✓ Marble flooring can be a much sought after selling point when you come to sell up and move on.
✓ Whereas natural marble slabs are very difficult to fit and must be installed by a professional, marble tiles can be fitted by an amateur with basic DIY skills.
✓ It can be polished to a very high degree to give a stunning silky finish.
✓ Easy to maintain and clean.
✓ Durable and non-toxic.
✓ Does not collect dust and other allergens.
Disadvantages of a marble floor
✓ Marble flooring is very expensive when compared to most other types of floor.
✓ Marble is a porous rock so will need regular sealing to remain water resistant.
✓ It is one of the most expensive stone flooring surfaces.
✓ Although thick slabs are hard wearing, marble tiles can crack when subjected to a high point load. This means that if you drop something hard and it lands on its corner (for instance), there is a good chance that the tile will crack.
✓ Not only cracks, marble is also susceptible to scratches and chips.
✓ The slabs require installation by a professional but tiles can be done as DIY.
✓ If you haven’t got underfloor heating then the floor can be very cold in the winter.
✓ The hard surface causes echoes and can even amplify sound.
✓ Polished stone can become slippery when wet.
General tips on using stone tiles
When you choose stone as a floor covering, how do you know whether you are buying good quality or poor quality?
Stone is initially graded by the manufacturer and is given a number rating depending on the quality. Grade 1 stone shows that the samples on offer are the highest quality whereas grade 3 shows that the pieces may be damaged or otherwise of poor quality.
Stone will also have another rating which denotes how porous the sample is. Absorption levels range from the highest denoting non-vitreous to impervious which is the lowest absorption rating. As an example, the impervious stone is probably best for areas that have a lot of foot-traffic and may often be wet.
The last rating that stone will receive is its coefficient of friction. This is a number that denotes how slippery a piece of stone will be when wet. This rating is vital to understand when thinking of buying stone flooring for a bathroom, shower stall or kitchen or when thinking about a stone area surrounding the pool. A high coefficient of friction will denote that the stone has high traction and will not be slippery when wet. A low coefficient of friction denotes that the stone may be very slippery and dangerous when wet.
When the stone has been laid, it should be sealed before the joints are filled with grout. This will prevent discoloration of the stone from the cement in the grout.
Keep the floor swept so that foot traffic does not bring grit and other foreign substances indoors that will tend to wear down the stone before its time.
Always use the cleaner that is recommended by the manufacturer as any other type may react adversely with the chemicals within the stone.
Marble’s biggest competitor
What with marble slab flooring being so expensive to buy and install it is little wonder that some alternatives are available for those of us with smaller budgets.
The obvious question that springs to mind when marble slabs being quarried from the ground is what to do with the marble chips and dust that inevitably accumulates?
The answer is to mix the small marble pieces with an epoxy adhesive or grout to produce ‘man-made’ marble tiles. These are almost as good as the real things except that they cannot be polished to a perfect shine and you don’t have the colored banding that you would have with natural marble. They are however certainly a lot cheaper and a lot easier to install. The other competitor to marble flooring is to use porcelain or ceramic tiles patterned to look like marble tiles. Although at a quick glance these may look like marble, on closer inspection it is obvious that they are normal tiles and that each tile is not unique.
What type of contractor will be best?
There are specialist flooring contractors who are qualified to work with many different types of flooring, but not every flooring contractor will be able to handle laying a stone floor. If you decide to hire a specialist then look at their adverts in the phone book or online to see what types of flooring they specialize in.
If you decide not to go with a specialist flooring contractor, try to find a mason or bricklayer that is used to handling good quality stone. Once again ask if they have any experience working with marble.
Another type of contractor to try is a tiler. By this, we mean a professional ceramic tile specialist. Often these professionals will not limit themselves to ceramic tiles but will also work with quarry tiles, slate, granite, and marble.
Restoration of marble floors
Natural marble floors like all natural stones give an elegance and beauty to a house. Unfortunately when the floor becomes damaged either by a knock, stains or by etching, wear and grime the floor can lose its beauty. That is when a restoration specialist is needed.
The full cost to restore a damaged marble floor can vary depending on many different factors. If you hire a specialist contractor to come and restore your floor they will go through various steps which we can now discuss. The costs for each process is shown in the ‘Costs’ section.
Cleaning. The first step is to completely clean the area to remove any trace of oil, grit or grime. For particularly dirty floors they will apply a special cleaning chemical that will loosen grime and then be vacuumed away using a special vacuum cleaner. Sweep up any loose solids before concentrating on the stains.
The technique used to remove the stain depends on the type of stain. It may not always be clear what has caused a particular stain but by careful examination, it is usually possible to get an idea. Oil-based stains will usually darken the marble. Wipe these greasy stains with ammonia based cleaner. Biological causes of stains such as mildew or mold need to be treated with a dilute solution of bleach or ammonia in water (never mix ammonia and bleach as highly toxic fumes are produced).
Refinishing and polishing. If your floor is particularly damaged then it should only be refinished by a professional. Initially, it will be treated with a combination of various methods such as using a disk sander, polishing pads and certain abrasive chemicals. This combination will remove a thin layer from the marble to create a surface looking like new. As each stain will be different, the amount of each treatment needed is purely a matter of experience in knowing how much sanding, etching, and polishing is required.
Resealing. After the layer of stone has been removed, the next step is to reseal the surface to prevent any more liquid from soaking into the stone and to protect the shine. Resealing may need a lot more than one coat of sealer and once again this knowledge comes with experience. Make sure each coat is completely dry before applying the next one.
The cost of restoration or installation of marble flooring will depend on several factors.
The factor that is common to all construction projects is the varying cost of labor around the country.
Marble is only found in areas where limestone has been deposited, followed by intense metamorphic pressure caused by earth movements. Not only that but marble from a specific location is of a color that is unique to that area so if you want a specific color marble there is a good chance that it will have to be transported many hundreds or thousands of miles before it reaches your supplier.
Scarcity of the type of marble you require will be a large factor. Some people will want pure white which is relatively rare, as the different colors in marble represents the different mineral impurities found in the rock. So pure white marble is more expensive than some other colors.
Where you live will be a significant factor because of shipping costs.
If you intend having underfloor heating installed then you will have an extra cost.
Sometimes you may have to have electrical, plumbing or HVAC work done under the flooring before it is installed.
If you live in an older house you may be required to have asbestos testing and removal is done before any new work is carried out.
If you employ a general contractor to supervise and coordinate all the different trades then you will be paying an extra amount of 15% to 25% of the total floor price.
Any materials bought for the improvements will have sales tax added to the basic cost.
You may need permits and inspections for your new work. Check at the office that issues the permits to find out if your proposed improvements require a permit.
The level of dirt and grime build-up in a restoration project is a significant factor. The amount of ingrained staining will affect how intense the cleaning process must be. A floor that has only been installed a couple of years ago will have fewer stains than one that was installed many years ago.
The level of wear is caused by the amount of foot traffic the floor has had over the years. If there is more wear then more steps will be needed to restore the floor. The more time spent on sanding and polishing, the more costly the repair job will be.
Sometimes if a specific slab has worn more than an adjacent one, the joint between the two will be at different levels. This is referred to as ‘lippage’. The floor technician will need to grind the higher edge down until it is level with the lower edge. This process will cost approximately $1 per square foot.
Sometimes a slab or tile is so damaged that a repair will not be possible. In this case, it makes more sense to replace with new. When the technician is inspecting the job for purposes of a quotation he should be able to tell you which tiles need replacing and advise you of the extra price accordingly.
The costs to repair and install a natural marble tiled floor will vary depending on the quality and thickness of the marble as well as the color and surface area. Installation costs will vary depending on where you live as well as the availability of suitable professionals.
The costs given in this article are average and intended to give an indication of the true costs.
|Average cost for installation of natural marble tiles|
|Typical range||$900 to $2,800|
|Average cost to polish and restore marble floors|
|Typical range||$390 to $1,200|
|Average cost of marble flooring restoration per square foot|
|Cleaning||$0.50 to $1.50|
|Grinding, honing and polishing||$5 to $7|
|Powder polishing||$2 to $3|
|Crystallisation||$1 to $2|
|Resealing||$0.50 to $2|
Let’s face it restoration and replacement of damaged marble flooring is an expense that anyone could do without. In order to prevent the need for repair or replacement, just follow a few simple precautions.
✓ Sweep and vacuum the floors regularly to remove any abrasive grit and dirt.
✓ Put door mats just inside external doors so visitors can wipe their shoes.
✓ Try to have a house rule of not wearing outdoor shoes while indoors.
✓ If any liquid spills happen (even water spills) wipe them up as soon as possible.
✓ To prevent chemical spills place makeup and beauty product containers onto trays in the bathroom and bedroom.
✓ Only use cleaning materials that are recommended by the stone supplier.
✓ Do not use abrasive cleaners at all.
✓ Marble is alkaline so will be dissolved by acidic drinks and cleaning products.
✓ Wash marble floors regularly using neutral pH cleaners.
✓ Do not use soap as this can cause streaks and a build-up of film.
✓ Make sure the floor is sealed using the correct sealer and make sure the floor is resealed at the appropriate intervals as recommended by the manufacturer or supplier.
You should always make sure you have a warranty issued by the installer and the manufacturer. Be aware that the warranty will be limited as the supplier has no control over how the stone is treated after installation.
You will probably find that the warranty covers defects in the manufacture and installation but will not cover normal wear and tear, chips and cracks or stains. Warranty will not cover surface restoration as this is a way to repair damage due to wear and tear
How about DIY restoring?
So far we have talked mainly about using a specialist contractor to restore your marble floor. What happens I you either cannot afford to hire someone or if you feel confident in your DIY skills and want to do the work yourself?
Restoring a marble floor is possible to do as a DIY project, you just have to take more care in the process and follow the steps exactly. It is probably a good idea to search YouTube for instructional videos on restoring marble floors before attempting one yourself.
Often if your floor has become dull over the years, a typical homeowner will attempt to use a floor finish to try to create a shine on the surface. Do not use these as they tend to discolor stone in general, and marble in particular as well as making the surface dull. You should only use products recommended by the manufacturers to use on marble.
DIY tools and materials
- If you intend restoring the marble surface you will need to buy a few items before you start
- Polishing compound
- Polishing powder
- Surface sealant
- A polishing wheel with attachments to fit a polisher or grinding machine
- An electric polisher
- Electric grinder
You can buy kits which include all the items except the power tools, these you will have to buy separately.
The restoration kits cost between $80 and $120 and the power polisher will be between $100 to $200.
Advantages of hiring a professional vs DIY
For small jobs of restoring damaged flooring, it will be worthwhile choosing to do the work yourself. The materials you need are not expensive and you can either buy the more expensive power tools or you may be able to rent them from your local hire center. The expensive part of restoring a marble floor is the cost of labor. So you will find that if you can do the job yourself you will be able to save a lot of the total cost.
However for large damaged floors that are heavily worn you should hire a professional flooring technician. They have the specialized equipment and the training so they can do a much better job in less time than it would take you to do the work.
If you restore the floor as DIY
✓ You won’t have to pay labor charges so the job will cost less
✓ You can take your time and spread the work over several weeks, especially if you have more than one floor to do
✓ Your privacy won’t be compromised. You won’t have strangers in your home
✓ Although you won’t have any warranties for labor, you will get a product warranty from the supplier
✓ You will probably have to teach yourself new skills, even if you have good DIY skills
✓ You will have to either buy or hire the required tools
✓ As you are not a licensed professional you may have problems claiming from your insurance company for any damages done as a result of the repairs or installation
If you use a contractor
✓ The contractor will be an experienced specialist professional who will have had proper training and certification
✓ The contractor will already have the necessary tools or will hire them. Whichever option, he will already know how to use them
✓ A skilled and experienced professional floor layer will do the work efficiently and as quickly as possible
✓ The professional will ensure the work is of good quality and your house will not be a mess
✓ The specialist will know how to overcome problems that you probably didn’t even realize were there
✓ The contractor will provide guarantees for labor quality and warranties for material quality
✓ If anything happens that wasn’t expected, the contractor will know how to put things right and minimize the damage
✓ The contractor will know how to level up the floor and tiles so that the finished surface is as good as new
✓ The contractor will have sufficient insurance to cover any damages to your property and any accidents to you, your family or any other person
✓ He will have insurance cover for any accidents to his person or to any other member of the workforce
✓ If you decide to install underfloor heating at the same time as marble installation, the contractor will either be able to do this work himself or be able to subcontract the work to a suitable professional
✓ You won’t have any problems with your home insurance company, as all work will have been done by a qualified professional
What questions shall I ask a contractor?
Let’s face it, you might be the one who is paying the contractor’s wages, but the professional is the expert. Listen to what he has to say and remember that the contractor has probably had many years’ experience installing or repairing marble floors like yours. But you must equally be aware that you are the boss and you have the last word. If you don’t like some of his ideas, then say so.
Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to ask questions regarding his license and insurance, these are vital pieces of information that you must be happy with before the work starts.
After the contractor has had an inspection of the work that needs doing and measured up whatever it is he needs to measure, make sure that he gives you a full quotation in writing detailing the following points.
Scope. This is a list of all work that needs doing while the contractor is in your home.
Specifications of the marble flooring. This will be a complete list of all materials that the contractor intends to use. Obviously different materials will be necessary for the restoration work compared to materials for the installation of new marble tiles. This section is to ensure that the contractor does not specify flooring of a specific grade but actually use a flooring of a lesser grade while still charging you for the more expensive product.
Deadlines. This will be to give the customer an idea of when the contractor can start work should you accept the quotation. You should also be given an estimate of when the work is likely to finish if everything goes to plan. Although these dates can vary while the agreement is still in the quotation, as soon as the contract is agreed then dates must be confirmed.
How payment is due. You will need to know how much you are expected to pay and when each payment is due.
Depending on the size of the job, the contractor is entitled to ask for a deposit on the agreement of the contract. The deposit shows the contractor that the customer is committed to the having the work done. The deposit should not be more than about 10% to 15% of the total cost of the job.
After this, and once again depending on the size of the job, he is entitled to ask for payments staggered across the duration of the job and triggered by reaching a certain stage in the work, these are called ‘stage payments’.
The final payment of the balance will be due when the job has been completed and everything is back to normal in your home. If the job is a small restoration not expected to last for more than a week then the stage payments can be omitted, leaving just the deposit and the final balance on completion. Do not on any account pay the full amount ‘up front’ as you may end up being the victim of a scam.
If the cost of the materials are expected to account for a considerable proportion of the total job price, for example, if the customer has requested to use very expensive white marble slabs, then the contractor is entitled to ask for the full cost of the materials on the delivery of the items. This will benefit both parties because the contractor will have the materials already paid for in case there is a breakdown of communications between the customer and contractor and the contractor ceases working for the client before the work has been completed. Also the client has the security of knowing that if the contractor leaves before the job is completed then he will not take the materials away with him.
How to expedite changes within the contract. It doesn’t matter how well a construction project has been planned or how experienced the contractor says he is, often a problem occurs that involves paying out more money than was expected. Usually, the problem is something that neither the customer nor contractor would reasonably expect to happen. For example, suppose you require a new marble floor to be laid.
The contractor has no way of knowing the condition of the existing subfloor before he starts to remove the existing floor covering. The contractor would have had no choice in his quotation; he would submit a price for the worst possible case and assume that the subfloor will require a complete replacement. Unfortunately, this could overprice his quotation which would mean that you would probably not choose him.
If you did choose his quote and the condition of the subfloor was not as bad as expected then you would still be obligated to pay the overcharged quotation. Neither party really wants this. A way around this is for the contractor to submit a quotation for the basic work and then charge for anything over and above the specified scope of work at a standard hourly rate. If changes to the contract are expected then the contractor warns the client that the new work will be classed as an ‘extra’ and be charged accordingly.
Photographic log. When a contractor is working in your house while you are away, maybe at work, there may come a time when he wants to show you the condition of something. Agree with him that he can take photographs as part of a photo log so that:
- The contractor justifies spending longer than expected on a specific job
- He has reached one of the agreed ‘stage payment’ triggers points
- He wants to get on with the work but needs to prove to you when you return home that an ‘extra’ to the contract is justified
Insurance. In the quotation and on the contract the contractor must specify his insurance policy details so that you can confirm that everything is in order. He must show that he has:
- Insurance cover for damage to your property
- Insurance cover for injury and fatality for himself and his workforce
- Insurance cover for injury and fatality to you, your family and any other person
Certification. The contractor should attach a copy of his contractor’s license to the quotation and to the contract proving that he is properly registered. This will give the customer a chance to check his license details before agreeing to the quotation.
In this article, we talked about using marble as a floor covering. Marble is a very versatile material and can be very hardwearing if treated kindly. Its beauty and feeling of luxury are traded off against its porosity when coping with liquid spills and its ease of erosion when people walk through with grit, sand and much harder materials on their shoes.
Even though marble can be damaged if not looked after, it can be repaired relatively easily and if cared for, will last for many years to come.
We hope you have found something useful in this article and we thank you for reading.