Installing Marble Tile - Natural Challenges
Installing marble tile is much like installing ceramic tile. But since marble tile is a natural product, there is some variation in marble that challenges an installer. But marble's natural beauty cannot be matched since it has such a look of luxury.
A marble tile surface just looks elegant because of it's flat, polished finish. Also the natural veins and lines in the marble add character and eye appeal. Marble tile is a thin, flat piece of natural stone varying is size from 2 inches square to 24 inches square and in thickness from 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch. The edges of marble tile are usually left sharp instead of beveled.
Installing marble tile takes experience because over large surfaces variation in the surface of the tile distracts from the appearance. Tiles are manufactured to close tolerances but because of the heat from grinding the tile surfaces, there is variation from tile to tile.
The two most common problems with installing marble are cracking of tiles and variation of the height of adjoining tiles, called lippage. Lippage is uneven tiles. Cracking can occur at several points in the life of the tile, but it can occur after installation.
Common causes of problems are uneven and unstable base surfaces. Marble tiles that are not evenly supported over the whole area of the tile will likely crack. Marble is naturally veined but should not be cracked all the way through before installation. Each marble tile should be inspected for cracks before installation. Even the natural veining of a tile can lead to cracking which is why a solid base surface is so important.
Once the surface is properly prepared, marble tiles are installed using thinset adhesive with a joint width of 1/16 inch to 3/32 inch between tiles. Careful workmanship is required to keep tile edges even and prevent lippage. The industry standard is that lippage should not vary by more than 1/32 inch between individual tiles.
For more information about marble standards and installing marble tile contact The Marble Institute of America at 30 Eden Alley, Suite 301, Columbus, Ohio 43215 or call 614-228-6194.