How To Use Marble In A Bathroom

How To Use Marble In A Bathroom

When it comes to renovating a bathroom, little looks more luxe than marble. But the material is renowned for being fragile, prone to stains and expensive. From upkeep to ways to do it for less, here, Gordon Fleck, a senior stone consultant at Artisans of Devizes, shares everything you need to know…
Photography: ALL IMAGES artisans of devizes

What is most important to consider when putting marble in a bathroom?

There are hundreds of thousands of different marbles quarried from all over the globe, so different countries have different types of marble. It’s a metamorphic rock and a lot of people go for the cleaner, white backgrounds, while others prefer stronger, darker colours – black marble commands a premium while deep greys are very popular too. Also, it can be a trend-led product. We’re using lots of emerald and pink at the moment, so it does depend on the project. Trends also come in different formats, too. People sometimes choose all-out cladding in a bathroom, sometimes feature areas, sometimes smaller mosaic patterns with mesh backing in different shapes such as scallops, leaves and hexagons. Ultimately, marble is timeless and people definitely want to invest in it as opposed to just ‘buying’ it – it adds such value to a project. If you go for it, opt for a marble with more character, as it will be more forgiving to live with, with more natural variation in the stone. 

Do you have any advice when it comes to general upkeep or maintenance?

You always need to seal the stone. We recommend a solvent-based sealer as marble remains porous until it’s been saturated with sealer. Then, on a weekly basis, give the surface a deeper clean. The main thing is to not use anything harsh – like bleach – and remember to dry up any excess water. In between cleanings, lay bottles and/or make-up onto cloths to avoid any colour transfer. 

Marble is timeless and people definitely want to invest in it as opposed to just ‘buying’ it – it adds such value to a project.

Are certain types of marbles better than others for bathrooms?

I would personally opt for a honed finish when it comes to the bathroom – it will be more practical and adds a depth to the material that feels incredibly luxurious. One of our new products is Bijou marble, which comes as a lattice frame with colourful inserts of marble. It’s a lovely way to work with marble in smaller formats and it’s very economical. As for where to use it – walls, floors, showers, in bath cubicles, niche – you name it, you can use it. It’s such a versatile material. 

Does it really fare that well in showers? 

If you like the idea of a marble shower tray, we have the Plateau bespoke shower base – which is a single piece of marble with no joins. We can do etch grooves, drainer grooves, all sorts of things, so you can have a marble shower tray to match your marble walls and floor. Structural engineers can advise on whether your bathroom can take the weight or if it needs reinforcing. When it comes to the shower walls, you can opt for marble tiles or decorative mosaics to really create impact in a space. If budget allows, go for full height marble from floor to ceiling.

What about using it on the floor? 

So long as the material is sealed, and any excess water cleared up, marble works beautifully on a floor. Just remember to go for large format or mosaic marble. We find customers love a mosaic for the floor, as the many grout lines gives means there’s more grip.

Aren’t full slabs of marble very expensive? 

It certainly depends on the marble used. However, that’s not to say that slabs can’t be picked up affordably, too. We have a yard full of off-cuts in Wiltshire, so if a customer is looking for a basin vanity top in marble, we might have something that’s the perfect fit. We also sell some brilliant marble-effect porcelain tiles, which are really well priced. Alternatively, rather than using marble in a whole shower, you could look to pop a marble mosaic into a shower niche, or perhaps behind a basin. When you walk into a bathroom that has marble in it, you get an immediate sense of luxury, regardless of the size, shape or colour that’s been used. 

What about smaller marble tiles that you fit in squares? 

One design idea to save you some money is to have decorative marble mosaics in the bathroom, as they come on mesh-backed sheets. They start at around £60 per square metre, and make a lovely decorative wall finish. They always look really luxurious in a bathroom, and come in an array of different shapes, sizes and colours.

What are your best sellers in the marble category for bathrooms?

You can’t go wrong with some of our classic marble mosaics, which include hexagons, teardrops and scallops. This spring, we’ve launched a new feather mosaic called Plume, which is getting a lot of interest and looks beautiful when installed. Our Aliseo collection is also great if you’re looking for classic marble or marble bricks. If you’re looking for something extra special, our bespoke slab collection has some really stand-out products.

What are the top rules or tips to pass on to your tiler? 

Marble weighs around 50-75kg per square metre, so the weight needs to be a top consideration if you’re using it as flooring or as wall cladding. When it comes to installation, just make sure the installers are competent. There’s often templating involved, so it’s best to come to someone like us who offers a full installation service, as well as a wide choice of marbles.

Finally, do you have any advice when it comes to grout? 

We normally try and colour match grout to the marble. In some projects, we’ve laid chrome or stainless-steel inserts into the floor or butted up with a steel trim, which looks beautiful. We also use marble a lot in shower niches to add character or a boutique style, bringing the marble out to the edge and polished so it’s all seamless. 
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