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MARBLE – Most people are familiar with marble in many uses. From Greek statues to Roman baths, marble has been used for centuries in just about every possible application, both interior and exterior. Marble has same general properties of limestone and can stain, etch or scratch, but it only becomes more beautiful over time and use. It is readily available in just about every color, size, finish and texture known to man. Most marbles have a veining of a mineral throughout them and are generally thought to be from Italy, but it in actually it is quarried from all over world. Tumbled marble has become extremely popular in United States in last few years for backsplash, flooring and shower areas. Prices range from $6.00 - $30.00 per square foot, again dependent upon rarity, color and country of origin. A couple of drawbacks to marble to be aware of is: 1. Green marbles containing serpentine need to be installed in water areas with specific setting guidelines that your installer should know of as water can warp and break apart green marbles; 2. Polished marble can be slippery to walk upon until a patina has built up on surface.
TRAVERTINE – Travertine is marble, except it is filled with "holes." To understand what causes holes, think of it this way…wherever a river or stream was prior to marble being quarried is where you will find travertine. Because of holes, people can be scared off because travertine is generally thought to be more porous and not suitable for residential use. This is not case, as all of those holes become filled in with grout during installation, giving it a very unique look. The same travertine can be used in two separate areas but appear another way just by using two different grout colors! Travertine can be purchased with holes pre-filled, but in my experience with it, I don't recommend it. In general, epoxy fill that is used has a color to it that does not look natural to stone and it has a tendency to come out after a short amount of time in high traffic areas. Expect to pay anywhere from $5.00 – $15.00 per square foot.
5.Q.IS STONE MORE DIFFICULT OR COSTLY TO INSTALL THAN CERAMIC TILE?
A.On whole, it is not more difficult to install. There are exceptions of course such as difficulties with thickness gauges, which takes more time in lying out and whether a complex pattern is being used. As for cost it is generally not more expensive except for time spent on laying out patterns and thickness gauging again, at least for tile contractors I have worked on projects with. The setting supplies and procedures are same, but stone is heavier to work with. I suggest talking it over with your installer and also taking time to look at previous jobs he or she has installed if possible. I will be giving tips on selecting a tile contractor/installer in my next article.
6.Q.CAN A STONE DESIGN BE USED OR MIXED WITH OTHER KINDS OF MATERIALS?
A.Absolutely! The possibilities are endless. You can incorporate stone with ceramic, porcelain, glass, and terracotta…anything you can think of, even mixing different types of stones together.
7.Q.HOW DO I FIGURE THE QUANTITY THAT I WILL NEED?
A.Generally, tile and stone for a "field" area is figured by square foot. To figure square footage, measure area that you will be putting tile with a tape measure. Examples:
1.You measure your room and it comes out to be 10-1/2 feet wide by 15-3/4 feet long…you would calculate it by multiplying 10.5x15.75 = 165.38. Round this number off to closest whole number (165). I suggest adding on a 10-15% overage to plan for cuts, breakage and a little extra to store in case a piece needs to be replaced later in time.
2.You measure your wall area to be covered and you get 18" tall and 33" long. Multiply 18x33 = 594". Now divide that number by 144, resulting in 4.13sf. (There are 144 sq. inches per square foot). Again, round it off and add on for overage.
When figuring for decorative tile or trim, it is usually by piece and calculated by lineal foot.
For slabs, it is best to let your fabricator figure quantity for you.
8.Q.WHAT SIZE GROUT JOINTS SHOULD I USE?
A.Again, this is a matter of choice and look you prefer. Honed stone can usually be butt jointed (tight to each other) with very little grout showing if you want to see less grout or a grid pattern; tumbled stone usually has a 1/8" to 1/4" grout joint which will show off edges more.
9.Q.CAN YOU HELP ME WITH DESIGNING MY STONE LAYOUT?
A.Yes, I can! I charge an hourly fee of $75 and I will need several things from you:
1.A copy of your blueprints, including elevations if you have them and area to be tiled clearly marked; or a drawing of area, including dimensions and area to be tiled shown. Make sure to specify what room/location it is, if it is not marked on blueprint.
2.The style of home you have; or look you prefer, i.e.…rustic, contemporary, elegant, traditional…
3.Whether or not you have already chosen your stone. If so, what did you pick and what size? If not, do you want me to make suggestions for you? If yes, do you have a set budget?
4.Will you want to use decorative trim pieces? If so, did you choose one yet? What are dimensions of a piece(s)?
Kim has worked in the Building Industry for 19 years and has specialized in tile and stone for the last 5, with emphasis on end-user and tile contractor drawing design specifications and visualization.
For Design Assistance go to: www.decoblends.com