The Versatility of Marble Effect Tile Designs
When designing your home, you would naturally want to furnish it in the best way possible, having it give off an elegant yet beautiful look. However, people are often swayed by the luxurious aura surrounding natural marble tiles. This leads to them overlooking a more practical approach that would make their home look exactly like their dream home, but at a significantly lower price in terms of money and effort. Marble effect tiles are that magical yet practical alternative.
Why do natural marble tiles pale in comparison to marble effect tiles?
When formulating a comparison of the two kinds of tiles, it's very important to look at them from the eyes of a person designing his/her home or office or any structure for that matter. From the monetary cost associated with both kinds of tiles, to their characteristics and how much they compliment a structure, all aspects are to be considered.
Cost Comparison (Installation and Material)
Although the cost of marble tiles and marble effect tiles varies according to the type of tile, you want to install a ranged cost can be calculated. Marble tiles inclusive of installation costs typically cost around 7-18 pounds per tile; marble like Calacatta and Statuario being more expensive than others.
On the contrary, porcelain or marble effect tiles cost around 6-11 pounds per tile. This means that with regards to the monetary cost, marble effect tiles win out from marble tiles. In addition to this, transport cost of these materials is a factor one has to consider as well.
Since marble is a natural stone, it is much heavier than porcelain, which is a manufactured material. This results in marble having a considerably higher transportation cost than porcelain, making it comparatively less accessible.
Hidden Costs (Maintenance and Durability)
The initial material and installation cost, although leaning into the favour of marble effect tiles, may be overlooked due to its variability. The maintainability and durability of the tiles installed in your home, however, have a much more long-lasting impact on your overall household maintainability.
Marble being a natural stone is much more porous than porcelain, which marble effect tiles are made of. This means that it has small holes inside it, which can soak up stains and even trap acidic liquids. In order to prevent permanent staining, one would be required to use a surface sealant to reseal the marble every six to twelve months after installation. If, for instance, marble is installed in the kitchen, it will be more susceptible to liquid staining and would have to be resealed regularly.
In certain cases, specialised cleaning products may also be required to clean marble. On the flipside, however, marble effect tiles are made from porcelain, which is manufactured from clay. This means that porcelain is a very hard and durable material. Due to its non-porous nature, marble effect tiles are much less likely to absorb moisture and stain than marble tiles. This difference in requirements in regards to maintenance makes a huge impact in the long term.
Marble tiles would require you to spend on surface sealant and specialised cleaning products alongside the time and effort you would have to put into actually cleaning it. Since marble effect tiles are moisture and stain resistant to a large extent, they reduce the monetary cost as well as the general opportunity cost with regards to time spent cleaning and maintaining.
With regards to durability, although both marble tiles and marble effect tiles are hard, marble's durability is hinged to its maintenance to a large extent, and is also generally less in comparison. Marble is a material that is easily scratched regardless of the quality of the marble. It can be scratched by something as essential for cleaning as vacuums. This makes marble not only harder to clean but also less durable in the long run. This is because if the marble is scratched, it's very likely that one would want to have it changed, which would add to your costs.
Moreover, marble, although a hard material, is easily breakable, for instance if something heavy drops on it. In a place where there is going to be furniture, heavy objects dropping is not an unlikely possibility. Furthermore, marble is susceptible to chips, cracks and breakages, which increases the likely frequency of having marble tiles replaced. As opposed to this, marble effect tiles are made of porcelain, which is one of the most durable materials to use when tiling your floor. Due to its hardness and thickness, marble effect tiles are less likely to break or scratch, increasing their lifetime in comparison. Apart from this, marble effect tiles also resist damage due to acidity and are less likely to fade.
Feasibility set aside; do marble effect tiles give off the same look as any other marble tile? Do they allow you to recreate your desired marble tile design? The answer to both of those questions is yes, they do. Marble effect tiles come in a large variety of designs. You can choose the desirable marble tile design, and it will look the same as real marble, and with as many variations.
From Park Lane polished to Mayfair polished to Frosted Matt, marble effect tiles can be acquired in all sorts of marble tile designs and textures that will give off the exact same luxurious and elegant aura that real marble will.
In addition to this, marble effect tiles are completely customizable. This enables you to make them look exactly like the marble tile you had in mind.
Compatibility with Under Floor Heating
One would think, with all the similarities between a more expensive marble and much cheaper porcelain, that there would be something that marble can do which porcelain can't. This, however, is not one of those things. Marble effect tiles, similar to marble tiles, also support under floor heating, which is basically a roll-out mat, set in thin concrete before the installation of the tiles.
Contrary to marble being recommended for specific kinds of areas, marble effect tiles have similar performance and durability in all areas. For instance, marble is recommended not to be used in humid and moist areas like kitchens and bathrooms etc. On the contrary, marble effect tiles can be used in those areas due to their non-porous, hence impermeable, nature.
How are marble effect tiles designed?
The process by which marble effect tiles are designed, and the different methods surrounding it, are distinct from how normal marble is designed. This specific process is what gives marble effect tiles its unique characteristics.
Porcelain Structured Tiles
Porcelain stoneware is a specific type of ceramic tiles. It is obtained by baking a mixture of clay and feldspars in a kiln at temperatures ranging from 1200-1400°C. Marble effect tiles made using this process have an extremely low water absorption rate; the UNI standards defining it as having a coefficient of less than 0.5%. This also results in it having a high degree of bending strength, making it difficult to break. While it's processing porcelain, stoneware goes through a number of surface treatments, which give it the desired appearance. During this process is when porcelain stoneware is given the desired marble tile design.
HD Printing of Ceramic And Porcelain Tiles
In the 21st century, nothing seems out of reach. The introduction of digitally printed ceramic tiles makes one believe that statement even more so. These are produced with advanced digital printing technology that allows for the reproduction of colours, patterns and objects to give off an impression identical to your desired marble tile design, whether it be Herringbone marble or Roma or whether it be a mosaic pattern. Due to the fact that the marble tile design is printed on the marble effect tile the variety of designs available increases by a lot.
Prospects of Research
The beauty of marble effect tiles stems from the fact that it is something that can constantly be researched. It can be researched to provide for more marble tile designs and patterns. Furthermore, research into marble effect tiles can also result in making the practical manifestation of these marble tile designs more accessible and easier to recreate. This is to say that similar to how digital printing of marble tile designs has been made a reality, other ways can also be discovered.
This research is often times based on the demand for a certain kind of marble tile design. For instance, due to the increased demand in the Carrara marble and its prestige, there were huge investments in the technical sector. This resulted in porcelain stoneware manufacturers to produce marble effect tiles with Carrara marble tile design.
Marble effect tiles are also available in multiple sizes with large sizes ranging from 120×278, 120×240, 120×120 and 75×150, and Classic sizes being 60×60 and 30×60.
In conclusion, it's important to understand that sometimes the most popular and glorified product is not the most useful or practical one. Although marble is considered to be prestigious and a sign of luxury, marble effect tiles perform the same functions even more efficiently. Instead of being swayed by false pretences, try out marble effect tiles yourself, see the difference and get back to us.