Marble is a special form of stone formed in the earth when limestone is heated and subjected to intense pressure. It creates a fairly hard stone which can be cut into a variety of shapes, polished or sculpted (witness the famous Greek statues carved from marble). It is soft enough to be worked easily but hard enough to be durable when used in a house or other setting. It is most often used as tile flooring, especially in bathrooms. Once it is set in mortar, it is permanent.
Seal the Floor
Seal marble tile soon after installation. Marble is a durable substance but can be easily damaged by sand or similar abrasives or by acidic liquids. To prevent damage, coat the marble with a sealant as soon as the mortar sets. There are many commercial varieties available. They seal the pores in the marble to prevent damaging intrusions.
Use the Right Kind of Grout
Grout is either sanded or non-sanded. Sanded is used on larger joints for more strength, but use non-sanded on marble to prevent damage from any grout that gets on the tile surface during grouting. Non-sanded grout works well on small joints, 1/16 inch or less, and marble tile is usually installed with very tight seams.
Use Natural or Synthetic
Grout is cement that binds the adjoining tiles into a unit. It is made with natural cement or some synthetic material. Natural cement is traditional and works well, but synthetics, usually some polymer or plastic material, are more durable and more resistant to fading and staining.
Pick the Right Color
Choose grout color depending on design. Gray is a neutral color that works well in most installations. But use a contrasting color -- light grout on dark marble or vice versa -- to accentuate the pattern of the tiles. Light grout on light marble will help hide any small installation imperfections, but use darker grout on any marble that will get a lot of traffic from outdoor or other high-dirt areas.
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