Marble Tile Versus ‘Marble Look’ Tile? And what’s the difference?


Natural marble tiles are formed from stone, sized and cut and then polished on one side to create a uniform surface and thickness. No two tiles are ever alike and patterns and tones can vary immensely.

Carrara and Calacutta are the most popular stones and are both quarried from the city of Carrara in Tuscany, Italy.

Marble quarry in Carrara, Italy (Image- Wikipedia)

The marble from Carrara was used for some of the most remarkable buildings in Ancient Rome such as the Pantheon.

Pantheon (Image-Wikipedia)

Carrara and Calacutta stone are often mixed up as they are so similar in appearance. Carrara tends to have a white background with light (sometimes dark) grey veining.

Carrara Marble

Calacutta has a white background but with grey and golden tones and veining.

Calacutta Marble

The sophistication and sheer luxe beauty of natural marble can not be understated.  It is soft and warm to the touch and makes ordinary spaces into something special despite its occasional imperfections.

Design by Tiffany Eastman Interiors

Design by One Kings Lane

Care and maintenance are imperative for natural stone especially if you want to keep tiles looking clean and new.  Sealing must be applied once tiles are installed and preferably repeated once or twice a year depending on where tiles are located and the amount of traffic involved.  However, it is important to understand that sealing does not fully protect your tiles from staining. Spills and accidents must be cleaned immediately as some harsh products (especially in the bathroom and kitchen) can penetrate the stone and cause staining.

Design by Walkid

If the maintenance involved in caring for your natural stone tiles seems like too much hard work,  porcelain tiles that simulate natural marble are your perfect alternative.

Del Marmo Porcelain Tile

Italian tile companies have worked hard to develop advanced technological machinery to manufacture tiles that perfectly replicate their natural counterpart. These days it’s difficult to see the difference between porcelain and natural marble.

Del Marmo Porcelain Tile

The advantage of porcelain outweigh marble in terms of maintenance and where they can be installed.  For example, porcelain does not need sealing, they are 100% waterproof therefore staining is virtually impossible.  Strength and durability are another strong advantage and as a result tiles can be applied to all floor and wall areas of the home.  There are also non slip versions that can be applied outdoors.

Florence Isola Porcelain Tile

It’s important to remember that if you decide to go with a porcelain tile, look for one that is of high quality, usually Italian made and has a large variation of pattern and tones.

For more ideas on creating your luxurious bathroom, see our ‘Marble’ Pinterest board