How to Install Marble Floors

Marble flooring offers a Venetian-like opulence unparalleled from many other types of flooring. It is durable, high class, and can add a finishing touch to just about any office space or home. The veining, color options, color, texture, and ability to create ornate designs draw many people to marble tiles.

Have you reached a point where you know you marble is the flooring material for your next installation? Well, the next consideration should be how you should install the tiles. Many "DIYers" consider marble flooring difficult to install because it does not come with a self-adhesive back like vinyl, or the tongue and groove of most faux-wood planks. While you can hire a professional flooring contractor, you can save money by installing your marble flooring yourself. Follow these basic guidelines for installing marble tiles:

What You'll Need:

  • Adhesive
  • Notched trowel
  • Tile spacers
  • Trowel
  • Cloths
  • Grout
  • Sponge
  • Wet saw (if cutting your own tiles)

The Steps to Install Marble Tiles:

1. Make sure you have enough tile material. Order more than you think you need to compensate for human error or cracked tiles.

2. Carefully measure your floor. You'll need to determine the overall surface area and the amount of tiles that need to be cut. It's very unlikely that 

3. Determine if any tiles need to be cut. Always cut your tiles before installation. Tile marbles can be cut using a wet saw with a diamond blade. (Wet saws can be rented at home goods stores.) Once you have defined where the tiles need to be cut, feed the tile into the fence of the wet saw from back to front using both hands. Work slowly -- especially because marble is such a dense type of stone. 

4. Once you have finished cutting the tiles, start prepping the space. Remove baseboards, trim, and pre-existing floors. Using a shop vac, vacuum up any debris or dust, your tile can't fully latch on to the underlaying surface with these pesky particles. If the pre-existing surface is uneven or has cracks then prime it by applying a thin layer of skim coat, a cement-based treatment. Let the skim coat dry overnight.

5. Lay the tiles down to dry fit the area. Divide the floor into quadrants. Start on the top left quadrant, at the longest line of floor next to the longest straight line of wall. 

6. Once you have the orientation figured out, apply a thin layer of adhesive and carefully lay each tile. Work in sections. Separate the tile using tile spacers. The spacers will help you keep the joint lines straight so when it comes time to grout you'll have even lines. Allow the adhesive to dry overnight.

7. Apply grout or cement between the tiles. Spread the grout evenly using a trowel. Once the grout has set, sweep the surface with a wet sponge or cloth. Have a bucket with water handy so you can swap the dirty sponge or cloth with fresh water. Allow the grout to dry overnight, and carefully remove any grout that spilled on the tiles.

8. Enjoy your new marble tile flooring!

*Expert Tip: Always check with the manufacturer for specific installation instructions regarding the marble tiles you purchased.

More Resources:

wikiHow, "How to Cut Marble Tiles"

Bob Vila, "How to Install Marble Tiles" (video)

 

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