Traditional Versus Tumbled Marble Tiles

Sara Miller
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Buying Guides

Some people enjoy marble floor because of its durability, others enjoy it for its range of colors and designs you can work with, giving the freedom to express creativity and individuality in a home or commercial space. When shopping for marble tiles, consider the two most popular forms: traditional and tumbled.


Traditional marble tiles have a polished, reflective finish. The polished look is popular in offices and residential spaces, while also found in entryways or foyers.

How is polished marble made, you ask? Before polishing, the surface is cleaned -- all dirt, waxes and sealants are removed. Buffers, buffing powders, or industrial diamond polishing turn the dull, porous finish into a smooth one.

Polished finishes are polular for two reasons: one, becase it exposes marble’s natural veining, and two, it creates a sheen that is easy to clean.

Choose this finish if you are seeking a look that stands the test of time.


Many people know marble to be many people are still unsure what tumbled marble is. But just as the name indicates, these tumbled-stone tiles are made of the same material as the polished tiles. The marble tiles are added to a drum filled with sand, water, rocks and other abrasives, then the drum is rotated. This process antiques and texturizes the surface of the marble.

So, how does tumbled marble tile differ to polished tiles? They are buffed by “tumbling” them with abrasives to give them a more natural stone look. The earthy appearance of these tiles is a great fit for bathrooms and kitchens. Tumbled tiles are popular in residential spaces.

When shopping for a particular look for your floor, consider whether you want a polished look or a more natural stone appearance. Traditional and tumbled floors are equal in their durability and strength, while they vary greatly in appearance. Marble, among other natural stone tiles are time-tested and long-lasting material. 

Sources:, “What is Tumbled Marble

San Francisco Gate, “Marble Finishing Techniques