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Marble Flooring Installation Cost

The average cost of installing marble flooring is around $3,600.

In this guide

Pros and cons
Types
Popular colors
Flooring patterns
Finish
Classification
Installation
Labor
Maintenance
Marble vs porcelain tile
Enhancement and improvement costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to install marble flooring?

Marble floors are beautiful, versatile, and come in a wide range of colors and styles. There are many different marbles to choose from, some of which are common and less expensive and others that are rare with a higher cost. The average homeowner installing a 200-square-foot foyer of marble in their home spends around $18 per square foot installed, for a total of about $3,600 for the project.

Pros and cons

Marble is a type of metamorphic stone that contains large amounts of calcite. In basic terms, marble is heated and compressed limestone 1 that has undergone a chemical change to become harder and more durable.

Marble in its purest form is white, but the other minerals present in the formation of the marble dictate its final color. Because those other minerals may have higher or lower concentrations, this means that marble varies tremendously in color and vein pattern from piece to piece and sometimes within the piece. Those minerals may also make the marble stronger or weaker depending on their presence and concentration.

This means that no two types of marble are ever exactly alike. This is a pro for people who want to have a truly unique floor. However, it can also be a drawback for those who want consistency. Sometimes marble can vary so much that a sample seen in a showroom may not give a true indication of what it will look like in your home.

Marble is more durable than limestone 1 as a general rule. It can, therefore, handle a high-polish finish or have a matte, honed surface. This, combined with the numerous colors and styles available, means that you can include it in many different designs.

Marble is not durable as a rule, however. It can easily scratch or etch where the weaker surface particles of the stone may be removed by contact with acids. White marbles may “stun” or bruise with impact, which is a drawback for people who like to wear high-heeled shoes. Some marbles are also extremely fragile and may develop cracks or fissures in their surface if used in high-traffic areas. It is always best to consider the type of marble you are getting and its rating to determine if it is going to work in the area you intend it for.

Types

The term marble is often used to categorize a broad range of stones. Many of these are calcium/calcite based, while others are metamorphic in nature, but necessarily a calcium based stone. They all have similar characteristics, however, that lend them toward this grouping. Depending on the type of marble you’re considering, you may find that some work better than others in particular areas:

TypeCharacteristicsCost
White marbles

Likely to bruise or “stun” on impact

Likely to contain iron - may rust in wet areas

$3-$10/sq.ft.
True marble

Many colors

Visible veins or movement in the colors of the stone

Can take a high polish

Varying degrees of durability

Moderate maintenance

$5-$20/sq.ft.
Serpentine/Green marble

Green in color

Highly variable

Very durable, not likely to stain

Must be installed with epoxy 2 setting materials

Will “spall” or flake if exposed to too much water

$5-$20/sq.ft.
Breccia

Many colors available

Unique color/veining pattern

Moderately durable

$10-$30/sq.ft.
Quartzites

Highly durable

Sugary or sparkling surface

Many colors available

Low maintenance

$10-$30/sq.ft.
Limestone marble

May contain visible fossils

Varying degrees of durability

Not for use in wet areas

$10-$30/sq.ft.
Onyx

Translucent

Very fragile

Must be installed with white setting material,

with key marks smoothed out

$15-$50/sq.ft.


Within marbles, several colors tend to be more popular than others and that you are likely to find readily available:

MarbleDescriptionCost
Bianco Carrara

Soft gray/white body

Darker gray vein

Likely to stun

Medium durability and maintenance

Likely to rust in wet areas

$5-$7/sq.ft.
Botticino

Taupe body

White and dark caramel veins

Moderate durability and maintenance

$5-$8/sq.ft.
Crema marfil

Beige body with subtle white and darker caramel veins

Very fragile

Prone to fissures

High maintenance

$8-$10/sq.ft.
Ming green

Light green body ranging from yellow to blue in tone

Some may contain white veins

Very durable

May spall

$10-$12/sq.ft.
Calacatta

Bright white body

Medium gray or gold vein

Likely to stun

Medium durability and maintenance

$10-$20/sq.ft.
Nero marquina

Pure black body

White veins in varying thicknesses

Some white fossils

Moderately durable

$10-$20/sq.ft.
Emperador

May be very deep brown or light taupe/brown body

Thick white veins

Very fragile

Gives off strong odor of sulfur when cracked

$10-$20/sq.ft.
Thassos

Bright white body

Sparkling finish

Highly durable

Low maintenance

$15-$20/sq.ft.
Azul celeste

Sky blue body

White veins

Sparkling finish

Very durable

$15-$20/sq.ft.


Flooring patterns

Flooring patterns with marble are often more limited than with other tiles. The majority of marbles are available in 12-inch square tiles. Some more common tiles, like Bianco Carrara, willare also be available in a range of other sizes such as 3x6, 6x6, 6x12, and 12x24-inch tiles. It is possible to have your installer cut a 12-inch tile into other, smaller tiles and shapes to achieve different patterns, but this will increase the cost of the project by roughly 25%.

Therefore the most common flooring patterns for marble floors include:

  • Straight set: square tiles set in straight lines.
  • Diamond: square tiles set at an angle.
  • Step: a larger tile with a smaller tile set at the top corner so the tiles “step” off one another.
  • Cut corner: a larger tile with the corner cut to accommodate a smaller tile in its place may be one cut per 4 tiles, or 4 cuts per tile.
  • Running bond: an offset pattern produced using either square or rectangular tiles. When used with rectangular tiles, this is sometimes called a subway pattern.
  • Herringbone: this pattern uses rectangular tiles, and is much less common with marble, as because it typically utilizes a 3x6-inch tile, which not all marbles are available in.
  • Mosaic: any tile measuring 2 inches or smaller is considered mosaic. Most marbles are available in ⅝-inch mosaics installed in 12-inch sheets. They may also be put together to create decorative and innovative patterns using multiple colors. This can create a mural or a medallion, and each color of stone and each pattern will have its own custom pricing.

Any pattern other than straight set requires 10% to 20% more material to achieve and costs between 10% and 20% more to install. So, a straight-set Bianco Carrara floor may cost $2,800 while the same floor in a diamond pattern may cost $3,360.

Finish

The most common finish for a marble tile is polished. This means that the surface had all the weaker particles removed and was ground down to a high gloss. Some marble tiles are also available in other finishes, including:

  • High hone: This finish is not polished but has a slight sheen to it. It is most common on softer stones.
  • Hone: A honed finish is a flat, matte surface finish. Many marbles are available with a hone, but honing tends to show off faults or issues in the stone’s surface. So, more fragile stones will not be honed.
  • Tumbled: Tumbling involves putting the marble tiles into a drum with pieces of concrete and sand. The tumbling action rounds the corners of the stone and antiques the finish.
  • Chiseled: Chiseled finishes are less common. They have a honed surface with an antiqued edge.
  • Flamed: Not all stones are available flamed. This technique heats the stone until the the top layers flake away, resulting in a rough but even surface.
  • Tuscan: Many popular marbles may have a Tuscan finish, which is a softly undulating surface covered in wax. This makes the tile soft and smooth underfoot and requires less maintenance.

Classification

Like all flooring materials, marble is divided into classifications that let you know whether or not the material is good quality or meant for use in a specific area.

Stones are given a grade of A through D. These grades or classifications take two things into consideration - quality and color.

Typically, a Grade A stone is more consistent in color as well as higher quality and more durable. It will also be more expensive than the same stone with a B, C, or D rating. In some cases, a D rating can mean a stone that is weak, contains fissures, or will not support weight. However, sometimes a D rating simply means that it is not consistent in color. Stones like Verde Luna and Giallo Sahara are both highly durable, beautiful stones that often get ratings of C or D. This is because both stones vary tremendously in color from piece to piece, which makes it difficult to get consistency.

If you are looking for a good deal on stone and are not picky about color, you may want to consider looking at stones graded C or D. While some may appear consistent in color, like Crema Marfil, and are very fragile, others may be wild in color but durable. These more wild stones often produce stunning floors, particularly when used in large enough spaces.

Installation

In many ways, marble tiles install like other tiles of different materials. The installation begins with a dry fit or dry layout. With marble, it is recommended that several boxes of tile be opened at once, and the installer should mix tiles from different boxes to get an even color distribution. Taking too many tiles from one box could lead to a color clump. By blending during the dry fit, it ensures an even installation.

During the dry fit, the tiles are cut to fit the installation, then taken up in the reverse order that they will be put down.

Marble should always be installed using a white, latex additive thinset unless the marble is green, in which case epoxy should be used. Otherwise, the marble installs like other tiles. If large-format tiles are used, back buttering and beating in are needed. If mosaics are used, then smoothing of the key marks is necessary.

Once the marble is installed, 24 hours need to pass before grouting. It is recommended that the marble be sealed prior to grouting to prevent staining.

Labor

Marble has a couple of additional steps in the installation process, including the dry fit and the sealing, so labor costs are usually slightly higher for marble than other tiles. It is common for marble installation to cost around $9 per square foot. So, for a 200-square-foot foyer installation, the labor portion of the costs would be approximately $1,800.

Maintenance

Marble is considered a high-maintenance material, but the amount of maintenance required varies from marble to marble. Most marble is porous and absorbs moisture. Therefore, it needs to be sealed regularly with a silicone-based impregnating sealer. A well-sealed stone will bead water off its surface like a waxed car. If your marble stops beading water, it needs to be resealed. Some cleaners break down sealants more quickly than others, so using a PH-neutral cleaner made for marble not only helps prevent etching to the stone, it will also keep the seal in place longer.

Marble can stun or bruise with impact, particularly white marble. Avoid wearing high-heeled shoes on a marble floor to prevent this. Never use a beater bar on the vacuum, and sweep the marble regularly to prevent particles from scratching its surface. Mop with a soft cloth as needed, using a PH-neutral cleaner. Wipe up spills as soon as they are noticed to help prevent staining.

Marble vs porcelain tile

Marble’s biggest rival in terms of looks is polished porcelain tile, which is made to look like marble. Porcelain does not scratch, etch, or stain, and is therefore lower maintenance than marble. However, a polished porcelain has no pores, which gives it an unnaturally glossy surface that is also very slippery. Polished marble, despite its gloss, is actually non-slip because the pores can help grab your feet. In addition, the sealant used on marble provides anti-skid features.

When deciding between marble and porcelain, keep in mind that while porcelain is less maintenance and less expensive, it will not have the variation in color or the range of patterns that marble can produce.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Old floor removal

Marble should not be installed over an existing floor because it could lead to cracks. Therefore, if you have old flooring already installed, you need to have it removed. This can cost from $200 to $2,000 depending on what was previously down. You can do this job yourself in some cases to save the expense.

Subfloor repair

Your installer will likely install a cement backerboard over your subfloor prior to installing the marble. However, if your subfloor is in very bad condition, this may need additional work first, which can add another $100 - $200 to the job.

Additional considerations and costs

  • While marble will always be at room temperature, it can sometimes feel cold underfoot. This is due to its smooth surface. If you live in a cold climate, you may wish to use throw rugs over the marble to help make it feel warmer underfoot.
  • Well cared for marble may help increase the resale value of a home, but marble is high maintenance and does stain easily, so in many cases it does not impact the value of a home.
  • Marble requires expert installation due to its variation and the many variables involved. It’s therefore not recommended as a DIY installation.
  • Marble is porous and can be impacted by freeze/thaw conditions. It is therefore not recommended for outdoor use in cold climates, but may be used outdoors in some areas.
  • Marble is a natural material that does not have a significant impact on the environment. It is quarried from the ground, however, and often shipped from overseas, which means it cannot be truly considered a green material.
  • If desired, you can install radiant heating beneath a marble floor. Costs range from $6,000 to $14,000.
  • Your marble will require at least one coat of sealer. This is included in the higher labor costs of installing the marble. If your marble needs a second coat of sealer after grouting, this may be something you can do yourself to help lower the final cost.

FAQ

  • What is the cost of marble per square feet?

Marble costs typically range from $5 - $20 per square foot.

  • Is marble good for flooring?

Many marbles make excellent floor choices, while others need to be in a low-use area. Always check the rating on the type of marble you are considering to be sure.​

  • Are marble floors hard to maintain?

While the maintenance of a particular marble will vary by type, in general marble is considered a high maintenance material, requiring sealing and PH neutral cleansers. ​

  • How long do marble floors last?

A well maintained marble floor can last for centuries. 

  • Do marble floors scratch easily?

Marble is made of calcite and is naturally soft and porous. It can scratch or etch under certain circumstances.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Limestone 1 Limestone: A type of sedimentary rock, made up of mostly calcite and aragonite
glossary term picture Epoxy 2 Epoxy: An adhesive, plastic, paint, or other material made from polymers containing epoxide groups. Epoxy is best used for bonding or for creating a protective coating

Cost to install marble flooring varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

picture related to the guide

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Chula Vista, CA
+8%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Clarksville, TN
-13%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
El Monte, CA
+9%
Fort Myers, FL
-7%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fremont, CA
+35%
Henrico, VA
+6%
Hollywood, FL
0%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Olathe, KS
+9%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Portland, OR
+11%
Reno, NV
0%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Louis, MO
+16%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Santa Ana, CA
+20%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Tacoma, WA
-1%
Tampa, FL
-2%
Tucson, AZ
-19%
Virginia Beach, VA
-8%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   
Methodology and sources