How Much Does a Marble Bathroom Cost?
For many people, nothing says elegance and quality like marble. For centuries, marble has been the choice of building material to symbolize wealth and power. Marble has been used to adorn some of the most well-known palaces in the world. It is no wonder that many homeowners want to evoke the same feelings in their bathrooms but wonder about the cost.
Typically, marble is sold by the square foot and prices can range from $40 to $180 per square foot. The marble slabs must be cut to size, finished, and installed. Preparing and installing the marble slabs can cost from $700 to $2,450. Additional costs may be necessary if you need a marble shower pan or other accessories.
|Component Cost of Bathroom Marble||Lower End Costs||Higher End Costs|
|Marble Cost – Unfinished Slabs||$40 per square foot||$80 per square foot|
|Preparation and Installation||$700||$2,450|
Other options can give the look of marble, such as cultured marble or marble tile. In general, purchasing and installing cultured marble showers or tub surrounds is cheaper than real marble slabs. There are other advantages and disadvantages to real marble slabs that you should consider as well.
Real Marble Slabs vs. Cultured Marble.
Understanding the difference between marble slabs and cultured marble is important. Understanding these differences helps grasp the price differences and the advantages of one over the other.
What are Marble Slabs?
Marble is a rock. When a marble slab is quarried from the earth, it is distinctive in its appearance. No other piece of marble has the same veining and patterns. It is the veining and patterning that makes marble so popular with many people. Depending on the type of marble you choose, the cost of quarried marble slabs can range from $12 to $180 per square foot.
|Type of Marble||Average Cost Per Square Foot|
Marble is typically quarried into large blocks that are then cut into slabs. The thickness and size of these slabs vary based on the marble itself and its intended uses. The marble slabs must then be transported to the dealers for display and eventual sale.
The nature of quarried marble slabs makes this transportation expensive, adding to the cost of the marble. To make the marble usable, it must be further cut and finished to size. Finally, marble slabs require careful installation using special techniques to ensure that the marble is securely attached and stable.
What is Cultured Marble?
Cultured marble is a manufactured product that, to some extent, resembles quarried marble. Marble dust and stones are mixed with resins that harden to a rock-like consistency. Patterns and veining can be reproduced in these mixtures to give a realistic marble look to the finished cultured marble. Cultured marble typically costs about $65 per square foot.
Since these cultured marble pieces are cast, the options are almost unlimited. The material can be best into sinks, bathtubs, countertops, and other shapes to fit a wide variety of applications. This gives cultured marble a distinct advantage over quarried marble in terms of cost.
Cultured marble requires less maintenance over time. The resin products cure to a non-porous finish that doesn’t need sealing, resists staining, and is more stable than quarried marble. High-quality cultured marble often is indistinguishable on the surface from quarried marble.
What Are the Advantages of Real Marble?
Real marble quarried from different sites around the world has numerous advantages when used in a residential bathroom. If you are considering remodeling your bathroom using marble, these advantages are worth noting.
The Advantages of Real Marble
Using quarried marble in your bathroom does give you some upsides that can make marble slabs a better choice for some homeowners.
- Marble is Easy to Work – When you buy your marble slab, it must be cut to size and polished. Decorative treatments are machined onto the exposed edges. The surface of the marble slab is polished to your desired surface finish. Marble is much easier to work with than other harder stones such as granite. This makes the finishing process less expensive than these other stones will cost about $40 per hour.
- You Get a Unique Look – No two marble slabs are the same. Even when cut from the same marble block, the veining changes and subtle color variations appear. High-end marble seems to have a soft, warm surface the belies the durability and hardness.
- Seamless Installations – Typically, you will have no intervening joints if you cover shower walls or tub surrounds with marble slabs. Marble slabs give a smooth, seamless appearance. Unlike tiles that require grout joints, marble slabs are easier to clean and maintain.
Does Real Marble Have Disadvantages?
Unfortunately, real marble does come with some downsides. If you are thinking of using quarried marble in your bathroom, you should consider these disadvantages.
- Marble can be Damaged – Marble is a relatively soft stone and can be easily damaged in some situations. Marble is usually not recommended for kitchen counters where hard objects such as pans may be dropped, chipping, or scarring the surface.
- Staining may be an Issue – The surface of the marble is porous to some degree. Chemical cleaners, dyes and other products may stain the marble surface. Some caustic bathroom cleaners can etch the surface of a marble slab, destroying the polished surface.
- Maintenance Issues – Some types of marble must be sealed regularly to protect the surface. Care must be taken with the type of cleaners used on the surface to prevent etching or staining.
- Costs – Quarried marble can be very expensive to install in a bathroom. Several factors affect the cost, such as the complexity of the area, the size of the area, and the quality and type of marble you choose. In general, a marble tub surround or shower will cost between $400 to $2,450 for the marble material, plus the installation costs.
The Other Option for Using Real Marble in your Bathroom
Instead of installing real marble slabs, many homeowners opt to install real marble tiles. Typically, marble tiles are cheaper to purchase and install than marble slabs. Marble tiles can give much the same feeling of opulence and elegance as marble slabs.
In general, marble tiles cost from $8 to $47 per square foot. The big factor in the cost is the type of marble used to make the tiles. Installation of marble tiles is much like any other tile job. Special thinsets may be required, but a professional installer will be familiar with what is needed. You can expect the installation of marble tiles to cost between $13 and $25 per square foot.
Why Should I Choose Cultured Marble Over Quarried Marble?
Most of the marble bathrooms installed in homes today are cultured marble. There are several reasons for this choice and. If you are remodeling a bathroom and considering marble, these advantages and disadvantages are well worth considering.
- High-quality cultured marble is often virtually indistinguishable from real marble. The best manufacturers use processes that recreate the veining and colors of various types of marble so accurately that the finished product fools most people.
- Cultured marble usually requires less maintenance and care than quarried marble slabs or tiles. The manufactured marble products don’t require periodic sealing and resist staining and etching from even the harshest bathroom cleaners
- Durability is a Factor in making your decision. Quarried marble may contain other elements that can change color or discolor the slab over time. Cultured marble is extremely stable and holds its color for long periods. Cultured marble also resists cracking that can occur with quarried marble if faults are present in the stone.
- Most homeowners find that cultured marble is less expensive than comparable quarried marble. These savings include less expensive material costs, fabrication costs, and installation costs. A typical tub surround or shower installation of cultured marble runs about $65 per square foot for the total job.
- You can have your shower pan, bathroom sink, or other fixtures match the floors or walls of your cultured marble bathroom. Cultured marble is a cast product. Casting allows manufacturers more options for creating sinks, toilets, and shower pans that match the slabs created for walls, floors, and countertops.
Are There Downsides to Cultured Marble?
There are always disadvantages to any product. Cultured marble is no different. There are some factors to consider on the downside of using cultured marble in your bathroom remodel.
- Cultured marble is a resin-based manufactured material. The resin base is scratchable and, under some extreme conditions, can even dent. These types of damages may be repairable.
- Quality control is always an issue with any manufactured product. Some manufacturers cut corners, and the quality of their products can suffer. Ensure that you deal with a reputable dealer who represents manufacturers with a good reputation for creating high-quality products.
- While cultured marble is highly resistant to most household cleaning products, you must only use non-abrasive cleaners. Bathroom cleaners with abrasives will scratch and dull the surface finish of a cultured marble product.
Going High End with Marble
There is no question that a marble bathroom is elegant. Nothing speaks to luxury more than a bathroom finished with marble. There are alternatives to using quarried marble that you can consider. If your goal is to create an elegant and luxurious bathroom space, nothing can get you to that goal better than using marble.
Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.
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