We have so many great questions that come from our clients. A question we hear a lot around our showroom is, “How long does cultured marble last compared to tile and marble?” That is a great question because many people are familiar with tile and stones like marble, but not as familiar with cultured marble. In this article we will do our best to give an unbiased comparison between our cultured marble products and tile and marble.
A Real World Durability Comparison of Tile, Marble and Cultured Marble
Here is a real world comparison between tile, marble and cultured marble. We have chosen to focus our comparison specifically for use in bathrooms, specifically for shower and tub surrounds. This comparison takes into consideration the damp environment of a bathroom and their durability characteristics.
As you can see, tile and marble fall short in many ways. Here is our complete break-down of how tile and marble fall short.
Water-resistant – Tile and marble are water resistant, meaning they can handle getting wet. However, because the tile or the grout can be porous, water can easily seep behind and create mold problems. Cultured marble is completely water-proof, meaning it creates a complete seal to keep the water where it belongs and preventing mold.
Low Maintenance – To keep the water from seeping behind the tile or marble requires constant maintenance to the stone and grout surfaces. Grout can especially be difficult to clean and keep looking nice. Our cultured marble surfaces are low maintenance because they clean up simply with soap, water, and a squeegee. There are also no grout lines to have to scrub and seal regularly.
Difficult to break or crack – The true test of durability of any surface is how difficult it is to break or crack. A ceramic or porcelain tile can easily crack if something is dropped on it. Marble, while a little stronger than tile, can also crack and is expensive to replace. Our cultured marble surfaces are built to handle the abuses of every day living and are difficult to break or crack.
Non-porous – Some ceramic tiles and most natural stone tiles, like marble, are porous. This means that they can etch or stain easily. This can lead to costly repairs or replacement. Our non-porous surfaces help resist staining and etching, keeping your bathroom looking like new.
A Long-term Price Comparison
We know that many home improvement projects are determined by price. I don’t mean that every person is looking to do whatever is the least expensive, but everyone is looking to find the best value. To accurately calculate the price of the project, you not only need to look at the installation cost, but also the ongoing costs.
Installation Costs (industry averages installed)
- Tile ($5 to $15 per square foot)
- Marble ($10 to $20 per square foot)
- Cultured Marble ($30 per square foot)
Ongoing Tile costs
- Sealing of grout ($250 per year)
- Cleaning of Tile ($70 per year)
That is $320 per year to simply maintain a tile or marble shower. That means in as little as 5 years, the cost of installation and maintaining a tile or marble shower equals the cost of installing a cultured marble shower. If a tile or marble shower is not properly maintained and mold problems arise, the costs can be in the $10,000 range and is rarely covered by insurance. This is why cultured marble products, while more expensive to install, are actually a better value over the lifetime or your bathroom.
I invite you to come and let us show you the difference a cultured marble shower or tub surround can make in your home. Come visit our showroom and let us give you a personalized comparison for your project.