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How to use white marble: kitchens, bathrooms and beyond

What white marble to choose, how to install it properly, and cleaning tips to keep it looking elegantly pristine

marble
David Chippendale

White marble is a timelessly elegant choice that elevates the look of any room. Whether you are thinking of using Calacatta on your kitchen countertop or Bianco Carrara in the your bathroom, it can be difficult to work out the best way to begin your decorating journey. Thankfully we have all the answers you need, straight from the experts who know best.

And, to make your decision even easier, we’ve also found the best white marbles you can buy now, whatever your budget.

How many different types of white marble are there?

‘In the UK you’ll be able to find up to 50 different varieties,’ says Jason Cherrington, director of stone specialist Lapicida. These range from pure white Thassos, used by the ancient Greeks to build temples, to grey-veined Italian Carrara and Calacatta marbles. The stronger the pattern, the more consideration needs to be given to how they are laid out and whether slabs need to be ‘book matched’, so the veins align.

marble
‘Calacutta Tumbled Marble’, from £50.10 per square metre, Mandarin Stone
Mandarin Stone

Where do the best marbles come from?

Mostly from Carrara in Tuscany, the favoured source of Renaissance sculptors such as Michelangelo. Its many quarries produce more marble than anywhere else in the world, and classic Bianco Carrara is a favourite with experts such as Gabriele Salvatori, CEO of Salvatori.

‘It has an enduring beauty and performs reliably,’ he says. However, its popularity is inevitably running down supplies, so it’s time to also look to Turkey and Greece for white marbles.

marble
‘CNC Texture’ in Blanco Carrara by Piero Lissoni, £260 per square metre, Salvatori
Salvatori

How much does marble cost?

Price vary considerably. ‘White marbles of Turkish origin can cost as little as £40 per square metre,’ says Graham Rose, sales manager of Mandarin Stone. ‘Carrara generally starts at around £60 per square metre, and very pure white marbles from £100 per square metre.’

Rarer stones, or complex mosaics, can cost as much as £1,500 per square metre.

Can white marble be used anywhere in the home?

Yes, with some restrictions. Polished marble isn’t practical for floors, where it will be slippery, or worktops, where it will show scratches.

There are fewer issues with wall finishes. ‘Even if you only have the budget for a marble splashback, it will add a special touch to even the smallest room,’ says Fired Earth’s creative director Colin Roby-Welford.

marble
‘East Hampton’ white marble tiles, £117.94 per square metre, Fired Earth
Fired Earth

Can you use marble outdoors?

Marble’s porosity tends to rule out its use in gardens, but there are exceptions. ‘Bianco Carrara is able to withstand very cold temperatures, which makes it suitable for external use in all climates,’ says Salvatori.

How do you install marble?

‘Always lay all your tiles out prior to fixing them in place so that you can swap them around,’ says Roby-Welford. ‘This way you can ensure colours and patterns are evenly distributed.’

Floors require special preparation. ‘Any marble that is going to carry weight needs to have high density and flexibility, and it should be laid on a perfectly level sub-floor to prevent cracking,’ says Cherrington.

marble
‘Calacatta’ marble, price on application, Lapicida
Lapicida

How do you look after marble?

Marble should be sealed upon installation, with additional water-repellent treatments applied in wet areas.

Remember to wipe up spills quickly – after a couple of hours, stains will penetrate even sealed marble. Also, always use pH-neutral cleaners, never ordinary detergents. Roby-Welford recommends ‘Easy-Care’ by Lithofin.

Some watermarks from acid-based liquids are inevitable, says DeeDee Gundberg, director of product development and design at Ann Sacks. ‘Fans like me consider this patina part of the material’s charm.’


9 of the best white marbles

Subtle veining to characterful markings… it’s time to pick your perfect pale marble

‘Chequers Court’ honed marble, Fired Earth

marble
Fired Earth
Fired Earth

A white marble at a great price point. The range also includes black tiles for creating a chequered look. £69.96 per square metre, firedearth.com

Carrara marble, Lapicida

marble
Lapicida
Lapicida

The most sought-after of white marbles, with a pure colour and delicate grey veining. £234 per square metre, lapicida.com

‘Calacatta Viola’ polished marble, Mandarin Stone

marble
Mandarin Stone
Mandarin Stone

Striking, bold veining gives a graphic feel to this Turkish marble. From £89.98 square metre, mandarinstone.com

‘Statuario’ honed marble, The Stone Collection

marble
The Stone Collection
The Stone Collection

This grey-veined marble is considered desirable for its wide variation in patterns. From £230 per square metre, stonehousetiles.co.uk

‘Romboo’ textured Bianco Carrara marble tiles, Salvatori

marble
Salvatori
Salvatori

Grey-white marble looks doubly beautiful with this ribbed finish, which also provides grip on floors. £260 per square metre, salvatori.it

‘Calacatta Oro’ marble, Alistair Mackintosh

marble
Alistair Mackintosh
Alistair Mackintosh

Iron oxide produces the occasionally brownish veins in this coveted marble. From £114.49 per square metre, alistairmackintosh.co.uk

‘Onice Bianco’ polished marble, Stone Age

marble
Stone Age
Stone Age

With its honey-coloured veins, this stone looks particularly good when used to clad walls. From £1,500 per square metre, stone-age.co.uk

‘Calacatta Borghini’ marble, Ann Sacks

marble
Ann Sacks
Wedlake Digital Studio

This medium-duty marble – seen here in herringbone mosaic – gives a glamorous finish to floors, kitchens and bathrooms. £317 per square metre, annsacks.com

‘Bianco Lasa/Covelano’ marble in ‘Vena Oro’, Antolini

marble
Antolini
Antolini

This crystalline Alpine marble is one of the most precious in the world. Price on application, antolini.com



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