Want Marble Flooring? Read This
All that smoothness, cost-effectiveness or sturdiness notwithstanding, other flooring options can hardly beat the charms marble has. This age-old material that has adorned the courts of mighty emperors and floors of the world’s grandest structures is simply magnificent, sublime and elegant. All things considered, there is no replacement for those natural hues that come in different textures and shades that are available in the market these days in the form of marble flooring options. Its reflective qualities make the space assume a grander look, too, making it a popular choice for small units also. When compared to other flooring options, marble is considered more durable ─ it would last at least a quarter of a century.
However, it would be a phenomenal mistake to not consider what you are investing in — and we all know we would be putting in a good deal of money — without analysing other aspects. Even if your mind is made up to select marble as the flooring option in your house, let us try and make an informed decision. To understand the weaknesses of the material, we will first have to get into the inherent properties of the rock.
THE BASIC STRUCTURE
Marble is a metamorphic rock, carrying the dual qualities of having a firm crystalline structure while bearing a slight porosity. The firmness and the porosity together make the rock apt for polishing. By polishing the rock, it’s already-killer looks could be enhanced manifold.
Calcium carbonate is the dominant component in marble while there is a dash of acidic oxide.
Marble also has a unique tendency to conduct heat quickly.
The coolness quotient: Under our feet, the marble would invariably feel cold. This is because marble conducts heat differently than other materials. When you place your feet on, say, a wooden floor, it might first feel cold (because the temperature around us is slightly colder than our body temperature) but would start getting warm soon as your body heat transfers into it. The warmth would remain trapped there for a longer period, too, because the tissues will block the energy within. The same is not true of marble. While it might start feeling warm after coming in contact with body heat, the marble would quickly dissipate the energy, assuming its normal temperature. In summers, the coolness is sheer joy under our feet; in winters, it is nothing but trouble. This makes marble an inappropriate flooring choice in cold places.
The acidic reaction: The presence of calcium carbonate makes marble susceptible to acidic materials in the environment. Exposure to bad air and polluted water will cause corrosion and make marble lose it luster. The porosity of the rock would also increase with time and water would start seeping in, affecting the durability.
The loads of waste: The waste generated during marble floor installation, which involves cutting, grinding and polishing, is huge. Apart from the fact that this increases the cost of installing marble flooring, exposure to marble dust and dirt could adversely impact human health. Every time the floor is polished, the residents will have to ensure they stay off while the work is being carried out.
The cleaning dilemma: In Indian households, wet mopping is an integral part of the daily cleaning process. Since marble is porous in nature, it would by and by soak in moisture, losing it sheen and strength in the process. Dry cleaning of the surface is not much of an option since your magnificent floor will show every little speck of dirt and every small spot that comes its way. If spots appear on the floor, especially of acidic products such as tomatoes, vinegar or lemon, it would be hard to remove them without giving them the water treatment.
Hard realities: Those who pick marble as their flooring option for the strength the rock offers must consider the fact that the hardness also works the other way. Anything fragile that would come in contact with the floor would be damaged. In the long run, the residents might develop joint pains, too, because marble has little shock absorbing capacity. Also, let its hardness not make you assume. If any heavy stuff fell, it would leave the floor chipped and broken.
The cost analysis: In India, the per square rate for marble flooring starts from Rs 60 and might go up to several thousands, depending on the quality and grade of the material. The installation process is comparatively long — might run into 15 days for a 2BHK home — and costlier. Below-surface sealing and on-surface finishing treatments will further increase the installation cost and time.