How Much Does a Tumbled Marble Backsplash Cost?
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Tumbled marble is marble tile that has been through the tumbling process. In the tumbling process, the marble is distressed by the abrasive actions of sand, rocks, water and other materials. The finished result is a tile surface that is rough and antiqued. The tiles are often finished with a color enhancing sealant to reduce their porosity. Typical tumbled marble backsplash tiles are 3/8 inch in thickness and come in sizes including 2-, 6-, 8- and 12-inch squares and 3-inch by 6-inch and 4-inch by 8-inch rectangles. The tiles are not produced in larger sizes due to the roughness of the tumbling process. The larger the tumbled marble tile, the greater its cost. The 12-inch tiles may be thicker to reduce the risk of breakage while tumbling. The finished tumbled marble tiles are rustic and time-worn in appearance, which lends an authentic and antique look to the backsplash project.
Average cost per finished square foot of tumbled marble backsplash:
- Minimum = $8.45
- Maximum = $16.07
In addition to the cost of the tumbled marble for the backsplash, homeowners starting this renovation project will need to plan for some additional costs. Supplies such as grout and sealant add an average of $1.49 per finished square foot of backsplash. Installation costs for a flat, rectangular backsplash average $61 per hour. Homeowners who desire a more complex backsplash configuration such as two or more levels or an unusual shape will pay more in labor costs.
Marble comes from many locations around the world. The geographic and geologic source of the marble provides characteristics that allow the stone to be distinguished from other locations. Eastern Europe is the source of the most varieties of marble used for the creation of backsplashes. Tumbled marble is derived from stone including Galala marble, alabaster marble, Makrana marble, Bidsar marble and Creole marble.
Tumbled marble used for backsplashes is available in many types of finishes. The different finishes impart a unique look to each piece of tile used for the backsplash. The types of finishes used on tumbled marble include:
- Natural Tumbled: This type of marble is tumbled for a short amount of time to create rounded edges and the appearance of aged stone. These tiles reflect a moderate amount of light.
- Honed Tumbled: The honing gives each tile a matte finish. This type of tumbled marble reflects a minimal amount of light.
- Polished Tumbled: The polished surface of these tiles reflects the most amount of light. The surface of each tile appears glossy and reflective.
- Antique Tumbled: This is a rougher finish that imparts small chips and divots into the marble. Marble tumbled in this manner looks distressed and casual.
Tumbled marble is graded by its soundness and appearance. The grade designations of tumbled marble for backsplashes is as follows:
- Grade A: This tumbled marble has subtle color variations and veining. It is free of flaws and the colors are dull.
- Grade B: This marble contains few flaws but may have some pitting. The tumbled marble tiles may have some standout veins.
- Grade C: This tumbled marble has noticeable imperfections that require the manufacturer of the tile or backsplash to make repairs for structural soundness. It has brighter and varied colors and veins.
- Grade D: This grade of tumbled marble boasts the brightest colors. However, it also has the most geologic flaws and may require extensive work by the manufacturer before it can be installed as a backsplash.
Many manufacturers produce tumbled marble tile to be used for residential backsplashes. Some of the most popular brands of tumbled marble tile include Epoch, Natural Choice and Crema. Homeowners may also make arrangements to order internationally or from local manufacturers if there is a nearby marble quarry.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Tumbled Marble Backsplashes
Tumbled marble is aesthetically pleasing and provides an elegant look to a kitchen, bathroom or other living space when used for a backsplash. The wide range of finishes, colors, patterns and textures of tumbled marble allows homeowners to select tiles that suit the overall look of the space that they are remodeling. The many design styles of tumbled marble include a range of sizes. This allows the installers to create complex configurations and interesting designs with the tile. Tumbled marble is highly durable and can be used in places with intense heat such as near a stove or other kitchen appliances. Sealed tumbled marble can also withstand exposure to moisture such as the shower in a bathroom.
While there are many excellent reasons to select tumbled marble as the material for a backsplash, there are also some disadvantages to it. Tumbled marble must be sealed on an annual basis. Unsealed tumbled marble is prone to absorption of water, grease and dirt, all of which can leave unsightly stains. Abrasive cleaners and sponges may damage the surface of the marble. Acidic foods such as lemon or tomato may damage the tumbled marble even if it is sealed. If tumbled marble tile in a backsplash cracks or becomes damaged, it is difficult to repair the tile. The unique colors and veins of each batch of tumbled marble means that finding a replacement tile may not be possible.
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Last updated on Mar 11, 2015