Design debate: marble vs. marble-look porcelain

First and foremost, marble will usually be more expensive as it is a finite natural resource. The closer a marble quarry is to Greece or Italy, the higher the perceived quality and price. The gorgeous natural hues, along with the veining from iron content in the ground, can send shivers down your spine. It’s no surprise that marble is such a desirable decorating element.

Porcelain is typically composed of white clay. The tiles are created by pressing the clay between two metal dies. Once pressed, the tiles are fired in a kiln, a glaze is applied, and the tiles are fired again. While there are a variety of techniques to produce different shades, designs and effects, this is the basic process. Advances in tile technology now allows manufacturers to duplicate the look of natural stone and consumers to have the beauty of natural stone at a fraction of the price.


While porcelain tile comes pretty close to replicating marble, it does not completely capture its depth and inner hue. With each new marble-look porcelain collection we receive, it’s becoming increasingly harder to tell the difference.

Another factor to consider is that the polish of marble fades over time while porcelain does not. Additionally, marble has inconsistencies due to it being a natural stone; lots can vary considerably. Porcelain, on the other hand, will be aesthetically consistent and is preferred for larger spaces.


Maintenance and durability are important considerations. Marble is porous so it stains easily and is vulnerable to acidic cleaners, wine and food. It is also not very abrasion resistant, which can result in chipping and scratches. Maintaining marble is crucial; it must be sealed at least once a year. Comparatively, porcelain is more resistant to stains, water, abrasions, scratches and chemicals. It also requires less upkeep to maintain its appearance.

In the end, go with what fits your needs. Weigh your budget, design space and tastes before pulling the trigger. Either choice will allow you to experience unparalleled beauty in your living space.


Tiles Unlimited, dual winner in the 2017 Best of the Boro competition (Best Tile Store & Best Kitchen & Bath Store) carries a wide variety of marble and marble-look porcelain tile at prices to fit every budget. If marble isn’t your taste, you’ll find hundreds of other collections in a wide variety of materials and looks. Before you come visit us, be sure to grab your $600 off tile coupon by clicking here. Pictures above are marble-look porcelain tile collections.

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