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Adding Marble Flooring to the Master Bathroom

May 9, 2018  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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Our bathroom floor is installed, heated, grouted and I’m over-the-moon with the outcome. When we were deciding what we wanted to do for our bathroom floors, once it clicked that our shower shouldn’t be marble (but a beautiful, varied green tile), it was clear our floors should be marble. I really envisioned something large format and polished. I looked all over the web, but found just what we wanted on Wayfair. 

This 18×18 polished Calacatta Gold marble floor tile. The product pictures were giving me mixed signals online, but I knew that was the kind of veining and color I was after and the reviews solidified it—this stuff was good. Plus, the description said the tile, although polished, was anti-slip which is pretty important in a wet zone like the bathroom floor. We blindly ordered 200 sq feet (which accounted for 15% extra) with no sample—eek! I generally don’t recommend that, but in our case, shoot, it’s perfect. Calacatta marble is a really high-contrast marble with lots of variance when it comes to veining. 

We’re doing a marble-looking quartz for our countertop and when mixing them, we stuck to the same principles that exist when mixing any sort of pattern. Small, medium and large patterns mix best together. Our countertop is a small and subtle pattern and our floors and a large and bold pattern and the wallpaper for the water closet is right in the middle. 

Before the tile could be laid, there were several prep steps, like tearing up the old subfloors (they were almost down to floor joists in this whole room thanks to moving the plumbing all around), laying down concrete board and then installing the heated flooring which laid across this bright orange membrane. He dry fitted the whole thing across our bathroom first and then went back and secured it in place with mortar, washing the floor first with a damp sponge which he said helped adhesion. 

The heating coils were threaded throughout the main walkways of the space, including the main vanity area, water closet, shower and clothes closet.  And then we were ready for tile. Well, almost. 

While I knew large, polished marble tile was the look I wanted, we still had to figure out if we wanted it laid off-set or stacked straight across the floor. We put a few tiles on the floor both ways and actually liked them both. ways! Our viewers on Instagram Stories were less neutral. Some thought straight looked like a cheap hotel. Some said it reminded them of a high-end hotel (I kid you not, we got both references almost back to back. Ha!). Some thought off-set looked busy, while others said off-set was the ONLY way to lay it. In fact, the majority voted to lay it in an off-set pattern when we polled the audience. 

One viewer asked if we planned to line up the veining and that sent me diving into more inspiration photos. Did I want to line up the veining? It was about the same time that our friends, @beginninginthemiddle (see above), sent me a photo of a shower they did where they stacked the marble tile in a straight set and, ah ha!, lined up the veining. And when I saw theirs, I knew immediately that’s what I wanted to do, too. 

We were taking a mini family vacation that weekend and were going to be gone when Scott, our contractor, was actually going to lay the tile so if we wanted the veining lined up, it was something we were going to have to do before we left. The next morning, we cleared most of the furniture out of the living room and mapped out our entire bathroom and closet on the floor with painter’s tape. 

We started right at the entrance to the bathroom since we wanted a full tile, centered right there. We found a few matching veins almost right away which was encouraging, but the whole process felt like a big, giant, beautiful puzzle. The most expensive adult puzzle there ever was. It was mostly, actually, very fun to match up the tiles. Most of them felt like cousins—like they maybe had similar tones or markings and looked great next to each other but didn’t have any traveling veins to match up. Some were definitely siblings though. They were absolutely cut from the same slab and putting them back together almost felt like a family reunion. All in all, the process took us 5 hours. We started out just opening 2 or 3 boxes at a time, but by the end, we had ALL the tile sprawled throughout the living room, leaning up against walls and couches so we could see all of our options. 

Fortunately, we left for California the next morning so we could leave it mapped out for our contractor to transfer them easily to the corresponding location in our bathroom. He sent us updates the whole time and it felt like Christmas morning when we got home to this:

Our new vanity installed (!!! more on that in a coming post!) and all the flooring laid out perfectly. It was 100% worth the five hour time investment.

Our next decision, grout color, didn’t take nearly as long but we did put some thought into it. Grout color can drastically change the look of your tile job. Do you want something high contrast or low contrast? In our case, we spent so much time making our tile look like it all came from one large slab, we wanted to keep that look going. So we laid a few grout samples on the floor and chose the one that disappeared the most. In our case, that was Cape Gray by Fusion Pro. 

Grout is such a great project finisher–really polishing off the look. Just look at the photo above at what’s been grouted and not. I love the softness and unity it brings. We opted for the color in an epoxy grout (instead of a traditional grout) which dries really hard and is stain resistant and virtually maintenance free. 

Scott also worked some serious mathematical magic and made it so our bathroom floor was exactly in line with our bedroom flooring so there was no need for an additional transition. It’s solid and smooth. And the whole thing is absolutely dreamy. 

We just got notice that our shower tile has shipped and the anticipation of its arrival….I can barely sleep! We’re officially 5 weeks in to our reno now and as one of our followers on Instagram said, “I no longer have to squint to tell it’s a bathroom.” 

What do you think?

  1. Laurna Wong says:

    Love your marble flooring. We also install marble on our bathroom walls. I was searching how one maintain and clean marble. There are not too many information out there so I was wondering if you would share how you do it.

    I was wondering did you share how you clean and maintain your marble floor? Did you seal them? If yes, can you please share? I want to hear your personal journey.

  2. Dyarom says:

    What is the name of marble ? Very beautiful marble flooring for bathroom.5 hrs matching pieces turns out wonderful. Congrats !

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi – i just put marble floors in the two bathroom renos I did and am wondering how you’re maintaining it? Specifically: what cleaning products are you using, how often, and do you like them? Would appreciate any tips. Thanks!

    • Chris says:

      We bought some stone cleaner from Lowe’s and it works well. It’s usually back in the tile section, as opposed to the cleaning section.

  4. Haley says:

    I have questions about the heated floor. How does that work? Is it hooked up to the nearest thermometer and set to work in conjugation with overal temp goals or is it on a switch to turn on at will, like a car seat warmer? Or something else entirely?

    • Chris says:

      It’s on its own thermostat that just measures the heat of the floor, and we can set a schedule for it like any other thermostat. They can also often be set up with regular wall thermostats that measure the temperature of the room if you’re wanting to use in-floor heating as a radiant heat system for your home, but for us we just keep the total temp relatively low so the room itself doesn’t get too hot and the floors just feel nice.

  5. Tiffany Fisher says:

    Your bathroom is so beautiful! What size grout line did you all use? I’m not sure if we should do 1/8 or 1/16.
    Thanks,
    Tiffany

  6. ashley f says:

    hello! what color black paint did you use? thank you!

  7. Lisa says:

    Do you need to seal the marble? Or use an ‘impregnator’ (not sure what the difference is). We have marble only one place – our cottage bathroom vanity. And I sealed it. Now we have recently installed a marble back splash in our kitchen and I had it in my mind I would need to seal this as well – I thought likely before grouting? You didn’t mention any sealant so I was curious what you knew about that or planned? Looks beautiful.

  8. Chris says:

    I love how lining up the veining turned out! Totally the right way to go. Random question: Is the shower going to have a door?

  9. Molly says:

    You mentioned Scott did math magic to get the bedroom floor and bathroom floor to be the same height- is your wood-look tile also heated? My brain can’t figure out how they’re both the same height if the bathroom has the heating element in it but the bedroom tile doesn’t, and I’m really curious how he made that work, especially if we were to do something similar in our house. Thanks!

    • Julia says:

      Our bedroom floor isn’t heated. That’s why it was math magic!

      • Molly says:

        Can he/you explain what he did a bit to get that to work out? Was a thinner subfloor used to achieve the same ending height?

        I’m LOVING how this bathroom is turning out- I can’t wait to see the countertop and backsplash go up (plus the shower tile!)

      • Julia says:

        Okay, I just asked and he said that we have two subfloors under our bedroom floor, so he laid a thinner subfloor and hardie board in the bathroom to leave room for the heated flooring.

  10. Camille says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for all the details! Did you use the same floor heating system that I believe you used in some other room?

  11. susan says:

    Epoxy grout doesn’t “stain” but it does discolor from mineral deposits in the water. We used white grout in our steam shower and have been disappointed as it has turned brownish. We had it professionally cleaned after several years but havent come up with any way to prevent this. Wish we had used gray grout in there. Just want people to be informed about the limitations.

  12. Amanda says:

    Oh my gosh. I am loving this! The marble, the veining. So glad a reader suggested that to you. Its so wonderful and certainly worth the time you both spent mapping it out! Can’t wait to see the beautiful green tile that’s on its way!

  13. Allison says:

    Thank you for sharing all the little details throughout this process! I haven’t heard of epoxy grout before, but that’s exactly what I will need in our master shower- now you’ve opened up a world of tile possibilities! I had been thinking I would have to minimize grout lines or even just do a shower insert because cleaning the shower (and resealing grout) falls very low on my cleaning priorities. Can’t wait to see your final reveal!

  14. Lindsey F. says:

    Is that wayfair tile link correct? It looks nothing like the wayfair pictures and the reviews are very lukewarm… but WOAH does it look stunning and expensive in your bathroom!

    • Julia says:

      I just checked again, that’s it! I knew what Calacatta gold marble looked like and yes, the pictures look completely different. Which I think is reflected in some of the reviews.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    Good thing that tile is anti-slip, because I’d be drooling all over it.

  16. Angelico says:

    Great choice of materials and looks beautiful. Installation looks pretty good other than one issue. Gray thinset should not have been used. It will eventually bleed thru causing your beautiful white marble to darken. No way of fixing after the fact. White thinset should have been the color used. Other than that looks great. Enjoy your new remodeled bathroom.

  17. Nieka says:

    This is coming along great! The extra work put into lining up the veining was well worth it. Will the tile also flow up the wall, in the small section right underneath the floating cabinets?

  18. Hannah says:

    Gahhh it looks so good! I have never been on the marble trend until this very moment. You have me straight drooling. :)

  19. Kimberly says:

    I literally could comment how much I love every single thing you do. But the lining up of that veining, especially at the entrance, was just a work of brilliance! And then to know there’s going to be heat coming from it on a cold morning?! I mean, perfection!!!

  20. Lori says:

    I was one of the people who voted for offset tile, but I’ve never seen anyone line up the veining like that and grout so it looks like a slab. It looks absolutely stunning!

  21. Sarah says:

    It looks great! But won’t it be slippery when you exit the shower?

  22. Julie S says:

    Oh my goodness, it’s dreamy! Yes, 1000% worth the time to line up the veining. It actually reminds me of an old museum I used to go to where the finishes and detail were so ornate and special. Jelly about your excellent contractor- you must be paying well to be getting that kind of quality and feedback!! We got what we paid for which was cheap (but really all we could afford). For example, when they laid our flooring I insisted on a board running across the door openings perpendicular to the rest of the hardwood in a couple key places, which they did, but without joining the wood to the main flooring with anything and the board ends curled up from the glue slightly creating trip hazards, squishing underfoot, and the edge of the veneer visible. Aaargh!!

  23. Lindsay says:

    It looks so great!! When is your expected end date for this project? SO excited to see big reveal!

  24. Sarah says:

    Oh wow…. I LOVEEEE it! Lining up the veining was brilliant and totally worth it. Looks awesome!

  25. Nicole says:

    This is going to be such a beautiful space. It’s a lot of fun watching everything come together! Thanks for sharing the highs and lows of this project and for asking for feedback via Instagram stories!

  26. When I saw your Instagram story on laying out the tile floor I was surprised at how long the layout took. And then we tiled our patio and figuring out the layout took us 2 hours- lol! I love how the marble looks- this room will be quite the transformation!

  27. Haley says:

    I notice where the wood floor connects with the marble there seems to be some missing wood to the right. What is the reason for that?

  28. Jessica says:

    It’s getting closer! So exciting!

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