Looking for a high-end bathtub but don’t know where to start? Marble is a great starting point as it is a material that is both visually stunning and durable. The material is also quite flexible in terms of style, design, and color, so for those looking for a luxury bathtub option, let us look at the pros and cons of marble for your home.
What is a marble bathtub?
A marble bathtub is a bathtub that is composed of marble, which is a metamorphic rock that is composed of recrystallized carbonite materials, mainly calcite or dolomite. Marble is distinguished by the zig-zag lines that appear throughout the material, otherwise known as “veining”. The veining is a natural quality of marble and helps to identify the overall quality of the marble itself in addition to being quite visually stunning as well.
Types of Marble Bathtub Materials
Although they have similar compositions, marble comes in many different types with different compositions, colors, and durability.
Cultured marble comes from a blend of stone particles and resins that is combined with pigments to produce patterns and colors that mirror natural marble, granite, and onyx. Similar to how stone resin is constructed, cultured marble is cast in molds to create many fixtures such as sinks; countertops, and bathtubs. This construction provides a great deal of flexibility in terms of style, color, and design when compared to actual marble. Cultured marble is also non-porous which means you don’t have to reseal it every 6 months like regular marble.
Calacatta represents the epitome of luxury marble design. It contains dark, thick veining that contrasts clearly with the brilliant white color of it’s material. Calacatta is considered to be one of the most visually impressive types of marble which is also why it tends to be the most expensive as well. In addition to the classic white with grey veining, there are also Calacatta Gold marble that has gold veining and Borghini which combines both grey and gold veining.
Emperador marble is a marble that comes in many different colors, most notably darker shades of brown. Similar to darker tones of marble such as Negro Marquina, Emperador is a great marble for creating contrasting modernist designs.
Although similar in appearance, Carrara Marble is quite different from Calacatta marble. For starters, it is one of the most widely available marble types in the world and has a slightly darker gray color. Carrara marble is a classic alternative to Calacatta marble, retaining much of the same look as classic marble but providing a more robust material that can hold up well in many bathrooms.
Faux marble describes the process of refinishing or repainting a surface to create a distinctive pattern of marble. The advantage of faux marble is that it’s refinishing or paint, so it is much cheaper to install and remove. Faux marble can also be applied to almost any surface so long as you have enough resin to apply the paint.
Common Styles of Marble Bathtub
Like marble, Bathtubs come in many different styles to suit a large variety of lifestyles and homes.
A freestanding bathtub that is placed and can “freely” stand on it’s own. This bathtub is ideal for homes that can afford the space as it has the freedom to be placed anywhere in the bathroom without being tethered to a wall. Keep in mind, that marble or natural stone freestanding bathtubs can be quite heavy to install, so hire some professionals to move it for you.
A bathtub that is dropped into a dug-out or caved out ingress. Corner or drop-in bathtubs are usually tethered to three adjacent walls or at least a platform of sorts. This bathtub type is ideal for smaller bathrooms as it saves space.
Marble is a material that can be customized, so if the two types mentioned above aren’t suitable for your home, there are plenty of options still available to you.
Marble vs Acrylic – What’s the difference?
Although they may seem similar in appearance, marble and acrylic are widely different materials. Marble is a natural stone and is much heavier, denser, and cannot handle any chemical cleaners. Acrylic is a mixture of fiberglass that is strengthened with resin, the resulting material is less durable than marble but lighter and can handle chemical cleaners.
Acrylic is non-porous, whereas marble is porous, requiring a re-seal every 6 months or so. Marble is also quite a deal more expensive than acrylic as it is a natural material and acrylic is man-made.
Pros and Cons of Marble Bathtubs
There are many benefits and a few negatives to owning a marble bathtub:
The primary benefit of marble is it’s aesthetic. No two pieces of marble are the same, meaning that your bathtub will always have a unique flair. Marble pairs well with almost any bathroom theme and will instantly elevate the look and feel of whatever design you have chosen.
Excellent Heat retention
Marble has excellent heat retention, which means that the material can absorb heat which is ideal for long bathing sessions.
Natural stone is a highly durable and dense material, meaning it can take a fair bit of abuse when compared to other bathtub materials on the market.
Weight & Size
Marble’s attractive quality comes at a price as marble bathtubs are very heavy with some cases coming in at 3,000 pounds. In addition to the heavy quality of the material, it can also be a bit unwieldy to install due to the larger size.
Marble is a natural stone so it is prone to staining from the use of chemical cleaners. This combined with the need to reseal the material every 6 months can create some hefty maintenance fees.
Average Costs of Marble Bathtubs
On average, a cultured marble bathtub will cost around $1500-2500. Regular marble will be significantly more, running around $3,000-5,000 and lastly, a Calacatta marble bathtub starts at around $14,000.
Common marble Bathtub Colors
Marble bathtubs come in many different color variants to suit a plethora of bathroom styles.
H2 Choosing a Marble Bathtub
1) Find Your Style and Inspiration
A bathtub is a hefty investment both with time and money. So before you begin, it is important that you do research and find a style that suits your home. A fact that remains true of any renovation project, it is key that you find inspiration from other sources and discover what appeals to you individually. You can purchase a bathtub style that is appealing to many people, but if you aren’t satisfied with it, then the entire project can be a waste of time and energy to fix it.
2) Know Your Budget
After meticulous research, it is critical that you understand your own budget. Although this may seem like a limiting factor, having a budget allows you to be more decisive about what materials and style you want. If a bathtub is simply out of your budget, you can simply choose a cheaper option and move on. Spending over your budget can negatively impact the rest of your bathroom construction, so create a budget and stick to it.
3) Understand The Existing Bathroom Space
Understanding the existing space will allow you to understand what is possible and not possible with a bathtub. A freestanding bathtub may seem highly appealing, but if you don’t have the space for it, it’s unreasonable to purchase one. Before you shop, measure out your existing space and plan what can and cannot fit in the space.
3) Know the Basic Maintenance
A general rule of bathroom appliances is that if you don’t know how to fix them, ask for help. At the very least, you should be familiar with how to maintain an appliance or fixture to promote a longer life span. Never use chemical cleaners on marble, for example; or avoid using steel wool for porcelain. Understanding your bathroom will save you a lot of headaches down the road.
A marble bathtub is a great addition to any home. It adds a unique fixture that pairs well with any aesthetic and its vibrant glow can’t be matched. It’s also a luxury bathtub for a reason, so you should apply the proper research and maintain it so that you can enjoy your bathtub for longer.