Marble floor tile is one of the most popular products in home design. The classic beauty of a black and white foyer, or the light, sea foam green color of Ming Green tiles in a bathroom can enhance many homes’ décor. These tiles also require special care during their installation to prevent warping, curling, blistering and spalling of the tiles. While most contractors will know how to avoid this problem, a homeowner hoping to install the tiles in a do-it-yourself job will need to take care.
Why Green and Black Marble Tile Installation is Different
All green marble tiles contain a mineral known as serpentine, which gives the marble its green color. Serpentine is by nature, a scaly mineral prone to flaky with an appearance of snake like scales on its surface.
These scales are water sensitive, meaning that when the stone comes in contact with water, the tile will want to pull up at the edges, curl, and blister or flake away. Black marble contains similar minerals, which will also react to water contact.
Proper bonding of a tile to its surface will prevent this warping from occurring, whether the tile is going to be in frequent contact with water, or whether the only water contact it will have is from the mortar and installation.
Signs That Green or Black Marble Tile has Been Installed Incorrectly
If a black or green marble tile installation has been installed incorrectly, signs will begin to show shortly after installation. These signs may not be obvious as first, yet will worsen over time as more water is exposed to the material. To prevent serious damage from occurring to an installation, check black and green tile installations for the following:
- Corners of the tiles which stick up slightly from the mortar bed
- A distinct, scaly pattern or surface of the marble
- Green or black dust coming up from the surface of the tile, along with occasional small pieces of stone
- An undulating surface
If any of these signs are found, the tiles should be replaced as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in water seeping under the tiles and damaging the substrate or tile backer. Further damage will also occur, which will cause the tiles to crack and chip severely, leading to their eventual replacement, with or without the replacement of the backing material.
Proper Green and Black Marble Tile Installation
To ensure proper bonding of green or black marble tiles to their substrate, the following steps should be taken:
- Use an epoxy mortar designed for black or green marble tiles
- Spread an even layer of epoxy mortar over the back of each tile
- Spread a thin, even layer of epoxy mortar over the surface on which the tiles will be installed
- Allow time for the mortar to cure and the tiles to bond before grouting the tiles, as grout will introduce water to the marble
- Seal the marble tiles with an impregnating, silicone sealer prior to grouting to help impede water absorption and staining
When installed properly, green and black marble tiles can be cleaned, cared for and utilized like any other natural stone product. Take steps to ensure the proper bonding of these materials to their surface, and enjoy a beautiful marble tile job for years to come.