Marble or Tile: Which Is Best for Your Bathroom Remodel?

Does your bathroom remodel include bathtub or shower updates? If so, you’ll need to think about the best materials for your walls, flooring and other surfaces. 

Should you go with the classic look of natural stone such as marble, or the practical beauty of tile? 

Your decision will hinge on priorities like design and functionality, exposure to moisture, maintenance requirements and, of course, your budget.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding between marble and tile for your bathroom.

“Real” Marble

Marble has been one of the most popular building materials for thousands of years. It is a natural stone, similar to granite or limestone, and is mined in quarries around the globe. 

Marble slabs feature unique veining patterns, meaning no two pieces will ever be the same. A variety of spectacular colors are available depending on where the slabs were mined. 

  • Marble is prized for its elegant beauty and lends a classic, upscale atmosphere to your bathroom. 
  • Because each slab is unique, marble adds personality to your space. 
  • Marble is a soft stone, making it easy to customize. 
  • It can be installed as entire slabs for walls, or cut into smaller tiles of varying sizes. 
  • When properly sealed, marble is highly durable and can last for years. 

Keep in mind that marble does pose a few drawbacks: 

  • Marble is a porous rock, leaving it vulnerable in moist environments like the bathroom. It may suffer staining from personal care products such as shampoo or hair dye. 
  • Sealing protects marble against water damage and staining. Regular resealing helps to maintain the quality of your marble. 
  • Clean with care. Don’t use acidic cleaning products on marble surfaces. Look for cleaners that are labeled as “marble-safe’. 
  • Marble can be expensive. It is a limited resource and only a finite quantity is available. Many quarries are located in remote regions, so shipping costs can add even more to the price tag. Marble tile may be a cheaper alternative to whole slabs. 

Cultured Marble

Made from a mixture of crushed marble and resin, cultured marble gives you some of the advantages of “real” marble slabs or tiles with fewer headaches.

  • Special molds are used to customize cultured marble to fit your bathtub or shower. 
  • You get more flexible design and color options. 
  • It’s relatively easy to install. 
  • Maintenance is simpler. 
  • It’s less expensive than “real” marble. 

Here are some considerations you’ll want to be aware of if you’re choosing cultured marble:

  • It lacks the prestige of “real” marble. 
  • It can develop cracks and other highly visible imperfections. 
  • It’s easily scratched, so avoid abrasive cleaners. 

Tile Options

Besides marble and other natural stone materials, tiles made from porcelain, ceramic or glass offer another great option for your bathroom.

  • Porcelain or ceramic. Both of these materials are clay-based and kiln-fired. Between the two, porcelain is more durable. It’s generally less prone to chipping and moisture-resistant compared to ceramic. 
  • Glass tile gives your surfaces a shimmering, reflective quality and can brighten up dark or small spaces. However, it may be vulnerable to moisture build-up underneath the surface.

Here are a few considerations for choosing tile for your shower, tub or other bathroom surfaces: 

  • Go with tile that fits with structural design elements like ledges, curves or shower benches. 
  • Some designs are easier to clean than others — such as smooth tiles, shiny surfaces and minimal grout lines. Use cleaning products that are specially formulated for your shower material, as the wrong cleaner may eat away at the surface.
  • Water damage may occur on surfaces where water can puddle. Installing flat elements on a slight incline lets water run toward the drain and away from cracks. 


Not sure whether marble or tile would work best for your bathroom remodel? 

Contact us at Elite Renovations. We’ll help you select the best option and provide a free quote for your project.

Additional blog posts:

Enhance Bathroom Decor with the Right Tiles 

Choosing the Right Bathroom Sink for Your Remodel   

Great Options for Your Bathroom Flooring Upgrade  

A couple examines wood-like tile for their upcoming bathroom renovation.Accessible luxury bathroom