If you want to make a good impression, nothing quite says luxury and elegance like a vast expanse of polished marble—particularly in the lobby of an upscale condominium or co-op building. Marble has been used in palaces, temples, and homes for thousands of years, and is prized for its beauty, durability, and variety of colors and patterns. Stone floors need maintenance, however, and knowing what they need can make them look better and last longer.
Some of the first marble floors were created and installed in ancient Rome. King Louis XIV filled Versailles with it, Michelangelo carved David from it, and Shah Jahan used it to build the Taj Mahal—but why? Marble, for all intents and purposes, is simply beautiful. Few natural materials have the longevity and versatility of marble, and its wide variety of colors and veining patterns give it personality and mystique. Formed from the metamorphosis of carbonate rocks, primarily limestone, marble may be more expensive than other flooring options but it lasts longer and is actually easier to maintain than say, for example, hardwood.
Marble comes in many different designs and patterns, according to Marino “Marty” Jollette, general manager at Renue Systems of Chicago, Inc. in Addison, Illinois. White, blue, green, red and beige are but a few of the hundreds of options available for flooring.
Marble traditionally has a very high sheen and that style is popular in many high-end buildings. However, there are more muted and matte finishes available, says Giovanni Gigliotti of MS International, Inc., a natural stone and porcelain distributor in Elk Grove Village.
“Usually the marble is installed as tiles,” says Lina Gottesman, vice president of the trade organization Professional Women in Construction (PWC) and president and owner of Altus Metal, Marble & Wood in Long Island City, New York. “There are various sizes. Some very large lobbies will use a very big slab—maybe 55-x-100 inches—but that is a much more expensive way to install.”