Using natural stones such as marble, slate or sandstone can mean a few different things compared to man made materials such as the lighter and more versatile (no pun intended) ceramics or harder wearing and more durable porcelain.
Marble is still a highly sought after material when it comes to building materials but it is not always the best for every situation or indeed every budget, the picture to the right shows a hand made marble bath that alone has an RRP of around £18,500. Marble does not vary in quality based on where it is found but you can usually get an idea where it is from based on the colour, for example white marble is generally found in or around Italy and Greece. Darker marbles such as brown are often found in or around Spain while very dark or even Black marbles are usually found in the middle east or the United States as an example.
Compared to a material such as Porcelain there is a large factor that can affect someones choice between them, that is the care and maintenance requirements involved. Any natural stones such as marble will be naturally porous and therefor, more prone to staining by something such as a glass of red wine being spilled onto it or by the regular use within a shower area. The stone, if the ‘treated’ part is damaged in any way will need treated again at some point to prevent further damage to the aesthetic effects of the marble. Re-treating some marble indoors may need to be done periodically depending on the circumstances.
Porcelain on the other hand, when produced to a high quality will not have a separate surface material (meaning no peeling of the surface effect) and will not be porous in the way that natural stone is. The extremely low porous nature means almost no chance of staining, better longevity, low to no maintenance and a more versatile product. Porcelain can also be made to look like marble, giving you all the benefits of both. Pictured to the left is the “Soul Sand Pulido” porcelain tiles used instead of marble in a shop, a high traffic area and being ‘pulido’ which is Spanish for ‘polished’ the effect will last longer and better with the superior material being used to maintain the effect.