Tile vs. Marble: What’s the Difference?

Tile and marble are both natural stones that are commonly used in homes. They have similar colours and patterns, so it can be hard to tell them apart. But there are some differences between these two materials that make them suitable for different applications.

Tile is made from clay or concrete that is fired at high temperatures, while marble is composed of calcite or dolomite (minerals). These minerals form over millions of years as sediments settle on the ocean floor and are compressed over time into hard rock.

The advantages of using tile over marble include

Lower cost: Tile is considerably less expensive than marble, especially if you're comparing tiles made from the same material. This means it's easier to update your kitchen or bathroom without breaking your budget; just replace the tile instead of refinishing all the cabinets and fixtures in those rooms.

Flexibility: Tile comes in a wide variety of colours, shapes, sizes and finishes, so you're not limited when choosing what type of tile best suits your needs. You can even paint ceramic tiles if you want them to stand out more than they would if left plain white or black!

Durability: The surface hardness on marble tops is only about 2 on the Mohs scale (1 being the softest). Tiles have an average surface hardness of 5-6 on this scale, making them much more durable than marble.

Tile comes in many different designs and colours, making it easier for homeowners to find something that matches their style and taste perfectly.

But let’s understand the basics of the two materials.

Tile  is a man-made material made from clay, stone or concrete. It’s commonly used for flooring, walls and countertops because it’s easy to install and inexpensive. Tile is available in a wide variety of colours and shapes to complement any home décor style.

Marble  is a natural stone that comes in wide varieties with different colours, patterns and veining. It’s beautiful but expensive — especially when you have it cut into slabs for countertops. Because of its strength and durability, marble can be used indoors or out on patios or walkways.

Points of differentiation

Let’s dive a little deeper!


Marble comes from limestone deposits or from metamorphosed limestone rock called marlstone. Marlstone can contain fossils such as shells or corals, which are often visible when looking at a marble slab up close. Marble is divided into three main categories based on its appearance — calcite (which is white), dolomite (which is yellow) or serpentine (green). Calcite marbles are more expensive than dolomite or serpentine marbles because they have a higher purity level, making them ideal for use in high-end applications such as luxury hotels or homes with elegant decorating styles.

On the other hand, tiles are made of clay, limestone or concrete. They’re fired at high temperatures in kilns and then ground down to create a flat surface that can be used for flooring or walls. The most common types of tiles are ceramic and porcelain, often used for countertops because they’re durable and easy to clean.

Ease of Cleaning

Marble is porous, which means it absorbs liquids very quickly. That’s why it’s so important to seal your marble countertops before using them. If they aren’t properly sealed, they can stain easily and become difficult to clean in the future. Tile doesn’t absorb liquids as easily as marble does because it isn’t porous; however, some types of tiles can scratch easily if you aren’t careful with them.


Marble countertops are very durable if they’re sealed properly; however, if they’re not sealed properly or left unfinished, they can chip or crack over time due to everyday use and cleaning techniques (such as using abrasive cleaners). Marble also tends to yellow over time when exposed to sunlight or other harsh elements (such as air pollution).

Both materials are quite durable- tile is resistant to stains and impact damage, but it does scratch more easily than marble does. Many tiles can be cleaned with soap and water, but if your floor gets particularly dirty you may need to use harsh chemicals to get rid of stains or scratches. Marble can also be cleaned with soap and water, but it’s important not to use any cleaning products that contain acids (like vinegar) because they can damage the stone’s finish over time.

What’s better?

In the end, it really comes down to personal preference. Marble is designed more for timeless appeal, whereas tile has more of a modern edge to it—both have the potential to look beautiful when installed and maintained properly. 

The question you may have to ask yourself, though, is this: do I prefer a smooth finish, or a textured one? Marble certainly belongs in the former category, whereas tile can be either. As always, paint your walls and find out which style suits you best!

For more details, call our Exxaro tiles expert today!

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