The Origins of Marble
The world marble comes from the Greek word ‘marmaron' – or shining stone. Nowhere is this a more appropriate description than in the translucent tones of Italy's Carrara marble. Popular with sculptors for its softness and resistance to shattering, Carrara has a shimmering white quality that seems to breathe and reflect at the same time. Think: Michelangelo's David.
Marble – which is found around the world – arises from the metamorphosing of sedimentary carbonite rocks, usually limestone or dolomite. It results in a mosaic of crystals, with swirls caused by mineral impurities from clay, silt, sand and iron oxides. This means that no two pieces of marble are alike and the colouration ranges radically – from Carrara white to Connemara Green.
Marble was soon found to be easy to work with and began gracing the interior and exteriors of public buildings and those of the wealthy. It became a cultural symbol of refined taste and tradition.
Marble in the Home – the Practical Advantages
With that pedigree, it's a small wonder that marble has become so popular for use in homes in Toronto. The presence of many high end dealers – some with origins back in the land of Carrara – has resulted in a sophisticated and active industry. Residents of the Greater Toronto Area
(GTA) have learned that, when the stone and installation work is to a high standard, marble in the home can dramatically increase its value.
Added to the value-added component is the fact that marble is unique. No two pieces are alike. It is durable and will outlast nearly all other building materials. It is also hypoallergenic. In the kitchen and the bathroom, marble's smooth impermeability provides a more sanitary surface than many other material choices. Marble flooring is easily disinfected and, in the GTA's hot summers, it retains a relaxing coolness.
Marble does require specialized care. It can scratch, so a cutting board
is recommended when preparing food. It can also scorch when hot items are placed on it. Marble can stain and food spills need to be wiped up immediately.
When installing marble tiles, matching its swirls can be a fun challenge – or a vexing problem, depending on your outlook. One way of avoiding this is to purchase tiles that have been cut from a large piece of marble, thus ensuring that the surface design of the tiles matches up.
As a floor tile, marble is slippery when wet. Honed marble – with a matte finish – is a way of avoiding that problem and is a better choice for bathrooms, in particular.
Dealers in the GTA
As mentioned, the GTA, with its fast-expanding housing market, is a hotspot for marble dealers
. It is definitely not a matter of going to a big box retailer and dragging home a box of tiles. It requires professional installation. Visit a showroom – one with a large selection – and look at samples. Look for a local company that's been around for a while, with a track record of satisfying its customers. And then get ready to beautify your home…