Pricing of marble countertops depends on the size of the project. Most people who want a marble countertop prefer to use marble tiles as a sheathing material for their countertop. However, those who want a solid marble countertop can have one custom-cut for their counter size, although these are very expensive.
Pricing on individual tiles
Individually, marble tiles are not expensive. Depending on the dimensions of the tile, prices on marble tiles usually range from $10 to $15 apiece. A large project such as a marble countertop or floor usually requires both large and small tiles. Large tiles are used to cover flat spaces, while smaller tiles are usually cut to cover irregular edges and corners.
Some people like to have designs and borders etched into each tile. These are usually rectangular pieces of detailed marble and can cost about $12 apiece. For a small fee, you can obtain samples of each design and tile size, so that you can see how each one will actually look in your house.
However, while marble tiles are cheaper than custom-made solid marble, covering large areas with marble tiles can cost almost as much as solid marble. The price is likely to exceed $200 for large projects, and does not include fees for the adhesive, filling, and installation. You may also want to try installing marble sheathing, but this is difficult and laborious, and doing it wrong can cause tiles to fall out and crack.
Pricing of solid marble countertops
Solid marble countertops are usually custom-made, and while it is faster to install a single large block than it is to lay out several small pieces, solid marble countertops cost more both in terms of fabrication and installation. Even small projects can cost in excess of $400, and larger, heavier marble blocks can run you over $1,000. This usually includes the cost of installation for residential pieces, but pieces for commercial residences such as hotels usually cost even more.
However, the large amount you spend on a solid marble countertop is money well spent. A solid marble countertop saves you a lot in maintenance and repair costs. Marble tiles can become dislodged and fall off when the cement or plaster moorings wear away, something you will not have to worry about with a solid block. Also, the seams and lines between each marble tile can collect moisture and promote bacteria buildup and mildew growth. Solid marble countertops are smooth and seamless, and allow no room for water to seep in and become stagnant. By contrast, tiled countertops can look like a confusing pastiche of different shades, which can be quite an eyesore.
On the other hand, you have more repair options with a tiled marble countertop. It takes a lot to break or crack a solid marble countertop, but once this happens, you only have two options: pay a steep price to replace the block, or pay for repairs that may cost just as much. Marble tiles can be replaced by the piece and cost much less.