Cracked Marble Flooring: Causes & Prevention

Cracked Marble Flooring: Causes & Prevention

Installing a marble floor or countertop in your home has many benefits, including:

However, marble isn’t immune to the cracks, fractures and wear that stones frequently experience. Various factors can cause marble to crack, from improper installation and maintenance to contact with abrasive objects. Thankfully, you can keep your marble floor or countertop beautiful, durable and crack-free with the right precautions.

Why does marble crack? How do you keep marble floors from cracking? Find the answers you’re looking for in this complete guide to cracked marble causes and prevention tips.

Does Marble Break Easily?

Marble flooring and countertops are prone to cracking — even more so without proper installation, care and maintenance. The veins can gradually weaken with stress, impact and pressure, causing hairline cracks to develop.

Fortunately, some simple measures can help you avoid premature cracks and fractures. Below, we’ll explore some common causes of cracked marble and ways to mitigate them.

What Causes Marble Floors to Crack?

Here are some of the most common culprits of cracked marble flooring and countertops.

1. Impact

Dropped or fallen objects can easily crack or chip the material, especially if the marble floor or countertop isn’t properly supported. Impact and blows from the following items can quickly lead to cracks:

  • Heavy furniture
  • Pots and pans
  • Knives and other sharp utensils
  • Stone and metallic objects

2. Environmental Conditions

Environmental factors like humidity and temperature fluctuations can diminish the marble’s durability over time. Severe cold or heat makes the material expand or contract, potentially causing it to crack.

Calcium carbonate is a primary element in marble flooring. This material easily weakens in wet, humid environments. Subjecting the floor or countertop to moisture can loosen the stone and cause it to break open, creating splits and fractures. For these reasons, it’s important to maintain a consistent temperature in your space as much as possible.

3. Improper Maintenance

Most manufacturers protect marble floors and countertops with water-resistant sealants. Even so, cracks may still develop over time and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Additionally, a concrete substrate layer below marble flooring presents its own challenges. The substrate can wear down and crack after several years of use, which may cause reflective cracks in the above marble tiles.

These cracks will eventually deteriorate the marble’s foundation without timely repair. Besides repairing the tiles when necessary, ongoing care and maintenance are essential to prevent scratches, etches, cracks and other damage.

4. Improper Installation

Like inadequate maintenance, improper installation techniques can cause unwanted cracks in your marble tiles. Marble flooring often has a concrete substrate below it for added stability and protection.

A newly built concrete layer usually contains water. The water evaporates as the concrete cures. This causes the concrete to shrink so the aggregates and particles bind tightly.

Laying the marble tiles before the concrete cures puts significant stress on the marble. Hairline cracks in your newly installed flooring could indicate the concrete didn’t cure when the tiles were set. Additionally, you’ll likely see cracks shortly after installation if you’re supplied with poor-quality marble.

With that in mind, it’s critical to choose an experienced designer that will provide high-quality marble. You’ll also need to choose a knowledgeable company to perform the installation correctly. Precise installation, handling and support are necessary to keep the marble from cracking. When selecting a company to design and install your marble flooring, remember to prioritize the quality of work over cost.

How Do You Keep Marble From Cracking?

How Do You Keep Marble From Cracking?

If you’re wondering how to prevent cracked marble, the tips below are an excellent start.

1. Rodding Countertops

Rodding involves inserting a metal rod into the countertop. It helps provide structural support for the stone, especially for narrow points like kitchen sink cutouts. These are the weakest spots and most vulnerable to cracking. Rodding brings extra durability and reinforcement to these thin, narrow areas.

A stone saw is typically used along the counter’s edge and underside to create a groove for the rod, which runs the length of the countertop. The rod is also glued with a resin to secure it in place.

2. Sealing

Marble installers often apply a sealant to the stone for added protection, preventing scratching, scuffing and staining. A marble sealant creates a barrier below the material’s surface to reduce absorption. It also helps preserve its natural beauty.

Sealing your marble floor or countertop also makes cleanup and maintenance a breeze. Dirt, fingerprints and other grime won’t stick to the sealant, making them easy to wipe away.

3. Properly Cleaning and Caring for Your Marble

Regular cleaning and upkeep are a must to preserve your marble’s integrity. Here are some essential marble maintenance tips to keep in mind:

  • Use an appropriate cleaner. Periodically cleaning your marble is important to maintain its performance, appearance and strength. Avoid acidic and abrasive cleaning products that can etch and damage the marble. That includes any vinegar-, orange- and lemon-based solutions. Steer clear of cleaners intended for granite, as these are also too harsh for marble. Opt for pH-neutral cleaners and those designed for marble surfaces instead.
  • Clean spills quickly. If you spill something on your marble floor or countertop, blot it immediately with a clean towel so it doesn’t stain. Try to blot instead of wipe the spill, as wiping can spread the liquid to other areas of the marble. Once again, ensure you use a safe pH-neutral cleaner for the tiles.
  • Lay area rugs. Consider covering your marble floor with a rug or runner in high-traffic areas. Doing so can reduce impact and wear on the surface.
  • Seal the marble regularly. As mentioned earlier, sealing protects the marble surface from stains, scratches and other damage. It also keeps moisture from seeping into the material and causing cracks.

4. Handling Heavy Objects With Care

Finally, be extremely vigilant when handling heavy objects, such as:

  • Moving heavy furniture across your marble floor.
  • Working with heavy cookware and sharp kitchen utensils around your marble countertop.

Exercising caution with these items can reduce the risk of drops and cracks.

Practice These Tips With Your Aalto Marble Floor

Choosing a reliable company to design your marble floor is crucial to prevent cracks and other damage. Turn to Aalto Marble Inlay to handle this task. We create custom marble inlay surfaces for kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, foyers and other interiors.

Based on your unique aesthetic preferences and your space’s dimensions, our designers will work with you to develop a marble floor, counter, backsplash, shower or accent border that meets your needs and expectations. Once we bring your design to life, practice the above tips to keep your marble floor or countertop beautiful, durable and long-lasting.

To learn more about our products or request pricing, get in touch with us today.

Practice These Tips With Your Aalto Marble Floor