Image Source: Stylecaster
Have you been wondering why marble is so commonly used both for private and public buildings, as interior and exterior stone. While it is true that it is a very durable natural stone that has been used since ancient times for construction and decoration, it is also a fact that today it is one of the expensive stones on the market. So, the secret of its common use lies in the fact that part of the marble we see is actually not authentic. Faux marble is gaining popularity, especially for bigger public projects, where costs need to be curbed or among homeowners, who cannot afford the real stone.
If you are curious to learn a bit more about the different types and techniques used to create faux marble, check the article below.
Types of faux marble
Marble is probably the most imitated stone by far. Generally, there are three main types of faux marble that are used for home refurbishment:
- Faux stone – this is a polymer made of resin and marble pieces. It resembles the natural stone but lacks its depth and shine. On the other hand, it doesn't scratch or etch so easily as the real natural stone and is therefore preferred for areas as kitchen tops.
- Painted laminate – the laminate tiles are painted in a way that mimics the look of marble. If you want a fabulous floor resembling that made of natural stone, this is one of the options. Laminate is cheaper and easier to install compared to marble tiles.
- Faux marbling or marbleizing - this is a special technique for covering the surface with paint that resembles marble.
You can choose any of the options above, depending on the project you have in mind. It is possible to combine the different techniques in order to achieve the result you are looking for.
What is faux marbling?
It turns out that faux marbling or marbleizing is the most common technique used to replace real marble. This is special faux painting that turns the surface into a "polished marble" slab. It is most often used on wooden furniture and is actually quite easy to achieve.
The first thing you need to do is sand the wooden surface so that it becomes rough. Thus, the paint will adhere to it easier. Then you need to clean it from the dust using a tack cloth. Afterwards, you can create the marble surface in just three steps, using only sea sponge, paint and a detail brush. Here is how to achieve your polished marble table in no time:
- Paint the faux surface
Choose the colour of marble you want to mimic. Then use at least three different nuances in order to make it look real. You need blobs of each shade on a plastic plate so that you can dip the sea sponge into them. Once the sponge is wet, dab it onto the surface of the table. Smear the paint to recreate the look of the natural stone. Let the paint dry.
- Add veins
Once the faux surface is ready, use a detail brush to draw the veins. Dip it into diluted white or black paint (depending on your main surface colour) and add lines that mimic the marble veins. Let the paint dry.
Make sure that both the surface paint and the veins are dry before proceeding with sealing the table top. In order to make the faux marble shine you can apply a coat of high-gloss polyurethane. It will protect the surface and give it the depth and sparkle of real stone.
You can apply faux marbling to almost any surface and even have entire walls painted in it. The advantages of this technique is that it is easy to do and will not cost you much. It is an excellent way to renew your old furniture and add a classy feel to your interior.
How to choose between real and faux marble?
Based on the above said, both real and faux marble have their pros and cons. So, the question of whether to choose the natural stone or its replica cannot have just one simple answer. The two main factors that will play a role in making the decision are price and purpose.
Real marble is more expensive than faux marble. It will also require some additional maintenance and regular sealing in order to keep it in its best form. It is also better to hire professionals to install your marble tiles rather than do it yourself and this will add costs to your overall project. On the other hand, however, marble is a timeless classic and once your house is decorated with it, the stone will increase its overall value. Besides, marble is extremely durable, so you won't need refurbishing any sooner.
If you are aiming at serious refurbishing and you want more permanent results, then you need to go for authentic marble. The natural stone is mainly used for floors and countertops and it is one of the best solutions for kitchen islands. Therefore, if you want durability and style, we suggest that you select the natural stone for these projects.
Faux marble, on the other hand is a great solution for decorative accents such as columns, furniture (mainly table tops) and even walls. The advantage here is that you would be able to change the look pretty often. Faux marble is also a great solution for some projects, which are hard to achieve with real marble.
How to recognize real marble?
Quite often people have trouble distinguishing between marble and other natural stones. There are some types of limestone and granite that look quite similar to certain types of marble. One of the ways to tell one from the other is by using acid. Since marble is a metamorphic rock made of recrystallized calcite it reacts to acid. The calcite in it starts to bubble. Visually, you can also differentiate the marble from the other stones by the calcite in it. When you look at the edge of a marble slab, which has not been treated in any way, you can see little flashes from the large calcite crystals in it. You can see how to recognize marble easier, in this short YouTube video here.
To sum up, marble and faux marble are quite different products, however they both have their merits. Faux marble can be a cheaper or temporary solution to refreshing your home. However, if you decide to go for authentic marble, have a look at our selection and give us a call or stop by in our shop and we will be more than glad to help you choose the best tiles for you.