Flooring and Carpeting/Marble shower walls


QUESTION: Is it right or normal to use grout on marble shower walls as with ceramic tile?

I am having a house built in Ohio and asked for marble, but the grout is about 1/4" thick and it makes the marble look like ceramic tiles in a commercial bathroom.

I owned a condo in Miami, FL and the marble shower's grout was so thin you could barely see it.

Before bringing it up to the builder I would like to get some advice.  I hope you can help me.

Thank you,

ANSWER: Thank you for your question Ara,

    The visual condition you are referring to is called a "Marble joint" which is the standard form of installation for any Natural Stone..be it Marble or Granite. I would employ a 1/16" spacer for just enough space to allow a minor amount of grout between the tiles within a wet space. If I were installing a Marble or Granite that is "outside" of a wet area like a fireplace I would stack the tiles one atop the other and let the slight chamfer be the visual grout joint that you would see. If someone is installing Natural Stone with a 1/4" joint I would have only two explanations for it...one, they were "instructed" to install that way, or two, they don't know what they are doing. Now if you are installing a "Tumbled" Marble then that would be different as the joints would be inconsistent and rough and need a joint to help run them with any consistency at all. You did not mention that this is the kind of material that was used so I have to assume that the material is a standard 12" tile with straight and tight factory edges. Ok Ara, I hope this helps you with your project, feel free to return anytime...

Perry V.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for educating me.  The marble tiles indeed are the standard 12" tiles and now I know how to proceed with the builder.  
One final question, since some of the tiles had to be cut to fit, the edges are very rough to the point of possibly cutting my fingers when I ran my hand across.  I have learned about cornices. Is that something a installer should automatically install or should I have asked for these pieces.  Albeit, as a novice/consumer I didn't realize these pieces have to be specified or asked for because without them the shower walls overall look is horrible--kind if just unfinished.

Thank you very much especially for having responded so fast.


ANSWER: Welcome back Ara,

    Ok now the tiles that typically run into the corners (depending upon how the installer did his lay out) you are going to have cuts in perhaps multiple areas...but..."any" cut tile that has the potential of having a finger (or anything else for that matter) inside the shower should be "stoned" or hand rubbed with a finishing stone. That will take away any sharp or rough edge. Now...you mention a "cornice"...I do not know what exactly you are referring to with the term. Are you talking about a "bulnose" or something like that?? Can you take a picture and attach it to another question so that I can see what you are referring to? That would help me stay focused on what your looking for...ok? I'll wait..

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Marble with cornice
Marble with cornice  
QUESTION: I can't thank you enough--you are soooo fast at responding.  I will send an image of what I believe is a cornice on a well finished marbled tub.  What has been installed in the house being built are marble tiles with the ends coming together and no "bulnose", rounded edge of any sort--not even "stoned" or hand rubbed.  The image shows a piece (cornice or a decorative piece) that ties the two tiles together so the ends are not roughed and it sure looks a lot nicer.  At this point I don't know what my options are.
Again, Thank you sooooo very much.  And may God bless you for being such a great help to people like me.


Ok I see the assembly for your tub platform. The profiled base and the profiled trim I can see is very nice that caps the tub face tiles and acts as a finished edging and the unusual trim that abuts the edge of the tub. I can't see a joint in the trim that transitions the tub deck to the edge of the tub. What is it's format? So the overall body of the walls and tub face is a 3" x 6" Stone with a 12" example the border and cap selection. So while the standard joint spacing with a 12" traditional stone is 1/16" it would seem possible that the general quality of production of the 3x6" material may prove a difficult challenge to employ such a standard upon what looks to be a rustic/rough tile and so to match the 12" material to the overall joint spacing would make sense to me based upon what I can now see. I still stand at least in part upon my original response that a 1/4" joint is not the standard unless otherwise instructed to maintain this dimension. I have seen installs done just this way as a way to get around troublesome Stone production as it comes from the Producer/Manufacturer. Some Stones simply do not allow a traditional Marble Joint because of the quality of how the tiles are produced. I am loath to second guess any installer because there are so many issues that can arise in the field than can completely change the desired install due to whatever constraints may come to light...follow me Ara? Let me add though that the outside edge of the trim that transitions the vertical with the horizontal that would appear to have a squared edge can easily be stoned down to lessen the sharp feel of it. Some installers are "afraid" to address or change exposed profiles being concerned that if they were to do so might bring down wrath from an unsuspecting or uninformed customer (that would be you). So I am thinking that all you need to do is let the Contractor know that you are feeling a sharp edge there and you would like it smoothed out/stoned down and that you are ok with that happening. It's a no brainer for you and to me but everyone doesn't think like we do in this case. I think that you have a very attractive bath Ara and pictures are truly worth a thousand words. Most questioners only provide "text" for me to attempt to make informed responses from. Your picture clarifies things for me. It made it clear that you were willing to spend extra capital to generate a traditional yet unique assembly by purchasing a profiled cap in lieu of a boring and simple bulnose. I commend your choices...ok Ara thats it I hope this helps bring you some relief and comfort with your new bath...looks great. Come again anytime...


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Perry Vellenga


Ceramic Tile/Marble. I can answer questions about floor preparation, tile selection, layout questions, performance of products, expectations of finish, compatabilities, questions about grout and epoxies, evaluating an installer, asking the right questions to check competence...more? 33 years this August 2012/ many years in commercial application from exterior finishes to Mall store fronts/ interior finishes like floor packages in stores inside Malls examples: The Limited, Lerner/NY, Lane Bryants, Bombay Co., Now involved in Residential new construction covering all types of interior finishes and designs.


I worked in an exclusive field of floorcovering called "Tenant Development" which is by invitational bid only, by way of a National bid list. These are large floor packages usually over 3500 sq. ft. of 18" x 18" Marble and Granite and many other types of Marble and sizes. They are specialty stores where the floor package can cost upwards of $50,000 for one store. I have also done "Structure" stores and J. Riggins stores, Lane Bryant,Express and Body Shop stores where wood flooring is used. Presently work for a National Flooring Company in the Residential new construction arena that covers most interior design elements..Granite Slab tops/wood flooring both job finished and prefinished ect..

My response's are published all across the Internet and picked up by multiple Interior Design sites and Industry related web sites where people have questions...

too many most of which don't count...

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