Mosaic Monday: Should I Use Marble or Porcelain Backsplash Tile in the Bathroom?

May 21, 2018

Those who love the look of marble tile have a tough choice to make, when selecting bathroom backsplash tile — do you invest in the glorious real thing, or compromise with a realistic marble-lookalike porcelain tile? New inkjet-printed porcelain tiles look so much like marble that it’s tough to tell the difference unless you study them up close.

Both choices have their pros and cons. While weighing the benefits of marble in the bathroom, you can narrow it down to three main concerns: cost, maintenance, and value/desirability. Here are a few considerations to help you decide:

• If cost is your main concern, marble-look porcelain backsplash tile is the way to go, because it can give you the elegant look you want without emptying your bank account. 

• Large porcelain tiles are simple to install, saving money on labor as well as materials. Since marble is a more costly, precious surface material, we recommend hiring a professional for your backsplash installation instead of doing a DIY project.

• Porcelain wall tile provides a worry-free backsplash, since unlike marble they never need sealing to maintain their waterproof finish. However, marble with a matte, honed finish disguises water marks well.

• Although porcelain tiles are much easier to maintain and keep clean, marble backsplash tile tends to add more value to the home and has a longer lifespan due to its superior durability. 

• Technology has gotten very good at mimicking the look of marble, but there’s nothing like the real thing — and if your heart desires marble, there’s no replacement.

• If your heart is set on real marble, the backsplash is a great place to install it, rather than a countertop or flooring; it will get less wear and tear, as well as less exposure to liquids and cosmetics, than a horizontal surface.

Here are a few of our newest marble and marble-lookalike backsplash tile options for you to fall in love with!

Havenwood Platinum Chevron

Featured: Havenwood Platinum Chevron Porcelain Mosaic

The perfect intersection for people who love marble but also enjoy the look of wood, Havenwood Platinum Chevron Porcelain Mosaic is a porcelain tile that is ready to assemble in this attractive pattern. The finish is a glazed matte, and it features soft tones of gray. 

Pietra Pearl Polished

Featured: Pearl Pietra 2x4 Polished Porcelain Mosaic 

Another marble lookalike, Pearl Pietra 2x4 Polished Porcelain Mosaic features gray-beige shades in a subway tile format. These 2” x 4” tiles may be installed in a variety of backsplash designs, including the stretcher pattern shown here. You could also use a herringbone or basketweave pattern.

Grey Eramosa

Featured: Grey Eramosa Porcelain

Large-format Grey Eramosa Porcelain, with a matte finish and rich tones of gray in a linear striped pattern, can deliver the same luxurious look as marble, but is much easier to care for in wet areas like bathrooms — even the shower surround.

Adella Viso Calacatta Satin

Featured: Adella Viso Calacatta Satin Ceramic

The soft, satin finish of Adella Viso Calacatta Satin Ceramic features a unique texture that looks spectacular on vertical surfaces like a modern bathroom’s backsplash. With gold and gray veins on a white background, it mimics fine Calacatta marble.

Telaio Hexagon


Featured: Telaio 2" Hexagon Honed Marble Mosaic

Intricate, with old-world elegance, Telaio 2" Hexagon Honed Marble Mosaic looks impressive anywhere you install it. This mosaic is pre-assembled so it looks a lot more complicated than it really is! It features two different shades of real, natural marble. 

Do you need a bit more inspiration before you make up your mind? Visit MSI’s Inspiration Gallery to see many more backsplash ideas for your bathroom, including both natural marble and porcelain marble lookalikes.