Should I return veneered marble tile? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-22-2010, 04:41 PM
Greetings all! I hope someone might be able to offer me some advice on my plight.

After visiting a company (let's call them "WZ") and viewing their 4"x4" 3/8" sample chip I ordered 4 tiles of some rather pricey "12x12x3/8" marble tile from them. I picked it up today, and what I received in the box were 12x12 tiles comprised of a 3/16" veneer of the pricey marble glued onto what appears to be a chunk (slightly larger than 3/16") of white & black speckled marble that looks suspiciously like something I put in my starter home in the 90's for about $1.90/SF.

It's final destination was supposed to be the 2nd floor of a residence. I am concerned as to it's durability with this splicing (#1), and #2, for the price I paid (~$47/tile), I kind of think I should have gotten 3/8" thick of the pricey stuff--not some spliced up thing. (I've never SEEN that done to a marble tile.)

Would I be wrong to call them up and fuss about it? (Please don't razz me too hard re:the's coloration fits what we're doing with the room, and we liked how it looks.) Your thoughtful comments will be greatly appreciated!

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02-23-2010, 05:31 AM
If you were sold solid stone, you should get solid stone. Conversely, if they sold you a stone product, and you didn't notice it was a laminate, then I think you bought $200 worth of what you got.

You might get a better response from the stone guys if you provided more specific information. It's OK to name names, so long as you stick to the facts.

02-23-2010, 08:04 AM
I'm not sure what info I could supply that would help more. It was Walker Zanger, and I went to their site on the recommendation of one of their competitors in town (was looking for a specific type of red marble). Just happened to see their sample page of marble tile with "Damascus Red" on it and after all the other red tile I'd seen, thought "this would look even better for our project". Site said 12x12x3/8. Called local office, asked if they had it and gave them dimensions and name from site. They didn't have any on-site, but it could be shipped from one of their CT or CA offices. I went to the store the following week, told them I was wanting to order some tile for an upstairs wood flooring project and wanted to see a sample of the "Damascus Red" before ordering it. They dug up some sample chips from their warehouse and brought them in--4x4" pieces of the tile. I had a discussion with the lady who took my order and asked if she was certain the tiles were as the measurements stated because they were going to be set into a wood floor design--had to be no more than 3/8" thick and could not be more than 1/8" off from the 12"--it would not be a grouted floor and I had no wiggle room in the wood floor design. Was there any way the people picking out the tiles could double check them before shipping them? (For that price...) The reply was that they should be very close to 12", not over and should not vary any more than 1/8" less. As for the's the kicker...she whips out a measuring tape and measures the thickness of one of the two sample chips she's about to send me home with...yup 3/8". Of course, since I've never seen two-ply marble tiles before, the thought never occurred to me to ask her "So, are you sure that you guys are sending me a SOLID 3/8" piece of Damascus Red marble tile?" She did not say "now do you realize this is actually a veneer of Damascus Red marble glued onto another piece of marble?", nor did the receipt contain any kind of wording in the product description that would indicate to the receipt holder it was anything other than 12x12x3/8 tiles of Damascus Red.

When I picked it up, I think even the people in the pick-up office knew that what was in my box was not something that most people would be too keen about receiving. They did not say anything verbally, but I could tell from the guys' faces "hmm...well, I don't think I'd be pleased about that" and the second I asked them "what is that? that's glued to another piece of marble?" the only verbal response to it was "maybe they did that to make it the right height" and the lady at the desk was quick to ask if I wanted to call the manager when I said "yeah, I'm a little concerned about this holding up/cracking because it's going on (essentially) a 2nd floor wood substrate". The manager wasn't available so they got a supervisor out from the warehouse. On one of the tiles, TWO separate pieces of white marble had been used for backing and one of the pieces had cracked and small piece had fallen away from bonding on the red marble. I told them there was no way I could use that, to which the supervisor replied he had 3 others actually in-stock, would I like to look at those to see if we could find a replacement piece? I chose the sturdiest looking of the 3, and asked him if he'd ever seen tile done like that/would it hold up with just a plywood floor underneath it, and he indicated that on that type of tile that's the only way he'd seen it come for a long time and that it wasn't an item they regularly stocked--then offered to ask some other supervisor who might know more about the tile's durability in that configuration. He came back with an answer that "as long as there's not a hole under it, it should be okay".

Still feeling a little stunned (stupid/embarrassed) and displeased, I took it anyway. I'm expecting the wood flooring dudes to arrive any day, so being a little bit under the gun for time, I was hoping someone ELSE who might know better could tell me "this is something new they're doing in the industry with pricier will be okay...I've used it no problems". Or, just confirm my suspicions and say "you got took/they sent you some garbage hoping you'd accept something no one else would take/yes, pieces spliced like that are structurally inferior and it's a bad trade practice." So I can either 1) reassure my engineer husband that "this is/has been done and it's okay" or 2) make the 50-mile drive to return it and just go pick up some cheap whatever (in solid pieces) to fill the holes. Sorry for the long post, but that's about as detailed as I can give it without describing the expressions of the warehouse folk.

02-23-2010, 08:36 AM
From Midwest Tile...who, coincidentally, was the company that recommended them as a possible source for the red I was originally sought. Gentleman said it's a commercial application tile, that yes, it's a cost-saving measure done for commercial application (to get the "look" yet not "price") and that the company in question was...ahem...pricey in general, beyond the actual products offered. He said it's durability would be not as good as a solid product (with the caveat that a stone product in general would be more prone to cracking without a grout and more solid subsurface (like concrete). I got the impression he'd take it back and go to a different supplier who could provide it (or another stone) in solid form. So, there you have it folks. Please learn from my costly mistake and get assurances before-hand that your ordered stone tile is supposed to be a "solid" piece of that product if you are not actually holding the 12x12x3/8 end product from a box off the shelf. Thanks bbcamp!

02-23-2010, 03:10 PM
As the supply of some of the pricier marbles continues to dwindle, many shops are taking steps to extend their availability by resorting to the 'laminating' that you encountered. The pieces are typically epoxied onto the substrate and shouldn't cause you any durability issues if they're properly installed. While I can understand your disappointment with what you received versus what you were expecting, the performance and appearance should be exactly what you had in mind when everything is said and done.