If you want to make a good impression, nothing quite says luxury and elegance like a vast expanse of polished marble—particularly in the lobby of an upscale condominium or co-op building. Marble has been used in palaces, temples, and homes for thousands of years, and is prized for its beauty, durability, and variety of colors and patterns. Stone floors need maintenance, however, and knowing what they need can make them look better and last longer.
Some of the first marble floors were created and installed in ancient Rome. King Louis XIV filled Versailles with it, Michelangelo carved David from it, and Shah Jahan used it to build the Taj Mahal—but why? In short, marble is beautiful—and it lasts. Few natural materials have its longevity and versatility, and its wide variety of colors and veining patterns give marble personality and mystique. Formed from the metamorphosis of carbonate rocks (primarily limestone), marble may be more expensive than other flooring options but it lasts longer and is actually easier to maintain than something like hardwood.
“It’s extremely in demand,” says John Palomba of Restoration Specialty Services in Manhattan. “I would say that 90 percent of lobbies in Manhattan have at least some marble. When you walk into a lobby and there’s marble, it gives you this pristine feeling—and residential buildings are looking for a pristine lobby.”
“There’s a plethora of different colors and many patterns,” Palomba continues. “There’s white, green, red, yellow, beige, black, pink; the whole spectrum.” Different architects and designers can easily find the hue and veining pattern that best suits their design, or the taste of their client.
“Usually the marble is installed as tiles,” Lina Gottesman, vice president of the trade organization Professional Women in Construction (PWC) and president and owner of Altus Metal, Marble & Wood in Long Island City. “There are various sizes. Some very large lobbies will use a very big slab—maybe 55-x-100 inches—but that is a much more expensive way to install.”