James Dolly, Creators Guild.
Dear James: Our bathroom has ceramic tile walls and floor. When we’re remodeling, we want something a bit more modern, but easy to clean. What do you think of cultured marble? – Gary C.
Dear Gary: There are some very attractive ceramic tile options, and ceramic tile is one of the most durable materials for a bathroom. One of the problems with ceramic tile is keeping grout lines clean and mold-free. If the tile surface is cracked or scratched, the underlying color is exposed.
Using cultured marble for your project should meet all of your needs. To keep it clean, simply wipe it with a damp cloth. The more you search for it, the more you will be amazed at the variety of textures and colors available. For a more attractive and unique look, onyx and granite cultured materials are options.
Cultured marble is made from a mixture of very finely ground real marble combined with a plastic resin. Make a mold of the desired shape, pour the mixture into the mold. The component resin is made of two parts and cast. This results in a durable material that is resistant to most chemicals.
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The surface of the finished planter marble can handle the usual wear and tear of bathroom use. Polished polished marble is available, but since you are looking for ease of cleaning, a glossy gel polish is recommended.
Most cultured marble materials have a relatively even color throughout the surface. This is an advantage because if scratched, the damaged spot will be less noticeable. Another color option is to have the colorants agitate through the material before pouring it. This often more accurately mimics real marble.
Most of the cultured marble products for bathrooms are produced by local manufacturers. Many of these companies are small and produce high-quality products, so don’t shy away from one just because it’s small. If you have trouble locating one, contact the International Cast Polymer Alliance, (470) -219-8139, www.theicpa.com.
It is relatively easy to install DIY grow marble in your bathroom. It’s not very heavy, so it’s usually fixed with only adhesives. One of the easiest adhesives to use is the clear silicone caulk. It tolerates well in wet environments and is very sticky.
If the walls are square and vertical, installing the vanity and countertop is easy. First, test the assembly to make sure everything fits correctly. Remove everything and screw the base cabinets in place. Spread a continuous bead of clear silicone over the cabinets and place the cultured marble inside.
If something doesn’t fit properly because the wall or cabinets aren’t square, planted marble is easy to install. Using a burner, draw a line in the marble planted along the edge that needs to be removed. Use a file for coarse removal and a belt or hand sander to size the finish.
You will likely have to make some installation for the marble slabs planted on the shower walls. When installing the panels, leave a 1/8 inch gap around the edges. This will be filled with a matching silicone caulk.
Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio, 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.
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