White Marble: The 6 best options for interior and exterior
The White Marble is now a days, one of the most required natural stones by Architects, Interior Designers and of course by the final users. Specially for interior and in particular for kitchen and vanity tops.
There is a wide range of white natural stones and different origin (igneous, metamorphic or sedimentary). In this post, we will focus on the “Actual Marble”. In other words, Marble since a geological and commercial point of view (1). And particularly, White Marble.
(1) In our post ““How to choose the best kind of marble or natural stone for your house” we show the differences between the commercial and the geological term of marble.
Therefore, all the materials described hereafter, have the following common issues:
- They are Metamorphic rocks, with a calcareous composition and a varying amount of dolomite.
- Their white matrix can vary its colour tone (to grey or cream tones) depending on the composition of the rock.
- The shape, width and colour of its veins (in case of having them), and the presence of other minerals in theirs composition will define the final appearance of each one and will help to identify and differentiate ones from the others.
- They will never have fossils.
1. WHITE THASSOS OR BIANCO THASSOS MARBLE
The name of this white Marble comes from the Greek island of Thassos, where it has been extracted since antiquity.
Bianco Thassos, Extra, Grece.
Art works such important as “The Victory of Samothrace” were sculpted on this material.
White Thassos is a very pure dolomitic marble, with an exceptional whiteness, a very small grain size and with almost a lack of veins, principally in the Extra or Higher qualities(2)
(2) Speaking about white marble, the quality uses to depend principally on the purity of its colour. That is to say, it will depend more on their aesthetic appearance than its physical-mechanical properties. So, the lower presence of impurities the higher degree or whiteness and normally, the higher price of the marble.
Referring to the White Thassos marble, the smaller the grain size, the higher the quality of the stone is.
Its almost immaculate whiteness due to its purity, along with its hardness and consistency (typical of the geological term of marble), allow to use this stone for interiors but also for exteriors. Nevertheless, it is preferable to use it for interior for the following reasons:
- In exteriors, such as a white material, in the course of the time, may yellow, darken or stain , due to the sun, humidity and moisture and environmental dirtiness (dust, pollution, etc.). Surface treatments are always recommended of course to reduce these effects, nevertheless with the time they will loose their effect.
- Its purity, quality and beauty will be more appreciated and enjoyable in interior spaces normally, where you can also improve its properties with the decoration, light, etc.
Its physical-mechanical characteristics allow to use White Thassos for quite any application. As pavement, cladding, stairs, handicraft (balustrades, sculptures, fireplaces, etc), facades and also for vanity and kitchen tops. In that last case, is highly recommended to apply a good surface treatment to prevent stains.
Examples of Applications/Installations with White Thassos Marble.
In the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, India we can enjoy its magnificent Lounge, paved with this delicate, beautiful, pristine white and homogeneous floor of White Thassos.
White Thassos allows a wide range of finishes, such as the classic polished and honed, but also brushed used to be required. Nevertheless it is more recommended to apply any finish that enhances its beauty and purity, consequently polished is one of the favorite finishes.
White Thassos Crystal, Honed.
Quarries of White Thassos Marble
Now a days, there are at least 10 active quarries in Thassos Island, Greece.
Some of the most important and antiques are:
- Skaris Thassos, with a volumen of production around 10.000 m3/year
- Iktinos Hellas S.A. Group of Companies, with an approximate production around 6.000 m3/year
2. WHITE SIVEC MARBLE
White Sivec Marble is the most well-known term to name or require this marble. Nevertheless, it is also common to find it in the Stone Market as “White Yugoslav” “White Macedonia Marble” or “White Chive”.
The same as White Thassos, Sivec is an extraordinary white Marble. Easy to differentiate because of its whiteness, a very small grain size, a micro-granular structure and a low presence of veins. Just in the lower quality blocks or slabs we can find some small dots (minerals embodied in the calcareous matrix) and some greyish veins.
It is a very hard and strong marble, even harder than Thassos Marble.
There is evidence that it has been extracted and used since 500 years B.C. from the current Macedonia, where now a days Mermeren Kombinat, one of the mains extractive and commercial companies of Sivec® Snow-White marble.
Because of its strength and hardness, this is a stone suitable for any application or space, either in exteriors or interior. As pavement and cladding, kitchen and vanity tops, handicraft and art work, etc.
Examples of Applications/Installations with White Sivec Marble.
Such iconic and magnificent buildings as the Sheik Zayed Great Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE, have used White Sivec® as one of their main decorative and constructive elements.
Verona Fair is always a good place where to be able to compare different materials, but also the “same material” provided by different extractors or suppliers. In addition, we have the opportunity to compare the differences between the range of qualities or classifications of a same natural stone.
Hereafter we show some samples of different qualities of White Sivec offered by FHL Group and Dermitzakis.
Different qualities of White Sivec, FHL Group. Verona Fair 2018.
Different qualities of White Sivec. Dermitzakis, Verona Fair 2018
To highlight that due to the poor and different brightness at the stands, the whiteness of the Stone is not very representative. However, the pictures help us to show the differences between the classifications of “a same marble” as we go down to lower qualities and vice versa.
Quarries of White Sivec Marble
White Sivec Block, by Mermeren. Exterior Stand, Verona Fair 2018
The pristine whiteness and crystallinity of the blocks reminds us sugar cubes!
3. WHITE STATUARIO
The White Statuario is an Italian marble extracted from the famous area of Carrara, located in the Apuan Alps. Place where there can be extracted up 7 different kinds of marble.
Bianco Statuario Marble, Italy
- The whiteness of its matrix contrasts with the grey color tone of the typical veins of this marble.
- The width of its veins of Statuario marble can vary from just a few millimetres to some centimetres
- Sometimes, the veins can be also golden or yellow-ochre. They can be quite large and to appear crossed with other veins more o less large without a clear pattern.
The beauty of this marble comes from its characteristic veins, which cut and installed in “Open Book format” gets exceptional effects. This is one of the main differences between Statuario and Sivec or Thassos Marble.
- The beauty of this marble, along with its workability, make this stone one of the favorites by sculptors.
- In addition, it is one of the scarcer marble of Carrara.
- All of these details have made it one of the most expensive marble from Carrara.
Examples of Applications/Installations with Statuario Marble.
Front view ADGM, Abu Dhabi. Walls and counters covered with Bianco Statuario. Stone Project executed by Albora.
Side view, ADGM, Abu Dhabi.
4. WHITE VOLAKAS
It is another Greek marble, highly requested at this time. The same as Thassos, Volakas owns its name to the area where it is extracted. There are 10 quarries now a days approximately.
Volakas has as slightly white-greyish matrix with a wide number of grey veins, quite noticeable.
Lower qualities have also dots (minerals) with different sizes and amounts.
We could say since an aesthetical point of view, that Volakas Marble matches with a very low quality White Sivec. However physical-mechanical parameters of Volakas are worst and lower than Sivec Marble.
Examples of Applications/Installations with Volakas Marble.
Waterjet Mosaic: Gris Rubina combined with Volakas. By Albora
Quarries of Volakas Marble
The extraction of Volakas is heavily concentrated in Grupo Empresarial FHL that controls the 85% of the total amount of Volakas Wordwide, extracted from its own 4 quarries .
Due to its typical veins and dots, this material can be quite vary and diverse. Hereafter you can observe 2 examples from two different quarries and companies in Drama: Dermitzakis and FHL Group.
The veins of this marble allow to create amazing Open-Book layouts depending on the nature of the veins and the quarried block.
Example of Volakas, Open Book Layout, Factory in Drama.
5. WHITE CARRARA MARBLE
White Carrara, like Statuario is extracted from Carrara, area that as we mentioned before, they are extracted up to 7 different types of marble. The most well-known of all of them is the White Carrara or Bianco Carrara Marble.
Bianco Carrara Marble
It is a marble with a white background and grey veins. Like in the other mentioned kinds of marble, as we go to lower qualities, the backgrounds becomes a bit darker (greyish) and we can observe a bigger presence of veins and other impurities.
There is a a wide range of classifications/varieties of White Carrara such as: Bianco Carrara C, CD or D.
White Carrara has a very thing grain size with and a mealy texture. It is a very hard and strong marble suitable for quite any use, indoor or outdoor.
It is one of the the most affordable varieties of Carrara Marble, so along with its aesthetical and physical-mechanical characteristics, make it one of the most required marble in spite of its whiteness is not so immaculate as other kinds of marble as Sivec, Thassos or Statuario.
Examples of Applications/Installations with Bianco Carrara.
We know the use of Carrara Marble since ancient times. Buildings as the Hercules Temple in Roma or the Famous Tower and Cathedral of Pisa (among many other very important monuments) have used this natural stone to enhance its beauty and magnificence.
Carrara Marble Columns. Hercules Temple, Rome. 120 B. C.
Architectural and decorative elements of Carrara marble. Cathedral and Tower of Pisa, Italy.
Michelangelo sculpted a lot of his Art Works like “the David” and “the Piedad” in blocks of Carrara Marble, but he has not been the only one, of course. At this link, you can enjoy an extensive repertoire of sculptures in White Carrara exhibited at the Prado Museum in Madrid.
Stairs, Moldings, Flooring and Carving in Carrara Marble. Victoria Eugenia Theatre, San Sebastian. Image Creative Commons Generic Attribution/ShareAlike 3.0.
6. WHITE MACAEL
This Marble is extracted from the very well known area of Macael, Almería. Spain. Now a days the volumen of extraction of this material are decreasing, mainly if we compare it with the described materials above.
Nevertheless, this marble is a very good option to almost any use, possible to find at affordable prices.
White Macael Marble
It is a medium-grain calcitic marble with an alternating white-grayish background. Straight and wide grey-cream or white veins are very characteristics of this marble, whose color can be also green and inclusively orange depending on the area of quarrying.
This marble allows many kinds of finishes. Polished of course, which enhances its beauty and splendor, but also honed, sandblusted, aged, even thought flamed -a more specific finish of granites-.
Examples of Applications/Installations in Blanco Macael.
We know about the use of White Macael use since 2.700 years B.C approximately. Nevertheless the Romans were who started to use it actually in important buildings, as decorative items, architectural elements, etc. in big quantities and professionally.
We can find this marble in places so far from Macael as the famous Theatre of Merida, Badajoz, Spain. (15-16 years B.C.) Badajoz, where Macael Marble is present in columns, statues, structures, etc.
Another example afterwards, we found in the Arab period, in the Alhambra Palace of Granada, where columns, and the popular Lions fountain are carved in White Macael Marble.
The Patio of Vélez-Blanco Castle, Almería, currently exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, was also decorated with this beautiful Marble.
The Library of Kansas City-USA, indoor spaces at the famous Burj- Al-Arab Hotel, Dubai, etc, are some contemporary examples of the use or White Macael.
And of course, we find White Macael at the interior of the Geo-Mining Museum, Madrid, Spain.
In general, and as we have been mentioning, all of these varieties of White Marble are suitable for almost any use. For interior and exterior, in floors, coverings, handicraft, facades, and Art Works. However is highly recommended to check the physical-mechanical properties before any installation and to be aware of the weather, temperature changes, the transit, pollution, etc…
All of them allow different sizes and formats: From “standard sizes” to “cut to size”. The only limitation will be the “Big Size” that will depend on the size of the blocks.
Special attention to polished and honed finishes outdoor floors, where we recommend to choose a sandblasted, bush hammered or any other rough finish. In any case, we advise to apply an anti-slip surface treatment.
We hope to have clarified some doubts about the wide world of White Marble. In Albora we are Geologists and certified Project Managers (PMP by PMI) with an extensive professional experience . We know both, Stone and Construction Sectors in the international markets.
If you need help, solve your doubts or any other question, do not hesitate to contact us.
Feel free to leave your comments, that will be very appreciated to improve this article. We thank in advance if you let us know your concerns and interests about marble and natural stone. They will be taken into account for future posts.