Marble has long been a sought-after material for use in homes, businesses, and anywhere else where people intend to spend a significant amount of time. Known for its beauty, durability, ease of cleaning, and supremely ease of matching with other décor, it’s generally agreed that you can’t go wrong with marble as a material for countertops, bathrooms, floors and much more.
Unfortunately, like anything else, there’s a lot to know about marble. There are a great many varieties of marble, not just referring to the type of stone, but coloring, patterns, and how said patterns are implemented in your home. The latter is far more intricate than one might expect. There are a number of ways marble may be placed, but the two most common approaches are pattern matching and book matching.
You may be asking yourself, “what are book matching and pattern matching?”. This is a very reasonable question, and most people who don’t work with stone, or having previously installed zone in their home, are not likely to have heard of these concepts. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t seen the beauty that can be accomplished with these.
Pattern matching is the more common approach, wherein the veins of a series of slabs of marble are laid in a way to create a coherent, more or less continuous pattern that shows no seams. This is, in fact, the more common implementation as well as the more affordable one. This may sound counter intuitive, as creating these coherent patterns sounds like it would be more challenging. In reality though, that’s not the case.
Book matched marble is not only the more costly of the two, but it is also the more difficult to achieve properly. This approach is also known as butterflied marble, and it does indeed resemble a butterfly pattern, or an open book. Put simply, this implementation places to slabs next to each other, with their veins creating a diametrically opposed mirror image.
Book-matched stone is highly sought after, and creates a unique aesthetic unmatched by any other material. Many have compared it to complex Rorschach patterns or abstract art. Most whom take a moment to study book-matched marble often claim that they see all manner of interesting patterns not unlike seeing shapes in clouds.
The process of creating book-matched marble begins when a large piece of the stone is brought to the facility, where it’s cut into a series of equally thick slabs. These slabs are then laid side-by-side along each other, with opposite sides being polished to create the mirror image effect. This extra step and polishing opposite sides of the slabs is one of the factors that contribute to this being a more costly implementation of marble. The other big factor in this, of course, is the type of stone needed.
Stones with a more outstanding pattern and movement are best suited. There are a host of stone types suited for this, including but not limited to: onyx, marble, granite and quartzite.
Stones with a finer grain are less sought after for this process, due to the fact that the sharply contrasted patterns intended to be produced simply don’t happen in a very perceptible way with such materials.
Along with materials, you need to also factor in precisely what type of book matching you’re going for, such as cross cut or the very dramatic vein matching which produces more structured patterns.
The Many Uses
There are a great many applications for this stunning, opulent implementation of marble. Book-matched stone tends to require a larger, uninterrupted placement due to the requirement of two significantly sized slabs to achieve the effect. Nonetheless, this leaves a lot of room for creative uses of this stunning style. Most popular are things like smaller floors, bathroom walls, shower walls, and even in some cases, kitchen tables.
However, marble is seeing increasing use outside of kitchens and bathrooms, adding a dramatic flair to office spaces, hotel lobbies, even taking the form of large, stylish coffee tables and other durable, elegant pieces of furniture.
Marble has a reputation for being a very expensive material, and that reputation is deserved. Marble, granite and other polished stone materials have long been associated with opulence, though modern manufacturing techniques, shipping techniques etc. have greatly reduced their cost to the point that there are accessible to most homeowners if at least only in small amounts.
As said before, though, book-matched stone is on the more expensive and of the spectrum due to the exotic stone types needed, and the more involved process and manufacturing to achieve the aesthetic. In the end, if your project has the budget to include significant quantities of marble, you can likely afford this particular style, and most would say it’s well worth the expense.
To learn more about the many types of marble, similar stone, and the various styles of implementation available, fill out our contact form today. We’re happy to share our vast knowledge of stone with you, and help you achieve the unmatched beauty you seek.