Carrera Marble Tile Shower Staining

by michelle

marble stains shower tile

marble stains shower tile


We recently redid our bathroom and had carrera marble tile installed on the floor of the bathroom and also the walls of the shower.

Over the course of the past year, brownish marble stains have been appearing, particularly in the grey veining of the tile - spreading and darkening as time goes on.

What was once a purely grey/white marble tile has morphed into a grey/white/brownish tile. The same tile was used on the floor and has remained true to color.

When our contractor was installing the tile, he remarked to me that he had $20 in change behind the tile in our shower - as he was using change (mostly quarters and pennies) to shim the tiles. I am wondering if this could be the cause of the staining. Thank you.


Yeah, he shouldn't be shimming the marble tiles... that's just a way to try and compensate for lippage and a sloppy installation.

A poor marble shower installation is a common reason for water getting behind the tiles and causing problems... like brownish marble stains.

Carrara marble contains iron deposits. If these are exposed to a constant source of water they will oxidize and rust. The rusty water will then bleed to the surface creating rust stains.

I'm guessing the iron deposits are concentrated in the veins (not always the case) in these tiles and/or the veins are a bit more porous, thus allowing the water to pass through more easily.

You must first fix any problem allowing for water getting behind the marble tiles. Inspect all grout lines for voids and cracks where water may seep in.

The most likely fix, unfortunately, for a bad install is to rip out and start over. And given your description, I'd say a
shoddy install is the most likely cause for water leaking behind the tiles and causing the staining.

Bummer, but hey, at least you'll get $20 back!

Of course, you want to fix all possible leak problems before taking such drastic measures. So, quit using the shower and let it dry out completely. Check and repair any grout line damage.

Then follow the instructions in the Removing Granite & Marble Stains e-book to try and remove the rust stains.

Rust stains in marble from metal oxidation are often the most difficult to remove, however, since these are rather fresh you should have a good shot. You'll likely have to repeat the procedure several times though.

Then use the shower and see if the rusty marble stains return.

Or... You may want to remove the most affected tile first and see what you find underneath. If it is wet, you have your answer.

If I understand your description the bathroom floor is fine and it's the shower walls showing this problem. And the tile on the shower floor is different than the walls.... and no issues?

Anyway, unless this is a very large shower, I may consider just ripping it out from the get-go and have it re-installed by someone more experienced and skilled. Or else you could end up having it recur even after fixing grout, removing stains, etc.

You'll still need to remove the rust stains from the existing tile though unless you decide to buy completely new tile for the re-installation.

However, it's likely that the shower wall and bathroom floor tiles are from the same batch and exactly match. New marble tiles probably would not look the same. Thus, if you'd like to maintain the consistent color/pattern, you'll want to remove the stains and re-use the current tiles.

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What May Happen - Carrara Marble Bath Tile?
by: Anonymous

I am using Carerra marble on my tub deck... part of it extends into the shower where it will get a lot of water ... will it discolor and look different than the part that does not get constant water?

I was told that honed finish was better to hide stains and water marks... true or false?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

A honed marble surface will hide etch marks (dull chalky spots from acid corrosion) better than a polished marble surface, but not stains.

Stains (dark spots) will look about the same no matter what type of surface you have.

This is common advice, but note that you will still see etch marks on a honed surface... just not as obvious as on a polished marble. Etch marks on a polished marble are more easily repaired with this DIY Etch Remover - polisher.

The part that of the Carrara marble that extends into the shower should not look different, however, an important point to know is that Carrara marble (or any white marble) can contain embedded iron deposits.

If these iron deposits get wet (from water absorbing into the tile) they can oxidize and cause a rust stain on the tile.

So, white marble shower tile and around the tub as well should always be sealed with a quality impregnating marble sealer.

The water itself won't cause a problem or discoloring. Water can absorb into marble and will then just evaporate and no problem.

The iron deposits create the problem.

However, the tile in the shower will be much more susceptible to build-up of soap scum and/or hard water deposits.

Calcutta marble rusting
by: Anonymous

We placed calcutta marble tile in our bathrooms. We noticed some rust colored spots within the marble tile developing and had them replaced immediatley. Here we are 5 months later and there are now spots of rust within the 12" tiles again. This is in the guest shower that is used infrequently. What do we do?

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