I would like to renovate my bathroom-I would like to replace a vanity top with a marble top. Instead of the expense of a solid marble slab, I would like to cover the existing top (formica) with 12"x12" marble tiles. Since you usually set marble tiles flush (no grout lines), I think this could work. IYHO, would it prove nice and durable?
Not an expert by any means. I would worry about the formica under the tile flexing and causing cracks and breakage. Also many times the marble tile we saw at Lowes was thinner then the ceramic. The third worry is that marble is porus and can be stained. It takes more treatment and care then formica or other tile types.
How about renting a stone saw, and hitting a few auctions for antique marble topped tables where the top is damaged slightly? Cut into tiles and bo’s you’re uncle. [marble topped tables have tops that are roughly an inch thick and very solid. I have a work slab that was a table until a corner got broken off in a move. I would not recommend just cutting up a non-damaged table top. Though they are amazingly available thanks to the millions apparently produced by the Victorians. I am amazed there is any marble left in the world because of how many tables there are in the antique trade.:eek::D]
See how nice and thick this top is? It was going for 325 on ebay. Heck, you might if very careful in the cutting, and if you chose a rectangular-ish footprint for the bowl [or go for one of those surface mount bowls] manage to use the top with minimal cutting.
I did this exact thing on my kitchen counter, and it is holding up well and easy to clean. The things to consider are that some marble tiles have streaks in them that might look funny when butted up against each other. In my case there were grey streaks that I managed to line up, but I had extra tiles to work with to acheive this. Also, marble tiles are sharp around the edges. I added a wooden edge to mine, making the tiles appear to be inlaid. Lastly, even though marble tiles are put down flush, you will still need to seal the crack between the tiles. I used clear acrylic, but I’m not really happy with it. It yellowed and needs redone. Some sort of resin would probably be better. Overall, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t.
Me? I might worry about the formica eventually rotting away underneath the marble, if water finds a way down there (and it will). My former formica-ish kitchen counter was dissolving/crumbling around the sink.
I’d definitely worry about that, and the marble adhering well to the formica as well. And if does adhere well, then you have to worry about the differing expansion/contraction of the material. I couldn’t say whether marble tiling is a good idea or not, but if you want to use any tile at all you should replace the formica top with some heavy exterior grade plywood for support, topped with a tile backing board. I’ve seen good books on tiling that would give detailed instructions and techniques.
(more directed at the OP than Quercus)