Travertine, a form of limestone crafted from calcium carbonate sediment near warm springs and limestone caverns, is highly favored by architects and has been used in construction for centuries. The Colosseum in Rome is built mostly out of travertine and is the most enormous structure of its kind in the world. The Getty Center in Los Angeles, which opened in 1997, exhibits a modern outlook with its 1.2 million square feet of Travertine visually covering both the inside and outside of the architecture.
This day, travertine is highly valued due to its durability and grandeur when utilized in households, such as flooring, countertops, wall displays in bathrooms, outer walls of fireplaces, paving stones for balcony and path paving, as well as decoration around swimming pools. Travertine has a rustic appearance that makes it suitable for use in either casual or formal designs.
The biggest sources of travertine are in Italy, however there are also other locations around the world like Turkey, Peru, Mexico, Croatia, Iran, China, and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming where it can be found. Before making the decision to use travertine in a renovation project, you should consider the positives and negatives of this natural material.
If you are trying to decide between travertine, granite, and marble for your dwelling, consider studying the characteristics of travertine in regards to its looks, upkeep, and pricing.
What Is Travertine?
Travertine is a form of limestone that has a texture similar to marble and generally has hues from the earth. Travertine is generated by the accumulation of minerals that have been released from certain thermal springs. The uniqueness of travertine results from calcium carbide moving and amalgamating with other substances. Travertine has a unique, eye-catching look that makes it a sought-after choice for use in flooring.
Types of Travertine Tile
Travertine is incredibly versatile. Besides being suitable for backsplashes and floors, this material is available in numerous finishes and hues, providing a large selection of possible styles.
There are four distinct kinds of travertine tile designs, which can be identified by the way it has been cut. The various finishing selections available will assist you in finding the ideal appearance that compliments your fashion.
- Polished: Polished travertine smoothed and glossed over to create a reflective marble-like finish.
- Brushed: Brushed travertine has a slightly rough texture and a matte finish that highlights the stone’s natural beauty. Manufacturers achieve this finish by treating the travertine with a wire brush to reach the desired texture.
- Honed: Honed travertine, the most popular finish for home flooring, is the midpoint between a polished and brushed finish. Honed travertine is lightly polished for a smooth yet matte finish.
- Tumbled: Tumbled travertine goes through a unique treatment for an aged, rustic look. Manufacturers achieve this finish by placing the cut stones in a plastic barrel with abrasive grit and water and rotating the barrel to allow the stones to rub against each other as they tumble. As a result, tumbled travertine tiles have a highly textured finish with rounded corners and edges perfect for a beautiful antique feel.
Besides completion, the way travertine tiles look is also affected by the type of cutting used. The appearance of the same stone can be quite distinct depending on how it has been cut in comparison to the orientation of the stone’s surface. The appearance of travertine resembles the grain in wood, with its pattern evident in the rock. There are two different ways of cutting something – the first is termed vein cut, the second is referred to as cross-cut.
Cutting the travertine in the same direction as the way it is naturally layered is necessary in order to achieve a vein cut. A vein cut produces a straight design that shows the planes of the rock’s layering. As opposed to this, a cross-cut displays a random, usually round pattern when cutting parallel to the plane in which the sediment is arranged. This round design is quite similar to the hoop-like shapes seen when slicing a tree against the grain.
The vast array of colors available increases the range of design opportunities provided by travertine tiles. The shade of the rock will differ based on the minerals that were around when it was made. Travertine tiles are never a single solid color. The designs vary considerably, featuring spots and stripes of varying hues, although a certain few varieties of travertine tend to be more even in pigmentation.
Each tile is one-of-a-kind, but you can still design a gorgeous floor by carefully selecting and positioning stones gathered from the same region. The natural differences in the stone ensure that each travertine floor has its own distinct appearance. Beige, brown, gray, red, pink and green are all shades included in the spectrum of colors.
The Pros and Cons of Travertine Tile
When picking a flooring material for your living space, it is important to weigh out the benefits and drawbacks of each possibility and examine those against the needs of your household. Travertine has its strengths and weaknesses, which makes it fitting for certain objectives more than others. The finish and cut of the stone will influence certain aspects.
- Durability: Travertine is remarkably durable and ages stunningly well. Ancient Roman engineers used it in iconic structures that still stand today, including the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain . Travertine is a hard stone that doesn’t easily show scratches. Natural finishes like brushed or tumbled are more resilient to damage and less likely to show nicks and scratches than polished or honed tiles. Keep this in mind if you want to maximize your floor’s lifespan.
- Style and versatility: Travertine’s range of finishes and color options gives you the flexibility to match any kind of decor. You can go for a classic natural look or a polished modern flair. The possibilities are nearly endless.
- Adds and retains home value: Travertine floors’ longevity and style can boost your home’s value. Durable floors that age gracefully will hold their value over time better than less resilient options requiring more frequent repairs and refinishing.
- Slip resistance: Unpolished travertine has a rough, non-slip texture, making it great for areas like bathrooms and alongside pools where traction is essential.
- Affordability: Travertine is generally less expensive than other natural stone flooring options like marble or granite. You can save money without sacrificing quality.
- Easy to replace: You can remove and replace individual tiles in the rare event that they get broken or damaged, meaning repairs are inexpensive and straightforward if you save some extra tiles during installation.
- Susceptible to stains: Travertine is porous, meaning it is full of tiny holes. Porous stones like travertine have a handful of drawbacks. For starters, these microscopic pores allow liquids to penetrate, which makes the stone stain easily. You can protect against stains by applying a penetrating sealer. You will need to reapply the seal every few years.
- Travertine voids: Another potential downside of travertine being porous is travertine voids , small visible holes resulting from gasses getting stuck in the rock as it formed. Polished and honed travertine comes with these surface voids filled, but holes just below the surface become exposed over time as the floor wears. Filling these holes in as they appear is acceptable and common practice. Alternatively, you could choose the unpolished finish and embrace the distinct rustic feel of weathered travertine.
- Vulnerability to acid damage: Travertine, like marble, is a calcareous stone. In other words, it is mainly calcium carbonate, which means you have to be careful what cleaning solutions you use. Using vinegar, lemon juice or other acidic cleaning products will stain travertine floors.
- Heavy: As you’d expect, stone tiles tend to be heavy, making them challenging and time-consuming to install. You will likely need to hire a skilled professional. The tiles’ weight also requires a strong and stiff subfloor to support them without excessive bowing or flexing. You may need to reinforce your subfloor’s structure before installing the tiles. Lastly, depending on how you are getting the tiles to your home, you may have to pay more in transportation costs than you would for a lighter material.
- Moderately expensive: Though less costly than other natural stones like marble, travertine tile flooring is still more expensive than alternative materials such as laminate or vinyl. You can offset this cost by how long stone tiles last and how well they retain their value, but if upfront costs are your primary concern, travertine may not be the right choice.
Follow these easy tips for how to clean travertine tile, floors, surrounds, and countertops:
- Sweep travertine tile floors at least once a week to remove any grit that could potentially scratch the stone. Mop weekly or as needed to clean up messes with a barely wet microfiber or cloth mop, using a cleaner specifically formulated for stone floors, if desired.
- Protect travertine countertops with coasters, hot pads, or trivets to help absorb drips. Don’t cut directly on your stone countertop; instead, use a plate or cutting board. Clean the counters with a slightly damp microfiber cloth as needed. If a little more cleaning power is required, use a product made for stone or a gentle liquid dishwashing solution. Never use vinegar, bleach, or ammonia to clean natural stone counters.
- Use a squeegee to wipe water off your travertine shower surround after every use. Every week or two, spray the stone with a soap-scum remover that doesn’t contain harsh bleach or ammonia; choose a product that indicates it is safe for use on natural stone.
- Wipe up spills right away on any travertine surface.
- Wipe soot from your travertine fireplace with stone cleaner whenever it accumulates, and dust it regularly to keep charcoal from setting into the stone.
Travertine vs. Porcelain Tiles
If you are thinking about having a travertine tiled floor, chances are you have looked at similar options too. Porcelain tiles are a remarkable substitute for travertine floors. Porcelain tiles possess a lot of the same advantages as travertine does. Factory-made tiles can be designed to appear like natural stone or other substances, such as wood. The options in terms of styling, colour, and texture that are now available even surpass the multitude of uses offered by the incredibly multifaceted travertine. Travertine tiles that are taken care of properly can last longer than porcelain tiles. Tiles usually last between 75 and 100 years, therefore the small gap in lifespan is not important for the majority of situations.
It is worth noting the advantages that porcelain tiles possess in comparison to travertine. It is noteworthy that porcelain is not permeable. You do not need to concern yourself with applying a sealant to the tiles or compromising their color by exposing them to water.
An additional advantage to porcelain is that it is safe to use harsher cleaning chemicals on it. Travertine can be discolored by many common disinfectants and cleaning products containing acid, such as vinegar. It is recommended that you consult your manufacturer prior to using any kind of chemical cleaning solutions on your porcelain tile floor.
Lastly, porcelain tiles tend to be cheaper than travertine. The price of the tiles is usually quite affordable and the labour to put them in place is typically less expensive than other options. The price of porcelain tiles can fluctuate considerably depending on a range of elements in a similar way to travertine. The price of travertine may be lower than the other material, as their respective price ranges partially intersect.
Porcelain tiles may have certain advantages over travertine, however that does not automatically make them the better choice. Porcelain tiles may appear and feel comparable to travertine, yet they are not totally the same. Additionally, made tiles cannot get the unique appearance of stone created naturally.
Is Travertine Stone Expensive?
Installation of travertine and limestone is just as expensive as one another, but either one of these is cheaper than laying down marble or terrazzo tiles. The cost of travertine flooring per square foot can fall between $15 and $30, making it an affordable middle-of-the-range option, as laminate is cheaper than any stone materials. Ensure you ask about available options and their prices when you opt for your preferred travertine tile as the finish you choose will have a bearing on the cost.
Does Travertine Always Need to be Sealed?
Travertine tile is more likely to stay unaffected by staining and etching if it is sealed. If you opt for a polished travertine finish, it is essentially resistant to staining, though you may want to use a protective polishing product. The polished stone is unlikely to take in sealant and therefore won’t draw in stains, so there would be no need to seal it if the water runs off it.
It is imperative to adhere to the supplier and installer’s advice regarding the upkeep of your polished travertine. Every few years, any travertine tile, whether it has been honed or tumbled, that is placed in an area that experiences a great deal of activity (e.g. a kitchen) must be sealed in order to avoid discoloration and etching.