Are you considering a home make-over? One luxurious option you have is to pick out travertine as your flooring treatment. These flooring tiles have a natural depth and stone color which is considered a great addition to the aesthetic value of one’s home. Travertine flooring has a lot of advantages but it also has some limitations. Evaluating your needs, requirements as well as your lifestyle is the key to keeping your flooring tiles functioning at its maximum.


The Low Down

Travertine is a natural, sedimentary stone that forms in limestone caves or in a hot spring. Travertine is known for its porous nature; this is caused by carbon dioxide escaping from the stone as it forms. In simple translation of how Travertine forms, this is it: Water runs through limestone beds where minerals build up and create the Travertine stone. Of course there is a more detailed version of how this stone forms, but unless you’re writing a report and not flooring your home, the previous description should do.


Battle Royale

Of course any good informative article will include the Pros and Cons of a product; so here it is!


pros_travertineAesthetic Appeal

rainbow of travertine

Travertine is a beautiful natural stone that comes in various colors and finishes. As the stone itself already has a natural patina look, it is easy to create that welcoming, lived-in space you are trying to create. Travertine also comes in the option for cross cut, or vein cut. Cross cut tiles are cut against the veins in the rock, created a more pillowed, or airy, look. While the vein cut tiles are cut with the veins, creating the movement on the face of the vein cut tiles. Both offer a different appeal; which one is your favorite?



Tumbled Travertine’s Non-Slip Nature

Tumbled travertine usually has a non-slick finish and still keeps some of the texture on the surface of the tiles. Leaving the texture on these travertine tiles creates a great product for pool coping, or areas with water. (This can also be a negative-see below.) With an unfilled, unpolished option, travertine tiles can be ideal for areas with water as they also dry quite fast. Also deciding on brushed travertine can also be good for wet areas because there is even more texture created on the surface; still comfortable to bare feet. Please keep in mind, as with any polished tile, polished travertine is slick when wet.



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Interior and Exterior Options

Of course, what you decide to include in the interior, or exterior, of your home is up to you; however, there are some more rigorous tiles made from travertine that tend to do better outside.


Travertine pavers are usually 1 ¼” thick and filled in order to let the stone be less porous (again, see below) and ideal for exterior settings where the temperatures can get cold. Regular Travertine tiles can be around 5/8” thick and are ideal for interior installations.



Acid Sensitivity

Travertine, as most natural stones, is susceptible to staining and etching from acids in foods and drinks. This means if you spill some orange juice, vinegar, soda or any other acidic food/drink, your tiles may stain or etch. What is staining and etching? Glad you asked! Staining from acids means the stone absorbs the liquid and the color seeps into the tiny cracks, absorbing the color and leaving a stain; much like ketchup smeared on a t-shirt.


Etching is when the acid eats a thin layer of the sealant, or natural stone away; leaving a rough area that may now be uneven on the surface of the stone. Properly and frequently sealing Travertine can help reduce these problems; as long as this is diligently done.


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Now don’t cut my head off just yet. Travertine is a great option and inexpensive one compared to marble and some of the other floorings options out there. However, when compared to its porcelain-look-alikes, the prices of natural travertine can be a deciding factor is choosing this stone for your project. Do you know which is which? (See answer at end!)


Porous Stone

Travertine is naturally a porous stone making is susceptible to cracking and storing dirt and food; eek! In freezing temperatures, travertine may be more likely to crack because water and cool air can make their ways through the stone into those little hollowed-out-porous spots. Being such a porous stone, travertine should also not be put in places with heavy items being dropped constantly; because the stone is not completely “solid.” By having the stone filled, it does strengthen the travertine as an option for tile. But keep in mind, if you decide to put travertine outside and you live in an area with freezing climates, you may regret your decision (hence the thicker paver option).

When used in the home, or as a countertop (which isn’t suggested!) travertine’s porous face is usually filled and sealed to help prevent food getting into the small holes and to keep spills from staining the stone.


Is travertine right for you? That is a good question… that you’ll have to decide yourself. Sorry I can’t be of more service past this post!

Want a great website with LOTS of travertine information, click here: What is Travertine?

ALSO, Porcelain was on the left of the porcelain vs travertine show-down; were you right?


*Attention* Please keep in mind this post does not include every detail available about Travertine and you should seek a professional’s help if you are deciding on using Travertine in your project. This will ensure Travertine is the right choice for your budget, environment and placement of the stone. Each person and project is different, so please DO YOUR RESEARCH!