When considering tile for your home or business, it’s important to know the differences between porcelain and travertine tile in order to determine the best fit for you. The main difference between porcelain and travertine is in its production, and all of the other differences within the tile stem from that. 

Porcelain is a synthetic substance, created by compressing clay dust mixed with a water solution into tile molds. The result is a material that is much denser and tougher than the average ceramic tile and because porcelain is man-made, it can come in virtually any size, shape or color. A result of porcelain’s high density is its incredible resistance to stains; the tile will generally absorb zero to one half of one percent of the moisture that it comes in contact with. Porcelain tile requires little upkeep, only occasional cleanings with soap and water, or a window cleaner for tougher messes. Porcelain tile is also generally cheaper than travertine tile because it is man-made and therefore easier to acquire. Because of its durability and resistance to stains, porcelain tile is ideal for high traffic areas, or households with children / pets. 

Travertine is made of limestone, a rock produced from quarries all over the world. Because of the time and labor spent acquiring the travertine from quarries, it is often more expensive than porcelain tile, (sometimes twice the cost). Travertine also requires much more maintenance than porcelain; because travertine is natural stone, it is very porous and susceptible to stains. Travertine is not recommended to be used in the kitchen or as any type of countertop because of its high sensitivity to stains; travertine will stain if left soaking in plain water, and even high chemical content cleaners can cause damage to the tile. It is recommended that travertine be sealed twice a year to keep it looking in “new” condition. Despite the somewhat extensive and expensive upkeep of travertine, many customers choose this tile because they feel the authentic rustic aesthetic cannot be achieved with porcelain. However, there are many types of porcelain tiles which very closely resemble travertine. Travertine is also considered easier to cut and shape than porcelain because it is made of a soft, natural rock, rendering it somewhat easier to work with when dealing with complex designs. The downside to travertine being soft though, is that it chips and scratches easily. 

No matter which route you choose to take, remember that proper installation and upkeep is key to keeping your tile in great condition!