- What is travertine?
- What colors does travertine come in?
- What type of finish can travertine have?
- What should I consider before installing travertine?
- Is travertine a “green” product?
- Where can travertine flooring be installed?
- What are the benefits of travertine floors?
- What are the disadvantages of travertine floors?
- How does travertine compare to ceramic tile?
- How do I remove a stain from travertine flooring?
- How do I clean and maintain my travertine flooring?
- How do I maintain travertine flooring installed in a shower stall?
- If travertine is damaged, can it be refinished?
- What about minor impact damage, like small chips or cracks?
- Can I install travertine myself?
- How are travertine floor tiles usually installed?
- Why should travertine flooring be sealed?
- How do you cut travertine floor tile?
- What is the filler in the stone?
- How much breakage should I expect with an order?
- Should I order extra travertine tiles?
What is travertine?
Travertine is a limestone, or calcium carbonate, that forms in layers around mineral-laden natural hot springs. It is often incorrectly labeled marble, which is a different type of limestone.
Travertine comes in several different colors including ivory, beige, walnut, and gold. The variegated color of travertine is the result of mineral compounds and other organic impurities that permeate the stone.
Travertine can have one of four major finishes, polished (shiny), honed (matte), brushed, and tumbled (textured surfaces). The type of finish given to the travertine determines how glossy or textured the surface will be. Polished and honed surfaces are smooth, while the brushed and tumbled surfaces are textured. Polished travertine is shiny and smooth to the touch similar to a marble. Tumbled travertine feels more like natural stone and reflects the least amount of light. The most common finish for travertine used in home environments is honed: a flat, smooth feel with a matte finish that mutes reflected light. The resulting tile is natural looking but not textured.
Travertine is a natural stone product. The minerals in travertine are highly reactive with acidic solutions (e.g. orange juice, vinegar) – making where the travertine will be installed and what it will be exposed to important considerations. Sealers provide some protection, but it is impossible to repel every stain.
Travertine is an abundant natural resource with incredible durability. Many of the ancient ruins we can still enjoy today were constructed using travertine. Considering that a travertine floor can last over a century given proper care, contains no harmful chemicals, and does not require the energy use associated with vacuuming, this is a human and environmentally friendly product.
Where can travertine flooring be installed?
Most travertine flooring can be installed outdoors or indoors in residential or commercial areas. You may need a moisture barrier in locales that are at or below sea level; check the manufacturer’s instructions and follow the recommendations made by your installer.
What are the benefits of travertine floors?
Travertine flooring has exceptional natural beauty and is available in a variety of subtle shades and tones. It can be installed outdoors or indoors in residential or commercial areas. Travertine is extremely durable and can last centuries if properly maintained. It does not contain chemicals, unless artificially finished instead of polished. It is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, so it will help keep your home or office free of dust, hair, allergens, and bacteria that can build up in carpeted areas.
What are the disadvantages of travertine floors?
Travertine has a porous surface that tends to hold liquid, dirt, and debris if not properly sealed. Travertine is generally a little more expensive than many other types of flooring, but the cost is balanced by the longevity of wear. Acidic spills can damage or stain a travertine floor, including orange juice, urine, ketchup, lemonade, and so on. All stone floors are hard and cold to the touch and can be slippery when wet. A professional installation is recommended because stone flooring is very heavy and precision and skill are needed.
Natural travertine varies in color and has unique flaws that give the floor a natural, organic character and depth. Ceramic tile is consistent and uniform. Daily care is roughly the same, but travertine requires periodic deep cleaning and sealing. Travertine absorbs moisture or “breathes,” making it vulnerable to stains. Ceramic finishes are non-porous and unlikely to stain. Travertine flooring is generally a harder, more chip-resistant material than ceramic, although it is not impervious to the elements. Some ceramics may be unsuitable for use in extreme climates. Travertine is usually more expensive but undeniably more luxurious, elegant, and durable.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
How do I remove a stain from travertine flooring?
Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper care. Some stains can be drawn out with a method called poulticing, which uses a reducing agent to draw the stain into a cloth. The reducing agent will depend on the source of the stain. However, it is important to note that some stains are cause by a chemical reaction with the minerals in the stone and may not be removed. More information on cleaning travertine tile.
Travertine is an easy-care product with a few simple precautions. Keep abrasive materials off the floor to avoid damaging the finish. Since sand is abrasive, doormats and scatter rugs placed strategically near entryways and high traffic areas are advisable. Frequent cleaning with a dust mop will help keep the sand and debris from marring the finish. Most vacuum cleaners have a beater brush, so vacuuming is not recommended. Clean any spills immediately to avoid staining and use a neutral cleanser recommended by the manufacturer with a wet mop or a wet/dry vacuum from time to time. Outdoor stone can be power-washed.
Reseal your travertine flooring from time to time to keep the pores closed and the finish intact. Never use chemical or acidic products. Check the manufacturer instructions for the proper care regimen.
How do I maintain travertine flooring installed in a shower stall?
Squeegee the water off after every shower and clean daily with a solution recommended by the manufacturer. Clean any mildew growing in the grout lines or soap scum immediately with a cleanser recommended for natural stone.
If travertine is damaged, can it be refinished?
Travertine is natural stone, so it can occasionally be reground, buffed, and resealed to restore the original beauty. This can only be done a certain number of times over the life of the floor, depending on the thickness of the tile, but it should be necessary only very rarely.
Grout can often be used to fill small chips or cracks in the stone. Match the grout color to the stone and use a sealant to minimize the appearance of the flaws.
We highly recommend a professional installation. Travertine, like all stone, is difficult to work with and requires special tools. Pieces must be precision cut using a wet saw, and the sharp edges must be sanded and buffed. There is little room for error, and replacement tiles are costly, especially given the minimum purchase for shipping. In addition, stone is heavy and cumbersome to work with. The good news is that you only pay for installation once if you stay in your home. With a little care, your great-great-great grandchildren can race their hovercycles across the floor.
Most commonly, travertine floor tiles are glued directly to the subfloor. Spaces left between tiles are filled with grout. The finished floor is buffed to achieve a polished, matte, or textured finish and then sealed.
Travertine is a porous material that collects liquid and debris. A sealer is used to fill the pores and prevent liquid and debris from penetrating the stone. Sealant will protect your travertine flooring from pitting and staining to retain its original beauty. Resealing the floor from time to time extends the lifespan of the flooring.
All stone floor tiles are cut with a water saw to avoid chipping. The edges are then sanded and polished.
What is the filler in the stone?
When travertine is quarried, there are small holes in the stone from water pockets that have formed over thousands of years. The holes remain after the tiles and pavers are cut and tumbled. When the tile is honed and filled, manufacturers use a mixture of the residue from the cut tiles and cement to create a fill that sticks to the stone and matches the color.
How much breakage should I expect with an order?
It is not unusual to have 2% – 3% of the tile broken to some degree (e.g. chipped edges). Any amount up to 10% is still considered acceptable. These damaged tiles can be used for the cuts you will need to make. If breakage is above 10%, we ask that you note it on the logistics receiving document and take pictures. Please make a claim with us within 10 days of receiving your order.
Should I order extra travertine tiles?
Regardless of type of flooring, you should always order 10% extra in case of damage. At some point in the future, a few tiles may become damaged beyond repair and require replacement. Finding an acceptable match to your stone may prove impossible. You may never need to replace any tiles, but having replacement travertine on hand is a wise precaution. A small extra investment today could save the cost of an entire new floor in the future.
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