Travertine is a form of limestone that is also known as calcium carbonate and is formed when minerals dissolved in ground water are moved to the surface. Travertine is known for its movement and patterning and occurs naturally in colors ranging from white and ivory to gold and pale reddish browns. The iron content of the stone determines the color, and travertine is known to deepen in hue and warmth as it ages. If you love the look of natural stone, travertine is an exquisitely affordable option.
Travertine has a unique structure formed from air pockets trapped within the stone. Although this bubbled mottling contributes to travertine’s distinctive charm, it also makes it important to choose travertine from a quality supplier you can trust, as the pockets in inferior stone are often filled with a mixture of stone powers and epoxy. Inexpensive travertine tiles sold at big box home improvement stores often contain more fill than stone, and as the fill is weaker than stone, it may degrade over time, leading to an uneven and unsightly effect.
Many homeowners shy away from travertine and other natural stone tiles because they’ve heard horror stories about delicate materials that require high maintenance. In reality, while travertine does require sealing, modern sealers are usually guaranteed for as long as 15 years and deliver a high quality shine that cleans up with minimal care. Travertine is a long wearing stone that should last a lifetime.
Natural stone has a look and feel that cannot be duplicated by synthetic materials. Travertine is a versatile material that summons many looks depending on the finish and color. Polished travertine resembles marble, while matte-finished stone has a burnished, antique look that retains some of travertine’s natural texture. Travertine goes anywhere both inside and outside the home, and is often used around swimming pools or incorporated into hardscaping to create sophisticated, polished effects.
Travertine tiles are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, including rectangles and modular patterns. For interiors, the bold, splashy movement of travertine is most often used in whole-house flooring or in larger bathrooms. Travertine transfers easily from floors to walls, and can be used to line showers, create self-shelving or enclose bathtubs. Rustic travertine combines beautifully with mosaic borders or accents that break up the monochrome nature of the stone and add flair. In the kitchen, travertine fashions unique counters and backsplashes, and fireplaces faced with travertine create an eye-catching focal point in living and family rooms.