At this point we’ve answered the ‘what is travertine’ question, explaining things like color ranges, and that distinct porous appearance that draws so much attention from home owners and designers.
Travertine is extracted from the quarry and cut into manageable slabs using industrial drills and diamond saws. And depending on the product in mind, it needs a further process of transformation.
Travertine can be used in a great many applications. Let’s talk about tiles, since that’s one of the products that leap to mind the most for many. The tiles are squared (edges are at 90 degree angles), calibrated (made flat), and are cut to standardized sizes. And from there travertine tile surface treatments are the thing that stand out most for a lot of people.
For instance, some like that natural porous surface. While other people like that smooth, planed surface. When the latter product is made, it is called honed and filled travertine tile. The honing process smooths the surface until it is akin to marble, and the holes are filled with cement and color matched accordingly.
Another look which designers and home owners are looking for is that weathered look that evokes an atmosphere of the ancient world. For this, the process to create that “brushed and chiseled” look does what it suggests – brushes the surface of the tile, and chisels the edges of the tile to give it that time-worn charm.
Another process that tiles go through is the ‘tumbling’ process, which involves the tiles literally being tumbled in a machine that uses gravel to shake up the tile, and thereby scoring the surface as the gravel ‘tumbles’ over it in the machine. Take a look at this, and turn down the volume on your machine a bit (tumbling is pretty loud).
In the next installment of this mini-series about travertine, we’ll talk a bit about application – where you can use travertine to transform a space.