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Travertine Tile FAQ

We are pleased to provide answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on a wide variety of our products. For more information on our travertine tile please browse through our selection of outstanding quality products, read our articles about travertine, and take a look at the answers to our FAQs below.

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Q. What is travertine?

A. Travertine belongs to the larger family of stone called limestone, which is also known as calcium carbonate. Travertine is a type of limestone that has had additional heat and pressure applied to it by the earth’s crust. It is formed by minerals dissolved in ground water, which are then deposited on the earth’s surface by rivers, natural springs, or geysers.

Q. What colors does travertine come in?

A. Travertine comes in many different natural colors including beige, brown, gray, and gold. There may also be slight undertones of green, red, and rust, depending on the origin of the stone and the minerals inherent in the specific selection. The color of travertine is the result of iron compounds and other organic impurities.

Q. What does the finished surface of travertine look like?

A. Travertine is available in four main finish options: polished (shiny), honed (matte), brushed (textured), and tumbled (textured). The type of finish given to travertine determines how shiny the surface will be. Polished surfaces are the shiniest, while tumbled surfaces reflect the least amount of light. Polished and honed surfaces are flat and smooth, while brushed and tumbled surfaces are flat and textured. The most common finish for travertine is honed.

Q. Where can I use travertine?

Travertine has been used as a building material for thousands of years. Today, travertine is used for flooring, wall cladding on buildings, showers, wall coverings and counter tops.

Q. What should I consider before choosing travertine?

A. Travertine is a material that comes naturally with holes and pores. These pores allow for efficient heat transfer, but do not retain heat; this allows the stone to remain cool to the touch. Many travertine options come with pores that are filled with a cement based filler prior to finishing. These fillers will eventually be removed over time, depending on wear and traffic.

BuildDirect recommends using a cement based grout or filler to refill these pores and reseal your tile if you find that the original filler has worn through. Since travertine is a natural stone, the variation and frequency of these pores will vary. We have done our best to sort, select, and grade these tiles to the appropriate standards.

Q. How durable is travertine tile?

A. Travertine has been counted on for centuries by cultures across the globe to last as flooring, wall tile, and other surfaces. Although travertine is susceptible to acidic substances and metal abrasion, it remains to be a surface to be counted on to look great for years, given that a cleaning and maintenance regimen is incorporated to make sure it retains its original look. Sealing the surface of travertine with an impregnator can help do this, and will make maintenance much easier.

Q. Are sealers really necessary?

A. Absolutely. Travertine is a porous material, which means that any liquids which spill onto the surface tend to leech into the body of the travertine. This can negatively affect how your travertine will look over time. A sealer, or an impregnator as it is also known, can make sure that any materials remain on the surface of the tile, until you clean them off, of course. This is the best way to make sure that your travertine retains its original appearance for as long as possible. Ask a BuildDirect Product Expert which products to use, and how often you need to re-seal your tile. Always read the labels of the products you buy, take safety precautions where necessary, and follow instructions carefully.

Q. What’s the best way to keep travertine tile clean?

A. The best way to keep travertine clean is to remove dirt, grit, and other materials that are tracked in from outdoors. Many of these substances can cause minute scratches on the surface of your travertine which can become noticeable over time. So, it’s best to make sure that the surface of the travertine is clear with a damp cloth, soft broom, or vacuum as regularly as you can. Clean up liquid spills immediately, particularly if they are acidic in nature. Fruit juice is particularly problematic, as is coffee and red wine because of their tendency to stain. Even if you’ve sealed your travertine, it’s a good idea not to take any chances. Clear spills right away. Don’t use bleach, vinegar, or any harsh acidic-based cleaners, as these will degrade the surface of your travertine over time.

Q. What’s the best way to remove stains from travertine tile?

A. If a stain occurs on your travertine tile, cleaning it up is a fairly simple procedure. The reason travertine is susceptible to staining is the same reason stains are fairly easy to remove – travertine is porous. A procedure called ‘poulticing’ is a great way to remove stains because it draws the stain up from your travertine and into another material – a mixture of a reducing agent soaked into a cloth or paper towel is the most basic variety of poultice. The best methods should always be measured against the kind of stain you have. Ask a BuildDirect Product Expert for advice on what procedure to use based on the type of material that has stained your travertine.

Q. What sizes of travertine tile are available from BuildDirect?

A. Standard Travertine tile sizes include: 12”x12”x3/8”, 18”x18”x1/2”, 12”x24″x1/2”, and 24″x24″x1/2″.

Q. How do I obtain travertine samples?

A. If samples are available for the product you are interested in, you can request a sample directly from our website. We will send you up to five samples for free with no credit card required. Sample pieces are approximately 6”x6”.

Q. What volumes are shipped by BuildDirect?

A. BuildDirect ships travertine tile in three volumes: by box, by pallet, or by container.

Q. What is the minimum order size for travertine tile?

A. Typically, the minimum order is set to around 100 Square Feet (or 8-10 boxes). This enables us to ship the product to you efficiently, and in a cost-effective manner, with as little breakage in transit as possible. Travertine is a heavy building material that will require proper equipment or labour to accept the goods on delivery. Please check the weight of your goods before they are delivered so that you are properly prepared to receive your order.

Q. I need a smaller amount of tile than your minimum – where do I go from here?

A. Our minimum order quantities vary and are not consistent across different stones or tiles. Please call one of our Product Experts if you have any questions. Also, consider looking through our other offerings to find a product with a lower minimum order quantity.

Q. Can I purchase just one box of tile before I place my full order?

A. We’re unable to sell individual boxes of tile due to shipping costs. The cost to safely ship one box of tile can be more than five times the amount of the actual tile.

To see our tiles in person before you buy, check out our free sample program. We’ll send you up to five free samples right to your doorstep. No credit card required. Also, we offer a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, which means if you aren’t completely satisfied with your tile prior to installation, you can return it for a full refund within 30 days of delivery.

Q. How much does a pallet of travertine tile contain?

A. Pallet volumes start at 333 sq ft. and go up to 359 sq ft., depending on the size and thickness of the tile.

Q. How much does a container of travertine tile hold?

A. Container volumes start at 5,000 sq ft. and go up to 7,500 sq ft., depending on the size and thickness of the tile.

Q. I would like to see the pallets before I buy them. Is this possible?

A. Unfortunately, we are unable to show you the pallets before you purchase them. Products in the warehouses are in sealed crates. We suggest ordering a sample, reviewing the product photos on our website, and talking with a BuildDirect Product Expert if you have any concerns.

Q. How much breakage should I expect with an order?

A. 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 would ask you to have it noted on the logistics receiving document and take pictures. Please make a claim with us within 10 days of receiving the order.