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Is Travertine Right For Me?

chiseled travertine patio deck

Travertine stone has gained much respect in home decorating. It is a soft stone, similar to limestone, but because of its density, it is also considered a type of marble, suitable for many decorating and flooring options.  Its bucolic yet elegant look makes it ideal for neutral or traditional décor. People wishing to decorate in earthy tones will find one of the most appealing natural stones available.

However, choosing where to use travertine can be difficult if you’ve never decorated with a natural stone before. Many people opt for a man-made stone because they are unsure of travertine’s versatility and limitations. It’s important to know the advantages and where you can install travertine as well as its disadvantages or where travertine may not be suitable.

Travertine Advantages and Uses

Natural stone décor can often increase a home’s real estate and resale value. Travertine is no exception; it is a strong and durable material that often lasts longer than other man-made flooring options.

Travertine is also versatile; many homes use it in kitchens, bathrooms, living quarters, and outside.  Sink counters, floors, tub surrounds, and showers are all examples of ways travertine can be used indoors. Outdoor uses include decks and patios, driveways, and pool surrounds.

As travertine is also considered a type of marble, you may find it in tabletops and end tables. As more people strive to use environmentally friendly products in their homes, you’ll find that travertine is one of the most eco-friendly décor options, as it requires no abrasive or acidic cleaners used to clean it.

Disadvantages of Using Travertine

Because travertine is a soft stone, it has some drawbacks. Before installing travertine in your home, consider the room and its uses. Using travertine in high traffic foot and pet areas should be avoided, if possible. Travertine can be susceptible to scratching. Travertine also absorbs water and moisture, which makes it a nice selection for a bathroom but not necessarily an outdoor environment that experiences periods of freezing and thawing. During numerous freezing periods, travertine may crack and break.

When it comes to cleaning, travertine may need a cleaner specifically for natural stone. Your installer can advise you. One of the biggest warnings when cleaning travertine is to steer clear of acidic or abrasive cleaners. These could harm and damage the stone, resulting in permanent damage.  Lastly, travertine can be expensive. Unlike man-made décor options, travertine comes from natural stone quarries and isn’t mass produced.

As a flooring option, travertine can bring a home exquisite charm and beauty. However, knowing your decorating budget, where you’ll install the travertine, and how often the area is used can assist you in understanding whether or not travertine is right for you.

(8) Comments

  1. Hi,

    I have two questions. First, I have walnut tumbled and chiseled travertine on my floor. We are remodeling our bathroom and need to match our shower to the existing floor. Is walnut basically the same no matter where I purchase it, or do I need to try to get it from the same place in order to get it as close as possible to the floor walnut color? My second question is about the best travertine for showers. I want tight grout joints and am considering honed and filled travertine. What is the most common travertine put in showers? Thank you in advance for your expertise!

    • Hi Kim,

      The thing with natural stone of all kinds is that it is made randomly, under conditions that have many, many variables. So, matching the colors is very difficult. Finding out where your travertine comes from, as in which region of the world, is a good start to a conversation with a product expert. From there, the game plan is going to involve expecting your new batch of travertine *not* to match exactly. But, that doesn’t have to be a problem. Sometimes, contrast provides a better overall result.

      For the most common travertine in showers, that all depends on what kind of look you’re after. Beyond that, a well-sealed tile is probably the thing to concentrate on, with honed and filled being a good choice if that is the same style as your floor tile. In that, you can match the texture of your shower and floors if not the exact patterning or color spectrum.

      I hope that helps!

  2. Great Travertine Article,

    In response to Alyson’s question, yes there is a way to reduce the appearance of the scratch, basically by polishing out the scratch using a diamond polishing pad can reduce the visibility and still keep the travertine tile looking good.

  3. I recently had travertine installed in two bathrooms and my laundry room. When the washer and dryer were put back in the floor was scratched a little. I was suprised that when the floor was scratched, the scratch is lighter in color than the rest of the floor. Is there anyway to reduce the appearance of the scratch?

  4. I purchased a travertine cocktail table, and now not sure if I made a mistake. I love the table, but didn’t realize how careful I have to be with it. I’m afraid of placing anything on it due to water stains from a glass, or any kind of stain. I don’t even know what to use to maintain it. Do I clean it with some kind of spray when dusting?

    • Hello Elaine,

      It is true that since Travertine is a natural stone you have to be more careful with it since it is a porous material. First of all, I would suggest that you use a penetrating sealer to protect the table from stains if you haven’t already applied any type of sealer. This type of sealer should also not really affect the look of the travertine itself. To clean you should ideally use a mild, phosphate-free, biodegradable liquid dishwashing soap, powder, or stone soap to clean your travertine (always spot tests any such cleaners). Finally, I would recommend a simple solution such as using cup saucers and perhaps a smaller table cloth to minimize any possible stains due to spills.

      Hope that helps a bit.

  5. Does travertine come polished? I have been told that if I want it to be a little shiny, I will have to keep polishing it every 6 months or so….Does it come “polished”?

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