Travertine: Frequently Asked Questions

What is Travertine?

Travertine is a type of sedimentary rock, which means it was formed by eons of sediments being laid down and subjected to great heat and pressure. In the case of travertine, it is made when spring water that’s full of calcium carbonate evaporated from rivers, waterfalls or caves. It is a beautiful stone that resembles alabaster and is much sought after for construction and paving. It is also an excellent material for floor and wall tiles, counters, vanity tops, backsplashes and shower stalls.


What colors does it come in?

Travertine is generally a light-colored stone and comes in neutral colors. Impurities such as iron give the stone hints of colors such as red, green and rust.


What does travertine look like when it is finished?

Travertine can have a highly polished tumbled honed, or matte finish. Honed and polished finishes give the stone a smooth, flat look and feel. On the other hand, if the travertine has a brushed or tumbled finish then it will be textured. Most homeowners opt for a honed finish, which is smooth and flat without being blindingly bright.


What should be considered when using travertine?

Because travertine is as porous as it is, it does not retain heat but transfers it. This makes the stone cool to the touch. Stone fabricators usually fill in the pores with a cement filler before the travertine tiles are bought, but these wear out over time. It is always a good idea to either replenish the filler or seal the travertine tile.


How long does travertine last?

If it is given proper care, travertine can last for many decades. Sealing the stone makes caring for it that much easier and extends its already long life.


Why must travertine be sealed?

Travertine’s porosity makes it subject to damage by acids. Even mild acids such as lemon juice can eat away at it over time. A sealer prevents acids and other abrasive substances from getting into the stone and eroding it. Homeowners who are considering travertine for their home should speak with us about sealing, protecting and caring for the stone.


Why should a homeowner want a travertine counter?

A travertine counter gives a kitchen an attractively rustic feel. It can add warmth to a kitchen that some visitors might find a bit too clinical such as an all white kitchen or a kitchen with lots of chrome or stainless steel fixtures. Because travertine reflects light, it can make a dark kitchen look brighter than it really is. Travertine tiles resemble ceramic tiles as they can be cut to order, and the tiles can be replaced easily if the counter is damaged. Because travertine is so cool, it is just right for using to make pastry dough.