Travertine is a sedimentary material found in deposits around natural mineral springs. This type of limestone forms when calcium carbonate dissolves into groundwater, where it moves to the surface to form large blocks.
Companies mine the quarries to remove large slabs of the travertine, which then goes to tilers and surface manufacturers who cut the stone into the final shape. “Travertino” is the Italian word for the stone, and it’s no surprise that the best travertine tiles come from Italian manufacturers.
Travertine comes in honed and tumbled finishes for different applications around the home. A honed finish is either unfilled or filled and display the abbreviations H/UF or H/F to identify unfilled or filled tiles. Honed tiles have a smooth surface due to a grinding process that provides the tiles with either a matte or satin finish. Filled and honed travertine is one of the most popular tiling materials for any area around the home.
Tumbling is a process where manufacturers add tiles to a rubber-lined tumbling barrel, along with grit and water. The machine “tumbles” the tiles, rubbing them together with the grit to form smooth edges. In most cases, tumbled travertine tiles are supplied unfilled, and require sealing before and after fitment. Tumbled travertine tiles are also a popular flooring type for any room in the home, as well as outdoor applications.
Travertine is versatile and works in both interior and exterior applications. Here are a few of the best uses of this natural stone tile.
Flooring – Travertine is an excellent flooring material. The tiles are robust and resistant to wear. You can expect a fitted travertine floor to last your home for the duration of its lifetime. Travertine remains cool to the touch all year round, making it the ideal material for flooring summer homes.
Kitchen backsplashes – Travertine goes well with favourite countertop materials, such as quartz and granite. A tumbled travertine backsplash has a rough and rugged look that complements other natural stones, giving your kitchen a Mediterranean feel and look.
Fireplaces – Use travertine tiles to make your fireplace pop. You can use the tiles to frame the fireplace, reducing the heat on the walls.
Driveways – If you want to create an eye-catching entrance and driveway to your home, travertine tiles are a fantastic option. It’s somewhat of an easy process to cover your existing driveway with travertine pavers, and once sealed, the tiles will endure any fluctuations in temperature between the seasons.
Patios and poolside – Travertine tiles remain cool, even in the direct sunlight. This thermal resistance makes them ideal for use around the terrace and the pool. The non-slip texture of travertine helps to prevent slips when water gets on the tiles.
Travertine tiles are among the most durable available. They have excellent resistance to fluctuations in temperature. Provided you have them professionally installed; you can expect no cracking or lifting after fitment. However, unfilled travertine requires sealing before and after fitment to ensure that the porous surface of the stone does not absorb any moisture which may lead to staining and discolouration.
Travertine stone is a somewhat soft material, and you may scratch it if you apply a sharp object to the surface of the tiles. Dragging a couch across a travertine floor will inevitably catch debris and dirt under the feet of the furniture, resulting in scratch marks. In most cases, it’s possible to buff out the scratches using a diamond pad, returning the originals look of the tiles.
However, deep scratches may end up being permanent, and you will need to replace the tile. It’s for this reason that we recommend you purchase an extra box of tiles as replacements if there are any scratches or cracks on your flooring after fitment.
We think that tumbled travertine tiles are an excellent choice for bathroom floors. The rough finish of the stone provides traction on wet surfaces, making them a top choice for the bathroom and shower floor.
However, you’ll need to ensure that your seal the tiles before and after fitment to prevent water from staining the stone. Always ensure that you seal the grouting as well, this strategy helps to avoid water working its way into the gaps between the tiles where it may cause your tiles to lift.
Unfilled travertine tiles are a porous material, and they will absorb any liquids spilt on the surface. Should a spill occur on unfilled travertine, you can expect staining and discolouration of the stone. It’s for this reason that it’s vital to seal your tiles to avoid water damage.
Travertine comes in various grades, with some honed and filled tiles costing as little as £9.35 each. However, premium brands may set you back as much as £56.77 for an unfinished product, making it almost as expensive as some marble products.
Travertine also requires sealing before and after fitment, driving up the installation costs of your floor. Typically, natural travertine tiles with no additional finishing are the least expensive option, and honed, or tumbled finishes will add to your remodelling costs.
You’ll need to clean your tiles to keep them looking good. We recommend you sweep the floor clean every day, and use a mild detergent solution to avoid damaging the sealant on the tile. The use of lemon juice, ammonia, vinegar, and bleach on your tiles will remove the protective sealant layer, staining your tiles. Avoid using abrasive cleaning materials, such as scouring pads or wire brushes when cleaning your tiles, as these corrosive materials may damage the finish.
Steam cleaning is effective at removing stubborn dirt and grime form tour tiles. However, you don’t want to steam clean your floor often, as it may remove the protective sealant from the tile, forcing the steam into the pores of the stone where it traps bacteria and stains the tile. Only steam clean sealed tiles, and try to steam clean only once or twice a year, depending on the condition of your floor.
Stains are only a concern for unfilled and unsealed travertine tiles. IF you do install unsealed tiles, it’s vital that you attend to any spills immediately using paper towels to soak pup and fluids. Spilling acidic liquids like juices, cola, and coffee on unsealed tiles will cause pitting and discolouration if not attended too quickly.
We recommend you soak a cleaning cloth in distilled water and wring it till damp. Push the towel onto the area of the tile affected by the stain and let it absorb as much liquid as possible.
After lifting as much of the liquid as possible, mix some baking soda and distilled water to form a thick paste. Apply this homemade poultice to the affected area of the tile, and leave it to dry for 48-hours. The treatment absorbs moisture from the stone, minimizing staining. Remove using a damp cloth.
Avoid using vinegar to clean stains on travertine. The acidic properties of the vinegar penetrate unsealed travertine, causing pitting and staining. Vinegar may also damage the sealant, resulting in premature wear of the protective surface, and staining of your tiles.
How Do You Clean Grout Lines on Travertine Floors?
Grouting helps to prevent cracking during the seasonal expansion of the tiles from summer to winter and vice versa. However, you’ll need to seal the grouting as well as your tiles. If left untreated, your grouting may absorb moisture from any spills, allowing it to penetrate the travertine from the side. As a result, your tiles may start to stain around the edges.
After sealing, cleaning your grouting is relatively easy, but make sure you avoid using acidic cleaners, especially when scrubbing the floors. Use an old toothbrush to clean the grout lines, along with some stone-safe grout cleaner available from Atlas Ceramics.
After fitting your new travertine flooring, you may have dry grout on the surface of your tiles. Follow these instructions to clean your floor and leave it with a lustrous shine.