Travertine Tile Secrets

Travertine Tile Secrets

Silver Travertine installed in a bathroom

Travertine Tile for Floors, Showers and Backsplashes: 

Travertine tile is a natural stone well-suited for more than just flooring. Backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, showers, and thin stone veneers are all great applications for travertine tile.

Here’s a look at some more notable information to help you get better acquainted with travertine tile and determine if it’s the right flooring option for your next project:

Travertine Tile Definition

Travertine tile is a type of natural stone that develops over time when minerals are deposited on the earth’s surface by rivers, hot springs and geysers. Most of the travertine that is available in Canada and the United States is imported from regions such as Italy, Turkey, and Latin America; but some are made closer to home. For example, large deposits of travertine can be found in places such as Yellowstone Park.

Mother Nature continues to be busily creating more travertine as we speak. There are locations, such as areas of New Mexico, where you can watch travertine forming before your eyes. Because of this, travertine is the most affordable type of natural stone.

Watch this video to find out more about why natural stone is desirable, and the unique character and appeal of travertine:

Many believe that travertine belongs in the marble family; however, it belongs in the limestone family. Regardless, we group travertine as a separate category on our website, since travertine tile’s characteristics are unique.

Travertine Tile Finishes

Travertine naturally has porous “holes,” created by water (an irreplaceable part of the stone’s formation). While in the factory, a complementary colour of “fill” is selected, and used to flood the pockets throughout the tile. The tile is then “honed” by a large machine, thus making a perfectly level tile. This finish is called “honed & filled.”

Some desire a more old-world feel, and opt for a “brushed” finish. With this type of finish, the tile is left with it’s characteristic pores, and often chiseled along the edges to create a look reminiscent of European cobblestone roads.

Travertine Tile Installation

Travertine tile is a favourite amongst many contractors. It’s easily cut with a standard wet saw equipped with a diamond blade.

Being a light, porous natural stone, a few extra precautions should be taken when installing:

  • Use a white thinset, not grey. The grey colour can seep in to the stone from underneath, and muddy the natural, light colour of the stone. White thinset or mortar is slightly more expensive than grey, but it is a small expense that is necessary to in preserving the beauty of your stone.
  • Once the stone is installed, it needs to be sealed. Again, being porous, it easily absorbs that which touches it. Sealing your stone prevents staining and protects against water absorption, and thus water damage. We recommend using a high-performance penetrating sealer such as Dry-Treat’s Stainproof or Intensifia. Use Stainproof when you’d like to keep the stone looking the same. Use Intensifia to give it a wet, satiny look. An easy way to decide on which sealer you prefer is to wet a portion of a tile and compare the dry look to the wet look. If you prefer the wet look, choose Intensifia. If you like the dry look, choose Stainproof.

Travertine Tile Maintenance

Some shy away from installing natural stone due to the threat of increased maintenance; however, the underlying issue is not with the stone, but with having and using the appropriate cleaners.

The first step in reducing maintenance is properly sealing your stone with a penetrating sealer.

Once sealed, clean the tile with a non-acidic cleaner. Acid-based cleaners can cause etching. If you look on the label for your cleaner, most will say whether they are safe for natural stone or not. If your favourite cleaner is not safe for stone, do not lose heart. Dry-Treat has a line of high-quality cleaners that are designed specifically for daily and deep cleaning of natural stone.

When purchasing your travertine tile, talk to your sales rep to ensure you have the appropriate sealant and cleaner added to your order. It will make maintenance a breeze!

Travertine Tile vs. Travertine Imitiation Tile

Travertine tile is the real deal. Each tile is unique. There is no repetition of pattern. Installing real stone greatly increases the perceived value of your home. Travertine tile has been used in residential settings for thousands of years. It is a time-tested, long-lasting building material.

Travertine imitation tile is a man-made porcelain or ceramic tile. An attractive, travertine-like pattern is printed on clay tile. Although imitation designs are continually improving, there is always repetition in these man-made designs. Porcelain or ceramic tile is low maintenance, does not absorb water, and is available at a lower price point than real travertine.

Some think that the area you are installing travertine is the driving factor in deciding between real or man-made travertine. For example, “travertine isn’t suitable for wet bathrooms.” This is not the case. As long as your stone is properly sealed, it will be protected from water absorption, and therefore water damage. We have overseen travertine installed in steam showers with absolutely no issue!

So, how do you make the decision between real and man-made? Each project has its own unique set of factors. Tell us about your project, and we’ll help you decide.

Call us today to discuss what is the best option for your project!

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