Maybe you’ve seen a picture of it in a magazine, or maybe a friend or family member has it installed in their home. The looks and styles that can be achieved with travertine tiles are numerous. Understanding the properties and colors of travertine will help to choose the look that’s right for you.
What is Travertine? Watch the video - click here
Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan and cream-colored varieties. In cases where iron or other elements are prevalent, colors can be dark chocolate to vivid reds and gold. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot spring or in a limestone cave. In the latter it can form stalactites and stalagmites. It is frequently used throughout the world as a building material.
Styles and Appearances of Travertine Tiles
Travertine tiles are available in variety of finishes as tumbled, cobbled, honed, polished, cross cut, vein cut, acid washed, hammered or saw cut. During production travertine tiles are unfilled. Filling these voids during production with a hydraulic cement based material allows for uniform surface through the honing stage. This process can at times prove a misfortune as the color matching may be incorrect. Leaving the voids to be filled in during the installation process is very common and can actually pull the color in a desired direction with the coloration of the grout adding tonal value to the overall installation. Extremely large holes, which go straight through the stone are also common, and should be filled with grout during installation. It is very important that during the installation process the installer “key” in the adhesive to the back side of the travertine filling in the voids. This is done to help limit the amount of “walk through” holes which may occur within the first few years after installation.
Honed and polished travertine tiles are normally filled at the factory. This will be referred to as “honed and filled” or “polished and filled”. While most manufacturers will make every effort to match the color of the stone with a close shade of fill, it is not unusual to have fill in a lighter color than the stone, or in some rare cases, a different color all together, such as pink or green. To avoid receiving a lot of stone that may not be desired, request samples from current inventory.
A cross cut travertine tile has been cut against the “grain” of the stone. This is the most common and desired pattern, which, when filled resembles what is known as Fiorito, or flowers.
Colors of Travertine
One of the most common QDIStone travertines is Ivory Beige, a light colored stone which can range from a light tan, to a deeper, taupe shade, sometimes within one stone, it works well on kitchen backsplashes, floors and shower applications.
Another of our common travertines is QDIStone English Walnut, a very deep, golden brown. English Walnut can take on a dusky, gray brown tone when tumbled, and lighten to a rich, mocha brown when honed or polished. English Walnut can sometimes be called “Noce” or “Chocolate” and makes an excellent flooring material, as its dark, varied tones hide dirt and wear and tear extremely well.
Silver travertine is one of the most distinctive stones, with thick veins, and layers of color, moving across the stone. Laying silver travertine horizontally across a narrow area will draw the eye from side to side, visually widening a space. The grey in, silver travertines are considered an abstract and not a color. For this reason consider using silver when you have plans for using bright colors on walls or elsewhere. Silver is very easy to accent with using multiple colors from a wide range.
Golden Reale is our gold travertine with darker flecks and veins, making it a compliment to many warm, natural wood tones. Using it in throughout a house can warm up any room.
Rojo travertine is the most distinctive of the stones. It has a rich orange red, with light yellow and dark maroon veins running through its surface. Rojo travertine works for modern applications with reds and dark glass mosaics to compliment and show off its vibrant beauty.
Designing with Travertine
Floors need to be considered as “the fifth wall” not many other areas of your house will have so many variable applications that can change the entire look and feel of your home. The major differences are:
To make a room look larger - Light-medium colors
To make a room look smaller - Medium-dark colors
Light - brighter - Light-medium colors
Dark areas - Medium-dark colors work best in rooms with natural light
Warmer - "Warm" colors, red to reddish browns
Cooler - "Cool" colors are grays to blues
Neutral color – Beiges cool or warm
Color accents – Can range from glass to other natural stones or even ceramic tiles
If you plan to re-sell - Try to use the same stone from room to room.
This is your dream house – Freely use what you want, where you want it! It’s what makes you happy!
Tumbled and cobbled - travertine can give a rustic look. Use them in entry ways and kitchen floors for a richly textured look. For kitchen backsplashes, try using 4” tumbled travertine tiles in a variety of colors. Mix Nysa, Noce and Rojo for a patchwork effect of light, dark and warm tones Use Silver travertine with a lot of chrome faucetry and clean edged, oversized subway tiles in a bathroom for a modern, multi-faceted look.
Travertine, like any natural stone, should be sealed during installation, prior to grouting, and cleaned with a stone cleaner or mild detergent. A well sealed stone should bead up the water on its surface, so be sure to reseal if this ceases to occur. A “Stone enhancer” may also be considered when you would like to bring out the depth of color in travertine. Be sure to test an inconspicuous area prior to using on the entire floor.
Large holes in a travertine tile’s surface may enhance a rustic look, but it will also catch lots of dirt, dust and food particles. Easily maintain your travertine floors by using a floor vacuum (without the beater bar). Mop using a PH neutral cleaner.
Travertine tiles wear extremely well, and can enhance any area of the home for years, when properly cared for. Add some to any home design for rich beauty and elegance with understated detail and enjoy the look of natural stone for years to come.