Natural stone is a popular flooring option, thanks to its high versatility, attractive appearance, and many design options. When choosing between natural tiles, it helps to understand ideal applications for each stone type. For example, some stone tiles scratch easily, so avoid installing them in high traffic areas and always use protective pads with furniture.
Travertine tiles are especially popular thanks to their naturally distressed look, velvety texture, and warm colors. Like onyx and marble, travertine is a bit more fragile than stones such as slate and granite. However, it holds up well against moisture and, with proper care, makes an ideal choice both inside and out.
Travertine Tile Finishes
Travertine tiles have a uniquely beautiful look, thanks to their naturally distressed, aged appearance. The tiles’ porous surface also makes it easy to amplify this distressed look. For example, a tumbled finish creates tiny imperfections in the stone, enhancing its natural distressed look. To protect the tile, use a sealer during finishing. In addition to protecting the tile, sealants add certain effects, depending on the type you choose, or leave a simple shine.
You may also choose a honed finish, which leaves travertine with a soft, velvety appearance and low gloss. For a higher gloss, polishing brings out the stone’s colors and natural effects. In fact, you may even hone or polish travertine tiles years after installing them. This is a popular option to freshen up travertine floors.
The Different Grades of Travertine Pavers
Travertine comes in two basic types: premium and standard. Classification typically depends mainly on how porous the material is, with standard tiles and pavers being more porous than their premium counterparts are. When the pavers are extremely porous, you may need to fill the holes using epoxy and sand.
The Benefits of Premium Pavers
The main benefit of premium, and therefore less porous, travertine pavers is their improved durability. They stand up better against moisture, staining, and climate changes. They are also easier to care for and maintain.
When used for outdoor flooring, premium travertine pavers hold up better against the elements, especially in colder climates where freeze and thaw cycles are common. First, the tiles absorb rain and snow. Next, freezing temperatures create pressure that, over time, degrades the stone and may cause cracking, especially with heavily porous tiles. Premium pavers are denser, so they stand up well to this freeze-thaw cycle, especially when following ideal installation methods.
The Benefits of Standard Pavers
While premium pavers are recommended for colder climates, standard pavers work fine in more mild climates and are much more budget-friendly. What’s more, their highly absorbent nature makes them perfect for installation around pools, because the tiles are less slippery and therefore less dangerous.
If your budget calls for a more cost-effective tiling solution, you can also fill some of the holes in standard travertine tiles (this is best performed by a professional).
Not sure which type is best for your project? Schedule an appointment to meet with one of our flooring experts.
Common Travertine Tile Sizes
You find travertine tiles in an amazing array of sizes, from tiny 1″ by 1″ decorative tiles to large 24″ by 24″, in square shapes or rectangles. The most common sizes are:
You can mix and match sizes and styles, squares and rectangles, different colors and finishes, and create amazing patters in flooring, decorative borders, patios, fireplaces, and more.