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Travertine is one of the world’s most popular decorative stones. This has been the case since the times of the Roman Empire and there seems to be no chance of this popularity declining any time soon. You can see travertine used to decorate some of the most beautiful residences in the world. From floor tiles to luxury travertine dining tables this material looks great everywhere. It can even be seen cladding the exterior walls of buildings such as Roman villas and buildings in 'The Eternal City'1 itself, including the legendary Colosseum.
Geologically travertine is a non-clastic deposit of calcium carbonate which has precipitated from supersaturated water. This can occur in limestone caves to form stalagmites and stalactites or by hot springs where bacterial action may also be an agent. The most famous Travertine to occur due to hot springs is the Classic Roman Travertine found in Tivoli.
This famous travertine was formed by the hot springs heated by the activity of the ancient volcanoes surrounding Rome. These hot springs flooded large areas of the surrounding countryside resulting in large deposits of travertine. For centuries now these travertine deposits have been extracted from the Roman countryside to fulfil the global demand for this beautiful material.
Travertine is popular as a building material as it is both beautiful and durable. One characteristic which makes travertine such a desirable construction material is how it is malleable when it is first quarried and then becomes harder once exposed to the elements. This allows the travertine to be easily shaped for both decorative and architectural purposes.
Perhaps the buildings of ancient Rome including the Colosseum2 best showcase the longevity of travertine. If travertine is placed in an external application it will be able to stand up to the elements whilst maintaining its aesthetic appeal. And if it is placed internally it will last a life time with cleaning and sealing the only maintenance work required.
All travertines will have small holes across the surface. These holes are caused by gas bubbles in the travertine deposits and plant material which has since decayed. Before polishing these holes are filled with epoxy resin or cement.
Travertine can handle most types of foot traffic. It is a great choice for all types of residential flooring. The only time it may not be a good idea for flooring is in extremely busy commercial areas. The reason for this is due to the stone being porous and the holes in the surface being filled with epoxy resin. In commercial settings which encounter heavy foot traffic the maintenance needs will be intensified meaning the floor may need to be filled and sealed as often as every 3 months. The choice of whether to choose travertine for such settings comes down to the property owner who must weigh up the trade-off between the beauty of the travertine and the cost of maintain it.
Travertine is a time-tested construction material. It is easy to cut, shape and work with. It is also a material available in a variety of colours from creamy Roman Travertine, to whites, browns, silvers, yellows and the famous Persian Red Travertine. No matter what colour scheme you need travertine to fit in with there is a solution. Each of these different coloured travertines come with the beautiful texture often associated with travertine.
The same type of travertine can look quite different depending on the technique used when cutting the block into slab form. If the travertine is cross-cut. The linear swirl type effect often associate with travertine is not present. This is because the block has been cut horizontally across the vein. However, if the travertine is vein-cut you get the swirling pattern going through the stone. Neither technique is better than the other it comes down to personal preference and the effect you are trying to create for your project.
Another property of travertine is that it is extremely porous this makes it a great choice for swimming pools, bathrooms and wet-rooms. Additionally, travertine is heat resistant and non-flammable. This has a dual benefit firstly it is great for travertine coffee tables and dining tables which often need to tolerate heat in the form of hot cups and plates. Secondly it helps improve the fire resistance of a building if it is used for areas of flooring.
• Beautiful Material
• Very Durable and Time Tested Construction Material
• Easy to Maintain in Most Applications
• Easy to Shape When First Quarried
• Hardens When Exposed to The Elements
• Long Lasting
• Small Holes Across the Surface (Normally Filled with Cement or Epoxy Resin)
• Easy to Work With
• Heat Resistant
• Fire Resistant
• Very Porous
• Can be Vein-Cut or Cross Cut to Fit with Requirements
• Suitable for Internal and External Applications
Despite being a durable stone capable of withstanding large volumes of traffic. Some considerations must be made when cleaning travertine. The reason for this is due to the stone being porous and having the small holes across its surface filled with epoxy resin or cement.
Below you will find a complete guide to maintain your travertine tables and worktops so you can keep them in perfect condition.
Every Day Cleaning
You should wipe down your travertine table or worktops with a dry cloth when every you use them. This is to clear any debris from the surface. If there are any liquids or dirty on the surface wipe the surface with a damp (not soaking wet) cloth.
At least once per week you should wipe down your travertine table or worktop with a damp soft cloth.
One per month you should give your travertine worktops or table a more thorough cleaning.
For this cleaning, you will need the following items:
• A soft dry cloth
• A non-abrasive sponge
• A plastic bowl
• A soft clean rag
• A non-acidic soap
Below are the steps you need to take to clean your travertine table or worktops:
1. Wipe down the travertine top with a soft dry cloth. The purpose of this is to remove any surface dirt and debris.
2. Next you should run a non-abrasive sponge which has been soaked in warm water over the surface. This is to remove any more ingrained dirt from the tables surface. Now you should wipe the table down again with the soft dry cloth.
3. Once the table is dry you should spray non-acidic soapy water over the surface then wipe it off with a soft rag.
4. Next spray clean water over the surface and wipe it off again with another soft rag. The reason for this last step is to remove any lingering soap residue which still may exists.
Travertine is a very porous stone. For this reason, you should re-seal your travertine table or worktops at least one per year. This re-sealing should be as often as every 3 or 6 months if the travertine is heavily used. An example of an environment where you would need quarterly or bi-yearly sealing would be a travertine dining table in a busy restaurant.
By sealing your travertine at least annually you are ensuring you get the most money from your investment in this beautiful stone. By renewing the layer of sealant on the stone you ensure the beauty of the travertine remains and is not diminished from harmful acids penetrating the stone and permanently discolouring it.
To seal your travertine table or worktops, you will need the following items:
• A bottle of travertine sealant
• An empty spray bottle
• A dry absorbent cloth
Below are the simple steps you need to take to seal your travertine table or worktops:
1. First you should follow the instructions on the back of your travertine sealant with regards to mixing. Once this is done apply the mixture to the empty spray bottle.
2. Spray the contents of the bottle evenly across your travertine table or worktops. Don’t be afraid to spray a liberal amount of sealant across the surface of your travertine it is important the whole surface is well coated. The surface must stay wet for at least 15 minutes.
3. When you are sure the whole surface is liberally coated with sealant leave it for 15 minutes.
4. Now take your dry absorbent cloth and rub the excess sealant from the surface.
5. Once this is done your travertine table or worktops are successfully sealed.
In most cases, it just takes 15 minutes per year to look after your travertine tables or worktops. And if your travertine table is heavily used it will take 15 minutes, 2 or 3 times per year. This would total 30-45 minutes per year.
Each travertine dining table and coffee table we supply here at Prestige Edition comes with sealant already applied so you will not need to seal it again when it arrives at your home.
All you will need to do to care for your travertine is to follow the guidelines given above.
Cleaning travertine tiles is slightly different than cleaning worktops or a travertine table. The reason for this is tiles will normally cover a much larger area and the grout lines in between the travertine tiles will also need to be cleaned.
For travertine floor tiles, it is best to sweep them once per week with a soft broom. This sweeping removes any dirt or small debris on the surface of the floor. There are two reasons for sweeping your travertine floor. The first is to prevent any of these small particles causing scratches on the surface of your tiles. And the second is if any of these particles are acidic.
If acidic particles are not swept away over time they can corrode the protective sealant coating. If the protective sealant coating is damaged there is a possibility the travertine tile can be permanently discoloured. We advise against using a hoover on travertine flooring as the wheels can scratch the surface.
With travertine wall tiles, weekly cleaning isn’t always necessary but if you want to you can wipe the walls down with a slightly damp cloth.
We recommend cleaning your travertine floor and wall tiles with warm water once per month. If you want to add a disinfectant to the warm water make sure it is a non-acidic dish soap.
For floors, you will need a mop and for walls a cloth. Soak your mop or cloth in the warm water (with the option non-acidic dish soap), then wring the mop or cloth until they are just slightly damp. The reason we want the mop or cloth slightly damp is to prevent soaking the highly porous travertine.
With a clean towel or soft absorbent cloth wipe over the travertine soaking up any excess water. If you added non-acidic dish soap to your mix, take some warm clean water and repeat the process above with just plain water. The reason for this is to remove any remaining soap residue from your travertine. When you have done, this remember to wipe up any water with a clean towel or soft absorbent cloth.
Cleaning Grout Lines in Travertine Tiles
Your travertine tiles will have grout lines separating the individual tiles. The reason for these grout lines is to allow for movement between tiles as the temperature changes throughout the year. This prevents the tiles from cracking or moving into each other as the floor expands and contracts.
It is important to care for your grout lines and clean them correctly. The reason for this is because they are the part of the floor most susceptible to picking up dirt, discolouring and suffering from water penetration.
We advise cleaning your travertine grout lines every 6-12 months.
It is important not to use commercial grout cleaners on your travertine grout lines. The reason for this is these grout cleaners often contain bleach. This can etch the travertine and lead to permanent discolouring.
• To clean your grout lines, you will need the following:
• A Tub of Baking Soda
• A Large Bowl
• A Toothbrush or Small Brush
• One Spoon
• A Clean Absorbent Cloth
• A Bucket
• A Mop
• A Towel
Below is a step-by-step guide on cleaning your travertine grout lines:
1. Add a full tub (approximately 170g) of Baking Soda into a bowl.
2. Add an equal amount of water into the bowl (approximately 170ml). This will give a 50/50 mix of baking soda and water.
3. With a spoon mix the water and baking soda to form a gritty paste.
4. Dip your brush into the mixture and scrub along the grout lines until clean. Don’t worry about using force the grout will not be damaged easily.
5. Once you have cleaned all your grout lines clean any excess paste off with a slightly damp cloth which has been lightly soaked in clean water.
6. Clean along the grout lines with a mop soaked in warm clean water. Be very sparing with the amount of water used. You only want the grout to be lightly soaked.
7. Dry along the grout lines with a towel.
Sealing and Re-Sealing your Travertine Tiles
Travertine tiles are very porous. This makes sealing and re-sealing a very important part of ensuring your tiles stay in perfect condition.
When your tiles are first installed your tiler should seal them for you. However, it is important to re-seal your tiles regularly. If your travertine tiles are in a private residence we recommend doing this annually. If they are in a commercial setting you will want to re-seal the tiles every 3-6 months dependent upon the daily foot traffic they are subjected to.
The purpose of sealing and re-sealing is to form a protective coat on the surface of the travertine prevent any acidic substances penetrating the travertine. If this happens the travertine can degrade or discolour.
• A dry absorbent cloth or towel
Below are the simple steps you need to take to seal your travertine tiles:
2. Spray the contents of the bottle evenly across your travertine tiles. Don’t be afraid to spray a liberal amount of sealant across the surface of your travertine it is important the whole surface is well coated. The surface must stay wet for at least 15 minutes.
4. Now take your dry absorbent cloth or towel and rub the excess sealant from the surface.
Travertine is a beautiful material which comes in a variety of colours. And varying qualities. As we only sell the highest quality travertine we will only cover the travertine which meet our strict quality requirements.
Aside from colour it is all to remember travertine can be differentiated from the way it is finished and the way in which it is cut from the block.
A polished or honed effect is the finish you will most often see used with travertine. Polished finishes are smoother and glossier whereas honed finishes have more friction and a matt type effect.
The travertine can also be vein-cut or cross cut. Cross-cut is when the travertine is cut across the block. This means the swirl type effect in the travertine is not present. Vein-cut means the travertine is cut vertically along the vein. This is what gives the swirl type look commonly associated with travertine.
The type of cut you go for will come down entirely to personal preference and they type of effect you are trying to crate with your travertine.
This is a brown travertine which has been quarried for centuries from the Rapolano basin in the heart of the Crete Senesi, Tuscany. This travertine is not to be confused with the inferior Turkish travertine also marketed as ‘Noce Travertine’.
You can learn more about ‘Noce Travertine’ by clicking here.
Persian Red Travertine
As the name of this stone suggests, it is a red travertine which originates from the region of Persia. This stone is predominantly red with rustic hues or orange and brown with some white calcite markings. It is quarried in the far north west corner of Iran where there is a large amount of travertine deposited because of the large number of thermal springs in the area.
You can learn more about ‘Red Travertine’ by clicking here.
This creamy white stone is probably the most well-known travertine. It can be seen widely used in Ancient Roman Architecture and has remained popular in modern times. This stone is quarried in the town of Tivoli where there is a large amount of travertine deposited. These deposits were formed when the thermal springs in the area were heated due to ancient volcanic activity.
You can learn more about ‘Roman Travertine’ by clicking here.
This travertine is a beautiful swirl of silver, grey and cream. We believe this stone is most impressive when vein-cut as you can take advantage of this beautiful swirl. Silver Travertine can come from Italy, Iran or Turkey.
You can learn more about ‘Silver Travertine’ by clicking here.
This pastel white travertine is sometimes referred to as Bianco Travertine. You will see numerous products marketed as ‘White Travertine’ but on this site when we refer to ‘White Travertine’ we mean White Travertine quarried in the Tivoli region close to Rome, Italy.
You can learn more about ‘White Travertine’ by clicking here.
Travertine is so popular for interior and exterior projects for several reasons.
1. For a natural stone, although not cheap the price of travertine represents great value for money. And can represent significant savings when compared to certain marbles.
2. You can find travertine in several different colours including cream, brown, white, silver, red and yellow. All types of travertine come with an inherent natural beauty which will enhance any area in which this stone is deployed.
3. Travertine is a versatile material which can be used in a variety of applications. This includes architectural features, interior floor tiles, bathroom tiles, luxury furniture, exterior cladding and flooring.
4. When first quarried travertine is malleable allowing it to be shaped easily. This makes it popular for projects where decorative features of shaping of the material is needed. Also, travertine hardens once exposed to the elements.
5. Travertine is a time-tested construction material which has been used since the times of the Roman Empire. Its popularity shows no sign of declining meaning any projects or furniture using travertine will retain their value over time if maintained correctly.
6. Travertine is extremely porous meaning it is well suited for bathrooms, swimming pools and wet rooms. The reason for this is little excels water will sit on the surface making the area less slippery.
7. Travertine combines beautifully with a range of other materials. As travertine is a natural material it works especially well with natural woods and other natural stones.
As mentioned earlier travertine is a very versatile material which can be used in a range of internal and external applications. Externally travertine can be used for architectural work such as columns, arches and cladding. You can also see travertine used for feature pieces such as fountains.
When you look around Rome you can see just how many ways travertine can be used externally. From the impressive architecture of the Roman aqueducts3 (this can be seen in the image below) and the Colosseum. Through to the flooring and steps around the city. Just in one city you can see the versatility and durability of this beautiful stone when used externally.
Internally travertine is equally versatile. You can see luxury travertine tiles adding luxury to various living spaces. As well as being used in the construction of luxury furniture items such as travertine coffee tables. In the home, you can also see bespoke travertine fabrications such as vanity units and worktops.
Travertine is an extremely popular material for both commercial projects and private residences. The reasons for this is due to the stone being available in a range of colours and the way in which it combines beauty with durability and versatility.
Travertine is a fantastic material which is suitable to use in a range of different projects. When you choose a high-quality travertine, you will receive several benefits. These benefits are, the stone’s inherent natural beauty, it’s versatility, it’s availability in a range of different colours. And amazing value for money.
Whether you are looking for an aesthetically pleasing stone for a commercial project or to enhance the luxury of your home. The amazing inherent characteristics of travertine can be trusted to deliver a beautiful result which will provide satisfaction for years to come.
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