Honed vs Tumbled Travertine Pool Deck: [Ultimate Guide 2023]

A swimming pool deck is often at the top of the list when you are planning to design your perfect outdoor oasis.

It serves not just as a functional space but also as an aesthetic anchor.

Therefore, the choice of material for constructing this all-important area is something that demands a significant amount of thought.

Among the plethora of options, travertine stands out for its unique combination of beauty and durability. But, within the realm of travertine, another choice awaits: honed or tumbled?

This in-depth guide is intended to help you navigate this complex decision.

Drawing upon everything from scientific metrics to personal anecdotes and expert opinions, we explore the intricacies of honed and tumbled travertine in exhaustive detail.

Whether you are a homeowner yearning for luxury or a contractor seeking durability, we have got you covered.


Surface Condition and Texture: Honed vs Tumbled Travertine Pool Deck

Let us compare the surface conditions of both, honed and tumbled travertine pool decks.

Honed Travertine: The Upscale Choice

Honed travertine undergoes a specific set of finishing processes that involve grinding and polishing.

The result is a surface that is as smooth as marble but with a more organic feel.

The uniformity in color and texture lends itself to a modern, upscale look, making it a favorite for those seeking an opulent ambiance.

Pros of Honed Travertine:

  • Elegant Aesthetics: The smooth finish and consistency in color make honed travertine a perfect candidate for luxurious settings.
  • Comfort: Walking barefoot on honed travertine feels comfortable and smooth, a feature often considered beneficial for a pool deck where footwear is optional.
  • Ease of Cleaning: A smooth surface leaves little room for dirt to hide, making it easier to clean.

Cons of Honed Travertine:

  • Slipperiness: With elegance comes the peril of a lower friction coefficient. meaning a greater chance of slipping, especially when the surface is wet.
  • Stain Sensitivity: The porosity of the stone makes it susceptible to staining from spills.

Tumbled Travertine: The Rugged Performer:

Tumbled travertine is stone that has literally been ‘tumbled’ with gravel and bearings to give it a worn, rustic look.

The edges are rounded, and the surface is textured with natural peaks and troughs.

This not only adds character but also offers some functional advantages.

Pros of Tumbled Travertine:

  • Slip Resistance: The textured surface of tumbled travertine provides a better grip, reducing the chances of slipping considerably.
  • Natural Aesthetics: If you desire an old-world charm or a deck that complements a natural landscape, tumbled travertine is your go-to choice.
  • Durability: The textured surface hides minor damages or wear and tear effectively, making it look new for a longer period.

Cons of Tumbled Travertine:

  • Maintenance: The very texture that provides slip resistance also becomes a haven for dirt and grime, requiring frequent cleaning.
  • Roughness: The rough texture may not be comfortable for everyone to walk on, especially young children or those with sensitive feet.

Safety Metrics (SCOF and DCOF): Honed vs Tumbled Travertine Pool Deck

When it comes to outdoor spaces where water is involved, safety is a non-negotiable factor.

While many are aware of the term ‘slip-resistant,’ not all understand the scientific metrics that quantify this feature: Static Coefficient of Friction (SCOF) and Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF).

These coefficients provide an empirical measure of how slippery a surface is, with higher numbers indicating better slip resistance.

Honed Travertine: The Numbers Speak

Because of its polished surface, honed travertine typically scores lower on both SCOF and DCOF metrics.

However, it is essential to understand that a low score doesn’t make the surface inherently dangerous.

It merely implies the need for extra precautionary measures, such as avoiding running or jumping near the pool area when the deck is wet.

Tumbled Travertine: Built for Safety

Scoring consistently higher on SCOF and DCOF scales, tumbled travertine emerges as the safer option for wet areas.

This isn’t just a theoretical advantage; it manifests in real-world scenarios, where the risk of slip-related accidents is substantially reduced.


Comparing Installation and Grout: Honed vs Tumbled Travertine Pool Deck

A good installation process can make or break the longevity of your pool deck, and the type of grout used plays a crucial role in this.

Honed Travertine: A Smooth Operation

The smoother edges of honed travertine tiles make them compatible with sanded grout, which not only offers superior adhesion but also is less prone to cracking over time.

Given the luxurious look of honed travertine, this type of grout often comes in multiple color options to match the overall aesthetic.

Tumbled Travertine: Filling the Gaps

Tumbled travertine’s rough edges make it more compatible with non-sanded grout, which fills in the uneven gaps more efficiently.

This ensures a secure, cohesive surface that can withstand the challenges posed by external elements.


Compare Maintenance and Care: Honed vs Tumbled Travertine Pool Deck

No matter which type of travertine you choose, understand that it will require a degree of ongoing care.

Honed Travertine: The Delicate Beauty

Due to its susceptibility to staining, honed travertine requires frequent sealing.

Penetrating sealers that sink into the stone are often recommended for maximum effectiveness.

Besides, cleaning spills immediately can prevent potential staining and help maintain its pristine appearance.

Tumbled Travertine: Rough and Ready

While tumbled travertine’s surface sealer generally provides ample protection against staining, the textured surface does require more frequent cleaning to prevent dirt buildup.

Pressure washing at lower settings can be an effective way to clean the surface of tumbled travertine without causing damage.


Comparing Longevity and Aesthetic Evolution: Honed vs Tumbled Travertine Pool Deck

Both honed and tumbled travertine can last for years, but how they age can affect your satisfaction with your choice.

Honed Travertine: The Aging Sophisticate

Over time, the smooth surface of honed travertine may show signs of wear and tear, such as minor scratches or dullness.

The sealed surface may also require reapplication of the sealer more frequently as time progresses.

However, many people find that aged honed travertine acquires an antique look that adds to its charm.

Tumbled Travertine: The Timeless Wonder

One of the significant advantages of tumbled travertine is that it ages gracefully.

Minor scratches and stains blend into the rugged surface, making it less noticeable.

This lends a timeless quality to tumbled travertine pool decks, making them look as good as new for many years.


Cost Implications: Honed vs Tumbled Travertine Pool Deck

Though the initial cost of both honed and tumbled travertine may be similar, the long-term investment varies due to differences in maintenance and care.

Honed travertine, with its frequent need for sealers and possibly professional cleaning, could entail higher long-term costs.

Tumbled travertine, on the other hand, may only require occasional deep cleaning and resealing, making it more budget-friendly in the long run.


Personal Experience: A Tale of Two Decks

In our journey as reputed suppliers of premium travertine, we have had the privilege of installing both types of travertine decks for our customers.

We can assert that the experience is as distinct as the travertine stones themselves.

With honed travertine, every step felt like a walk in a high-end resort, but it also had us on a perpetual watch for spills and stains.

On the other hand, tumbled travertine offered a rustic, organic experience that was less stressful in terms of maintenance, albeit at the cost of frequent cleaning sessions.


Expert Opinion: The Professional Take

From our years of experience in the travertine supply business we can say that many professional contractors prefer tumbled travertine when it comes to pool decks.

Its durability, higher friction coefficients, and resistance to staining make it a more practical choice from a constructor’s standpoint.

However, in upscale projects where aesthetics take precedence, honed travertine is often the first pick.


Conclusion: Your Deck, Your Choice

When it comes down to making the final decision between honed and tumbled travertine, personal preferences play a significant role.

If you’re leaning toward a luxurious setting with a smooth texture and are prepared for the involved maintenance, honed travertine is your pick.

Conversely, if you prioritize safety, durability, and a rustic ambiance and are okay with more regular cleaning, tumbled travertine is the better choice.

Understanding the nuanced differences between honed and tumbled travertine is vital for making an informed decision.

Either choice, if installed and maintained correctly, can provide years of aesthetic pleasure and functional utility.

So take your time, weigh the pros and cons, and make a choice that you’ll be happy with for years to come.


P.S. If you found this post to be helpful, definitely check out our in-depth coverage on Travertine vs Concrete Pool Deck, Travertine vs Limestone Pool Deck, and Travertine vs Marble Pool Decks.

We are nationwide suppliers of premium quality travertine pavers, copings, tiles and mosaics. Order your FREE SAMPLE today. Call us: (855)5887272 and our in-house experts will guide you.