What is Travertine?
What is Travertine?
Travertine is a sedimentary limestone deposited by mineral springs with formations located all around the world, notably Tivoli, Italy, where the name travertine was derived.
Travertine is a natural stone such as Marble, Granite, Onyx, Limestone, Slate, etc. The key difference between Travertine and other natural stones lies in the formation of the rock, the hardness of the stone, and the appearance. Travertine is formed in hot springs and/or limestone caves. Travertine is not the same as Marble or Limestone which falls in the metamorphic rock category. Key characteristics of Travertine stone are the holes within the stone which are caused by carbon dioxide evasion.
The first mention of a travertine discovery dates back to 75 BC during the reign of Julius Caesar. The springs of Tivoli had an abundance of stone due to the volcanic activity from Mt. Etna, making it the prime building material for the Ancient Romans.
The most well-known Roman marvel, the Colosseum, was constructed using travertine and remains structurally intact due to the durability of travertine – one of its main characteristics.
Michelangelo also chose travertine as the outside border of the dome in St. Peters Basilica. Part of the appeal of the material was its durability as both the Romans and Michelangelo wanting to create structures that lasted.
As you can see, travertine has a fascinating history that’s worth discovering more about. The following guide allows you to gain a better understanding of the stone and what makes it comparable and different than marble or granite. Here we’ll explore more about the stone’s origin, uses, cost, and patterns, so you’ll know precisely why it’s the ideal material to use for your building project.
What is a Travertine Quarry?
A travertine quarry is nothing more than a mine for Travertine stone. Most quarries are huge and look like open large pits. Travertine rocks are dug up in quarries and broken down into travertine blocks which are then transported to factories for the purpose of cutting. After cutting the blocks into slabs, tiles, pavers, mosaics, etc. the proper Travertine finish is applied.
How is Travertine imported into the USA?
Most of the Travertine found in the USA comes directly with ships from Turkey in form of containers. There are many ocean freight services that transport this material across the Atlantic ocean. It takes the ships approx. 6 weeks to arrive from Turkey. 95% of the Travertine containers arrive at the Port of Miami. Next they are distributed from the port to several different warehouses and wholesalers via freight forwarders.
What is the difference between premium grade travertine, commercial grade or A grade?
The grade of travertine is most of the time determined based on the holes within the stone. Holes within Travertine stone are part of the stones nature and criteria. Within the travertine industry today, the rule of thumb is …the less holes there are within travertine stone, the higher the quality. Travertine pavers with barely any holes in it are considered A Grade or Premium Grade quality while a porous stone with a lot of holes in it (looking like a sponge) is considered commercial quality. Obviously, price differences apply. Also, keep in mind that there are Travertine tiles that come with a honed and filled finish. A filled travertine finish indicates that the holes were filled. Since the filling is always the same color throughout the tile it is fairly easy to tell apart the filling. In these cases, the difference between Premium Grade and Commercial grade lies in the amount of filling used. A honed and filled travertine tile with a whole lot of filling is considered of lower quality compared to a tile with minimal filling.
What is the difference between Travertine Tiles and Travertine Pavers?
Travertine Tiles are used for indoor projects such as floors and walls while Travertine pavers are primarily used for outdoors such as driveways, pool decks, patio areas, and walkways. Travertine tiles are 0.5” thick while the standard thickness for Travertine pavers is 1 1/4”.
What is a Travertine French Pattern Set?
A Travertine french pattern set covers exactly 8 sqft and consists of the following pieces. 1 piece 16×24, 2 pieces 16×16, 1 piece 16×8 and 2 pieces 8×8. The french pattern set is often referred to as the Versailles Pattern or Leonardo Pattern and exists for Tiles and Pavers.
Which pieces do Travertine Jumbo Patterns consist of?
A travertine jumbo pattern carries the following sizes: 24×36″, 24×24″, 18×24″, 18×18″
Which colors do Travertine Tiles, Pavers, Mosaics, etc. come in?
Some of the most popular colors are Ivory, Beige, Walnut colors (light, medium, dark), Noche (Dark brown), Silver, and Gold. Combinations of these colors are also possible. Colors variations and color name variations are quite common within the Travertine industry i.e. Cream, Cappuccino, Chocolate
What finish is applied to Travertine Products?
Travertine products usually have the following finishes: Tumbled, Honed, Brushed, Filled, Filled & Honed, Chiseled, Bush Hammered, Polished
How thick is a Travertine Tile?
A standard travertine tile is 0.5” inches thick
How thick are Travertine Pavers?
Standard Travertine Pavers in the USA are 1 1/4” thick. Pavers can also be 2” thick or more.
What is a Travertine Bullnose?
Travertine bullnose is a term used in combination with Travertine Pool Copings. It implies that 1 side of the stone is rounded off. Double Bullnose Copings also exist and imply 2 rounded offsides.
What is a Travertine Medallion?
A Travertine Medallion is a floor centerpiece or wall decoration piece crafted out of Travertine stone. Most Medallions are build using Travertine Mosaic pieces and broken travertine stones.
What are the most popular sizes and patterns for Travertine Mosaics?
Travertine Mosaics come in all kinds of sizes and all kinds of color and shape variations. Some of the most popular sizes are 1×1, 1×2, 2×2, 2×4, 4×4. There are really no standards when it comes to Mosaics. Mosaics can be created in almost any size. Some of the most popular mosaic patterns are: Regular (square), Spiral, Herringbone, Stagger (Brick), and Sticks.
How large is a Travertine Pool Tile?
Travertine Pool Tiles usually come in sizes 4×4 and 6×6.
What Travertine Floor Tile sizes are most popular in the USA?
The most popular sizes for indoor Travertine Tiles are French Pattern, 12×12, 16X16, and 18×18. 24×24 travertine tiles are also gaining popularity among American homes. Some folks even use travertine tiles for pool decks in order to cut down on the material cost, since tiles are usually cheaper than pavers.
What is the difference between Cross Cut and Vein Cut Travertine?
99% of the travertine which you see online or displayed throughout retail locations such as flooring companies, pool builders, home improvement companies, etc. is by default crosscut. This refers to the default way of cutting the travertine blocks which are harvested from the quarry. In order to produce vein cut travertine, the travertine blocks are rotated and the cuts take place across the vein. Think of it as cutting a tree. You can cut a tree vertically or horizontally. If you cut it vertically, the veins come out, same with Travertine.
What is a Travertine Remodeling Coping?
Travertine Remodeling Copings can be placed on top of existing pool copings as opposed to having to remove your current pool copings while remodeling your pool. Using remodeling pool copings can be more cost-effective during your pool remodeling process but the drawback is that you can only remodel once. Should you decide to remodel again, obviously you’d have to remove the existing remodeling copings. In other words, you can not place a remodeling coping on top of another remodeling coping.
What size does a Travertine Pool Remodeling Coping come in?
The most popular sizes for Pool Remodeling Copings are 4x9x4 and 12x12x4.
What is the most popular Travertine Paver size in the US?
Depending on the region, one of the most popular size for Travertine Pavers is 6×12. Other paver sizes also exist such as 4×8, 12×12, 12×24, 16×16, 16×24, 24×24 and even 36×36. But none of these sizes are as popular as the compact 6×12 travertine paver which finds it’s primary home on American driveways and around pool borders.
What size Travertine Pool Copings are on the market?
The most popular Pool Copings come in sizes: 4×9, 6×12, 12×12 and 12×24. Most Copings have a tumbled finish while some have a honed finish. Coping is the same thickness as travertine pavers: 1 1/4”. Pool Copings that are 2” thick are available as well. Further, any travertine paver can be turned into travertine coping using a coping machine. Pavers are fed into the coping machine which creates a paver with a round side. A travertine paver with one round side is also referred to as a Single Bullnose Coping while pavers with both sides rounded off are called Double Bullnose Copings.
What are the most popular uses of Travertine?
History teaches us that there are no limits when it comes to the usage of Travertine stone. Even before Christ, Travertine used to be among the top building stones in Ancient Greek and Rome. Romans took advantage of Travertine for various construction projects such as buildings and temples, aqueducts, baths, stairs, steps, and amphitheaters such as the Colosseum, the largest building in the world constructed mostly of travertine. Travertine was also used for sculptures and monuments. Even today in the 21st century, Travertine stone is being used for a huge variety of indoor and outdoor projects. There are no exact design guidelines when it comes to travertine. It can be used practically anywhere to enhance any area. The most popular uses in the US include but are not limited to the following.
Most common indoor travertine usage in the US:
Most common outdoor travertine usage in the US:
How much does a travertine pallet weigh?
A standard Travertine Pallet, which is packed with 1 1/4” thick pavers and has the dimensions 48” (length) x 24” (width) x 37” (height) holds up to 200 sqft of material and weighs between 3100 and 3200 lbs. The pallets which are used for transporting 16×16 or 16×24 travertine pavers can hold up to 267 sqft of material and weigh up to 4250 lbs. These are critical numbers for logistic calculations. A full truckload of travertine pavers would imply 15 x 200 sqft pallets which can weigh up to the max load of 48,000 lbs and cover an area of 3,000 sqft.
What is the weight of a travertine crate?
A standard Travertine crate, which is packed with 0.5” thick tiles and has the dimensions 4′ x 3′ x 4′ can hold up to 2100-2200 lbs of Travertine tiles. The most common use of travertine crates is for the transport of 18×18 and french pattern tiles which is two of the most demanded travertine tile sizes in the USA. 99% of the time, travertine crates contain 160 pieces of 18×18 tiles which covers an area of 360 sqft. The french pattern tiles are packaged into bundles of 8 sqft which is referred to as a French Pattern Set. There are 52 sets per crate which cover a total area of 416 sqft. French pattern crates can weigh up to 2500 lbs.
How many sqf (square feet) fit on a Travertine Pallet?
Pallets are used to transport Travertine Pavers long and short distances. While most French Pattern aka. Ashlar Pattern aka. Versailles Pattern pallets (48” x 24” x 37”) contain 200 sqf of pavers, you may also encounter pallets that contain 176 sqf or 208 sqf. The largest travertine pallets can hold up to 100 pieces of 16×24 pavers which is equal to 267 sqf with a total weight of 4500 lbs. .
How many sqf (square feet) can fit into a Travertine Crate?
Crates are used to transport Travertine Tiles and Mosaics. Crates differ in size. Some crates can contain up to 54 boxes of travertine mosaics which will cover an area of 540 sqft. Most crates however will either carry 360 sqft of 18×18 tiles or 416 sqm of french pattern tiles since these are the single most popular sizes for travertine tiles in the USA.
How many crates / pallets are part of a Travertine Container?
A standard Travertine Container contains up to 19 pallets of pavers or up to 24 crates of tiles.
What is a Travertine Pencil or Travertine Ogee?
These are Travertine molding pieces that are most often used for borders. Pencil sizes are usually 0.5 x 12 or 1 x 12. The most common size for a Travertine Ogee is 2 x 12. Other Travertine Molding pieces include but are not limited to: Chair rails, Bases, Crowns and Mulduras.
What is a Travertine Corner Shelf?
Travertine Corner Shelves are most often used in Showers. An oval area in the middle allows for placement of soaps, shampoos etc.
Can Travertine be used outdoors in ice-cold, freezing temperatures?
Yes, it can be but it’s not necessarily recommended. Due to the nature of travertine, the holes in the stone are likely to absorb water which freezes during ice-cold temperatures and is likely to cause the pavers to crack. Paver installers tend to grout porous pavers and recommend premium grade material in order to avoid most of these possible cracks.
What is the best way to get Travertine delivered to my home?
Due to the weight of the material, Travertine is delivered with semis and flatbeds. The best way to have Travertine delivered is with a flatbed which has a forklift in the back. This is referred to as a Piggyback or Moffett. This has the advantage of being able to maneuver around the pallets or crates anywhere around your premises and place the material as close as possible to your job site.
If you are building a pool deck in the back of your home, the delivery companies can place the pallets or crates right next to your pool deck by using the forklift as opposed to curbside delivery which could be achieved with a truck that has a liftgate.
If you require long-distance delivery (states outside of Florida), the most cost-effective solution is to have your order delivered to a business location which has a loading dock and a forklift on-premises. Business to business deliveries are more affordable than Business to Residence deliveries. Further, if you can unload yourself as opposed to requiring a truck with a liftgate or a Flatbed with a Forklift (piggyback, Moffett) you can – most of the time – save significant transportation costs as well.
Another option would be to have your order delivered to a close-by truck terminal. Terminals are equipped with loading docks and forklifts and will even store your order for a certain period of time. The drawback is that you’d have to arrange for delivery from the terminal to your residence. If you have an installation crew for your indoor or outdoor project in mind, please consult with them in regards to travertine delivery. A lot of these businesses are willing to accept the delivery of the material. For more information about this subject, please review my travertine delivery guide.
How often does Travertine need to be sealed?
There are no strict guidelines in regards to the sealing of Travertine. It’s a personal preference and depends on various aspects. For example, the quality of the sealer plays an important role. Some sealers include color enhancers, others are water-based. If you are sealing a high traffic area such as a busy floor which is used on a daily basis, the sealer may not last as long as opposed to sealed travertine wall tiles. You can get away with sealing travertine once every couple of years while some areas may require more frequent sealing. Some people don’t to seal at all although. My rule of thumb is as follows. If you splash water on the tile or paver and the stone color becomes significantly more vibrant, it’s probably time for a round of sealing.
Travertine Split Face has a rough surface and usually comes in a free length size in boxes of 5.5 sqf with an assortment of 4 different sizes: 4×4, 4×8, 4×12, 4×16. Free length split face is as thick as a travertine paver and finds it’s the main usage on outdoor walls. Splitface though can be used indoors and outdoors. Some interior designers prefer to apply split face layers in between wall-tiles to create additional contrast. Split face mosaics are available as well in sizes 1×1, 1×2, 2×4, and various different colors such as ivory, noce, gold, silver, scabos, multi-color, etc.
Travertine slabs refer to large pieces of Travertine which are i.e. custom cut with CNC machines to produce countertops. Travertine slabs are usually 2-5 cm (centimeters) thick. The width of a slab is up to 67″, the length of a travertine slab is up to 115″. Travertine slabs are usually exported by the bundle.
Where Does Travertine Come From?
Travertine originally came from Italy but can be found in many locations across the globe. One such place is the United States, but the absence of mines prevents it from being extracted here.
The majority of travertine comes from Turkey, Iran, Peru, Mexico, and Italy. Distributors have it imported to the US where it is used by builders who seek to use it in their building projects for commercial and residential clients.
Sellers of travertine in the United States have locations throughout the nation. The product that they sell, however, is not from quarries in the US.
Other countries import it, which is one of the reasons why it’s sought-after because it is more unique than other materials such as marble and different types of building stones.
Where is Travertine Mined?
Travertine comes from quarries all over the world, including some of the largest quarries in Turkey, Italy, and Mexico. Although there are natural formations of travertine scattered within the United States, there aren’t any travertine quarries that mine travertine in the United States.
In the 1980s, travertine came from only Italy, but now Turkey, Iran, Peru, and Mexico are frequent exporters.
Distributors of travertine in the United States pay close attention to where it is mined so that they can preserve the material’s quality. They’re able to bring more value to their customers that way.
When you shop for travertine, you want to know that it will last a long time, so you’re not stuck replacing your flooring prematurely.
How Much Does Travertine Cost?
Distributors determine the cost of travertine by the square foot. Prices can fluctuate from year to year based on the availability of the limestone. It’s typically $9 to $17 a square foot for pavers.
A large building project can easily cost thousands of dollars to build with travertine. Some of the most historic buildings are made from the travertine because it was readily available at the time, and they had the budget set aside to spend on the expense.
Sometimes, you’ll find it for a reduced price because it’s a smaller amount than many projects require. If you have a smaller project that needs travertine flooring, you can opt to buy the discounted stone and use it. It’s an option that you can consider if it appeals to you.
How Durable is Travertine?
Travertine is very durable, making it an ideal material to use inside and outside a home. It is very sensitive to acidic substances, though. Metal abrasion is also an issue to be wary of. Regular care and maintenance of travertine help it last for years.
Applying a sealant over the top of the stone makes it easier to clean. It’s something that can be done relatively quickly and helps increase the longevity of travertine. It’s a maintenance step that pays off quickly over time.
Sealing it protects it from damage as well as creates a barrier between substances and the stone. Although travertine isn’t difficult to clean if done quickly, it can take a bit more time to get stains out.
It’s also imperative that the stone doesn’t come into contact with acidic substances, so the sealant keeps that from happening.
How to Clean Travertine?
Cleaning travertine is imperative to maintain its longevity. It’s important to clean it regularly to prevent the build-up of dirt, grime, and debris. There are several ways to do just that.
The first involves using a soft cleaning cloth and wiping up spills and other messes that have pooled in one spot. Acidic substances such as orange juice or lemon juice can cause degradation in the travertine which is something that you’ll want to avoid.
Using a soft broom and a vacuum cleaner are effective ways to clean up large amounts of build-up at once. Making it a point to care for your travertine tiles like you would any other type of flooring is imperative. Adopting a cleaning schedule that effectively addresses the tiles is highly suggested.
If a stain has set into the travertine, don’t worry. The porous nature of the stone makes it relatively easy to remove substances. A method known as ‘poulticing’ is among the most effective way to get rid of a set-in stain.
It is similar to creating a poultice for medical reasons. It requires a stain remover solution and a clean rag placed on top of the stain where it can be ‘drawn out.’ It’s one way to prevent your tile from becoming damaged and looking significantly different than the rest of the floor, tiled shower, or deck area.
Travertine vs. Marble and other stones
Travertine is often confused with marble, granite, onyx, limestone, and slate, but the main difference is the formation process of the stone.
Travertine forms when carbonate materials rapidly precipitate, caused by rain, sleet, and snow undergoes extreme heating or cooling caused by weather fluctuations usually at the mouth of a hot spring or limestone cave. Both marble and limestone fall into the category of metamorphic rock and forms under extreme heat and pressure.
Travertine is easily distinguishable from other stones due to the deposits that form in the rock when precipitation from the heat and air erodes the stone underground, which is why it resides in springs, lakes, and valleys. Travertine is also an environmentally friendly alternative to other building materials because it doesn’t go through a rigorous manufacturing process.
Travertine is also distinct from other stones due to the fibrous pores in the stone. The holes in the stone can be filled for a smooth finish or left untouched, giving a rugged and natural look. The pores in the travertine are not only aesthetically appealing but they also quickly absorb water, making travertine a perfect choice for an outdoor area for a pool.
It’s quick to dry and easy to care for. If used indoors, you can clean it quickly. Many people choose travertine because of its natural look and appeal, as well as its durability. In homes with pets and children, having a material that can take a lot of abuse from everyday wear and tear is ideal.
How is Travertine Used Today?
You can find travertine structures all across the United States, such as the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California, to the natural formations that line the Grand Canyon. Travertine is also becoming a popular choice for home designers, so you may have seen it in homes or office buildings.
Travertine is becoming the preferred building material for the design of the facades of buildings and walls, the linings of pools, outdoor decks, and tiling in showers and tubs. It doesn’t require extensive maintenance or upkeep and can withstand extreme temperatures, making it durable in any weather condition. It looks fantastic and is easy to clean.
It is also a cost-effective solution to other stones – unlike the alternatives, if one of your tiles or the travertine material gets damaged, it’s easy and simple to replace. You’re not stuck replacing an entire section of the flooring to match marble or other comparable stones.
Travertine Designs and Patterns
Travertine comes in several finishes, such as polished, tumbled, brushed, and honed, depending on your preference. Polished and honed travertine is glossy and is smooth to the touch.
A tumbled finish gives travertine a textured look and has a non-slip surface. Smooth finishes are ideal for indoor surfaces, and liners and tumbled travertine pavers make beautiful outdoor columns, decks, and pool areas.
Due to the fluctuations in weather and carbonate materials, travertine comes in an array of natural colors that range in hues and design. Smoothing travertine makes it an excellent choice for indoor shower and tub liners. It resembles other types of stone and doesn’t get moldy like other materials do when exposed to water regularly.
Travertine comes in several different patterns, and its versatile nature also makes it a great choice for pavers, mosaics, tiles, and moldings, depending on your project. Every piece of travertine is different, which is what adds a unique touch to your space. Travertine ranges in size and thickness, consult Texas Travertine for help with your project.
Why Choose Us as Your Travertine Distributor?
Unlike other distributors, Texas Travertine works directly with the quarries to get travertine delivered to you. We supply the highest-grade travertine and guarantee that everything you buy will be of premium quality.
If you’re looking for the best travertine available in the US, you’ve come to the right place.
You’ll find the colors and patterns that you enjoy most for your home improvement project. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning on using the travertine indoors or outdoors because it looks fantastic in either space. You’ll notice a significant difference in the way your property appears to others once you’ve installed travertine flooring.