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2018 Guide for Travertine Tile Pros and Cons

We would like to begin our article with the technical definition of travertine stone. Before learning about the major travertine tile pros and cons in detail, it would be useful to have an idea about what it is. Travertine is a natural stone deposited by geothermally heated hot springs. It is considered to be a type of limestone which forms due to rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, hence, it is found around mineral spring deposits. Some people would rather call it limestone; yet, it would be a really narrow-minded approach to call this stone only limestone. If we are being technical and extremely specific then we can refer to travertine by its mineral name which is calcium carbonate. When minerals dissolve in the groundwater and get moved by natural springs and rise above the ground, travertine is created. It forms large blocks, is taken from quarries and cut down into smaller blocks for more practical loading and unloading processes.

Italy is renowned for travertine so it doesn’t come as a shock that the word itself is derived from the Italian word ‘travertino’, which is a derivation of the Latin tiburtinus ‘of Tibur’. Its namesake is also the origin of Tivoli, a district near Rome.

The primary purpose of the travertine stone is in building. It has been used in construction for a very long time. Temples, bath complexes and various monuments have been built from travertine. It is one of the several natural stones that are used for paving patios, courtyards and garden paths. The stone is characterized by pitted holes and troughs in its surface which means that it has a concentric texture and porous surface. Although these troughs occur naturally, they suggest signs of considerable wear and tear over time. It can also be polished to a smooth, shiny finish, and comes in a variety of colors from grey to coral-red. Travertine is most commonly available in tile and pavers for floor installations.

An example of a building that has stood the test of time is of the Coliseum in Rome, Italy, which was, too, built from this resilient stone. Other noteworthy buildings using travertine extensively include Europe’s longest Castle, the Burghausen Castle, Colonnade of St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris, the 20th-century Getty Center in L.A, California and Shell-Haus in Berlin.

Content Index

Pros of Travertine Tile

Cons of Travertine Tile

Travertine Flooring

Main Usage Areas of Travertine Tiles

Travertine Tile Colors and Styles

Travertine Tile Finishes


Here is the podcast of the blogpost. You can listen on that if you don’t have time to read the article.

Major Pros and Cons of Travertine Tile

Here comes the tricky part! Now it is time to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of travertine tiles because just like any other natural stone, this one has its ups and downs, too. Yes, we have said that variety of color and style is a great advantage and there are a number of benefits that can go far and far beyond simplistic style. Also, it is possible to say that travertine tiles can be a great investment for your home because of the fact that it can add value and also because it is much more economical than marble.

But, are there any disadvantages? Yes, our dear readers, there are some disadvantages that we need to talk about. Because as a homeowner, you need to be aware of all the good sides and bad sides about travertine tiles, and then you should make a choice about it. Are you ready? Let’s get started with the summary infographic.

Major Pros of Travertine Tile

Travertine Tiles are Cheaper Than Marble or Granite Tiles

You might first think about adding the touch of marble or granite to your bathroom or kitchen for a classical look. Yes, we know that marble and granite tiles can look incredibly enchanting for flooring. However, the cost is always a point that you need to take into consideration for choosing any tile for flooring.

No worries: travertine tiles can give almost the same look as the marble or granite tiles and it is away cheaper than the other alternatives. If you are on a budget yet still want the perfect look for either interior or exterior designs, you should definitely try travertine tiles.

Travertine Tiles are Available in Various Color and Tone Alternatives

As we have already mentioned, travertine is a stone which is available in several different colors and tones. You will be enchanted by the perfect look of travertine tile alternatives when you see them. The options are almost endless and it is all up to your imagination. Also, travertine comes with polished, matte, brushed or tumbled finishes.

And remember that polished finish is the best alternative for flooring because the polished travertine tiles will reflect the natural light and give a shiny and fresh atmosphere. So to say, you can get the perfect look by paying less if you choose travertine.

There is a wide range of versatility with travertine tile flooring. There are 4 main finishes for travertine: polished, honed, tumbled, and brushed. The most common type of travertine is the matte honed look, but if you want a more glossy modern look you can go for polished travertine, while if you really want to ramp up the rustic, you can go for the textured look of brushed or tumbled travertine. Beyond that, there are plenty of tile sizes to choose from, so you can go for large slabs or create detailed mosaics with tiny tiles.

Travertine Tiles are Very Durable, Which Can Add Value to Your Homes

Travertine tiles are very durable (water and moisture resistant). All you need to do is to give them a good care and maintain properly. They do not crack easily when you handle it with care. This enables you to keep the good condition of the house for long years. This is the value that travertine adds: your house will always be new thanks to travertine tiles.

Travertine floors, countertops and pavers are very robust and can easily survive the test of time. If you take a quick review of some of the ancient places for e.g. the Coliseum, in which travertine was used, you’ll see this natural stone can easily survive for a very long time. The measure of hardness rating of travertine is comparable to that of marble, so it is well suited to high traffic areas and places with lots of footwork.

Since travertine is natural stone, it might have holes on it. But these holes get bigger and deeper in time and ruin the perfect look of the flooring. Travertine tiles will look good for long years as long as you give the proper care to them which doesn’t even require a lot of effort.

Replacing Travertine Tile is a Piece of Cake

It is true that travertine is a durable stone. But that does not mean that nothing would ever happen to it. Accidents can happen and after a few years of using travertine, it might be damaged or ruined.

Since travertine has several variations, it is highly possible for you to find not the same but very similar looking tiles. You can replace the damaged tiles with the new one with matching tone or color, and there you go. No one would be able to notice the difference. Another thing you can do is invest in a few extra travertine tiles in case your tile ever get severely damaged. This way you’ll have a tile of the same tone and veining to replace your broken tile.

Travertine Tiles are Very Environmentally Friendly 

Travertine is the type of stone which is more eco-friendly than the other materials (compared to porcelain and marble). Since travertine tiles do not have to go through the manufacturing process and are deposited around geothermally heated hot springs, it is a perfect option for those who favor the “Going Green” trend.

Travertine Tiles Are Resilient

Travertine tiles are able to easily tolerate extreme weather fluctuations thus are well suited of both outdoor and indoor installations. You can install travertine pavers for your pool, your garden pathway or the retaining wall of your house without the fear of scorching heat damaging your travertine.

Travertine Has A Naturally Non-Slippery Texture

Travertine is a stone with a naturally non-slippery texture which makes the ideal choice to be installed in swimming pools, bathrooms, showers, floors and on pool decks. It has holes and pits due to its porous surface which makes it rough and not slippery in unsealed and unpolished state.

Major Cons of Travertine Tile

Travertine’s Porous Structure

Just like all other natural stones, travertine has its cons, too. One of them is that travertine stone has a porous structure which means that it has a lot of holes in it. This is perhaps the most important con of the travertine material. Exposure to air and moisture can cause these holes to tear after a while. This is perhaps the most important con of the travertine material. This means that it is very easy for a surface to wear or tear in the long run. Even though these holes are small, they are easily noticeable, which can be a disadvantage for those who do not like such appearances. You should give travertine floors a regular care for filing the holes. You need to spend more time to care for. Powders, sealants or polishing products might be used accordingly.

Travertine Tiles are Highly Reactive to Acidic Substances

A major con of travertine is its sensitivity towards acidic substances such as alcohol, coffee, vinegar and orange juice etc. So even if you accidentally spill orange or lemon juice on the travertine tiles, there is always a risk of a permanent stain because the acidic solvent will react with the calcium carbonate of the stone. You should be really careful while using travertine tiles if you have small kids or you need to think twice if you plan to use travertine tiles to decorate your restaurant or kitchen countertops.

You Should Not Use Vinegar or Salt For Cleaning Travertine Tiles

We all know that natural cleaning agents are always better than the chemical ones. But, you should pay attention here. Due to the acidic and harsh content of vinegar and salt, you cannot use them for cleaning travertine. The porous structure of travertine tiles directly suck up the vinegar, which will probably leave a permanent stain. Therefore, you need to pay a little bit more for cleansing agents if you are using travertine tiles in your homes.

Travertine Tiles Tend to be Heavier

If you are dreaming of an easy and quick installation process, travertine tiles might not be the best option for you. These tiles naturally tend to be heavy, in other words, it would be difficult and time-consuming to install them. Also, you need to think about the transportation of the tiles; from the store where you buy them to your house. The transportation fee, therefore, might be a little bit expensive than normal.

Travertine Costs Are High

Even though travertine is cheaper than marble, it is still pricier in comparison to limestone, granite or carpeting. However, as compared to these options, travertine has the ability to add more value and elegance to your house and will undoubtedly last longer than any of the aforementioned options.

Travertine Requires Maintenance and Care

Travertine may be considered as durable or resilient but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t require extensive care or maintenance. In comparison with other flooring options such as granite, ceramic or vinyl, travertine requires much more attention in order to preserve its beauty and everlasting sense of elegance. In its unpolished and unsealed form, travertine is much more susceptible to damage as there is fear of its naturally porous structure absorbing spills in its holes and pits. This is why sealing your travertine tiles before installation is highly recommended. The sealant helps to protect the travertine against dirt buildups and prolongs the life of the tile. Maintenance of travertine tiles is mandatory in order to keep the tiles in tip-top condition. Resealing the tiles periodically is also very important.

Lack of Homogeneity In Travertine

One if the cons of travertine stone is its lack of uniformity or consistency in appearance, meaning that the colors, veining and shades of tiles may vary and the tiles in the bulk order may not look alike or exactly similar to the sample tile. The is because travertine stone is a naturally occurring stone therefore it would be unfair to expect each and every tile to have the same tonal variations and veining. The colors and patterns in the appearance may not be entirely identical. You’ll have to be extra cautious whilst arranging the tiles if you want perfectly similar travertine tiles. One thing to keep in mind is that a first-class quality travertine tile will have less variations and more uniformity than a lower grade travertine tile.

Travertine Is Only Available in Neutral Tones

Travertine stone is a type or derivative of limestone and we all know that limestone is naturally white in color. Therefore, it comes to us as no shock that the travertine is not available in any bright or funky colors, in fact, its tones and shades are limited to beige, white, cream and tans. Basically, travertine is light in color due to the white calcium carbonate. So, this is one of the major cons of travertine tiles that you won’t be able to find them in shades other than neutral or earthy tones and for brighter colors you’ll have to invest in either marble, granite or slate.

This is all we can say about travertine tiles. If you read this article so far, you are now an expert. You have learned all you need to know about travertine and now ready to make a decision. If yes, you can consider further information below about travertine tiles usage.

We have also created a video animation including headlines of majos pros and cons.

What is the intended use of travertine?

As you might guess, travertine is a type of a stone which is frequently used in flooring, countertops and backsplashes. However, out of all these, flooring is the most popular option for travertine use. This stone is generally preferred for the tiling of the areas such as kitchen, bathroom or exterior paving thanks to its high level of durability. This is why travertine stone has been used for thousands of years especially in Anatolia and Southern parts of Europe with decorative and architectural purposes.

Travertine tiles have become very popular in recent years since it has a unique beauty. Most of the people think that travertine is a luxury and elegant flooring item to add a sense of beauty in every corner of a place. In addition to tiling, travertine is also used for countertops, backsplashes and other surface areas requiring tiling.

Travertine Flooring

You can use the travertine tiles on the floors as well as on the walls, countertops, patios. In fact, the most common use is in floors. When you are applying travertine to floors, there are some patterns that each has its own distinctive style. So, if you want a classic look, you can use Regular and Stagger patterns. But if you more like a sophisticated style, you can apply the French or Herringbone patterns.

French or Villa Pattern Travertine Floors

You can use French pattern generally in interior designs, and it gives the room an aesthetic look. French pattern is preferred in country styled or coastal style homes. French Pattern is also used in outdoor designs like pool decks, walk-ways, and patios. The most important thing here is that you should not use a polished travertine in places where there is a risk of slipping.

Antique Pattern Travertine Floors

Antique Pattern, also known as the Meandros pattern, alike with French pattern. Antique Pattern is used in both interior and outdoor designs, too. This Pattern is similar to the French pattern. Just like it, Antique Pattern gives the room a rustic feel.

Regular Pattern Travertine Floors

Regular is the most preferred and most applied pattern. People use this model use in bathrooms and pool decks. The most commonly used colors in the regular pattern are light tones of beige, cream, and gray.

Spiral Pattern Travertine Floors

The spiral pattern creates a modern atmosphere in the room. It is mostly used in modern style decorations. When you use it in backsplashes or walls, you should prefer polished travertine tiles because it looks better when it shines, and it also helps to make the area look bigger.

Herringbone Pattern Travertine Floors

Herringbone pattern can be applied to walls, floors, and backsplashes. But the areas where this model fits most are the walls and backsplashes. Herringbone pattern has the same decorative features as Spiral.

Durability and Maintenance of Travertine Flooring

Travertine is a very durable material in flooring to heavy traffic. Also, it is a very hard material when compared with marble. The travertine is resistant to temperature changes. So, you can use it in outdoor designs.

Due to the porous structure of the travertine stone, there is a need for more care. The key point to keep your floors beautiful for longer is that you need to clean it regularly. You should mop or vacuum your floors regularly to keep them really spotless. Because travertine is porous, it can be susceptible to spills and stains. If you spill something on your travertine floors, wipe it up immediately. Also, travertine is very sensible to acidic substances like lemon juice and cleaners contain acidic solutions. So, you should be careful to these kind of liquids. Furthermore, when you want to clean the floor you should definitely get a cleaner which is meant for travertine.

Main Usage Areas of Travertine Tiles

Hallways and corridors

Travertine is the best option if you would like to add a sense of luxury to your foyer or hallway. This stone is known for its unique and uneven qualities, and this makes travertine look very elegant for both modern and classical design ideas. Travertine is the material that can create a rustic, but a sophisticated look to your hallway.


Did we mention that travertine has been a building material for bathrooms for centuries? Dating back centuries ago, people had discovered that travertine was a magical building material for bathroom decorations. And here is a healthy and elegant tip for you: if you set the travertine tiles on a diagonal, you can achieve enchanting diamond geometry in your shower. And if you prefer the natural matte finish for the tiles, your bathroom will make you feel like you are living in a palace.


The options of using travertine tiles in your kitchen are endless. You are the one to create any design you desire with travertine. Either on backsplashes, countertops or flooring, it is certain that travertine will create a totally different atmosphere for your kitchen. Use your imagination and consider all that variety and colors of travertine. It is all up to you…

Exterior Design

If you think that you can use travertine only for indoor decorations, we can tell you that you are totally wrong. Travertine is used to beautify your outdoor areas, as well. You can use travertine tiles for garden pathways, decorative exterior walls or swimming pool decking. Since travertine, like many other natural stones, is very durable against heat, it is a good idea to use it for exterior decorations. No need to mention that it will age so beautifully with time.

Travertine Tile Colors and Styles

One of the components which comprise of travertine is iron. Iron is the element which causes travertine to form in many different earth colors such as different tones of brown, beige, tan, reddish, gold, ivory, and other white shaded colors.

Gold colored travertine tiles come with a great variety of golden shades. It gives your home a luxurious look.

Cream/Beige travertine tiles are the most common color. Their shades differ from each other regarding their exporting countries. Beige/cream shaded colors are used in bathroom and floors.

Red toned travertine tiles come in shades that range from rose to deep coral red. Some of them have a very soft, peachy rose hue and some of them have strong, bold colors. Reddish tiles exported mostly from Turkey and Iran. Iranian tiles are dark reds, but colors from salmon pink to deep coral are also available.

Brown toned of travertine tiles have many different shades. The brown travertine tile pallet includes hues which transition from warm to cool and light to dark. Iranian travertine has bright golden brown and light coffee brown while Italian travertine includes richer shades of brown such as walnut.

Gray Travertine tiles can be in soft and natural gray. Soft and natural gray tones give your interior design a beautiful, good-looking style. Also, it creates an elegant atmosphere.

The variations and patterns on travertine mainly depend on the minerals and impurities found in any specific section of the stone and as we already mention, on particularly how much iron that the stone contains. So to say, it can be said that it is nearly impossible to find two travertine tiles looking the same. This can be considered as an advantage and we are going to talk about it later on in this article.
Apart from its natural color variations, travertine also comes in different types of finishes; polished, matte, brushed, and tumbled. If you prefer polished travertine tiles, you should take the fact that it might look like marble stone into consideration. And note that brushed or tumbled travertine tile has a more antiqued look, which most of the people prefer for especially indoor decorations.

Travertine Tile Finishes

Apart from its natural color variations, travertine also comes in different types of finishes; polished, brushed, tumbled and honed.

Polished Travertine Tile

Polished finish tiles have glossy and smooth surface. If you prefer polished travertine tiles, you should take the fact that it might look like marble stone into consideration.

Honed Travertine Tile

This travertine tile is the matte polished tile, and it is usually used for flooring. It is looking like the classic travertine tiles, and it is not shiny or glossy.

Tumbled Travertine Tile

Tumbled ones have textured and matte look. Tumbled travertine tile has a more antiqued look, which most of the people prefer for especially indoor decorations. Also, they are used in bathrooms and near pool decks because of their non-slippage surface.

Which Type of Travertine Tile Should Be Used For Bathrooms?

As we talked before, travertine tile is one of the most used natural stones for bathrooms. They add a traditional and modern look to the bathroom designs. Travertine tile can be used for vanities, tops and walls mosaics as well as for floor.

There are various colors of travertine so, you can find easily what color or what style you want. If you want a contemporary look you should prefer soft and creamy tones of travertine tiles. You should prefer black tiles if you want a sharp modern look.

After you decide your color and decoration style, it is time to select the travertine kind. What finish do you choose? Should it be a tumbled or honed? The best travertine tile options for bathroom are tumbled or honed tiles. Tumbled and honed tiles are able to withstand spills most likely to occur in bathrooms from cleaning, makeup and other beauty products. Honed and tumbled travertine tiles have a matte finish while the polished one has a glossy look. But, polished stones are not very good for bathrooms because there is a risk of slipping on wet floors. Hone-finished tiles soften the tiles’ look and it gains a more soft look. Even though travertine has an extremely porous structure, travertine is filled with a material preventing water from being trapped in the holes.

Tumble-finished travertine has antiqued appearance and it has a warm character. Tumbled travertine tiles are filled with pebbles to remove the sharp edges. Tumbled tiles are for ones who like rustic decoration style.


At the end…

Sefa Stone offers many different types of travertine tiles in terms of color, size, quality and finishes. We offer pure color tiles and patterned tiles in Ivory, Country Classic, Walnut/Mocha, Noce, Gold, White Gold, Silver, Leonardo, and Scabos colors. Most popular travertine tiles are 1×1, 1×2, 2×2, 2×4 and 4×4 but you can request custom tile sizes by contacting us with [email protected] or online chat.


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