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2016 Guide for Travertine Tiles

Introduction to travertine and travertine tiles

Travertine: It is a sedimentary stone which is usually formed in limestone caves or near hot springs in Turkey and other European countries but unlike its natural stone counter parts, such as Marble and Limestone, it is not a metamorphic stone.  Due to the release of carbon dioxide during its formation, there are holes formed within the rock which is a distinctive characteristic of travertine stone’s appearance. It is porous in structure and quite brittle in natural form. A travertine quarry is like a mine for travertine stones and is usually quite big with an appearance of a huge open mouthed stony pit. The natural stone is dug in the quarries and sent to the cutting factories in the form of big blocks. The blocks are cut into products such as

Pavers

Tiles

Slabs

Mosaics

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After the application of finishing on these products, they are shipped in containers and then distributed to the sellers.

Travertine Tile:

Travertine tiles are usually 0.5” inches thick. They are matchless in their exceptionally good appearance and huge range of colors. No tile is similar to another due to the presence of pits which add a timeless element to their look. The warm and natural tones in its colors add a glamorous touch to any place they are installed. Because of their beauty, Travertine tiles are high in demand for decoration of indoor projects like bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, etc. They are also used for outdoor projects as well. There are countless uses of travertine tiles due to their durability and easy installation option. Whether it is the floor or the walls, travertine tiles with their pretty textures and unique patterns add a touch of allure everywhere. There is a abundant variation of size, style, color and pattern in these tiles which gives countless options of their uses.

Where travertine tiles are used? 

Travertine tiles are the favorite go-to natural stone tile of many people nowadays because of their fine appearance, various colors and different customization options. They can be used for any room’s floor no matter how unique the design of the place is as they can be cut into any shape or size required.  Due to this, they can be used both for domestic and commercial purposes. Some of these uses are listed below:

Indoor Domestic Uses:

Bathroom: Travertine tiles make bathrooms look stylish with their outstanding appearance. You can use them in a variety of ways e.g. tiled walls and floor, tiled floors with bordering of walls, tiling of alcove bathtubs and even for wall mounted sinks or showers. Travertine tiles can be used for adding oomph to the glass walls in minimal shower designs where the glass is inserted right into the framing of the wall behind tiles and sealed where the tiles meet the glass. The result is awe worthy and modishly trendy.

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Living Room: A living room with polished finish tiles looks graceful yet comfortable where the family can enjoy good time.

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Fireplace: You can make a fireplace look something out of a movie with these heat resistant tiles and a tumbled texture can give off the complete rustic vibe as well.

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Hallway: Travertine tiles laid in a hallway floor give off the earthy majestic feel. They add beauty to it.

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Kitchen: Be it the floor, walls, backsplash or the countertops, these tiles look amazing in the kitchen. Depending on the look you are aiming for you can make your kitchen a haven of sleek style with gray tiles or go for the country look with the neutral tones.

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Outdoor Domestic Uses:

Patio: Travertine tiles are attractive and blend in easily with any type of environment because of their natural shades. They can be used for flooring the patios and are comfortable to walk on.

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Pool Area: Travertine tiles are perfect for pool decks as they reflect heat during the days but remain cool due to heat resistant properties. The anti- slip and anti-heat characteristics make them ideal for pool decks or pathways to pool.

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Retaining Wall: You can give the old brick retaining wall an alluring makeover with travertine tiles. You can go for any look you desire from modern stylish to contemporary weathered, nothing is impossible.

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Outdoor Stairs: Use travertine tiles for re-facing the outside stairs. They are inexpensive and can withstand any weather type making them ideal for stair treads.

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Commercial Uses:

Hotels: Travertine tiles are extensively used by the hospitality industry especially in hotels. The resilient tile’s flooring is preferred in the suites, bathrooms, lobbies, bars, outdoor dining areas and even balconies.

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Spas: Travertine tiles are used for walls and floors of spa baths, sauna rooms, massage rooms and spa desks. They are also used around the areas surrounding Jacuzzis and artificial hot springs.

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Indoor Pools: Nothing feels more marvelous than an indoor pool that has travertine tiles. The non-slip surface, beautiful designs and long life of the tiles make them ideal for indoor pools.

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Reasons to choose travertine tiles

There are a number of reasons why travertine tiles are better than any other material. Some of these reasons are listed below:

Appearance: Travertine tiles have a timeless appearance and provide any building a majestic beauty. Their distinctive form looks better than half of the building decorative stone materials used. They have been a favorite natural stone since the era of the Roman Empire. The ageless beauty of the stone and the unique patterns makes every tile a master piece.  You can use the polished tile to get a sophisticated look, a tumbled one for the rustic feel and unpolished tile gives off the weathered vibe. The homeowners can select the appearance according to their preferences.

Variety in colors and designs: Travertine stone is design variant even in its rawest form. There is huge range of different hues and tones in which these tiles can be found along with a wide range of finish types. The pits and holes in their structure contribute in increasing their charm factor.

Environment-friendly: Unlike other building material travertine tiles are 100% natural and are not processed at all making them environment-friendly.

Custom Options: Travertine tiles can easily be cut and shaped into any form desired. This makes them suitable for all types of buildings no matter how contemporary their design is. They can cover up small or odd shaped spaces easily.

Durable: The ruins and landmarks of Ancient Rome is the proof of travertine’s durability. These tiles are incredibly strong and can withstand heavy amounts of weight without cracking or breaking.  Their ability to stand against the tide of time makes travertine tiled floors and walls to outlive the whole building.

Weather Resistant: Travertine tiles are the Hercules of natural stone tiles. They can endure extreme weather conditions. In the summer, they act as heat resistant materials making them cool on contact even with blazing sunshine. In the winters, they easily survive the freeze and thaw cycle without fracturing. Whether it’s the tropical season or the snowy winter, these tiles do not crack.

Non-Slip: Another reason why travertine tiles are an all-time favorite of homeowners with pools is because of their non-slip surface. The tumbled finish is perfect because of its non-slipperiness.

Easily Available: Travertine tiles are easily available in the market due to their popularity in the market. It is easy to replace any broken or damaged tile as visually similar tiles can be found.

Disadvantages of using travertine tiles and their solutions:

Stain Prone: Travertine tiles are much more intricate as compared to normal tiles as they have a sponge like texture, thus making it prone to damage from even water-based substances due to its permeability. It is extremely reactive to any kind of acidic substance, so something as harmless as a few drops of spilt lemonade on the tiles can result to permanent stains. Also, it is advised to abstain from using vinegar for cleaning your Travertine tiles as its acidic content can get sucked into the porous Travertine tiles thus causing another problem in the form of an irremovable blemish. Travertine is peculiarly vulnerable to acidic substances and alkalines such as orange, lemon, wine, juice, and coffee, so avoid using cleaners with a pH below 7 and be very careful while using any of the listed materials around travertine counters or floors.

Solution: While sealant’s can help to safeguard your Travertine tile, it is not a permanent or the best solution. The best way to keep your tiles clean and spotless is by cleaning your tiles religiously i.e. wiping up any kind of leaks or spills as soon as they happen. This will not only ensure stain free tiles, but it will also prevent absorption of the spilt material into the travertine’s pores thus preventing any kind of nasty damage. Travertine should only be cleaned with a neutral or mild alkaline-based cleaner. If you want to go an extra mile in polishing your travertine then use a stone cleaner and be sure to get one distinctly made for travertine. It is recommended to do a cautious spot test before hand to prevent unwanted collateral damage.

Slippery nature: Travertine has an organic look which adds to its appeal. It is also very resilient and long-lasting. However, these smooth tiles can sometimes be slippery, especially when they are wet.

Solution: It is not absolutely necessary to get your travertine sealed, although doing so will most definitely add an extra oomph to the beauty and splendor of the pavers and/or tiles. Sealing may mostly be preferred indoors, in high traffic areas, on frequently used patios, and areas which are most prone to spills or leaks from food or beverages that could stain your travertine tiles.

High Maintenance Issues: Travertine requires regular upkeep and extreme dedication in terms of maintenance as compared to other flooring options. Methodical cleaning is considered the key to keeping your floors in excellent condition for longer periods. Regular sweeping of travertine floors is highly stressed for prevention of unwanted accumulation of dirt and smut. Be sure to vacuum and mop your travertine floors to keep them looking immaculate. As we have said before, travertine is a quiet porous material, and so can be liable to spills and stains. If you or someone else does spill something on your travertine tile floors, be sure to clean it up that very second so that the spill doesn’t set in. We recommend that you get your travertine floors resealed after every couple of years at the least in order to keep them pristine and unblemished.

Travertine tiles colors and types:

Colors

Travertine tiles are stone tiles that come mainly from European countries such as Italy and Turkey and some are also imported from Iran. Travertine comes in a myriad of earthly shades. It is a very promising stone which is rich in color and has natural variations in both color and texture because of the presence of different mineral compounds such as iron. Most travertine pallets are comprised of tiles that vary in tones. It is very resilient and can be used both indoors and outdoors. This stunning natural stone is also accessible in slabs for counter tops and in sinks. Desired for its magnificence and ability to add spectacular opulence, this tile can undoubtedly increase a home’s worth.

Gold: Travertine tiles also come in a glorious variety of golden shades, from a bright yellowish tone to a honey-beige gold. Iran specializes in the brightest gold travertine, while the softer gold travertine is sourced from Italy.

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Cream/Beige: Cream or beige is the most common travertine color. It is imported from either Italy or Turkey. It is a warm yet slightly dull shade, the exact shade of which differs according to the source. Turkish cream travertine inclines toward oatmeal or honey like hue, while the Italian travertine has a somewhat peachy hint. Iran produces a cream that is darker in shade and resembles a light warm beige.

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Red: Iranian and Turkish travertine comes in shades that range from rose to deep coral red. Travertine sourced from Turkey has a very soft, peachy rose hue. However, the Iranian travertine pallet is the complete opposite of the Turkish one and includes strong, bold colors. Even the lighter shades in this family are dark reds, but colors from salmon pink to intense coral are also available.

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Brown: Many different shades of brown are also available. The brown pallet includes hues which transition from warm to cool, and light to dark. Iranian travertine includes bright golden brown and cool light coffee brown. Italian travertine is slightly murkier and encapsulates richer shades of brown such as walnut. Travertine sourced from Turkey is obtainable in a sunny yellowish brown known as noce.

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Gray: Travertine can be found in soft, natural grays. Iran expertise’s in gray travertine which includes some lighter grays that transition into intermediate gray. Travertine sourced from Italy is warm and includes some light beige strays.

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Travetine tile finish types:

There are mainly four different types of tiles depending on their finishes i.e. honed, polished, tumbled and chiseled.  

Honed travertine tiles: This is the matte polished travertine tile which is usually used for flooring. It is not shiny or glossy and is quite close to traditional travertine in appearance. It can be either filled or unfilled. A sealant is required to protect honed tile from stains.

Polished travertine tiles: Polished travertine is the glossy smooth tile. It is flat and can be very slippery if wet but it is stain resistant. It has the reflective property and is in rich shades.

Tumbled travertine tiles: The tumbled tiles are the textured ones and provide non-slippage when wet. They are usually used in bathrooms, near pool decks etc.

Chiseled Edge travertine tiles: The chiseled edge Travertine finished tile has an uneven coarse edge instead of the straight or neat chamfered edge. The chiseled edge is supposed to give the travertine stone an old or battered look. The chiseled edge can be applied to any kind of finish; however it is generally paired with a very sleek or refined finish. Chiseling can either be done by hand or with a machine.

Travertine tile design ideas:

Travertine is a natural stone tile that is available in a multitude colors, designs and finishes, including the most fashionable and famous honed (matte) finish. It can be used about anywhere i.e. both indoors and outdoors, and in both residential and commercial settings in areas such as kitchens, bathrooms and foyers. Although travertine tile will cost you but the one time investment will be worth the price. While it may not be as extravagant or celebrated as marble, it is still considered a luxurious covering for floors. This luxury status is because of its many colors, finishes and the ways it can be used for designing almost anything.

Every shade of travertine tile can add a different meaning to its surrounding. You can change the aura of a room or patio with a different shade or hue. You can see from the examples listed below how versatile these tiles are.

The light beige color which is commonly preferred for all types of flooring can look beautiful in almost all places like a bathroom with tumbled finish or living room floor with polished finish.

The gray travertine has the futuristic appeal to it. Be it the kitchen backsplash with modish sinks or flooring that goes in hand with the silver-ish cabinets, it looks sleek. You can use it around the Jacuzzi or in the minimalistic bathroom as well.

The regal gold travertine tile can add bling to your Victorian era inspired rooms or traditional washrooms. The key factor is to balance off the paint in the rooms where gold tile is used to achieve the classy look.

A walnut colored living room with wooden furniture is visually appealing to all. Add a popping color in the surrounding and voila a retro tasteful room has been created.

The red travertine tile looks amazing when used on a retaining wall. The coral shade can be used for the patio as well.

How to paint and protect travertine tiles:

Travertine tiles can be used as decoration tiles as well, as travertine is a type of limestone it has porous structure and is easily faded therefore when painting travertine tiles proper care has to be given. In order to paint travertine just follow these four simple steps.

Clean the tiles: Take a bowl mix one part cleaning detergent and four parts of water, dip the sponge in the mixture and clean the tiles gently. If there are any persistent stains scrub them with the sponge. Just like in marble stone avoid the use of hard brushes. Make sure to rinse and dry the tiles, never apply paint on wet travertine tiles.

Apply the sealant: The next step is to apply stone sealant on the tiles you can use a paintbrush for this purpose. The reason for applying sealant is that it will protect the paint on the tiles and increase its durability, it will also give protection against paint absorption.

Apply the paint: Painting your travertine tiles can create a unique impression, choosing the perfect color to paint your tiles can increase the brilliance of your tiles as well as other decorative elements in the room. However, make sure that the paints you use are moisture resistant.

Before you start painting make sure the surface is dry, also the paint brush that you are using should be of good quality. Start applying and instead of using one thick coat it is much better to use multiple lighter coats. Wait a few minutes before painting a new coat to let the previous coat dry. Keep on going until the desired tone is achieved. Let the paint dry for about twenty-four hours.

Reapply the Sealant: In order to protect the paint against dust and other external impurities another coat of sealant will give it the necessary protection.

 

Travertine tiles cost in US:

Harder than typical limestone the appearance of travertine is similar to marble but they are cheaper than marble. Below is the approximation of the cost involved in the installation of travertine tiles.

Approximate Cost: Travertine tiles come in various sizes ranging from 1”x1” mosaic pieces to huge square slabs of size 36”x36”, however the some of the common floor sizes are 12”x12”,16”16” and 18”x 18”.

The cost of basic travertine tiles is about $2-$4 per square foot but these tiles may have certain imperfections and higher color variation. Tiles in the range of $5-$15 per square foot have slightly less variation and more desirable colors. Tiles of the highest quality have almost no imperfections and the variation in tiles in almost impossible to notice their price ranges from $20 – $25 per square foot. The price for specialty tiles ranges from $4-$30 per square foot.

Professional installation costs depend on local rate and how complex the project is, typically cost of labor and basic travertine tiles combine to about $6-$13 so a 12”x12” will cost about $864-$1872. Installation for higher quality tiles can vary from $8-$32 so for a 1500 square feet room the cost will be approximately $12000-$48000.

Travertine tiles after installation require a sealer as well for durability and protection. Sealers usually cost about $100 -$200 and sealing a floor can cost about $40 – $300.

What to look for when purchasing travertine tiles?

With prices gradually falling each year travertine is becoming increasingly popular for both new homeowners and for also for those looking for a complete renovation.  In order to get the best for your home you should have some basic understanding about the variety of travertine available in the market.

Filled Honed Travertine: Travertine is a natural stone with a porous structure i.e. it is full of tiny holes in order to give it a modern finish and a smoother look these holes are filled with a special compound mostly an epoxy resin after filling an abrasion process is involved where a small amount of surface is removed in order to make it more shiny and smooth by the tiles manufacturer. These travertine tiles are best for indoor use or a patio that has been covered as these tiles tend to become slippery when wet because of their smoothness.

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Tumbled Unfilled Travertine: The surface of these tiles is rough and pitted as the holes are not filled with any compound. In addition, the surface is also vibrated or tumbled with abrasive materials to give it an aged appearance. These tiles are preferred by customers in kitchens and bathrooms because of their rustic look. This travertine has another sub category as well in which the tiles are tumbled and chipped along the edges to give it an even more rustic look making them perfect for indoor use.

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Polished Travertine: These tiles have a glossy and shiny finish which is achieved by using finer polishing heads in the final stage of production. So, the question still remains what to look for when buying travertine tiles, well if you’re looking for a rustic look go for chiseled and tumbled ones but if it is for contemporary placed then go for honed and filled ones.

Secondly always make sure to check the quality of the travertine tiles before buying. No matter which buyer you go to they will tell you that the travertine they provide is of highest standard. It is sometimes difficult to determine the quality of travertine the seller is claims to be selling however we recommend our readers to follow these advices when buying

Hard vs Soft Travertine: Soft travertine has a cheap feel when you touch the stone and it is usually cheap in terms of price as well. In order to check if the stone is soft travertine take a broken stone and try to crumble the edges if they crumble quite easily the travertine is soft. It is recommended to avoid soft travertine as floor tiles as they can create complications after some time.

Variation: Variation is also a factor you should look into when buying travertine tiles, more variation means high price and low variation corresponds to lower price. Variation is basically how much consistent is the background color on the stone, a premium grade stone is one with the least variation.

Wastage: No matter how careful you are in the installation you are bound to break a few tiles so when buying the travertine tiles always make sure to order a little bit more than required in order to avoid any shortage.


How to install travertine tiles?

It is important to know how Travertine tiles are installed even if you are going for the services of a trained professional. Below are the step by step instructions of travertine installation.

The first step is make sure that the substrate of surface where the tiles are to be placed is free from any contaminants like dust or oil for proper adhesion. If the surface is concrete make sure that there aren’t any cracks on the surface. Painted surface need special attention as they need to be scuffed for the tile to bond properly.

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Mark the mid-point of the floor and connect the opposite with a chalk line crossing the mid-point at right angles measure the width of the tile and make grid with the chalk line. Before setting the tiles lay them out, most of the tiles have variations in them and you don’t want light and dark colored tiles piled together. The tiles need to be blended during the installation. Also plan the layout of the tiles in a row along the gridline of the floor.

Now prepare a thin-set mortar make sure its consistency is that of mashed potatoes. Take a notched trowel and apply a small amount on the floor.

Set the first tile in a way that both side touch the chalk line. Now keep on adding tiles with spaces in-between them and repeat for the next leg quadrant.

After the setting of tiles is complete allow the mortar to dry. Depending upon various factors like temperature, humidity it takes 24 to 48 hours to dry.

The last step is to apply grout, mix white grout with water to make a paste, apply the grout into the spaces with a grout float and remove the excess grout from the surface with a damp sponge.

How to take care of travertine tiles?

Travertine physical attribute make it a suitable choice for use in extreme environmental and weather conditions. However, there are steps that need to be taken in order ensure maximum durability of the tiles.

For polished travertine tiles their application is only limited to special location like kitchen and bathroom flooring. In this type of situation use of special oil and water repellent products is recommended, these products often cause some sort of residue to pop up on the surface which should be removed after drying. This treatment is also used for cooktops and threshold (the non-walkover areas).

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Places with high foot activity travertine can easily lose its shininess, so in case of public installations like these use of self-shining waxes like metallized waxes is recommended.

Another maintenance treatment is crystallization in which a special product is used for crystallizing. This procedure is only employed if the travertine tile becomes slightly to moderately damaged and user wants to avoid re-polishing or waxing. The crystallizing product used in this process attacks the surface of the tile, the strength of the attack depends upon the type of acid used in the process, the next step after this is partial re-polishing with a wire wool disk added to the professional polishing tool.

In case of tumbled stone the maintenance process is much more complicated tumbled travertine stone has a rough surface and is full of open cavities as compared to honed and polished tiles. These cavities are therefore much more prone to the accumulation of dirt, and hence in order to clean these tiles stronger cleaning agents are to be used. We recommend Alkaline products in combination with hard nylon brushed plus or a professional cleaner for the maintenance of these tiles. In extreme cases, there can be a possibility of using water jets after the application of alkaline solution.

 

Common travertine tiles problems and how to deal with them:

Porous structure: The structure of travertine is Porous meaning there are cavities in its structure, consider travertine tile as sponge where the holes are accumulation point of dirt irrespective of the location of the tiles. The cervices in the stone also make it prone to liquids causing stains and discoloration.

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In order tackle with liquid stains it is recommended to use sealers on the tiles. The function of sealers is to seep into the pores of the stone and maintain the natural texture. This gives the stone protection against erosion.

Damaged by acidic substances: Travertine is a type of limestone made by precipitation of calcium salts, it is basically calcite the crystalline structure of calcium carbonate. This composition make it highly susceptible to acidic substances making even the most common household foods like fruit juice can cause permanent stains on travertine tiles.

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Granite sealers are widely used to prevent stains caused by acidic substances. The granules fill the pores of the travertine tile. However, it will not make travertine tiles bulletproof nor does it make an indestructible shell over the tiles it will only absorption rate of the liquid so that it can be wiped off as soon as possible.

Even when cleaning travertine tiles precaution should be taken to use only neutral or alkaline based detergents depending on the type of residue that needs to be removed but in case of polished travertine tiles avoid use of strong alkaline detergents. Vinegar should also be avoided when cleaning travertine tiles because of its acidic nature it might get absorbed and cause a permanent stain. There are however certain situations where acid descaling agents might be used but the acid descaling agents should be free of muriatic acid. One instance for use of such agents is to remove installation residue i.e. cement as this is the only way it can be thoroughly removed.

Leeching: Since travertine is well a natural stone it contains natural salts when water absorbs into the stone the salts get dissolved which can weaken the stone. A high-quality water repellent should be used on the tiles which usually give protection for about 5 years or more.

Spalling: This is a type of salt water erosion in travertine tiles, when salt water dissolves into the tiles it gets trapped beneath the surface of the stone and pits being to form. This type of erosion can also be prevented by using water repellents.

Conclusion:

The unique patterns and color depth of travertine tiles can rival any artistic palette; these tiles can bring elegance to any home environment. With their timeless look and resilience to extreme temperatures travertine tiles are now becoming a popular choice for home design.  Simply put natural stone tiles are beautiful when used indoors are some of the better quality option available to you.

These stone are highly durable as they don’t crack easily and cleaning them is a piece of cake, they are 100% green environment friendly, even in rare cases of damage to the tile they can be easily replaced. Moreover, with high versatility in colors and tones the option available in these tiles are infinite, it is all up to the limits of your imagination.

With a myriad of benefits, resemblance to marble and cheaper in cost these tiles are perfect for those who are really invested in the interior design of their home and want to add value to their property. Their distinct veins and polished finish makes a beautiful impression on your floor, walls or anywhere you wish to make a statement.

Our Products

Sefa Stone offers a wide range of travertine tiles in terms of size, finish, color, and quality. Currently, we are offering tiles with pure colors and pattern tiles with impurities. Pure tiles come in light beige, light brown, brown, yellow, red and gray color while tiles with patterns come in Ivory, Country Classic, Walnut/Mocha, Noce, Gold, White Gold, Silver, Leonardo, and Scabos colors.

Usual thickness of travertine tiles is 0.5 inches but these can vary in size. Most popular sizes are 1×1, 1×2, 2×2, 2×4 and 4×4. However, you can always get tiles of custom sizes according to your requirements by contacting us. Travertine tiles are best for decorating indoor areas like kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas. These tiles are also used for outdoor decoration. The average price of travertine tiles in the US is $2.5-$5 per square foot.