Travertine is a type of limestone that forms around mineral spring deposits. As a flooring material, it is generally sold in tile form and comes in a variety of earth tone colors, including tans, browns, rust and beige hues. Like all natural stone, it does require some specific maintenance, and it is not appropriate for all locations. However, if properly installed and cared for, it can add a sense of unique mountain-born beauty to an interior location.
Advantages of Travertine Tile Flooring
- Stylish: This is one of the oldest building materials in existence, and its presence in a flooring installation can add a sense of age and prestige to the environment. At the same time, it has an inherently dominant energy that draws attention in a subtle, subdued way, with mild tones found swirling in its hazy, shifting surface. Each piece is also a nature-formed unique work of earth art, making any floor created from them a one-of-a-kind installation.
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- Subdued effect: Another style effect of travertine is that it has the unique power of natural stone but also maintains a reserved dignity that comes from the soft palette of colors in its spectrum. Available in tans and beiges, grays and speckled off-white hues, these tiles can bring the towering dominance of earth to a flooring installation without overwhelming a room with dramatic colors.
- Durability: Hard tile materials such as travertine are made to take a beating without showing significant damage from scratches, cracks or chips. Over time, a weathering effect can occur, which is often prized for giving the individual pieces a distinct character that resembles ancient architecture. With polished and honed materials you will have more of a danger of scratching, while natural- finish tiles will be more resistant to damage and blemishes.
- Long-lasting: While regular maintenance and periodic care are required with a travertine flooring installation, these materials have the potential to last literally for decades. The weathering effect that occurs with years of use is often considered attractive, but if you wish, it can be combated through the periodic application of a quality stone-sealing agent. This staying ability cuts down on the eventual cost of replacement.
- Natural and eco-friendly: A completely earthborn product, travertine is an abundant natural resource that is fully recyclable and biodegradable. It can be salvaged from old installations for use in new ones, but it will also break down into the environment seamlessly if disposed of. The exception to this is that chemical adhesives used during installation may contaminate the ground soil if not thoroughly removed.
- Ease of repair: Since travertine comes in tile form, when a particular piece breaks it can be removed and replaced. With larger tiles, this will be a more dramatic project, while smaller pieces may be a more frequent task. It is important to keep a few extra travertine tiles around to ensure that repairs can be matched to the current installation.
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Disadvantages of Travertine Flooring
- Complicated maintenance: While these tiles are solid, strong, and durable, they also have microscopic pores in their surface that can allow spilled liquids and staining agents to seep into them. Luckily, this problem can be resolved by applying first a penetrating sealer, then a barrier surface sealer. The dual sealing treatment should happen during installation, and then periodically throughout the life of the floor. Repeat this resealing more often if you are trying to maintain the glossy original finish of the material.
- Heaviness: Travertine tiles tend to be quite heavy, making the installation process difficult and time-consuming. In some cases, this disadvantage may require a contractor team to do the transport, installation and/or removal work at an added price. This can also restrict the use of these materials in upper-story interior locations.
- Expense: These materials can be somewhat expensive, falling in the mid-range of natural stone options but on the high end when compared to other flooring choices. This is compounded by the cost of materials, such as adhesive and grout, as well as any labor costs for professional assistance.
- Coldness: Natural travertine tile is a great transmitter of heat, but it does not retain it very well. That means that on cold mornings, the tiles are going to quickly get cold, which can result in an uncomfortable chill on unclad toes. This can be handled with area rugs to some extent, especially when placed in strategic positions. The material is also an excellent conductor for radiant below-surface heating systems.