A Guide to Travertine

Travertine is commonly known as a building material favoured by the Romans who mined deposits of Travertine for building temples and amphitheatres such as the Colosseum. In our Guide to Travertine, you'll find out how the stone is made, where it comes from and how to care for your tiles in your home.

Formation of Travertine

Derived from Limestone that has been deposited by springs and water resources, Travertine is a sedimentary stone. The main difference between Limestone and Travertine is that hot water leaks through the stone causing holes and voids during the Travertine's formation.

Production of Travertine

After experts select blocks for their colour and quality, the Travertine is transported from the quarry to the factory for the cutting process. High quality, specialised equipment is used to cut the blocks into the appropriate sizes and then thinned to a uniform thickness to create tiles and make them easier to install. Travertine is mostly mined in Turkey, Italy and Mexico.

Identifying Travertine

An inherent characteristic unique to Travertine is its pits and voids on the surface of the tile which give it a natural aged appearance. Any pits and voids are filled with resin at the source but if an unfilled Travertine is purchased, these voids can be filled with grout or resin at home.

Due to the way Travertine is formed, it's not unusual for voids just below the surface to open up through general wear and tear, these can be simply refilled with grout as necessary.

Benefits of Travertine

Travertine is a natural resource with incredible durability, making it suitable for both walls and floor.

Did You Know?

Aside from use in homes, Travertine is commonly known as a building material favoured by the Romans. They mined deposits of Travertine for building temples, aqueducts, monuments, bath complexes and amphitheatres such as the Colosseum, the largest building in the world constructed mostly of Travertine.

Through the ages, Western Europe has also used Travertine extensively in architecture, from landmarks like the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris to the modern aesthetic of Shell-Haus in Berlin. Across the Atlantic Travertine was imported and used by top architects to add prestige to their newly built skyscrapers. A fine example of this is the lobby of the modernist Willis Tower built in Chicago in the 1970s which held the record for the tallest building in America for 25 years.


To keep your stone in top condition, we recommend protecting the tiles once laid. Please see our Protector Guide which outlines which protector your stone requires.


What different finishes are available?

Travertine is available filled or unfilled. It has four major finishes: polished, honed, brushed and tumbled. The type of finish given to the Travertine determines how glossy or textured the surface will be. Polished and honed surfaces are smooth, similar to Marble, while the brushed and tumbled surfaces are slightly rough and textured.

Why is it important to seal Travertine tiles?

Travertine is a porous natural stone and so sealant is needed to fill the pores and prevent liquid from penetrating the stone. Sealant will protect the Travertine from staining and help to retain its original beauty.

How should these tiles be sealed?

Once laid, Travertine needs to be sealed to avoid staining; avoid acid or bleached based cleaners as these can attack the grout. For an initial clean after grouting use a residue remover (we sell one for polished and one for unpolished tiles). Allow the product to work by leaving it on the tile for at least 10 minutes and then use an emulsifying pad to remove the grout residue. If the Travertine has a particularly textured surface and some residue remains it may be due to the polymer within the grout, these needs to be softened with an alkaline detergent such as a Tile and Stone Stain Remover. To protect your Travertine, we recommend you use a protector. Our matrix here will help. Apply with a brush or roller and allow each coat to dry thoroughly. Acidic or highly alkaline household cleaners are not recommended in maintaining Travertine as they will damage the life of the sealer.

How much does this stone material naturally vary? And why?

Travertine comes in different colours and tones including ivory, beige, walnut, and gold. The varied colour of Travertine is the result of mineral compounds and other organic impurities that penetrate the stone.

What size tolerance should there be on this stone if any?

None, although we do recommend dry laying your tiles to ensure you're happy with the variation mix ahead of fitting them.

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