Travertine tiles have naturally formed pitted holes and troughs like Swiss cheese, which are factory-filled, site grouted or left open according to preference. A poor quality Travertine tile will be riddled with holes and very brittle. A good quality Travertine tile should have fewer and smaller holes. A good test is to tap the stone, a good quality Travertine tile should have a healthy clear ring to it. A poorer quality stone will generally sound dull. Travertine tiles can be polished, honed, tumbled, brushed, antiqued and patinated to create different looks. It is available in tile sizes for interior floors and walls plus slabs and sets for exterior use.
The main advantage of travertine is its beauty. The stone comes in many beautiful colours including ivory, beige, walnut, gold and even greys that can add to the beauty of any room. Travertine tiles are usually cut across the vein which creates the gentle swirls of colour. Here at Stone and Wood Shop we also offer vein cut Travertine which is cut along the grain and creates an unusual gently striped effect. When using vein cut stone you could create a chess board effect by alternating the direction of the vein when fitting. Take a look at some of our Travertine tiles to see the variation and quality we offer.
Now the scientific part
Travertine is a hard, semicrystalline form of calcium carbonate. Lime solution forms in flowing water of streams, rivers, particularly around waterfalls and hot or cold springs. This carbon dioxide-rich solution filters through earth and rocks, leaving them saturated in dissolved limestone. When the water eventually resurfaces, the sudden temperature change and pressure drop produces carbon dioxide gas, causing the limestone solution to recrystallise, often over micro-foliage. Gradually, the layers of mineral deposits harden into stone and so the process continues, giving travertine its banded appearance.
Travertine tiles are generally beige/ivory but many variations are available from silver/grey to coral red, caused by organic and/or mineral contamination.
The name “travertine” is a corruption of “tibur stone” (“lapis tiburnus”). Tibur, the Ancient Roman name for Tivoli (Italy) has extensive deposits of travertine. Romans used travertine as pseudo-marble, a good example being Rome’s Colosseum, which is largely constructed from travertine, as is the Getty Centre in Los Angeles.