travertine uses [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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01-05-2003, 12:20 AM
Husband and I building a new home and hoping to do all the tile ourselves. We have a tile salesman who LOVES travertine and is encouraging us to use it on the kitchen counters (well, everywhere actually!). Says all we have to do is seal it every 10 years or so. Talked with a salesperson at a tile/granite distributorship who strongly advised against this. Would love to hear your opinions on travertine. Thanks very much in advance!

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01-05-2003, 08:15 AM
Here's my 2 cents.....

Travertine is a type of limestone and is quite soft and porous. In fact, if you look at the polished travertine, many of the voids have been filled in with a cementious filler. This is often what gives the travertine it's contrasting, vein-like apearance. Some types of travertine will have more "filled" areas than other but they are all pororus. IMHO, I would only use travertine as a decorative accent and in areas that rarely ( if ever) see water, food, drinks, foot traffic, etc.

As for the sealing, I believe the sealing should be done on a yearly basis. Like you are really gonna remember to seal the stone 10 yrs from now !!!.

You mentioned doing the job yourself. Travertine is very easy to cut BUT also breaks up easily since it is soft. For tiles with alot of filler, the stuff is downright frustrating. Bottom line, order alot more ( 20 % min) more than your square footage dictates. You will have quite a bit of scrap and breakage.

So, backsplahes, accent strip in tub surrounds, decorative designs in art niches, are places I would recommend for travertine.

For countertops, I would go with granite . Although it is more dense and does not have the filler, porosity issues, it also must be sealer periodically.

Against my advice, here is a pic of a shower I did with travertine. Nice shower but high maintanence...the white spots are the "filled" areas.

01-05-2003, 08:20 AM
Here's a better photo ( I think)..

Sorry John, finally got to post some pictures and I'm hooked :D

01-05-2003, 11:11 AM
And yes that is tumbled ( not filled) travertine tiles on the ceiling as well....

Another alternative to granite in your kitchen is porcelain tiles. They are "ceramic" by definition but have a much lower water absorption than convential ceramics. Crossville makes a good porcelain tile as well as American Olean

As for the ten year service period, Aquamix claims their sealers are god for UP TO 5 Yrs. This is for a surface that sees little use and is not sujected to harsh chemicals for cleaning.

I'll stick with the 1 yr re-sealing for a kitchen


01-05-2003, 12:42 PM

Thanks very much for your response to the travertine question. I'll check out Crossville and Am. Olean tomorrow.

Your photos are beautiful!

01-05-2003, 06:33 PM
i have had silver travertine in my foyer for 13 years and am about to change it. i am going with a porcelain instead. in some cases the filler in the travertine can come out. i am very negative on travertines in general. if i were to use a natural stone on a floor at this point, which i personally would not do, i would probably opt for a granite or maybe a slate. this only my opinion, however -- as a consumer(diy), not a professional installer.

John Bridge
01-05-2003, 06:48 PM
Welcome aboard, Tilenewby. :)

I agree that travertine has no place in the kitchen. Sealed or not it is succeptible to almost every cleaner heretofore invented. Tell your salesperson to expand his or her horizons. :D

Hey, how about a first name? :)

01-05-2003, 06:59 PM
"Hey, how about a first name?"


My first name is Dawn. We moved to Colorado Springs a year ago upon my husband's retirement from the Army. We're having a very positive home building experience and anxious to get the tile issues resolved!

Love your site and all the great info!


01-06-2003, 11:21 AM
Another vote against Travertine here.
Keeping travertine clean is a nightmare. It is a relatively soft stone, & very porous.
Tell that tile salesman to sell tile, but to quit trying to offer advice on materials he obviously knows next to nothing about.

01-06-2003, 12:14 PM
Travertine looks like it would make a cool wall covering in certain applications, like the 14' wall in my wife's sewing room which has two closet doors ( one is 30" and the other is 48"). Is something like that possible given weight factor of the stone and its relative thickness? The current wall is plain old painted sheetrock.

John Bridge
01-06-2003, 07:54 PM

This is really a coincidence. I took basic at Fort Carson (Colorado Springs) in 1958. It was a small town back then. It's getting pretty close to Denver nowadays. ;)