Travertine is a sedimentary stone that forms primarily in hot springs and limestone caves when calcium carbonate precipitates as the water evaporates. The layers of calcium carbonate left behind mix with other organic impurities to form color bands, and the release of carbon dioxide during the formation of the stone creates travertine’s customary pitting.
The natural formations in the stone can be showcased in two main ways in travertine tile. A cross cut is a cut made along the bedding plane, and so shows the pitting pattern as a top-down view (see image above). A vein cut is made against the bedding plane, and so shows the layers of the stone – essentially as a side view (see image below). Both options give their own distinctive and beautiful appearance.
The use of travertine as a building material dates back to ancient Egypt, and many famous architectural examples can be given, including the Roman Colosseum. For much of travertine’s history, Italy was almost the exclusive supplier. Today travertine is sourced from countries around the world, including Turkey, Hungary, China, Afghanistan, Spain, Guatemala, and the US.
Although travertine has been used for centuries, its popularity as a natural stone option in homes has really grown in the last few decades. It is now commonly found as a material on countertops, walls, fireplaces, steps, pool decks, patios, driveways, and of course as indoor flooring. It is widely regarded as an attractive, elegant, and sophisticated material, which is quite popular in the St. Louis, MO area.
Stone flooring is some of the most durable flooring available, but travertine is a relatively soft stone that may scratch or dent. For this reason it is not recommended for extremely high-traffic areas, or those where pets or children are likely to spend much time. Care must be taken to maintain travertine. Given its composition, it is sensitive to acid exposure. For this reason it should be sealed, spills should be cleaned up quickly, and it should only be cleaned with approved, non-acidic, and non-abrasive cleaners.
With proper care a travertine floor will last as long as your home, and continue to display its natural beauty after many years of enjoyment. It has been an excellent building material for thousands of years, and continues to be so today. At Floor Coverings International Arch City we highly recommend travertine as a flooring option. Contact us any time to arrange a free in-home design consultation with one of our flooring experts, and learn more about the many benefits of travertine.