Travertine is a natural stone frequently used in all kinds of settings. A popular choice for hundreds of years, you might have seen it in the Colosseum in Rome! Travertine is a form of limestone and is similar in colouration, generally light coloured and can even be brilliant white. Being a broadly porous rock, it has a range of densities and textures.
Formation is similar to that of stalactites and stalagmites, which gives travertine a unique appearance. Mineral deposits around springs such as calcium carbonate and other soluble minerals are left behind by water and coalesce over time to form the rock. The lack of significant force during formation means its molecules are not positioned closely together so care should be taken to keep it away from acids, which have no problem eating away at it.
How durable is travertine?
Whilst travertine can be polished to a smooth service, it’s hard to achieve the sheen of granite or marble. A matte finish can be more desirable, which plays to the unique texture offered by the rock. Since travertine can absorb liquids relatively easily it’s essential that it’s properly treated with an appropriate sealant. While this can reduce the risk of tiles becoming damaged, the sealant will eventually wear away. It is possible to extend its life through dry mopping and vacuuming, which will minimise abrasive material such as dust and dirt.
Acid is a major vulnerability of travertine. Even the levels of acid commonly found in food and drink has the potential to mark and stain its porous surface. Incorrect cleaning products can have an even more damaging impact, so take care and if you’re unsure have a chat with the professionals! Any damage to the grouting holding the tiles in place gives liquids an opportunity to get into the travertine, so it’s worth giving it a thorough clean each week, keeping a close eye on all seals. So long as the whole floor is properly sealed and kept free from dust and debris it will look great and last a while, but it’s recommended to ask a professional to treat it at least once a year to avoid the chance of any permanent staining or damage. Heavy impacts can smash and chip the soft surface of the travertine, often the only solution is to replace the damaged tile. In these cases a new coat of sealant will also be required to keep the replacement tiles looking great.