Travertine is a unique stone rich with historical significance. The word travertine comes from an old Roman name for Tivoli, a town in Italy where large deposits of travertine exist. The brilliant beige stone, characterized by irregular surfaces and edges, has been a principal building material in Rome since the Roman Empire. Travertine clothed the exterior of the Colosseum and was later favored by Michelangelo for his sculptures.Travertine is a sedimentary rock that begins as limestone. Over time, geological shifting forces the limestone deep within the earth. The porous nature of limestone makes it a great liquid reservoir. Limestone absorbs water from aquifers, which are enormous underground pools formed by ice age melting. Heated by the earth’s inner core, the water rises as steam, forming hot springs and geysers. This hot water dissolves the limestone and brings it to the surface along with other granules from below. If enough time transpires, mud beds consisting of limestone and other minerals cool and crystallize into solid travertine. The cooling process results in the extraordinary small holes or cavities while minerals in the stone create unique variations in color and veining. These variations contribute to travertine’s natural beauty and call to mind the ancient splendor of Imperial Rome.
Uses for Travertine
- Interior and exterior
- Floors and walls
- Shower surrounds
Types of Travertine
- Unfilled: Travertine with naturally occurring holes.
- Filled: Travertine with its naturally occurring holes filled with a mixture of a hardener and dust obtained from the cutting and honing process.
- Polished: During production, a facet is put on each crystal at a microscopic level – much as a jeweler would facet a diamond. The resultant smooth surface allows light to refract in and out of the stone in a parallel way. This enhances the visible sheen and gives the appearance of depth.
- Honed: A smooth, non-reflective finish achieved by grinding the surface.
- Tumbled (ancient stones): An antique look achieved by rounded corners and edges.
Sizes of Travertine
- Various tile sizes
Color variations are common and enhance the natural beauty of travertine. Be sure to inspect multiple samples of the stone before selection to ensure satisfaction with colors and patterns.
Maintaining your Travertine
- Do clean with a dust mop and neutral cleaner to remove most dirt.
- Do use a penetrating sealer to prevent staining. Because many stones are porous to some degree, excessive water may cause reactions stone such as oxidation (rust), etc. “Special Impregnating” sealers are recommended to avoid these problems. Hari stones representatives can recommend appropriate sealers.
- Do clean natural stones with “special stone cleaners”, “pH balanced cleaners” or “neutral base cleaners”.
- Do not clean any natural stone with acidic cleaners, including (but not limited to) vinegar or cleaners with “lemon” or “lime” on the label. These products will abrade the polish from the stone. Sealers DO NOT protect polished surfaces from these types of cleaners.