Tile: Everything there is to know about tile.

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Travertine Tile

Travertine stone is steeped in history and was instrumental in the development of the Greek and Roman civilizations. Romans used this naturally strong, dense and rough looking material to build their famous Colosseum. This amphitheater was the largest to be built during the Roman Empire. Its construction required about 131,000 cubic yards of travertine stone. To be standing after 2,000 years is a testament to its durability as a natural construction material.  Other notable structures built using travertine are the Getty Center and UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California and the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris, France.  

Travertine tiles are made from natural travertine stone. Natural stones are porous and dotted with holes, troughs and minute crevices throughout their surface surface. They are similar in texture and composition to limestone. Modern quarrying techniques have made it much smoother without sacrificing its classical sensibilities. 

Travertine is classified as a sedimentary rock, somewhere between limestone and marble. This type of stone had their physical structure altered by millions of years of intense pressure and heat. Travertine slabs and blocks were formed when calcium deposits from seashells and bones settled on the ocean floor and crystallized millions of years ago. Carbon dioxide gas undulated these calcium deposits when exposed to surface air and the limestone re-crystallized. These trapped carbon dioxide gases make the stone porous while hardening its surface.  

Travertine mineral deposits are abundant near Tivoli, Italy, hence its name. Tivoli was called Tibur in the time of Ancient Rome. The stone was called lapis tiburtinus then evolved into travertine. Aside from Italy, Greece, Turkey and Iran are sources of travertine today. 

Today, while the terms “travertine limestone” and “travertine marble” are used interchangeably, there are subtle nuances that differentiate them. Travertine limestone is compressed with steam while its marble counterpart is compressed without steam, making it harder. But because of its porous structure, travertine is, strictly speaking, neither limestone nor marble. 

Travertine tiles are hewn from blocks and whole slabs. It is naturally durable and rich in calcium. These characteristics make it ideal for both interior and exterior applications such as wall tiles, flooring, garden paths, patio pavements, counter and tabletops. Variations in color and veining allow a wide range of options in shades and patterns. Brown, silver, red, white, yellow and beige are the common colors available in the market today.  

Tile options are usually products of either cross-cut or vein-cut methods. Cross-cut follows the grain of the bedding and its layers to produce a consistent texture. Vein cutting goes through layers of stone bed and creates a more striated and freckled appearance. 

Contemporary travertine comes in diverse finishes, the most popular being honed or polished. Honed tiles are polished for a smooth matte surface. Tumbled travertine is rolled with gravel to give it an uneven, unpolished, and rough rustic appearance. Filled travertine tiles are those whose pits and crevices are filled with resin or cement for a smooth, solid surface. Tile edges are even sharp to give it a standard shape and size.

On the other hand, unfilled travertine tiles give it a singularly unique and old-world look that harkens back to the antiquities age.   

Filled tiles are much easier to clean than unfilled travertine tiles since dirt particles can fall in the crevices, pits and uneven surfaces. The polished travertine tiles are the popular choices for residences. A smooth, pristine surface reflects natural light and allows for a glossy touch to the tiles. Combined with the subtle variations in shades and vein markings, travertine is a versatile home construction material.  

It is normally available in standard 12” x 12” or 18” x 18” cuts. Proper attention must be given to its maintenance. Travertine absorbs oils and is vulnerable to hard scratches and acids. If it will be used in the bathroom and kitchens, it must be treated with oil repellent sealers to protect it against moisture.  



12” x 12”, 18” x 18” 

Dimensions:12″ X 12″ Type:Travertine Surface:Honed (Semi-Polished) Color:Red/Burgundy/Rust


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