Travertine Stone

What is Travertine

Travertine is a white massive concretionary form of calcium carbonate, CaCO3 which is formed by calcium carbonate dissolving in ground water and then being deposited on the earth’s surface by rivers, natural springs, or geysers. One of the most versatile, durable and elegant looking floor cover is none other than the one made from travertine. Travertine is part of the larger group of stone known as limestone (or calcium carbonate). This type of stone is formed when subterranean water sources collect mineral deposits over thousands of years, eventually producing a smooth, porous stone. Travertine is derived from limestone that has been heated and then propelled through the earth by water.
Travertine is usually hard and semi crystalline. It has a layered appearance and in pastel shades of almost beautiful colors and banded as a result of the iron compounds presence or some other impurities. Generally travertine is less coarse-grained and takes a higher polish than stalactite or stalagmite whose chemical composition and origin are similar. Although referred to as "Onyx" in commercial trade, it has the hardness of calcite that is much softer than real Onyx which is a black and white banded agate. In hardness, travertine is similar to marble. travertine tiles come in a variety of shades and finishes
One of the key differences between travertine and other types of stone used for flooring is that it is considered to be a material that is less slippery when wet, providing better grip and less loss of friction. travertine is often used in the high-traffic areas of hotels, casinos and shopping malls due to its reliability and trustworthiness under wet conditions.

Processing travertine tile

Travertine is removed from the earth in large blocks before it is cut into what can be recognized as travertine tile. It may be cut in any of the following ways:


 The travertine is cut with the grain of the stone bedding and on the same layer as it is formed in the earth. This makes for a more uniform texture and color

Vein cut  

the travertine is cut across several layers of the stone bedding, making for a more mottled, tiger-stripe effect when cut into tiles.
After the travertine is quarried, it is strictly selected for color variances, and further assessed after it is cut for holes and chipped edges.

Travertine Types

Generally, there are four different styles or finishes that you can find in travertine tiles :

Polished Travertine Tiles

Probably the most flat and shiny piece of tile, hence its surface is highly reflective and smooth. It is among the best in quality of travertine tiles because polished tiles are only made from the hardest travertine and they are almost stain resistant. However for a number of reasons, polished tiles are not a good choice for flooring, especially for family with children around because they can become very slippery when they are wet.

Filled and Honed Travertine Tiles

These tiles have the same smooth and flat surface but not as shiny. Instead, they are more of a matte finish. In the manufacturing process, most holes and pores of this natural stone are filled. This makes them more resilient to stains and thus less maintenance is required. Though it does not look glossy, it is still slippery when wet. Most of the time, they are used in the floor and wall of home kitchens, bathrooms and showers.

Tumbled Travertine Tiles

A more decorative style of tiles with rounded edges that is available in various sizes and colors. Usually, this tile is left unfilled after the tumbling process and this gave it a rustic look. Unfilled tiles are regularly used as driveway pavement and patio walkways, while filled ones are great for floors and backsplashes in the kitchens and bathrooms. Due to its rough surface, they are good for paving around the pool too.

Chiseled and Brushed Travertine Tiles

Similar to tumbled tiles, only that the sides of these tiles are chiseled away providing it a highly classical and antiquated look. They are great to be installed on both outdoors and wet areas. Outdoor travertine tiles can be left unfilled as long as they are not exposed to acidic spillage

Travertine Uses

Travertine tile remains to be a highly diverse natural stone, suitable for all kinds of applications. History teaches us that there are no limits when it comes to the usage of Travertine stone .Travertine is a common material used in construction, and also nature has her own uses for the calcite deposits. Travertine tile is used as floor tile in both residential and commercial settings, as well as a decorative option for wall cladding and backsplashes. Not only is this natural stone popularly used to tile and decorate the floor, they look just as appealing when being installed on the walls, backsplashes and on kitchen countertops as well. Travertine tile has both indoor and outdoor uses, being a durable stone, and can be both functional and aesthetically striking .Travertine tiles that are installed properly can be long lasting and will not chip or crack easily. Travertinewas used in the ancient world, but can also be found as a major component of many modern buildings.
In addition, there are examples of complete "structures." Tonto Natural Bridge, located in central Arizona near Payson is believed to be the world's largest natural travertine bridge. "The bridge stands 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point," reads the Arizona State Parks website. Even before Christ, Travertine used to be among the top building stones in Ancient Greek and Rome. Romans took advantage of Travertine for various constructions projects such as buildings and temples, aqueducts, baths, stairs, steps, and amphitheaters such as the Colosseum, the largest building in the world constructed mostly of travertine.

Some of Travertine Uses :

The compact crystalline variety of travertine has been used as building stone since ancient Roman times.

  • Jewellery, like pendants and brooches
  • Bookends
  • Paperweights
  • Carvings like in chess sets

Physical Properties of Travertine

Light transmission

Typically subtranslucent in all but extremely thin pieces


Dull to pearly or even subvitreous.


Effervesces with dilute HCl.


3-4 Moh's scale


Colorless, White, Pink, Yellow, Brown





Specific gravity


Chemical Properties of Travertine

Flash point

89°F / 31°C


In water : at 68°F / 20°C : insoluble


In solvents : soluble in many organic solvents like benzene hydrocarbons and chlorinated hydrocarbons, acetone, phthalates,methanol ,ethanol e.t.c.