What is Travertine Tile? What Homeowners Should Know

what is travertine tile

Last Updated on May 5, 2024 by Kravelv

Tiles made of travertine, a form of natural stone that has been utilized in the building industry for many decades. Because of its attractiveness, longevity, and adaptability, it is a material that is frequently used for applications such as floors, walls, counters, and even outside uses.

Key takeaways:

  • Travertine tile is a natural stone known for its durability and resilience.
  • It is widely use in flooring, shower walls, backsplashes, and more due to its beautiful appearance.
  • Cleaning with gentle products and sealing annually are essential for upkeep.
  • Professional restoration can revitalize soiled or damaged travertine, extending its lifespan.

What is Travertine Tile?

Travertine tile, a type of limestone, is formed when calcium carbonate crystals are precipitated in environments that have high temperatures and humidity, like caves and hot springs. Let’s dive into the world of travertine tile and explore its various qualities, forms, applications, and the necessary care and maintenance it requires.

Travertine Tile Characteristics

Tiles made of travertine are crafted from a one-of-a-kind natural stone called travertine, which is distinguished from other natural stones by a number of specific qualities. The porosity of travertine tile is often considered to be one of the stone’s most distinguishing qualities. The surface of the travertine tile is porous, which means it may take in liquids as well as stains. As a consequence of this, it is vital to seal travertine tile on a consistent basis in order to prevent it from being stained.

The color and texture of travertine tile, together with its durability and porosity, are examples of the material’s physical properties. The natural beauty of travertine is what makes this tile so popular, and it comes in a broad variety of hues, ranging from a light beige to a dark brown. Depending on the type of finish that is done, travertine tile might have a smooth texture, a honed texture, or a tumbled texture.

Pros and Cons of Travertine Tile

✅Natural, rustic appearance❌Susceptible to staining if not sealed properly
✅Relatively durable material❌Requires regular sealing and maintenance
✅Suitable for indoor and outdoor use❌Sensitive to acidic substances
✅Stays cool underfoot❌Limited color options compared to other materials
✅Offers good value for its durability❌Can be pricier than ceramic or porcelain tiles

Travertine tile offers a timeless and natural look, but it also comes with its own set of pros and cons:


  1. Aesthetic Appeal: Travertine’s natural variations in color and texture give it a unique, rustic appearance that many find appealing.
  2. Durability: It’s a relatively durable material, able to withstand heavy foot traffic and wear and tear.
  3. Versatility: Travertine can be used both indoors and outdoors, making it suitable for various applications such as flooring, countertops, and even wall cladding.
  4. Heat Resistance: It tends to stay cool underfoot, making it a popular choice for hot climates or areas where radiant heating systems are installed.
  5. Value: While it’s not the cheapest option, travertine offers good value for its durability and aesthetic appeal, potentially increasing the resale value of your property.


  1. Porous Nature: Travertine is a porous stone, which means it’s susceptible to staining if not properly sealed and maintained. Spills should be cleaned promptly to prevent staining.
  2. Maintenance: Regular sealing and cleaning are necessary to keep travertine looking its best. Without proper maintenance, it can become dull and prone to damage.
  3. Susceptible to Etching: Travertine is sensitive to acidic substances like lemon juice or vinegar, which can cause etching or dull spots on the surface.
  4. Limited Color Choices: While some people appreciate the natural variation in travertine, others may find the limited color options compared to other materials to be a drawback.
  5. Cost: While travertine is not as expensive as some premium stones like marble, it can still be pricier than ceramic or porcelain tiles, which might deter budget-conscious consumers.

Types of Travertine Tile

There are many different kinds of travertine tile, which may be categorized according to the color they are and the finish they have. Tiles made of light-colored travertine are perfect for lighting up a space, while tiles made of dark-colored travertine lend an air of sophistication to any area in the house. Travertine tile can have a variety of various finishes, including polished, honed, tumbled, and brushed, depending on your preference.

The finished surface of the polished travertine tile is smooth and lustrous, making it an excellent material for use on floors, walls, and worktops. Travertine tiles with a honed surface are smooth to the touch and do not have the same reflective quality as polished travertine tiles. The surface of the tumbled travertine tile is often rough and textured, making it an excellent material for use in outside applications such as pool decks and garden walks. Tiles made of brushed travertine have a matte texture that makes them well-suited for use on floors and walls.

Different Ways That Travertine Tile Can Be Used

Tiles made of travertine are adaptable and may be utilized in a variety of applications, both indoors and outdoors. It is frequently utilized for a variety of construction projects including floors, walls, worktops, backsplashes, pool decks, facades, and garden walks. The capacity of travertine tile to tolerate severe weather makes it a fantastic material choice for use in outside applications.

Flooring: Perfect for any room in your home, whether it’s the kitchen, bathroom, living room, or any other area where you want a flooring option that is both durable and stylish.

Countertops: Perfect for kitchen and bathroom countertops, offering a beautiful and organic surface.

Backsplashes: Travertine tile brings an elegant element to kitchen or bathroom backsplashes, elevating the overall look and feel.

Shower walls and floors: The usage of travertine tile in bathroom applications is another one of its many popular applications. It is a common option for use on the floors, walls, and enclosures of shower stalls in bathrooms. The installation of travertine tile in a bathroom brings a level of class and refinement to the space.

Outdoor patios and decks: Brings a touch of natural beauty and lasting strength to outdoor living spaces, making it ideal for seamlessly connecting indoor and outdoor areas.

Pool surrounds: Travertine tile enhances pool safety and seamlessly blends with the natural environment.

Wall cladding: It Enhances the texture and visual appeal of walls, making them a captivating centerpiece in both indoor and outdoor areas.

Travertine tile is a highly versatile material that is widely used in both residential and commercial projects. It adds a timeless and sophisticated touch to any setting.

Travertine Tile Care and Maintenance

Tile made of travertine is a natural stone that is both long-lasting and resilient; yet, in order to keep its beautiful appearance, it requires regular care and upkeep. Here are some tips on how care for travertine tiles.

Regular inspection: To keep the travertine tile looking as good as it did when it was first installed, regular inspection and care are required. Inspect and address any cracks or chips in the tile to prevent further damage.

Hot water and mild cleanser: It is strongly suggested that routine cleaning of travertine tile be performed using a gentle cleanser and hot water to maintain its appearance.

Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners: Travertine tile should not be cleaned using chemicals that are acidic or abrasive since these types of cleansers can harm the surface of the tile.

Also Read: Mineral Spirits vs Paint Thinner: Differences and Best Uses

Seal properly: It is absolutely necessary to seal travertine tile in order to prevent it from stains and damage. It is advised to seal travertine tile at least once each year, however, the frequency of this recommendation might vary based on the amount of foot activity and other factors.

Professional restoration: Travertine tile that has been soiled or damaged can have its appearance fixed and restored by a trained specialist. The original beauty of the tile may be brought back through the process of professional restoration, which can also assist to extend its lifespan.

Alternatives to Travertine Tile

Several alternatives to travertine tile offer similar aesthetic appeal or functionality. Here are some options:

  1. Porcelain Tile: Resistant to water, stains, and scratches, porcelain tile comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, including designs that mimic the look of natural stone like travertine.
  2. Ceramic Tile: Durable and affordable, ceramic tile is available in various styles, colors, and textures, offering versatility for both indoor and outdoor use.
  3. Marble Tile: Renowned for its luxurious appearance, marble tile adds elegance and sophistication to any space, though it may require more maintenance compared to travertine.
  4. Limestone Tile: Similar in appearance to travertine, limestone offers a softer and more consistent look, making it a suitable alternative for those seeking a natural stone aesthetic.
  5. Slate Tile: Known for its unique texture and earthy tones, slate tile is durable and resistant to water, making it ideal for outdoor applications like patios and pool surrounds.
  6. Granite Tile: Extremely durable and available in a wide range of colors and patterns, granite tile is often used for countertops, floors, and outdoor applications.
  7. Engineered Stone: Made from a combination of natural stone aggregates and resins, engineered stone offers the beauty of natural stone with enhanced durability and low maintenance.
  8. Travertine Porcelain Tile: Porcelain tiles designed to mimic the look of travertine offer the same aesthetic appeal with added durability and ease of maintenance.

When choosing an alternative to travertine tile, consider factors such as durability, maintenance requirements, cost, and the desired aesthetic to find the best option for your project.

Travertine Tile FAQs

What is travertine tile good for?

The use of travertine in domestic applications, such as flooring, countertops, backsplashes, shower and tub surround, fireplace surrounds, outdoor pavers for patios and walks, and areas around swimming pools, is highly regarded due to its reputation as a long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing material.

Is travertine tile expensive?

Even if its price falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum for stones used for flooring, travertine is nevertheless considered to be among the more expensive options. The materials and labor for installing a travertine floor typically cost around $15 per square foot on average. In comparison, the average cost of marble is around $20 per square foot, while the average cost of granite is approximately $12 per square foot.

Is travertine tile water-resistant?

Travertine tiles are exceptionally durable (water and moisture-resistant). All that is required of you is to treat them well and ensure that they are properly maintained. If you handle it carefully, there is less of a chance that it may crack.

How long does travertine tile last?

Pavers made of concrete typically have a lifespan of between one and three years, but precast pavers have a lifespan of between four and ten years. On the other hand, the lifespan of travertine pavers is often greater than 100 years.

Final Words

In conclusion, travertine tile is an adaptable natural stone that is stunning in appearance and can give a level of refinement and elegance to whatever room it is installed in. Because of its one-of-a-kind qualities, varieties, and applications, it is frequently selected as a material by homeowners as well as interior designers. However, in order to keep its beauty and ensure that it will last for a long time, travertine tile has to be carefully cared for and maintained.

Kravelv is a full time digital marketer and part time furniture and cabinet maker. During his free time he would like to create something out of recycled woods, this varies from toys, furnitures plant boxes etc. Follow him on Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook