Limestone vs. Travertine: Which Stone Is Better for Your Needs?

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In recent years, travertine and limestone have become increasingly popular among homeowners in Columbus and Cincinnati. However, there’s still some confusion regarding the difference between these two natural stones which leads to uncertainty in choosing between them for home projects.

Indiana limestone, for example, offers a wide range of uses, from functional coping stones to elegant fireplace surrounds. Similarly, travertine is a preferred choice for many interior designs like fireplace surrounds, due to its unique texture and warmth.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the nuances of both travertine and limestone, exploring their individual properties, applications, and the factors influencing their selection for various home improvements.

Is Travertine Actually Limestone?

Is Travertine Actually Limestone?
Travertine Stone

Is travertine limestone? Yes. Limestone travertine is a type of limestone that's softer than traditional forms of limestone. Both forms are organic rock built from sediment compressed across the ages. Believe it or not, those limestone tiles in bathrooms and kitchens are made out of tiny shells and fossils packed together into solid rock at the bottom of the sea.

Travertine limestone comes from the land rather than the ocean, created from built-up layers of sediment in lakes and rivers. The way it's formed makes it more porous than other forms of limestone and consequently not quite as dense and hard.

What Is the Difference Between Travertine and Limestone?

Limestone and travertine are popular choices for construction and design, each with unique characteristics. Limestone, a sedimentary rock, is formed from marine organisms and minerals and offers a uniform appearance.

Travertine, a type of limestone, emerges from mineral springs, known for its distinct porous texture and earthy tones. Understanding the difference between limestone and travertine is key to selecting the right material for various projects. Below is a limestone vs. travertine table comparing the natural stones across various aspects like formation, appearance, and durability.

Aspect Limestone Travertine
Formation Sedimentary rock formed from marine organisms and minerals. A form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs.
Appearance Generally uniform in color with fewer pores. Characterized by pitted holes and troughs in its surface.
Texture Smooth and fine-grained. Porous and somewhat rough, though it can be polished smooth.
Color Variations Often in earthy shades like gray, white, and brown. Wide range of colors, including beige, brown, red, and gray.
Durability Durable but can be softer than travertine. Strong and durable, often slightly harder than limestone.
Porosity Less porous than travertine. More porous, with many visible holes.
Maintenance Requires sealing to protect from stains and erosion. Needs regular sealing and is more prone to staining.
Heat Resistance Good heat resistance. Good heat resistance, slightly better than limestone.
Water Absorption Lower water absorption rate. Higher water absorption, requires more sealing.

What Are Travertine and Limestone Good For?

Interior Champion: Travertine's Warmth and Charm

Imagine stepping into a spa-like bathroom adorned with honed travertine tiles. Travertine's suitability for bathroom floors and shower walls isn't just about aesthetics; its water resistance (when sealed) makes it a practical choice. Beyond bathrooms, travertine works beautifully as kitchen backsplashes, adding warmth and character to your culinary space. Additionally, its affordability compared to other natural stones like marble makes it an attractive option for flooring throughout the house.

Perfect for Exterior Use: Limestone's Strength and Versatility

While travertine excels in interior, limestone reigns supreme in high-traffic areas. Its denser composition, formed under greater pressure, makes it more resistant to wear and tear, ideal for flooring in bustling entryways and living rooms. Stepping out? Limestone is your outdoor ally. From pool surrounds that shimmer under the sun to elegant patio paving, its resilience to weather and temperature fluctuations ensures lasting beauty. Don't forget fireplaces; limestone's fireproof qualities make it a natural choice for a stylish and safe focal point.

No matter your project, a reputable stone center can guide you toward the perfect stone that harmonizes with your needs, taste, and budget.

Limestone vs. Travertine: Price and Longevity

While the table dissects the technical specs of two stones, travertine and limestone, their true appeal lies in a nuanced interplay between cost, aesthetics, and enduring value. Let's dive deeper:


  • Budget-friendly luxury: Its lower price point makes it an attractive option for achieving a luxurious look, especially with its unique veining and patterns.
  • Maintenance and durability: However, be prepared for a more high-maintenance relationship. Sealing and regular cleaning are key to prevent staining and etching, potential blemishes that could affect its future value.


  • Classic investment: Limestone demands a higher initial investment, but its timeless elegance and low-maintenance charm promise long-term value.
  • Maintenance and durability: Its inherent strength and ease of care ensure it ages gracefully, remaining a desirable feature for future homeowners.

Travertine can also enhance property value, especially when used in prominent areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Its aesthetic appeal, characterized by warmth and uniqueness, can attract potential buyers. However, it's crucial to consider the maintenance aspect, as issues like staining and etching could diminish its value if travertine isn’t properly cared for.

Limestone stands as a testament to classic elegance and versatility. Limestone's resilience and low maintenance demands further bolster its long-term value, ensuring that it remains a sought-after feature in properties, appealing to future homeowners.

Ultimately, the perfect choice rests on your personal priorities.

Limestone vs. Travertine: Best Design Combinations

The distinct appearances of both limestone and travertine naturally lead to different design decisions. Each stone's unique characteristics can be leveraged to create aesthetically pleasing and functional spaces.

  • Travertine's rustic grace: With its earthy palette, honed finish, and charming imperfections, travertine whispers of rustic charm. Lean into its natural beauty in Tuscan-inspired kitchens, earthy bathroom havens, or sun-drenched patios. Its warmth invites organic textures and natural materials and creates a harmonious blend of the indoors and outdoors.
Travertine Fireplace
  • Limestone's timeless sophistication: Limestone, with its smooth elegance and versatile palette, offers a canvas for contemporary and classic styles alike. Polished finishes enhance limestone's inherent sophistication, making it ideal for sleek kitchens, grand entryways, and poolside areas with limestone copings. Its cool tones pair beautifully with crisp whites, metallic accents, and modern fixtures, creating a timeless air of refinement.
Limestone Residence

Ultimately, the cost of your chosen stone shouldn't overshadow the interior design story it whispers. Understanding the factors that influence price and the unique aesthetic each stone brings allows you to make informed choices, creating a space that reflects your vision and budget in perfect harmony.


Travertine or limestone? These two natural stone products are both great choices for beautifying your home, whether indoors or out. They come in a wide range of hues and finishes and provide fine, less-expensive alternatives to marble and granite, while still giving a high-end look.

If you're in the Columbus or Cincinnati areas, stop by Stone Center to learn more about travertine and limestone. We can show you samples, help you plan your project, and even provide the stones. Our knowledgeable staff has a wealth of experience and is available to assist you with all your hardscaping needs. Don't hesitate to contact us!


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Jon Smiley

Jon, the owner of Stone Center, is a knowledgeable expert in natural stone products, specializing in various types of stone for landscaping and architectural projects. Passionate about promoting the beauty and versatility of natural stone, Jon aims to use these blogs to inspire readers with creative ideas to upgrade their homes.

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