What Is Travertine? An Ultimate Landscaping Guide

Table of Contents

If you're looking for a beautiful, durable stone to use in your landscaping, you should consider travertine. Travertine is a type of limestone that is quarried mainly in Italy, Mexico, and Turkey. It has a unique look and texture that can add beauty and elegance to any landscape project.

In this blog post, we will discuss everything there is to know about the natural stone travertine. Stay tuned!

How Is Travertine Formed?

This is something people searching Google for “What is travertine?” always want to know. Travertine is a natural stone that is formed by the buildup of minerals. Over time, these minerals solidify and form hard rock. Natural travertine is often used in construction and landscaping because it is durable and has a natural beauty.

The most common type of travertine is Italian travertine, which is characterized by its smooth surface and creamy color. Examples of other types of travertine include Turkish travertine, which has a more textured surface, and Mexican travertine, which is darker in color.

Despite its natural strength, travertine can be susceptible to damage from acidic substances and chemicals. As a result, it is important to seal travertine before using it in any applications where it may be exposed to these substances.

Travertine Pros and Cons

sealing travertine
Travertine stone

Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of using travertine in your landscaping project.

Travertine Pros

  • Beauty: Travertine has a unique, natural beauty that can add elegance and sophistication to any landscape. It goes well with a variety of other materials, making it a versatile option for your landscaping project.
  • Durability: The durability of travertine is surprising. It is resistant to scratching and chipping, making it a good choice for high-traffic areas.
  • Low Maintenance: Travertine is a low-maintenance stone. Once it is sealed, it does not require much care or upkeep at all.
  • Adds value: Travertine can add value to your home. If you ever decide to sell, potential buyers will be impressed by the travertine features in your landscape.

Travertine Cons

  • Color Flexibility: Travertine can be light or dark, but it is most commonly found in a light cream color. If you are looking for a stone in a specific color, travertine may not be the best option for you. 
  • Porosity: Travertine is a porous stone, which means that it can absorb stains and liquids. It is important to seal travertine before using it in any applications where it may be exposed to these substances.
  • Upfront Cost: The price of travertine can be higher than some other landscaping stones. However, the durability of travertine and its beauty make it a good investment for your landscape. Plus, with it adding value to your home, the higher up-front cost is worth it.
Pros & Cons
Pros Cons
Beauty Color Flexibility
Durability Porosity
Low Maintenance Upfront cost
Adds value

Travertine Characteristics

travertine colors
Travertine texture

Now that we've discussed what travertine tile is and offered some of the pros and cons of using travertine, let's take a closer look at its characteristics.

Travertine Colors

As we mentioned before, travertine can be light or dark. The most common travertine colors are light cream, ivory, and tan. However, travertine can also be found in shades of white, red, yellow, and brown. The color swirls and patterns in travertine are created by the iron and other minerals that are present in the stone. Travertine mostly offers tone-on-tone colors, meaning that the colors are not too contrasting.

Travertine Texture

The texture of travertine differs from that of marble or granite. You'll notice indentations that come from the gasses that were present when the stone was formed. These indentations can be left open or filled in travertine. The decision to fill the holes is usually based on the intended use of the travertine. For example, travertine used for flooring is often filled so that it is smoother and more comfortable to walk on.

Travertine Durability

While not quite as hard as marble or granite, travertine's durability shouldn't be neglected. It is quite resistant to chipping and scratching, making it a good choice for high-traffic areas. Travertine can crack if it's struck with something of great weight. It's rare that any cracks occur simply due to temperature. The rustic appearance of travertine also means that any chips or cracks will be less noticeable than they would be on other stones.

Travertine Options for Finishes

  • Polished Travertine: Polished travertine is another popular finish, especially for countertops. The stone is sanded and then buffed to create a high-gloss finish.
  • Honed Travertine: Honed travertine is the most popular finish for residential use because it can be used for flooring, countertops, backsplashes, and more. The natural holes and crevices give travertine its unique character, and when it's honed, the stone is sanded to create a matte finish that is perfect for just about any style.
  • Tumbled Travertine: Tumbled travertine is a finish that is created by tumbling the stone in a machine with small pebbles. This process gives the stone a distressed look that is perfect for rustic or country-style homes.
  • Brushed Travertine: Brushed travertine is a finish that is created by brushing the stone with a wire brush. This process gives travertine a textured look that is perfect for creating a slip-resistant surface.

Is It Necessary to Seal Holes in Travertine?

Since travertine is porous, one of the most common questions is whether or not it is necessary to seal holes. The answer is no, it's not necessary. However, it is generally recommended. Sealing travertine will help to prevent stains and liquids from being absorbed into the stone. A lot of people prefer the look of travertine with the holes not filled in, but it's really up to you.

The Most Popular Types of Travertine

Silver travertinetravertine texture
Silver travertine
  • Travertine Giallo is a type of yellow travertine. It is a popular choice for flooring and countertops, as it is both beautiful and durable. Travertine Giallo is known for its warm yellow hue and intricate patterns.
  • Silver travertine is a type of travertine that gets its name from its light silver color. This type of travertine is often used for flooring, walls, and countertops. It is strong and durable, making it a popular choice for high-traffic areas.
  • Travertine ivory is a type of white travertine. Travertine ivory is known for its clean, crisp appearance.
  • Walnut travertine is a type of dark brown travertine. It is a popular choice for flooring, walls, and countertops.  Walnut travertine is known for its rich color and intricate patterns.

What Can I Use Travertine for?

Travertine can be used for a variety of applications, both indoors and outdoors. Some of the most popular travertine uses include:

  • Flooring
  • Countertops
  • Pool coping
  • Backsplashes
  • Tiles
  • Outdoor pavers
  • Fireplaces
  • Walls.

As you can see, travertine is a versatile stone that can be used for a variety of applications. When it comes to landscaping, travertine is a popular choice for outdoor pavers.

Travertine Care

Travertine is a natural stone that is beautiful and unique. It is also quite sturdy and easy to care for. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind to keep your travertine looking its best.

  • First, sweep it weekly with a soft broom or dust mop. This will help to remove dirt and debris before it has a chance to build up.
  • Second, always use coasters, trivets, and hot pads when setting down any items. This will prevent staining and scratching. Third, squeegees are great for wiping the water away after mopping or spills. 
  • Finally, always wipe up spills immediately. If left to sit, they can stain the travertine.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your travertine floors looking like new for years to come.

What Materials Resemble Travertine?

what is travertine tile
Travertine tile
  • Porcelain: It's a simple fact that porcelain tile looks like travertine. In fact, many people use porcelain tile as an alternative to travertine. Porcelain is a man-made material that is designed to look like natural stone.
  • Ceramic: Ceramic tile is another man-made material that looks like travertine. Ceramic is a popular choice for those who want the look of travertine without the price tag.
  • Linoleum: Linoleum is a natural material that is made from linseed oil, wood flour, cork dust, and limestone. It is a popular choice for those who want an eco-friendly option.

Travertine Cost

So how much is travertine? Well, the cost of travertine varies depending on a few factors.

  • First, the type of travertine you choose will affect the price. For example, Giallo travertine is typically more expensive than Silver travertine.
  • Second, the size of the tiles will affect the cost. Larger tiles are usually more expensive than smaller tiles.
  • Finally, the thickness of the tiles will also affect the price. Thicker tiles are typically more expensive than thinner tiles.

In general, travertine costs about $15-30 per square foot.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know a little bit more about travertine, you can make an informed decision about whether or not it is the right choice for your next project. Travertine is a beautiful, versatile, and easy-to-care-for stone that can be used for a variety of applications. It is also a relatively affordable option when compared to other natural stones.

For those near Columbus and Cincinnati, Stone Center offers a wide variety of travertine options. Contact us to learn more about our natural stone options and find the perfect stone for your next project.


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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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