Pros and cons of travertine flooring

Written by dana sparks
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Pros and cons of travertine flooring
Travertine is an easy-to-install tile. (hard tile image by jimcox40 from

A natural sedimentary rock, travertine is part of the limestone family. Travertine is created as minerals dissolved in ground water precipitate out at the mouths of natural springs and rivers. It is mined from quarries in large blocks. Travertine is also known as Mexican onyx, Egyptian alabaster, Oriental alabaster and onyx marble. Its warm, elegant appearance makes travertine a popular choice for home flooring.


Travertine comes in a wide variety of colours that will match a multitude of colour schemes. Hues range from very light off-white to deep beige. Travertine is also available in different styles of tiles or slabs.

A Bold Choice

Travertine has a naturally bold colour, and natural veining creates a myriad of patterns. The great variations within each stone make it aesthetically interesting.

Easier Fix

Travertine has a huge advantage over porcelain tile in that if you need to replace a piece there is a good chance that you'll find a travertine tile that is near enough in colouring to mesh with your existing floor tiles. Porcelain tiles are more difficult to match up, as they don't possess the natural variations of travertine.

Easy To Install

Travertine is much easier to cut and shape than porcelain tile. This makes it easier to fill in oddly shaped spaces and vary the pattern of the flooring. Travertine may be a better choice for someone who is new to laying tile.

Environmentally Friendly

Travertine is is more environmentally friendly than porcelain tile, because it is a natural material that does not undergo a manufacturing process.


The natural state of travertine means that it has many holes, some very small and some quite large. The holes are normally filled in the factory to give the tiles a smooth surface, but over time, wear and tear can cause the filling material to wear away. Maintenance of travertine can include filling holes as they appear, to keep it in good condition.

Can Etch

Travertine tiles will become etched if they come into contact with acidic liquids like vinegar or lemon and orange juice. While in some homes this might not be a problem, it can become one in an active home with a busy kitchen. Spills must be thoroughly cleaned immediately.


Travertine is more expensive to lay because you have to use a multipurpose thinset to attach it to the substrate, rather than a standard, less expensive, thinset.

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