Travertine is a form of limestone, which is a sedimentary rock formed by the precipitation of minerals from a body of water. It is formed by a process of rapid sedimentation of carbonate mineral usually at a hot mineral spring or in a limestone cave. It was used frequently by ancient Romans as a building material. The Roman Coliseum is the largest building in the world constructed mostly of travertine. This natural stone is one of the most frequently used stones in modern design and works well as flooring.
Travertine tiles come in all different sizes, colors and finishes. The sizes range from tiny mosaics to large slabs and vary in color from natural colors such as creamy white and beige, to tan, and reddish brown. The color depends on the impurities found in the stone; in its pure form the stone is white. Iron content will give the stone a more reddish brown hue. The three most common finishes for this stone are honed, polished, and tumbled. A honed finish is smooth but is not glossy, a matte finish. Polished is smooth and buffered until shiny, a glossy finish. Tumbled, however, is rough and textured for a more antique look.
Since travertine is a porous material it should be sealed or finished before it is used in any construction or renovation project. Unpolished this stone is highly susceptible to heat, scratching, staining and acidity, such as citric acid found in vinegar and fruit like lemons, limes, and oranges. When cleaning it is important to only use products specially designed for natural stone and to not allow water to remain sitting on it for long periods of time. Because of the naturally-occurring holes in the material, when you go to grout the tile you have two options: you can either fill the holes or you can leave them unfilled. The choice depends mostly on which look you prefer.
It is a versatile material in that it can be used indoors or outdoors, on walls or on floors. Compare this against other common materials that can only be used indoors or are only suitable for floors. And for this reason, it has a whole host of common applications, including being used on kitchen floors and backsplashes, on fireplaces, on bathroom walls, the area surrounding a bath tub or hot tub, and on outdoor patios and walkways.