Travertine and Limestone – Earthy and Soft Flooring Tiles

Travertine is a a form of limestone. Marble, by the way, is a form of limestone as well: metamorphosed limestone. Travertine and limestone have a strength and durability to withstand the ages – look at the amazing structures from the ancient Rome that still stand today.

Durability alone is not why this material is so commonly used on floors. Unlike it’s counterparts, travertine (and limestone, though not as often used as travertine varieties such as Durango Travertine from Mexico or Turkish Travertine) has a soft, smooth feel rather than the hard, slippery feel of marble or granite. You can find travertine in a polished form, but most installations for flooring use the honed finish.

Travertine has natural holes in the material, resulting during its formation. These holes are obvious in tumbled forms of the material, and give any area a nice, rustic look. These tiles are often used as accents or kitchen back splashes. Larger tiles are common outdoors.

Travertine is also more common in terms of residential flooring because of it’s durability. Marble is a far softer and more porous stone, so for high traffic areas that require little maintenance, travertine and limestone are top picks. Commercial installations should look into granite, the strongest of the materials.

Travertine and Limestone
Travertine and Limestone Natural Stone Flooring

For indoor installations, the most common travertine is honed, and filled. Filled means that the holes of the material have been filled with an epoxy that is meant to resemble natural colors that could pass as sediment in the stone. If you can’t find the color fill that you like, an unfilled tile can later be filled with the same or different grout than the one used between the seams of the tile.

Polished travertine is common in showers. These days you can find travertine slab fairly readily available, and it makes a great alternative for vanity tops and kitchen counters.

Marble

Marble

Marble is a beautiful stone, with color combinations and patterns that only nature could imagine. The stone is a metamorphic stone, giving it the “swirling” and veining patterns that make the stone unique. It is also able to take on a high polish, and is used often on floors, shower walls, and even kitchen countertops.

Marble is available in many finishes, including polished, honed, and tumbled. The most popular installation in the home is with polished marble. Many use a tumbled marble outdoors, allowing a greater variety of color than other traditional materials. Marble is also often used as an accent material, in combination with travertine in floors, or within mosaics.

Marble tiles and slabs
Marble Flooring and Design

Marble is one of the softer natural stone materials used for these purposes, and is susceptible to scratching. It is also quite porous, which makes it vulnerable to staining. Don’t let this dissuade you from using it in your home. Marble has been used as a building material for ages, and much of the capitols of the world are built in and clad in marble. Simple make sure that you understand the stone and how to care for it, and marble will offer you beauty and elegance for years to come.

There are also alternative finishes of the stone that will help introduce the color you want in your home without the worry of wear.For example, a tumbled marble tile installed in a bathroom floor, or as accents on the floor. A common installation of marble in the kitchen is on the island, and we often use honed marble for this purpose.

Also remember, certain surfaces receive very little traffic. For example, your shower walls. On shower floors, we generally install the tile in 2″ or 4″ squares, concealing damage and also offering better grip on the wet surface.

Marble, with the veins and patterns that give it that natural beauty also does a wonderful job of concealing damage on it’s own. Seal the material once or twice a year and you will have little to worry about. And with such a beautiful material, no vanity top should go without it.

 

Granite

Granite is a sedimentary stone, which means it’s grainy. Ever notice the little dots of varying color within the stone? The Latin word for granite, granum, means “a grain,” referring to the nature of the stones appearance. The stone is formed after sedimentation hardens, and the composition being so high in quartz makes it an extremely strong material.

Granite Kitchen Countertop Marble Design Center of Orange County
Granite Kitchen Countertop Marble Design Center of Orange County

It is for it’s density and hardness that granite is a top choice for surfaces that see intense or extreme traffic and wear. Lobby floors in commercial buildings, kitchen countertops, and bathroom vanity tops are common uses.

The stone is natural, so it is not indestructible. For example, I would never take a hammer to it, though you would be surprised at how tough it really is. You can cut right on the surface without worry of scratching it. It has a high heat resistance, so you can take the pot of boiling pasta or brownie right out of the oven right on the surface with no worries.

You do need to seal the surface of granite, and depending on how much traffic the surface gets, you should seal more often; once, or twice a year.

Because of its durability and beauty, granite will increase the resale value of your home compared to many other surfaces. If you have no plans of selling, granite gives you a peace of mind that your counter top will continue offering you value, function, and beauty for many, many years to come.

There are some “granite alternatives” out there, such as Silestone, which combine the strong quartz material that makes up granite with a cement composite. The material is extremely durable and does not need to be sealed like granite, but as hard as the industry has tried, it still doesn’t compare in the depth of color and pattern that the natural stone offers.

If you are looking at remodeling your kitchen, get in touch with us at Marble Design Center so that we can help you plan the process. We offer free in-home estimates, as well as on-site consultation at wholesalers of granite slab and natural stone tile.

We can also offer you information on taking care of your kitchen counter top or vanity top.

We service Southern California, specifically Orange County and the surrounding areas.

Natural Tile (Travertine) Showers

Natural Tile (Travertine) Showers

Travertine Tile Shower by Marble Design Center of Orange County
Travertine Tile Shower by Marble Design Center of Orange County

Showers, like many other kitchen and bathroom surfaces are high impact areas in that they receive constant stress. Soaps, detergents, water, and regular traffic offer some obstacles that you should be aware of. Our most popular tile installation since we started working in Southern California has been travertine. The colors are earthy and compliment the feel that many of us Californians enjoy. It is a soft stone, and though it is not as resilient as granite, it is a stronger material than marble.

But don’t let the warning prevent you from getting travertine installed in your shower. Proper care, such as sealing the tile and grout once every 3 or 4 months will prevent staining, as well as keep the natural stone conditioned and looking like new. Just 10 minutes, every few months; not a bad exchange for the beauty of the stone.

Travertine is most commonly installed in a honed finish – a semi-polish that gives the tile a more earthy look and feel. You can find travertine in a tumbled variety, as well as the standard polished tile.

The tile also comes in a variety of sizes. For example, the most common tumbled travertine tiles installed in showers are 4″ x 4″, but you can find them in 6″, 8″, and even larger sizes. If you go with a tumbled tile, you have a little more freedom, as the softer marble tile becomes as resilient a stone.

Another popular tile is polished marble, but not used as frequently.

If you are looking for remodeling your home or doing a new shower installation, Marble Design Center of Orange County is the place for you. We offer demolition as well as installation services in Southern California of showers, mosaics, bath tub surrounds, bathroom floors, vanity tops, and much more.

Give us a call for your free estimate!

Granite Kitchen Countertops

Granite Kitchen Countertops

Granite is a durable, easily maintained, and essentially worry-free natural material that is perfect for any high impact space. This is why you often see it on or within high-traffic, commercial buildings. This is also why it is such an amazing choice for surfaces that see see a lot of water or sharp objects, like your kitchen countertop.

Granite kitchen counter top
Black Galaxy Granite kitchen counter top

The saying goes, if you plan on cutting on your granite countertops with your sharp knives, plan on buying a knife sharpener.

Granite is a natural material, and like all natural material it requires a certain degree of care. Seal it with a granite natural stone sealer once or twice a year and you won’t have to worry about stains or discoloration. And because the stone has so much depth and variety of color, rarely will you see a granite countertop look anything buy new, years and years after installation and daily, intense use.

Granite is a wonderful choice for kitchen and vanity tops, for both residential and commercial projects. If you are remodeling a home, granite will not only add value to your experience in your own kitchen, but it will increase your resale value if you’re looking to sell. The reason is durability, but there is no question as to the beauty of the material.

Other materials so exist in the market, such as Silestone, a concrete and quartz compound that is said to be stronger than granite. At a minimum, it is as strong, and does have a few advantages, such as never needing to seal the material. But given that sealing your granite takes less than 2 minutes from start to finish, it’s not really that much of an advantage.

For those who enjoy the look and the feel of natural materials, granite stands above all other materials. Marble is very soft and will scratch easily as well as stain easily. Polished travertine is an option, and although it is more durable than marble, it isn’t quite there the way granite is. Staining and scratching can occur.

If you are looking to install granite in your home, please consider us. We provide free in-home estimates. We also give consultation tours of our suppliers, allowing you to see the exact slab that will be installed in your kitchen.

We serve Southern California, with a focus on Orange County. We have done jobs and can provide references in Irvine, Tustin, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente, and much more, with over a decade of experience in Orange County.

Call us today!