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.