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Are you dreaming of a beautiful and unique bathroom that showcases your personal style? If so, you might be considering using travertine for your remodel.
With its natural beauty and timeless elegance, travertine has become a popular choice for homeowners looking to upgrade their bathrooms.
But before you take the plunge, it’s important to know if travertine is the right fit for your needs – if it is even actually advisable for use in the bathroom.
Below, we take a closer look at the world of travertine, so you can make an informed decision before creating the bathroom of your dreams.
What is Travertine Tile?
Travertine is a natural stone, particularly, a form of limestone that forms from sedimentary rock deposited by mineral springs and geysers. Hence, travertine tiles are cut from this stone.
Because this stone occurs naturally and is quarried, the tiles have varied patterns so no two travertine tiles are the same.
Plus, it comes in a range of earth-tone colors and a marble-like finish that is very attractive, especially when used over a large surface area.
This makes travertine one of the most popular stones used as a flooring or wall covering material. It’s often used in bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor areas because of its durability and resistance to moisture.
NOTE: Travertine can be finished in a variety of ways to achieve different textures, colors, and levels of sheen. The most common finishes for travertine are:
- Brushed finish, which gives the stone a weathered, aged appearance that can be used to create a rustic or traditional look.
- Polished finish, which gives travertine a high shine finish that is very smooth and reflective. While it is the best finish for resisting stains, it can be slippery when wet.
- Honed finish, which has a matte appearance that gives a more subdued look to the stone. This finish is less slick and slippery than polished stone hence the most popular stone for indoor floor use.
- Tumbled finish, which has an antique, textured appearance that brings out the natural colors of the stone. This finish is often preferred for its rustic, natural appearance and slip-resistant texture.
Can Travertine Tiles be Installed in Showers?
Like most natural stones, travertine is a porous material and therefore can absorb moisture and stains if not properly sealed. However, it can be used in the bathroom if it is sealed correctly during installation and maintained properly.
To make it bathroom-friendly, it’s important to seal it with a high-quality sealer that is specifically designed for natural stone and to reseal it periodically. This will help to protect the travertine from moisture, prevent staining, and ensure that it remains looking beautiful for years to come.
The frequency of sealing travertine will depend on a number of factors such as the type of travertine, its finish, the level of traffic or use, and the specific sealer used.
Generally, it is recommended to seal travertine once a year, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific sealer you are using, as some may require more frequent application.
You can also test if your travertine needs to be resealed by dripping a few drops of water on the surface. If the water beads up and doesn’t penetrate the stone, then the seal is still intact. However, if the water starts to absorb into the stone, then it’s time to reseal.
NOTE: After sealing your shower or bath area, you want to leave the sealant to dry for at least 24 hours before use.
It’s also important to avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaners on travertine, as they can damage the surface of the stone. Instead, use a gentle, pH-neutral cleaner that is safe for natural stone.
Additionally, be sure to wipe up any spills or moisture immediately to prevent them from seeping into the stone and causing damage.
What Will Happen if Travertine Gets Wet?
As a porous stone, travertine tile is not waterproof and can absorb liquids and chemicals, leading to discoloration, water spots, and other types of damage.
In the bathroom, for example, exposure to water and moisture can cause the stone to become discolored or develop mold and mildew.
In addition, if you spill acidic substances like vinegar or citrus juice on unsealed travertine, it can etch the surface of the stone, leaving unsightly marks.
Therefore, sealing your travertine is important to protect the tile from damage from moisture, stains, and even etching. Also, this makes it easier to clean and maintain the stone over time.
So, if you want to keep your travertine looking beautiful and protect your investment, it’s important to seal it properly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for care and maintenance.
Is Travertine Tile Slippery When Wet?
Travertine tile can be slippery when wet, just like any other type of tile. However, this largely depends on the finish of the tile, the texture of the surface, and the amount of water present.
Polished or honed travertine tiles tend to be more slippery when wet than tiles with a tumbled or brushed finish, which have a more textured surface that provides better traction.
Additionally, tiles with larger grout lines can help improve slip resistance by providing more surface area for grip.
To minimize the risk of slipping on travertine tile, it’s important to take certain precautions, such as using bath mats or rugs in areas where water is likely to accumulate, installing slip-resistant coatings or treatments on the tile, and avoiding walking on wet tiles with bare feet.
It’s also important to clean up spills and water promptly to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. By taking these measures, you can help ensure that your travertine tile remains both beautiful and safe for you and your family.
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How do you Maintain Travertine?
With travertine, you can add elegance and sophistication to your shower. However, as with any type of natural stone, it requires some maintenance to keep it looking its best.
Here are some tips on how to maintain travertine tiles in your shower:
- Clean regularly: Regular cleaning is essential to prevent soap scum, dirt, and grime from building up on your travertine tiles. Use a gentle, pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for natural stone and a soft-bristled brush to avoid scratching the surface.
- Wipe dry: After every shower, you want to wipe the tiles dry with a clean, dry cloth to prevent water stains and build-up. This is especially important for areas that are frequently wet or exposed to water, such as the shower floor.
- Seal regularly: To protect your travertine tiles, it’s important to seal them regularly with a high-quality stone sealer, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to apply the sealer in a well-ventilated area.
- Avoid harsh cleaners, such as bleach, ammonia, or vinegar, as these can damage the surface of your travertine tiles. Instead, opt for mild, natural cleaners or those specifically designed for natural stone.
- Address spills immediately: If you spill anything on your travertine tiles, be sure to wipe it up immediately to prevent staining especially acidic substances, such as citrus juices or vinegar, that can etch the surface of the stone.
With these simple tips, you can keep your travertine tiles looking beautiful and new for years to come. Plus, taking care of your travertine tiles regularly helps avoid costly repairs or replacements down the line.
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Does Travertine Tile Crack Easily?
It’s worth noting that travertine is not as hard as some other types of natural stone, such as granite, which means it can be more susceptible to damage from impact.
Even in the bathroom, travertine tiles can crack for a variety of reasons, including:
- Natural variations in the stone: As a natural stone, it can feature areas of weakness or veins that are more prone to cracking.
- Exposure to moisture and temperature changes: Travertine, when not properly sealed, can absorb moisture, and when it’s exposed to temperature changes, such as from freezing and thawing, it can expand and contract, causing stress that can lead to cracking.
- Improper installation: If travertine tiles are not installed properly, with adequate support and a level substrate, they can be more prone to cracking.
- Heavy loads or impact: Heavy objects dropped on travertine or high foot traffic like in guest bathrooms, can cause stress on the stone, leading to cracking.
To minimize the risk of cracking, it’s important to hire a professional installer who has experience working with natural stone and to properly prepare the substrate before installation.
Additionally, maintaining proper moisture levels in the bathroom, avoiding extreme temperature changes, and addressing any cracks or chips promptly can help prevent further damage.
Common Uses and Applications of Travertine Tiles In The Bathroom
(a) Floor Tiles
Install travertine tiles on bathroom floors, ideally, dry floor areas.
However, we recommend against travertine directly in shower floors, even if sealed because it can be hard to maintain them in these areas. Plus, it is not as hard as marble for floors; instead, use a porcelain tile, especially in busy bathrooms.
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(b) Travertine Tiles On Walls
Any vertical application of travertine tiles will aid with scratch and impact protection. Hence, they are great for use on bathroom walls.
(c) Travertine in Showers and Tub Surrounds
Travertine tile with a brushed or honed finish is recommended for shower and bathtub surrounds, as these finishes provide better traction and reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Since these areas are frequently exposed to water and moisture, regular cleaning and sealing can help prevent water damage and staining, keeping your travertine looking beautiful for years to come.
If you want to keep your travertine looking good, try installing it in areas that don’t get a lot of moisture, such as backsplashes.
(e) Travertine Fixtures
Travertine is a popular choice for bathroom fixtures because of its natural beauty and durability.
A travertine tub, or sink, for instance, can add a touch of elegance and sophistication to your bathroom, and with proper care, they can last for many years.
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Now, go ahead and start your bathroom remodel! And if you use travertine tiles, please share with us your story.