What Are the Pros and Cons of Travertine Tile?

pros-cons-travertine-tile Credit: Arto Brick/CC-BY 2.0

The pros of travertine tile include its timeless look, resilience in the face of extreme temperatures and minimal skidding while the cons include a high level of reactivity in the presence of weak acids as well as natural flaws that keep the pattern and color from appearing uniform. The decision about where to use travertine tile varies from one homeowner to the next as the aesthetic benefits must weigh against the practical ones.

Travertine tile does not require sealer and keeps its fine appearance longer than a lot of building materials, particularly on outside walls. It appears weathered and old already, giving a unique look to newer structures, and the appearance is not likely to change for centuries. The aesthetics of natural stone have stood the test of time, particularly in comparison to modern materials like concrete. Even when it is in direct sun, travertine tile remains cool, making it a useful material for park benches and swimming pools. This also gives it excellent insulating properties.

Travertine tile is a type of limestone that comes from mineral spring deposits; it is most often sold in earth tones, including beige, brown, tan and rust. With its subdued, natural stone effect, travertine is a stylish option, and travertine flooring is often available in different speckled hues. Another advantage of this flooring tile is that it is very hard and durable and doesn't damage easily from cracks and scratches. Due to this durability, travertine tile lasts a long time, so the investment is a good one. Travertine tile is also eco-friendly, since it is a natural material found in the earth’s surface.

On the other hand, maintenance of this tile can be time-consuming, since liquids can get into the microscopic pores of the material and cause staining. Repairs are also expensive, though owners can replace one tile at a time if desired. Another disadvantage is that travertine tile is very heavy, so it costs more to install. The tiles themselves are also more expensive than alternatives.

Because travertine is made of calcium carbonate, travertine counter tops and floors are likely to experience damage if orange juice, vinegar and other acids are spilled on them. Quality sealers provide some protection, but it is important to reapply on a regularly basis.