Travertine is a compacted form of limestone that forms in rivers and especially in geothermal hot springs or geysers by minerals dissolving in water and then being deposited on the earth’s surface via rivers and natural springs. It comes in many different natural colours including ivory, beige, walnut, Brown and gold. Iron compounds or other organic impurities create the warm colours of travertine and it often has bands of vibrant colour running through it caused by chemicals becoming trapped in the stone as it forms. These colours appear as banded lines in the face of the stone.
Travertine has a layered appearance and pitted holes (air pockets) which occur naturally from water action. These holes in the travertine can be filled in at the factory or left unfilled allowing for a selected colour grout to be used to fill.
Travertine can have four major finishes, polished (shiny), honed (matte), tumbled and brushed (textured surfaces). The polished and honed surfaces are flat and smooth, while the brushed and tumbled surfaces are textured and aged look. The polished surface is the shiniest with high reflection, while the tumbled surface is more natural reflecting the least amount of light. The tumbling process gives the stone an aged appearance, achieved by placing the travertine into a large vat with abrasives and sand which then gets shaken or ‘tumbled’. A soft textured appearance is achieved by brushing with coarse wire all over the tiles after the honing process to take away all sharp edges from the surface of the tiles and corners
Travertine is one of the most frequently used stones in modern architecture. It is a commonly use for paving patios, garden paths, façades, external wall cladding, flooring, showers, wall coverings, counter tops, steps and stairs.