At Floor Coverings International East Lake we have a large selection of tile including ceramic and porcelain tile, as well as a variety of natural stone tile. For those who appreciate the non-uniform look of natural stone, we highly recommend travertine. If you aren’t yet familiar with this beautiful stone, read on!

Some Background on Travertine

Travertine is a sedimentary rock that is a member of the limestone family. It is formed through the precipitation of calcium carbonate particles in ground water found in hot springs and limestone caves. Over time, as the calcium carbonate settles and is subjected to extreme heat and pressure, layers of stone are formed as the water evaporates. Although pure travertine is white, examples of this stone usually have colored spots and veins, which are caused by the presence of organic and inorganic matter in the sediment. Travertine is also known for its attractive pitting, which is caused by the release of carbon dioxide gas bubbles during its formation. All of these processes together create travertine’s distinctive patterns, colors, and general variation. This makes it a highly desirable building material.

While Italy was a near monopoly provider of travertine on the world market almost since the first uses of travertine, today it is sourced from all over the world. Aside from Italy, the major producers of travertine today include China, Hungary, Turkey, Afghanistan, Spain, Guatemala, and also the US. Due to differences in the particular circumstances of the travertine formations in these various locations, the examples of the stone that you see from these places may look quite different.

Travertine has been used as a building material for millennia. The earliest examples come from ancient Egypt, and the most well-known, and largest, example would be the Colosseum in Rome. Many modern examples exist as well, including the lobby of the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago. For home use, you will typically see travertine incorporated into fireplaces, countertops, backsplashes, and on walls. It also makes an excellent flooring material for use in kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, entryways, and also indoor porches, patios, and pool decks. Not only are these areas where tile is a wise choice anyway, people also appreciate the lovely aesthetic that travertine provides – and this is especially true in the Tarpon Springs area.

The Upsides of Travertine

We’ve already mentioned travertine’s beauty, but it has other properties that make it a great flooring choice. Quite importantly, travertine is very durable. The fact that original parts of the Roman Colloseum still stand today attests to this fact. With proper care, a travertine floor can last as long as your home, and this relates to another of its great qualities. Given its longevity and wide market appeal, a travertine floor has great resale value. So, should you ever decide to move, your new floor would likely pay for itself in a higher asking price.

Travertine Cross Cut


Lastly, travertine gives you design options. Not only is there a wide range of variance in the look of a given sample of travertine, it also comes in two main cuts. The most common cut is often referred to as a “cross cut” (see above). If you think about how the stone is formed in layers parallel to the Earth’s surface, a cross cut is also cut parallel to the bedding plane. This gives a sort of top-down view of the stone that shows off the “pools” and “pits” that naturally occur in the stone. But it also yields a more uniform appearance overall. A “vein cut” is a cut that is perpendicular to the bedding plane (see below). It gives a side view of the stone that reveals its layers, including the veins that are produced by the other materials that get incorporated during its formation. Both cuts offer their own stylish appearance, so it will be up to you to choose the one that you like best.

Travertine Vein Cut

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Travertine offers mostly upsides, but the one drawback worth mentioning is that the stone is sensitive to acid exposure. For this reason, it should be sealed properly, spills should be cleaned up relatively quickly (especially acidic spill like juices), and only approved cleaners should be used on it. On the whole, travertine requires little maintenance. If you follow the simple tips listed here, your floor should continue to look great for many years to come.

At Floor Coverings International East Lake, travertine is truly one of our favorite flooring materials. If it interests you or you want to go with any of our other great choices, be sure to contact us to set up a free in-home design consultation. Our flooring experts will ensure that you get a floor that works well for you!

Photo Credit: Rudy Umans, Kelly vanDellen, Claudio Divizia