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What is Travertine Flooring & What Does it Cost?

One of the most important aspects of planning a home remodeling project or embarking on a new construction plan is the type of flooring that will be used. Homeowners are looking for quality products at good prices. When it comes to selecting tile flooring, travertine is a popular choice among homeowners. Travertine is a type of stone derived from limestone that is well sought after as a flooring component for use in both interior and exterior projects. One thing that homeowners must take into consideration is the overall cost of travertine flooring in regards to retail costs and quality installation. 

The Costs

  • Average minimum travertine flooring: $2.69 per square foot

  • Average maximum cost of travertine flooring: $4.49 per square foot

Materials and

Travertine as a stone is found naturally within streams and groundwater, just below the surface of the earth. The most unique thing about this type of stone is that hardly any two pieces are alike. As calcium carbonate forms from calcium ion groundwater, the stone begins to form its own distinct pattern and texture. Small slits and grooves that resemble marble with divots and caves are distinct markers for true travertine stone. Some retailers fill in these holes for a smoother finish, while others are left intact to give a natural, raw appearance.

Homeowners seek travertine to bring a natural look to interior projects. This can drive up the home design process because finding the exact color specifications and sizes can be tricky. The stone comes in three main colors—tan, cream and white. In rare pieces of stone, marbleized lines of burgundy and deep brown can be found, adding more value to the overall cost of the stone. Some companies put their design mark on some stone slabs by adding dyes and colors to each piece. This gives them more options for color patterns that match the needs of interior designers and homeowners looking for a one-of-a-kind look that stands out.

Travertine is a versatile stone that can be used side by side other natural stones such as slate, brick, marble and granite. It is often bought in large slabs and this is a great way to save money, especially if the homeowner is looking to cover a large square foot of space. In some cases it can also be sold in smaller pieces. It is then cut and shaped into specific design pieces that are grouted and used as tile slabs, similar to a paver brick design. This is a cost-saving option for kitchen floors, bathroom floors and smaller spaces. Because many of these designs are often hand painted or manufactured to resemble regular tiles with veins and irregular inlet tile shapes, they are often sold at a fraction of the price. Homeowners can still enjoy the beauty of travertine but at a reduced overall cost. This is a great way to still get the look of travertine but leave some leeway in the budget.

Common places where travertine is used in homes include:

  • Kitchen floors

  • Kitchen countertops

  • Kitchen backsplashes

  • Bathroom floors

  • Showers and bathtubs

  • Foyers

  • Exterior sidewalks

  • Patios

  • Special exterior design projects

Because travertine flooring is so versatile in design, it is used in many facets of both interior and exterior design. Large slabs of natural travertine stone are perfect for a kitchen countertop or the area surrounding a custom-built pool or hot tub. Travertine stays cool even in hot outdoor temperatures. This makes it well sought after by homeowners for their outdoor patio and pool area. The stone also absorbs water easily, so it resists water stains like traditional concrete patios.

For kitchens, a travertine countertop or floor is often sealed, so that it can be used in heavy traffic and heavy use areas. A layer of sealant will prolong the life of the stone and make it more resistant to scratching and staining.

Travertine is commonly be seen in bathrooms. The old-world look is perfect for any decor but stands out specifically in traditional, coastal, Mediterranean, tropical, western and Moroccan-design theme elements. The porous stone absorbs moisture, resists mold and dries quickly.

Exterior design projects may utilize travertine flooring. Sidewalks leading to patios are common places to use this type of stone. Specialty design projects such as water fountains, small ornamental ponds, retaining walls and fences can also be accented by using travertine slabs or stone pieces.

Advantages of Travertine

There are many advantages to selecting travertine flooring. One of the biggest is the distinct appearance of its surface that can’t be duplicated by any other stone. Travertine offers a distinct design centerpiece that enriches any interior or exterior surface and increases the overall value of the property. Travertine flooring or countertops can be a high selling point if the property is listed through a real estate agent. This offers a great way for the homeowner to later recoup their expenses.

Travertine is easy to care for. A simple wet-dry mop helps keep dirt from building up and allows the stone to retain its natural beauty.

Disadvantages of Travertine

While there are many advantages, there are also a few cons to installing travertine in the home. The biggest one is cost. For the most natural and distinct designs, homeowners can expect to pay up to 50 percent more than the average commercial price. Because the stone is very fragile, it can break easily. This can drive installation costs up. Because of the shipping costs to transport the stone and the installation expertise needed by a qualified contractor, homeowners will pay 25 percent more for a project as opposed to standard granite or stone installation.

A qualified installer must take into consideration all aspects of installation, and this is where their expertise comes in. The stone must be installed on a very flat and even surface that is 100-percent free from stone or debris. The stone should also be laid out prior to installation to get the best color match per slab and create a uniform look; otherwise, the finish can appear sloppy or choppy. This takes the experience of a qualified installer.

A finished travertine floor can also be very slippery. Certain finishes can be applied to provide more grip. It isn't recommended for day care centers or areas where small children will be running around.

While travertine is a beauty that can't be replicated or duplicated, all aspects of the stone, including its design and installation, should be taken into consideration when determining budget.

Last updated on Jun 17, 2014

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