Travertine Tile Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between travertine, limestone and marble?
A: Limestone is the youngest of all these stones. Actually, limestone is a sedimentary stone usually found in ocean beds. Typically, limestone is not very interesting however, most of the buildings around the world (ie: Washington, DC, Empire State Building) have been built with sedimentary limestone. It is the most common building material in the world. Travertine is a type of “morphed” limestone but it is created from Artesian wells which means lime has been deposited by water. Travertine makes an excellent use for any indoor or outdoor area because it never gets hot (no metal content in the stone), it is twice the strength of concrete and is non-slippery. Travertine is durable for any application both commercially and residential – it is about 50 million years old. Marble, on the other hand, is about 100 million years old and is perfect for the same applications as travertine. Since marble is older, it typically will be “veinier” and less “wild” than the travertines.
Q: Can they be used indoors and outdoors?
A: Yes, Any of the above stones can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Q: What is the difference between filled and unfilled?
A: Filled stone is when the factory actually fills the stone with a polyester “fill” and closes any large holes in the stone. Unfilled stone does not have the polyester fill by the factory and it usually looks more rustic. Gothicstone prefers the unfilled stone because we can always fill it with the grout we will use to set the stone which will not typically introduce another color in the stone. It actually makes the grout lines disappear more because the grout color is being mixed within the stone.
Q: What are the different finishes for the travertine and marble?
A: There are many different finishes for travertine and marble. Typically, we finish stone in honed, polished, patinato (antiqued) finishes. Honed is more of a matte look finish – not polished or high honed. Polished is not typically what we prefer because it requires much upkeep in actually polishing the stone. Polished has a shiny appearance to it. Patinato is actually finished with acid washing then brushing the stone with metal brushes and the appearance is bumpier and it adds a slight patina on the surface of the stone. It gives the stone a very old world look but it can be a bit slippery when wet.
Q: Why do we prefer unfilled stone?
A: Gothicstone prefers the unfilled stone because we can always fill it with the grout we will use to set the stone which will not typically introduce another color in the stone. It actually makes the grout lines disappear more because the grout color is being mixed within the stone.
Q: Do you have to seal travertine stone?
A: The only reason that any stone needs to be sealed is to keep it from staining indoors. For outdoor purposes, if the stone is installed on a cement slab, ie: pavers, the stone should be sealed because the stone cannot breathe like it does in a dry-set installation. When installed on cement, the sealer actually keeps the water from getting into the stone and freezing therefore cracking the stone.
Q: How do you seal stone and what do you use?
A: Gothicstone recommends any good impregnating sealer product that can be purchased from a tile/stone supplier or showroom. We prefer the Roval product line and have tested their products in many different applications both indoors and outdoors. Sealing the stone with an impregnating sealer requires just a sponge wipe application. It will take a few minutes to wipe on the sealer (no need to be careful as to what motion since the sealer penetrates into the stone and you don’t see it). The only way to know if you need to seal again is to drop water on the stone and if it still beads up, you are good to go. Keep testing every couple of months.
Q: What kind of grout should we use?
A: If you have an installation of less than 1/8″ grout line, you must use a non-sanded grout. If the grout lines are more than 1/8″, use a sanded grout. Grout can be found at any Home Depot store.
Q: How should travertine tiles be installed?
A: Travertine tiles should be installed using a high quality white thin set. We highly recommend the use of the Schluter Ditra product on top of the subfloor to protect your stone/tile installation. Ditra is specifically designed to allow the installation of ceramic and stone tile over any even and load-bearing substrate. Refer to www.schluter.com for detailed information about Ditra as well as materials for your projects.
Q: What size tile is recommended for applications?
A: Well, we have not been installing 12×12 inch size tile, on a floor, for the past 5 years. We, as well as the rest of the stone industry, recommend large format tiles and pavers. We recommend at least 16×16 inch size tiles for any floor application. The last thing you want to do is date your installation by using “old” style tiles. Large tiles make the room look larger, smaller tiles make the room look smaller (more grid effect).