One of the most popular stones in Roman architecture (such as the famed Colonnade of St. Peter's Square in Vatican City), and still popular today, Travertine has been used all across the world for millennia. It is, in essence, Limestone which has formed from rapid precipitation of Calcium Carbonate and is generally found at hot springs which would allow for such conditions. These conditions mean cracks and crevices form, allowing water to breach the stone and borrow through the stone as it expands and contracts with temperature change, giving it some truly remarkable patterning.
Travertine is characterised by it's holes. Whether filled or not, all Travertines display large gaps which are visible markers of the many years of natural weathering that they have undergone. This gives a depth of shade to them which is difficult to achieve by other means. There is a distinct lack of uniformity which gives the stone a real character and charm.
Given it's popularity in Ancient Rome, it's not surprising to learn that it is relatively abundant in the alkaline waters of the Tiber river in Tivoli, Italy. Travertine can be sourced from most countries with a warm climate and alkaline waters. Having said this, Italy was pretty much the only country producing the stone before the 1980s.
The colouration of most Travertines are beiges, golds, creams and whites. Mined in much the same way as Limestone, Travertine tends to be on the more fragile end of the Limestone scale and, as such, can be trickier to deal with in some circumstances.
Much like slate, it is uncommon to have an extensive choice of finishes for Travertines given that it is quite fragile to work with, relative to other stones. Having said this, Travertine buffs up very well, and so it's usually either left in it's natural, unfilled state, or filled, honed and polished to give a very clean, sleek finish.
Due to it being naturally porous, it is commonly used in bathrooms. This is because it absorbs more water than most stones and, as such, offers more grip, underfoot, when wet. Bear in mind, however, that due to this, it will require far more sealant than other stones, both in the first instance, and throughout the stone's lifetime, to avoid discolouring and/or staining.
To find out more about Travertine, and take a closer look at some of the Travertines which we supply, visit our showroom.