The flooring in your home has a significant influence on the overall look and feel of your interior design. If you love the visual appeal of stone and want to have gorgeous walking surfaces that accentuate any decor, you should consider installing travertine flooring. Ideal for providing attractive neutral tones in a room, travertine is popular for residential and commercial use. The following guide provides you with a primer on using travertine for residential flooring.

Basics

The natural beauty of travertine is the result of thousands of years of limestone metamorphosis. The material originates from mineral spring deposits and limestone caves. Some of the most famous travertine quarries are in Italy and provided building materials for majestic structures such as the dome of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City and the exterior of the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

Workers mine travertine from numerous layers of hardened organic material. It primarily consists of calcite, gypsum plus traces of iron, sulfur and natural pigments.

Gas bubbles that are trapped in the material create the Swiss cheese-like texture. Compared to other types of material used for stone flooring such as marble, travertine is plentiful, lighter and easier to mine.

Aesthetic Features

The hues and texture of travertine make the material ideal for just about any type of interior decorating style as well as patios and pool decks. Travertine floor tiles provide white, gray, pink, coral red or honey-colored tones that look rugged yet can have a smooth surface and resemble marble.

Depending on how it is cut, the floor you purchase may also show imprints and traces of ancient plant and feather fossils, a stunning natural feature. When you order flooring you can choose from vein cut or cross cut material. Vein cut travertine shows the lines of the limestone layers and can resemble the rings that show the age of trees.

The cross cut, also known as fleuri cut, is made parallel to the limestone bed and shows flowery shapes and formations.

Installation

You can install travertine over existing hardwood or cement floors. If you have a professional install your floors, they can perform expert matching of tiles to provide the best aesthetic layout for your floor. Each tile has a unique coloring and pattern.

However, if you prefer to install the tiles on your own, you should lay them out on your floor so you can view the patterns and colors of the material. This will help you place complementary tiles next to each other.

For travertine floors in your bathroom or another wet area, you should apply a waterproof sealant to prevent water stains. If you like the unfinished rustic look of travertine, leave the small holes on the surface of the material unfilled. However, flooring professionals can fill the openings with cement or resin fillers.

If you want your floor to have a dull appearance, arrange to have the tiles acid washed. Professional polishing can also transform your travertine floor into a super shiny, reflective surface.

Maintenance

Travertine flooring can withstand high-traffic for at least 50 years. Floor installation professionals can help to extend the lifespan of a floor by treating the material with coating that repels soil and water.

Even though it is a durable material, you should not use harsh chemicals and acidic substances to clean travertine. This includes store-bought cleaners made for synthetic and hardwood flooring.

Clean your travertine flooring with natural stone soap solutions and neutral degreasers. Wipe up spills immediately so they do not leave stains and marks. If stains develop on your floors, use a poultice of natural, absorbent materials to remove them.

Over time, the flooring will develop small chips, holes and nicks. You can reseal holes with cement or resin or hire a professional to fill in holes and reseal the flooring.

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