When it comes to decorating a bathroom, travertine tiles are a great choice for both the floors and walls, especially as it comes in a variety of earth tone colors and beige hues. In this post, we take a look at the benefits of travertine and the different ways this distinctive natural stone with its rustic finish can be used in bathroom interior design.
What Is Travertine?
Travertine is a type of natural limestone that is a popular choice with homeowners for bathroom decor projects. Travertine stone tile has a varied pattern and comes in a range of natural earthy colours from pale cream and beige hues, through to rusty tan. No two travertine tiles are the same and its distinctive grain patterns and marble-like finish are very appealing, especially when used over a large surface area.
When wet, the myriad of colours within travertine tiles really come to the fore. Travertine stone tile is always beautiful, but it particularly stands out when wet. This makes travertine tiles very appealing for use in a bathroom. However, if you prefer a more uniform look, travertine is probably not right for you.
Are Travertine Tiles Suitable for a Bathroom?
People often ask if travertine tiles are suitable for use in a bathroom. As travertine is a natural stone material, it is porous, which might initially dissuade you from using it in your bathroom. After all, bathrooms are typically wet, especially in shower areas, so a porous material is a recipe for disaster, right?
Actually no, this is not the case at all. Travertine can be effectively used on the floors, walls, or in your shower area and is a stylish bathroom decor material. The key to making travertine tiles successful in a bathroom design is to make sure you seal your travertine tiles properly after installation, as that way you won’t have a problem with leaks. Brush or roller the sealant onto clean travertine tiles and once the first coat has set, apply a second coat. When sealing a shower or bath area, leave the sealant to dry for 24 hours before use.
Travertine stone tiles don’t have to be used all over your bathroom, in fact they can be successfully mixed and matched with other types of stone or porcelain tile. For example, you could mix travertine with mosaic tiles and natural stone border tiles for a distinctive look.
Taking Care of Travertine Tiles
Travertine tiles are easy to take care of and look after on a daily basis. When you use your shower or bath, simply wipe down the tiles after use to help keep travertine wall tiles in tiptop condition.
You can use a wet mop on travertine floor tiles to remove spills and the tiles can be vacuumed to remove dust. Specialist cleaning products suitable for travertine and marble are available too. If you do decide to try this out, always patch test the product first in an inconspicuous location before you use it over the main area.
In terms of long time care of travertine tiles, it’s a good idea to reapply sealant every two years, or more often where travertine wall tiles are used in a shower area.
Benefits of Travertine Floor Tiles
Travertine tiles are tough and durable, so won’t chip like ceramic tiles too. When used for flooring, travertine floor tile is classed as a high-traffic material, making them perfect for a busy family bathroom. Once installed, this natural stone tile flooring is not going to break, chip or wear out easily. Honed travertine is most suitable for bathroom floors, but be aware that if you elect to use polished travertine, the surface of the tile can be slippery when wet.
Another benefit of travertine stone tile that many people love is that it tends to weather well with age, creating a patina style effect. This adds character, charm and a rustic look to travertine floors. If you have a small bathroom, it can be wise to choose large travertine floor tiles, as they could help the room appear to be bigger.
It’s important to bear in mind that travertine floor tiles are quite heavy, so the floor structure must be supportive enough to hold the tiles. If you’re unsure, always consult a qualified building expert for advice.
Using Travertine Tiles On Walls
Travertine tiles are suitable for use on walls as well as indoor flooring and any outdoor space. You can use travertine as a splashback or tile your shower area with this type of natural stone. Its neutral color tone, range of colors and ease of installation makes it a perfect fit for use in a bathroom. If you use travertine in a wet area, do make sure you choose filled travertine tiles, as there are fewer natural holes to soak up water.
Travertine wall tiles are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. To help give the impression of space in a small area bathroom, it’s a good option to use large wall tiles.
If you don’t want your walls to be all the same colour in your bathroom interior space, look out for packs of travertine mosaic tiles, with a subtle natural colour palette. As long as you look after your travertine bathroom tiles, they will continue to look beautiful for as long as your bathroom remains functional.
Types of Travertine Stone Tile
When natural travertine stone is made into tiles, there are typically several different types available. As it can get confusing when you’re shopping for travertine tiles, here’s a run-down of the main types to look out for.
Honed travertine – Honed travertine tiles are the most popular type of travertine floor tiles. The stone is filled and lightly polished to provide a nice sheen, but is left with a matte finish to ensure the tiles aren’t too slippery.
Polished travertine – As the name suggests, polished travertine tiles are given a high polish to make them very glossy, plus the stone has been filled to become sealed. Polished travertine tiles are renowned for being best for stain resistance. However, the surface of them is generally unsuitable for use on floors as they are too slippery for bare feet.
Brushed travertine – Brushed travertine tiles have been wire brushed to produce a matt finish. They’re a popular flooring choice.
Tumbled travertine – Tumbled travertine tile tends to have an antique style look, with rounded edges and corners.
Unfilled travertine – Unfilled tiles are a more natural form of travertine, which hasn’t been treated or filled. It still retains natural pits and holes on the surface of the stone, hence they’re not the best choice for use in bathrooms.
How to Cut Travertine Tile
If you’re using travertine tiles for a home DIY project, such as for travertine flooring or as a backsplash tile for tub surrounds, you’ll need to know how to cut it. Travertine tile is moderately hard – it’s ranked at about 3.5 in the Mohs scale of hardness – and is a very durable stone. Travertine tiles can have a rough surface as it’s a form of limestone or sedimentary stone, and some care is needed when you cut travertine tile as pieces can chip or break off.
When it comes to how to cut travertine tile, one of the best options is to use a wet saw, or a tile cutter that has a water reservoir in it. It’s a good idea to make your travertine first so that you know exactly where you’re going to cut it. Draw lines on lightly using a pencil and ruler to ensure your measurements are accurate. Then line up the wet saw tile cutter and slowly cut through the travertine. Ideally, you’re aiming to achieve a clean cut with minimal breakages. If any pieces do end up having sharp edges, you may want to use a sander to smooth them. Once your tiles are cut, use a damp cloth to wipe off any remaining pencil marks.
Alternatives to Travertine Stone Tile
If you love the look of travertine stone tile, but would prefer to replicate the natural stone effect on the walls with ceramic tiles or a more budget-friendly material, why not consider Travertine effect tiles instead. The travertine effect tiles replicates the authentic look of the stone whilst retaining the robust benefits of a ceramic tile.
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Is Travertine still a popular choice in todays designs?