There’s been a sudden resurgence of late in the use of natural materials such as stone for all areas of the home. This includes trends popping up that use specific stones, such as travertine, to create an “authentically rustic” or “natural” look in the home. As a result, travertine tiles have been seen in more and more kitchens of late.
Travertine is a form of limestone that was created inside of a hot spring, rather than on a shell reef. The escaping water vapor from the stone resulted in multiple small holes and tunnels through the stone. These holes and part of what gives travertine its characteristic appearance. Left unfilled, a travertine tile will have a matte surface that is pitted with holes ranging in size from the head of a pin to the size of a walnut.
Travertine can be honed and filled at the factory to give it a more uniform appearance, but many people today are opting to use travertine in its natural, unfilled state. Unfortunately for use in the kitchen, this presents two problems. The larger holes in the surface of the stone become a natural receptacle for kitchen debris, making it difficult to keep clean. The larger holes may also weaken the integrity of the stone, and in a high traffic room like the kitchen, this could lead to cracks in the stone down the road.
The answer to this problem is to have the largest of the holes in the stone filled with grout during the installation process. This will not affect the rustic look of the stone, and many of the smaller holes can be left unfilled without a problem. If homeowners are concerned that filling the stone will take away too much of the stone’s natural variation, smaller tiles can be used to help increase the amount of color and surface texture variation in the space. Likewise laying the travertine in a pattern can help break it up and get the desired look.
Travertine is a beautiful natural stone, perfect for today’s natural trends. It needs to be treated properly, however, to ensure that it stays beautiful for years to come.