The Origins of Natural Travertine

Travertine is also referred to as limestone. It is polycrystalline, brittle, fine-grained, homogeneous rock, calcareous tuff. The name of the stone comes from the Italian town Tibur, which is now Tivoli. In the first century BC, the stone was called tibur stone (lapis tiburtinus). Travertine is an intermediate form of stone between limestone and marble.

It is a product of precipitation of calcium carbonate (aragonite or calcite) from cold or hot springs and carbon dioxide. The stone is formed as a result of the removal of carbon dioxide solutions containing soluble calcium bicarbonate: Ca (HCO3) 2 → CaCO3 + H2O + CO2. Because it is so beautiful, elegant, and durable, it has been used for thousands of years in construction. Do you know about the Colosseum in Rome? Well, it is made of travertine. Today you can find this stone in tiles that you can utilize in your hallway, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and even outdoor patio. You can find high-quality travertine at Saturnia Travertini. If you want to learn more about this gorgeous stone, you can keep reading this article. 

Travertine Formation

The main reason for the formation of this beautiful stone is the drop in pressure that can occur when groundwater leaks to the surface, during the spread into the atmosphere associated with intensive water movement, and during the assimilation of plants into the rock. That’s why travertine stone often contains plant imprints. It may also contain various organic residues.

Natural travertine Characteristics

The stone is characterized by a porous structure, distinguishable from other denser stones. The porosity of the material varies from 2 to 40%. The cells in the travertine structure are formed due to the rise of gas bubbles of sulfur dioxide, which rise through the limestone layers. To see the round holes left by the sulfur dioxide outlet, you can cut it parallel to the direction of sludge formation. Travertine is a stone of low hardness (easily cut with a circular saw). Its density averages 3500-3900 pounds per cubic foot.

How Is Travertine Extracted and Processed?

The stone is mined in quarries by first extracting it into large blocks cut into large slabs. Two methods could be applied when cutting the stone – cross-cutting, and flutter cutting. About 90% of travertine gets cut crosswise, i.e., the blocks get cut into parallel layers. In flutter cutting or “water cutting,” the blocks are turned over and cut into perpendicular layers. The final product resembles cut wood. It can be cut horizontally (transversely) or vertically (longitudinally). If you cut it vertically, its “veins” are exposed. It is the same with the stone – with the flutter cut stone, you will see the layers of “veins” that cross it.

It is fascinating that travertine can be processed in many different ways: sanded, antique, filling, filling with sanding, and polished finish. The term ‘hammered edges’ refers to the processing of the edge and not the stone’s surface as in other types of processing. 

After the relevant processing, the fascias get sent to specialized workshops. There they are cut and shaped into different products of different sizes and thicknesses – all sizes of tiles and pavers. That’s where specially cut products such as countertops, steps, fireplace mantels, bathroom sinks, and shower cabins are made.

What Colors Does Travertine Come In?

Travertine comes in distinguishable, subtle colors in different shades. The stone can be white, yellowish, grayish, creamy, etc. Due to iron salts in the travertine and the stone’s oxidation,  the shade of tiles comes out in different shades. For example, white stone can have shades of sandy yellow. Concerning the properties of the material, this does not affect it in any way. There are stones in darker shades (brownish, brown-gray, etc.). Travertine tiles, which have a darker color, are characterized by better technical qualities in some cases. There are also stones with intense coloring. The yellow-red travertine can serve as an example of such material. It is a tuff containing some pigments that give it a very bright shade.

How to Install Travertine?

Installation is as important as choosing the perfect stone for your project. After unpacking the tiles, they should be washed and dried well. For gluing, we recommend a quick-drying adhesive – suitable for outdoor use and can also be utilized on underfloor heating. Choose the shade of the glue carefully. Make sure it matches the travertine tiles you’ve chosen. The glue is applied after fixing the tiles. It should beautifully emphasize the natural stone. We recommend that you hire an expert in laying natural stone. There are plenty of contractors that work with travertine. Some of the top designers and architects in the world also prefer to design their projects with travertine.

Get high-quality tiles, like the ones offered by Saturnia Travertini. Choosing travertine for your home or outdoor area can turn out to be one of the best decisions you’ve made. This aristocratic, timeless stone will complement every home decor. 

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