Polishing Travertine Floors, Should I or Shouldn’t I, Orange County, CA

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Shinny or Dull?  That is the question…Elegant or Distressed, finished or unfinished

First, What is Travertine?

Travertine is a type of natural stone that is first formed when minerals are deposited in the ground waters. They are then transferred to the surface to form travertine. These rocks are huge in size when they are discovered on river banks and quarries. In order to process them into travertine tiles, the huge pieces of rocks are cut into smaller blocks and then shaped into tile slabs for various uses.

Travertine tiles have a long history in Europe, with the Romans first discovered they are excellent tiles for flooring. They can be used for outdoor patios and backyards, as well as for indoor flooring, wall and back splash tiling.

There are four different types of finishing for travertine tiles. They are polished, matte, brushed and tumbled. Polish travertine tiles have a smooth, glossy and sleek surface. Matt tiles are half polished tiles, with just enough polish to make the tiles level and smooth. The brushed and tumbled tiles have a textured appearance.

Properties of Travertine Flooring Tiles: The Pros and Cons


Different colors. Travertine are available in many different colors and tones.  Their earth tone shades are the more popular colors used for flooring. They range from the lighter beige, cream to grays, and coral colors. In addition, their natural tones are a good match for other natural stones such as marble and limestone. And since travertine tiles are formed naturally, their tones and shades make it easier to replace one or two specific tiles into your existing flooring tiles.

Unique. Differences in their finishes make them flexible and unique flooring tiles. They can fit into a elegant living room with a layer of polished finishing, or they can be used to add a touch of ruggedness with their tumbled texture. While travertine is formed naturally, every slab of travertine tile has its unique color, tone, and shade. This is why they are much more special than the other types of tiles.

Easy to cut. Compared to other tiles, travertine tiles are easier to cut and contour. Hence, they are great for  fitting into the weird or odd shape spaces in your floor tiles.

Cheap. Travertine can be found in many different places and is more abundant than marble and granite. Hence, you will be paying a cheaper price for these natural stones.

Retain heat. Their stone nature make them good heat retainers than wooden or linoleum floors.

Environmental friendly. Since travertine is formed naturally, they do not create any harmful byproducts to the environment. They only go through the cutting and shaping process to become travertine tiles.


Porous. Unpolished travertine is extremely porous, which makes them highly prone to stains. They also trap dirt and foreign particles, which make the cleaning process a chore. Travertine is also very reactive to acidic substances, and orange juice can cause permanent stains when they are spilled onto the travertine tiles.

Must apply sealant. Sealant helps to protect the travertine tiles with a top layer of seal. However, this protection is only enough to reduce stains and your best bet is to wipe any spillages clean as soon as you can.

Not children and pet friendly. Polished travertine is very slippery when wet and is not an excellent choice for your kids safety. On the other hand, like I mentioned earlier, unpolished travertine is porous, and is going to spell trouble when you discover your pet’s poo on your precious flooring.

Durability. This is a debatable issue as they can also be an advantage as they are a fairly strong and tough. However, I am comparing them to other natural stones, and they are not as hard as other stones which make them more susceptible to scratches, chipping and chemical burns.


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