Travertine is a sedimentary stone formed when minerals are deposited during the evaporation of water. It is neither Limestone or Marble, as it is sometimes called.
From the quarry to the factory where the blocks are milled into slabs, pavers, blocks, and floor tiles. We specialize in the finishing, maintenance and restoration of Travertine floors, showers, vanities.
Travertine is formed in a wide range of colors varying from light creams, browns, golds, rusts, corals and more.
Characteristics of Travertine
Air pockets: One prominent characteristic is that Travertine is naturally very porous with air pockets ranging from microscopic to holes the size of quarters or larger. The air pockets form in layers that are deposited over time. Improper finishing using the wrong abrasives can result in unnecessary exposure of air pockets in the stone. We have developed several abrasive processes to make the stone beautiful and not cause damage or more holes. Our processes for shinier finishes actually reduces the porosity of the stone.
Veins & Patterns: Wide variations in veining and patterns are common and make Travertine a very interesting stone. A shiny finish creates more depth and brings out the colors and veining in your Travertine.
Adaptable to Different Finishes: Travertine also looks great in a variety of finishes that we offer: From satin glow to medium shine to a high gloss.
Grades of Travertine
Travertine is separated into different grades depending on the amount of holes that exist which affects the weight of the stone. The more holes, the less each stone tile weighs.
- Grade A Premium—minimal holes
- Grade B Standard—some holes
- Grade C Commercial—a lot of holes
Surface blemishes, such as factory blade marks, will also determine the grade of the stone. These deep grooves are often in a record pattern (like an old vinyl record) or stripes, and caused by a dull blade when milling the tiles.
Flagstone is almost always a Sandstone. Flagstone refers to the cuts and the installation with large irregular shaped pieces of stone and large grout lines. Any stones can be cut and installed as a Flagstone pattern. Sandstone is a sedimentary stone that is deposited as mountains are turned into sand grains by erosion. After time, the sand grains are compacted together and bonded together by minerals to form a solid rock.
There are several different types of Sandstone depending on where it is mined from the earth. All Sandstone is extremely porous and susceptible to staining, water erosion, mineral deposits on the surface, and efflorescence from within the stone. Sandstone is not susceptible to etching. Common uses for Sandstone installed in the Flagstone pattern: Exterior deck covering, interior floor covering, swimming pool deck surrounds.
Marble is a metamorphic rock. Metamorphic means “changed”. It starts out as a Limestone, Travertine or even Sandstone. After exposure to high temperatures and pressure, the result is a much more dense and less porous stone. Marble and Granite are the stones with the most variety in color. Unlike Granite, Marble is a softer stone and very susceptible to scratching, etching and sometimes staining.
Marble had several different uses in ancient times. It was used for almost every building. Now it is most commonly used for flooring, counters and tables. It can also be used for showers and wall tile. Marble is usually sold polished, but unsealed.
Marble is also sold tumbled. Tumbled Marble is put into a vibration machine that beats up the surface to a dull appearance that is generally uniform in color but more porous. Installation can be very rough on Marble, so it is very common that a new Marble floor will need to be re-polished and re-sealed. Only non-sanded grout should be used to avoid scratching. Marbles to avoid: green and black varieties. They show scratches and etching more than lighter shades and can be very difficult to restore.
Limestone is a sedimentary rock that is precipitated out of seawater. Most sea creatures produce calcite calcium carbonate ; the shells of small sea animals, corals, even fish bones. As these animals go through their lifecycle calcite is deposited on the ocean floor. After time the pressure of the ocean water as well as the evaporation of the ocean water this binds these materials together to form a Limestone. Limestone is generally white to gray but can have different colors depending on other materials deposited when Limestone is formed. Limestone is very soft and very subject to subject to staining and etching.
In ancient times Limestone was the most common stone building material. In present time it is most commonly used as block building material, slab counters, and floor and wall tile. Limestone is not recommended for floors and walls. Because of its absorbent nature and softness, it is not the best option for counters and flooring with high usage. Much more durable as well as attractive alternatives are Porcelain tile, Travertine stone, or Marble for floors. Granite slab is the best choice for stone counters and vanities.
Cantera is volcanic ash and other debris that is blown out of a volcano. After time, the deposit is pressed and it solidifies into a soft rock deposit. Cantera is extremely porous and subject to staining. Cantera is so soft it is commonly carved into fireplaces, columns, statues as well as a floor tile.
Cantera as a floor tile is usually a very rough cut rustic tile. Not recommended for floors unless the specifics of Cantera are considered before installation. One to consider is the grout color and grout installation. Cantera is so extremely porous that the grout can stain the stone or solidify on the stone which requires extensive cleaning after the grout has dried
Saltillo tile is a handmade clay tile. Saltillo is very soft and extremely porous. It ranges in colors from yellows through the reds and even brown. Manganese Saltillo is dark gray to brown. Originally Saltillo tile was sealed with linseed oil which darkens it. The oil is soaked into the tile to help keep the water and stains out.
Oil stains in Saltillo appear as dark spots and when oil sealed help to camouflage. When Saltillo tile started to become a common floor covering, shiny topcoat sealers were applied to give the tiles a shiny appearance as well as being sealed. Generally a clear coating will not darken the tiles. Saltillo tile is a very delicate floor covering. Even during installation it can be permanently discolored, losing it ability to be restored.
Restorability is the ability to bring the floor back to a condition at a certain point in time. Loss of restorability is any permanent damage that can not be repaired.
Slate is a metamorphic rock. Metamorphic refers to change under temperature and pressure. Slate can start out as many different rocks: Sandstones, shale, clays, even volcanic ash. Usually the original rock is a sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rocks are deposited in layers. Slate has very thin layers and can run in different directions.
Because Slate can come from so many different original rocks and it can come in any color. Slate is a porous stone but not as much as other types of stone. Slate can be used as roof shingles but if water sits on it can peel or delaminate.
Slate can be stained but is generally pretty stain resistant. Slate’s unique characteristics are why Slate has some varied and unique uses such as roof shingles, tabletops, pool tables, floor tiles, Flagstone pavers, showers and other uses.
Porcelain and Ceramic tile are very similar. Both are man made, Porcelain is considered to be a little higher quality. Tile consists of clay and a glaze coating. Clay is the body of the tile and the glaze is a coating that’s put on before a firing process.
During the firing process the clay cures and the glaze goes through a chemical reaction. The glaze becomes as hard as Granite. This tile is nonporous, etch and scratch resistant. Ceramic and Porcelain are non-porous and do not need to be sealed.
This tile is usually set with at least ¼ – ½ inch grout lines, which exposes a lot of grout. Grout is very, very porous and subject to staining. Clear penetrating sealers do nothing to seal grout.
The best and only recommended way to seal grout is to color seal grout with a Concrete stain that is the same color as the original grout. This is actually a coating for the grout which not only seals it off, but makes it look brand new and easier to clean.
Concrete is a mixture of Portland cement, sand, and stones of various sizes up to about an inch in diameter. The cement when mixed with water undergoes a chemical reaction. When dried, it turns into a solid.