PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE: TRAVERTINE
Travertine is formed by calcium-rich spring hot water. The travertine-forming process can happen anywhere that has the combination of hot water and limestone.
QUARRIES AND HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Major travertine quarries exist in Turkey, Mexico, China, Peru, and Iran. But Italian travertine may have the most compelling history. Fueled by the same geothermal heat as Mt. Vesuvius and the Roman baths, the mineral springs at Bagni di Tivoli have built up an enormous layer of travertine. It’s over 300 feet thick and began forming 200,000 years ago. (Again, 200,000 years is very young; a typical granite is a thousand times older, or even ten thousand times older!)The Tivoli quarry outside Rome has been producing stone for over two thousand years. In Roman times, Tivoli travertine became the building material of choice because it was locally available and relatively easy to cut and shape. Over generations, the popularity of the stone has persisted, and Tivoli’s vast deposits have continued to supply material for buildings all over the world. It’s amazing to think that the same travertine used by Roman stonemasons to build iconic structures like the Colosseum is being used for sleek, modern construction today.
There’s good reason why travertine has been in continuous use for over 2,000 years. The warm hues and soft texture of travertine give it an old-world feel that has never gone out of style and never will. Travertine can be white, cream, yellow, pink, tan, or reddish, all due to small amounts of iron or sulfur in the stone. The porous texture of travertine can be left “unfilled” for visual interest, or it can be filled with color-matched grout to produce a smoother surface. Because of travertine’s high porosity, the use of a sealant is recommended. Travertine has the same mineral composition as limestone and marble, so it shares similar properties.
While travertine is not an appropriate choice for a hardworking kitchen countertop, it makes an excellent backsplash for a timeless, traditional kitchen. Travertine is a natural choice for bathroom vanities, wall tile, or flooring.
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