Choosing a material

01 Feb Choosing a material

There are several types of finish available so this versatile material can suit almost any application from “rustic” to contemporary. The surface appearance of the tile depends on the cutting technique at the quarry. Tiles are either cut with the natural grain of the stone or contra cut against the natural grain. The former giving a linear movement in the surface markings, the latter giving more variegated markings in a non linear format. Travertine tiles are quite variable so it’s important to see an actual area as a single sample will never give the true picture of this material.
We are regularly asked what does this mean. As we explained earlier one of the characteristics of Travertine tiles are the voids in the surface which are a feature of this material. These can vary from literally pinholes to quite large irregular holes. These voids can be filled with grout when fixing the tiles or filled at the factory. and the tile machined to give a honed or polished surface. Factory filled and honed tiles are usually more expensive than unfilled however this depends on the finish, brushed tiles cannot be filled and are desirable due to their “rustic” appearance. As with all things quality can vary dramatically as Travertine are often graded into quality groups such as Select and 2nd choice.

We do not stock 2nd choice quality as the quality is so variable, many of the cheap offers on this material fall into this category (but they are not going to tell you that are they?) It is possible for holes to appear in filled Travertine usually when they are on the floor and in relative high traffic areas. This is usually caused by the filling breaking down. It’s not as bad as it sounds but it can happen regardless of the quality of material although the better materials have less filling so this is consequently minimized. These voids can be filled using a suitable Grout or an Epoxy Resin. The easy method is to simply fill the void with a matching grout usually the same as was used between the tiles when they were fixed. It is impossible to guarantee that voids will never occur with filled tiles.

As with all natural materials shade and surface appearance can vary quite considerably however the larger the area the less noticeable this becomes and in many cases it is desirable as a feature of this type of material.

If your project is for a reasonable area its worth taking the time to have a look at the actual material you are considering as it is impossible to choose correctly from a sample tile.

Types of finish for Travertine tiles

Polished Available only with filled tiles

Honed Available in either filled or unfilled

Brushed A textured finish available unfilled tiles only

Tumbled This process of involves acidic based chemicals at the factory level and/or the use of a tumbling machine that “antiques” the stone to give the appearance of a weathered, antique look in the stone, with softened edges.Antiqued Acid washed to create the tumbling effect, then brushed to “smooth” the surface.

Bush hammered – tiny pins are “hammered” on the surface of the stone to create a coarse, slip resistant texture on the surface.

Sandblasted – This process creates a coarse, but consistent surface often used for slip-resistant applications, or other decorative designs.

Natural Cleft – Most commonly associated with slate, the tiles are cleft naturally from the blocks to create natural ridges in the surface. In most cases, natural cleft slate products will be gauged (or milled) on the underside for easy installation, but the natural cleft will be evident on the exposed surface.

Split Face (or Rock Face) – This process involved splitting stone with a guillotine like machine to create a look as if it was an exposed rock in nature, but processed in dimensions suitable for architectural settings.

Chiseled Hand or machine chiseled surfaces create a surface similar to the split face stone, but typically leave chisel marks in the surface (not on chiseled edge finishes though)