Tag Archives: travertine tiles

Advice on Installing Travertine Tiles

Tiles come in a wide variety of materials. No matter what material is chosen, installation has these basic steps. One of the first requirements is a solid and firm base. A mastic or mud bed is spread on the firm base to hold the tile in place. The tiles are then laid on the mud to form the desired pattern. The mud is allowed to dry before a grout is spread to fill the spaces between the tiles. A sealer is applied to the entire area to prevent discoloration of the grout and the tile.
The above statements apply to all forms of tiles. Installing travertine follows the regular rules plus a few that are specific to a natural stone and a veined material.

One of the considerations when working with travertine tile is the veining of the stone. A commonly used method of shaping man-made tiles is by using a “score and snap device”. This method does not work with travertine. The natural travertine is porous, and may have those pores filled with a special mixture of cement and epoxy. The combination of the stone and filler gives the tile an irregular density that requires a power tool to cut the tile. The veins that run through the travertine add another complication for the installer. The veins are a natural “weakness” lines in the stone. Cuts can be made across the veins, but experience working with travertine will help guide a installer to prevent unwanted breaks both at the time of setting and later.

Black Rock travertine

Black Rock travertine

The tiles are cut from natural stone. The stone will vary from quarry to quarry and cutting results in some irregularities in the thickness and shape of the tiles. Most of the irregularities can be adjusted by the way the tile is laid. Again, an experienced tile setter will adjust the mud bed to compensate for variation in thickness, and can position the tiles to conceal the size differences.

Because the stone is a natural product and no two tiles will be the same, the coloration in the stone will vary a great deal. Some of the tiles will have many veins and others little or none. It is highly recommended that you open and inspect all the boxes of tiles to allow the installer and the homeowner to view the stone and lay out a pattern that is most pleasing. This will also allow the installer to select the best tiles to cut before the job is started. This could save time and money because fewer tiles are ruined. In many cases laying out the whole area will be well worth the time.

Most installers feel that sealing the tile is a must. Sealing the stone is a simple way to assure the tile will remain beautiful. Re-sealing the tile every few years is also recommended. The routine care and maintenance is best done with clear water.

Mild soaps can be used but harsh cleaners and acids should never be used. The calcium carbonate of the travertine will react with even weak acids and dissolve. This will cause the stone to etch and could cause significant and irreversible damage. If you are uncertain you can test any cleaner on a sample tile reserved for that purpose before you use anything on the installed tiles.

Related posts:
Introduction to Travertine Tiles
Unusual Occurrence of a Fossil in Travertine

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An introduction to travertine tiles

If you are considering a home improvement project that involves floors or tiles, consider using travertine tiles. Travertine is formed by the precipitation of carbonate minerals from ground, surface, or geothermally heated spring waters. This occurs where the water comes in close proximity with magma at some depth. While the water circulates and heats, it picks up dissolved minerals and solids. Those minerals are re-deposited when the water cools.

Typically, the crystallized minerals are calcium-based, or calcareous. The different impurities within the deposit contributes to the color and pattern of the stone. The random distribution of the colors gives each stone a unique design, which is one of the main appeals of this material.

In the United States, one of the best known areas where travertine is prevalent is in the Yellow Stone Basin in the National Park. There, geysors like Old Faithful circulate water in subterranian networks where it is heated. In the case of geysors, the water reaches a temperature where the steam pressure overcomes the overlaying water and it erupts in a dramatic display of steam and hot water. In other places, like Mammoth Hot Springs, the warm water comes to the surface less violently, but builds up deposits of travertine layer upon layer.

Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone National Park where travertine is deposited from the geothermal waters

Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone National Park where travertine is deposited from the geothermal waters.

Decorative stones are cut from source blocks in the quarry (not, of course, in the national park), and then taken for further processing. Based upon the intended use of the stones, they are cut and sized accordingly. Since the stone was originally deposited in a water environment there are usually many holes and pits. Frequently, these holes are filled with epoxy, cement, and dyes, but it can be used in its natural state if an uneven surface is no problem. The stone can also be honed or polished.

There are two or three small travertine quarries in the western United States. These quarries have a low production and the quality of stone is usually considered poor. A decade ago Italy had a near monopoly on the travertine market. Today Italy is still a leader, but has been joined by many other countries like Turkey, Mexico, and Peru.

Travertine has been used many ways. It can be used in a walkway, driveway, lanais, floor and wall covering, patio, and fountain. It can be used indoors and out. It has a wide variety of finishes and the price can be less than ceramic tile and wood flooring. When installed properly travertine will last the lifetime of a house.

Related Posts:
Advice on Installing Travertine Tiles
Unusual Occurrence of a Fossil in Travertine

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Nature wallpaper for fun

Here at boneblogger we examine all things related to nature, including how you might celebrate nature in your own home. You can check out our recommendations for computer wallpaper. Here we explore nature wallpaper patterns that work well in your own private “den.”

Patterned papers

You can get a wide variety of papers with a nature theme. Patterned wallpaper has a regular, repeating theme, and care must be taken to match the pattern up on the wall during installation, so there is a bit of challenge with it. An example of a dinosaur-themed patterned paper is shown here:

A patterned dinosaur wall paper.

Perhaps you would like a more geology-based theme by having a “rock look” like this:

Or a travertine tile pattern like this (learn more about travertine):


Another popular choice for nature wallpaper is actually a giant wall mural. Such images can give a room an expansive feel by blowing out one wall of a room into a wider world. Such scenes include prehistoric themes like this:

Or space and astronomy themes such as this:

Or nature scenes like:


A slightly less overwhelming way to express your love of nature with a wall covering might be a simple border paper. Just the right nature image or the perfect accent colors on a border may be just the thing to personalize your space.

You could pick from rustic looks like these:

While it may be easy to find many choices of nature wallpaper for your home, choosing between them might prove to be a “dinosaur-sized” task. Have fun and express yourself.

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