Travertine vs Marble: Which is best for your home?

Travertine and marble have been a popular choice in construction materials for centuries. From statues to castles, it's hard to beat their timeless elegance.

Add some of that timeless beauty to your home with travertine and marble. But which is the right one for your home?

While they share some similarities, a few differences could make you choose one over the other.

So take 5 minutes, read this article, and you’ll be on your way to your next project!

What’s the difference between Travertine and Marble?

What’s the difference between Travertine and Marble | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

Both travertine and marble are natural stones.

Travertine is a type of limestone that’s formed near or around hot springs. Marble is a metamorphic rock formed from limestone that’s been under great heat and pressure.

Both make excellent choices as building materials in a variety of applications. Let’s look at a few of the key differences that can help you make the right choice for your next project.

Appearance or Aesthetic Differences

Travertine has a characteristic porosity that can be seen with the naked eye. The ones that are extremely low-grade can even look almost like a sponge before the holes are filled. This gives it overall a more rustic appearance.

Travertine doesn’t have as great a variation in colors as marble. You’ll mostly find warm, neutral colors like beige, cream, and even peach.

On the other hand, marble tends to have a more refined finish since its material doesn’t have a visible porosity like travertine. You can also find marble in a greater variety of colors from blue to gold. And it often will have dark contrasting veins running through the stone.

Durability, Strength, and Longevity

Like most natural stones, travertine and marble are durable and long-lasting. Just look at such structures as the Roman Colosseum and the Taj Mahal.

Travertine and marble are similar in hardness, although the difference is that marble used in construction tends to be a bit harder. Some will depend on where it was quarried.

Both are slightly “softer” than stone like granite and quartz. But don’t let that scare you away. They are both extremely durable and can be cut and polished to a glossy shine.

Usage

Travertine and marble can be used throughout your home. Although both materials can be sold with rough or polished surfaces, travertine is more known for its rustic appearance and marble for its high-end polished look.

Usage Travertine and Marble | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

Popular uses for travertine

Popular uses for marble

Cost

Travertine and marble share a similar price range with most tiles and pavers costing between $8-$30 per square foot.

Most marble, however, tends to be a little more expensive.

For example, a pallet with 160 square feet of gold tumbled travertine pavers might cost $1500. A similar pallet with 160 square feet of beige-colored tumbled marble pavers would cost around $1800.

So if costs are an issue, go with travertine or a porcelain tile that’s made to look like marble travertine.

Maintenance

One of the disadvantages of natural stone tiles like marble and travertine is that they require more maintenance than regular floor tiles.

Both types of stone are porous. That means that if left unsealed, these stones can absorb dirt and liquids which can cause stains that are difficult to remove.

Maintenance Travertine and Marble | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

That’s why both stones should be sealed after installation and then once every few years after that. And since travertine is more porous than marble, you should be especially careful to seal it according to schedule.

On a regular basis, these stones should be cleaned by sweeping, mopping, and/or wiping with a microfiber cloth. 

If you’d prefer to use a cleaner, try a mild natural stone cleaner like Simple Green Stone Cleaner.

For patio areas with marble tile or travertine pavers, you can spray the pavers clean with a hose or power washer as long as you use a low-pressure setting.

Common Issues With Travertine and Marble

Even surfaces that have been sealed can still be stained or marked if spills aren’t cleaned up promptly.

So if you spill something like wine, coffee, juice, or food on your travertine tile or marble tile, clean it up immediately!

If left on the surface, it could leave a stain on the tile. And acidic substances like tomato paste, lemon juice, or vinegar can actually etch the surface and leave a permanent mark.

With travertine tiles, it’s best not to use unfilled tiles on horizontal surfaces. It’s really easy for dirt and grime to get caught in the holes and with time they can look really dirty.

If you want the look of beautiful rustic, unfilled travertine, it’s best to use it on vertical surfaces like a backsplash or shower surround walls.

Some homeowners report cracks in their floor tiles after several years. Usually, this isn’t due to a defect in the stone but rather improper installation.

Speaking of installation…

Travertine vs. Marble Installation

Travertine vs. Marble Installation | Alexander and Xavier Masonry

Installing any natural stone is more difficult than installing regular ceramic tile. That’s why it’s best to leave the installation to the professionals.

Marble tiles and travertine tiles don’t score and snap like regular ceramic or porcelain tiles. That means you’ll need a special wet saw to make nice clean cuts.

And you need to use special mortars and adhesives in order for the stone tiles to stick properly. Then right after installation, the tiles and grout should be sealed to help prevent staining.

Which material is best for your home or construction needs: travertine or marble?

Whichever you choose, you’re making a wise investment in your home. Make the best investment and get your natural stone installed properly by the pros at AX Masonry.

We’d love to help make your next project a reality! If you live in the Garland, Texas area, give us a call today for a FREE consultation.

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