Why Use Travertine for a Bathroom Counter and Backsplash

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Travertine is a natural stone with a striking resemblance to marble and is often referred to as onyx marble. Quarried, cut, and polished, travertine is readily available in large home improvement stores as well as specialty stores. Travertine is actually limestone that’s been manufactured under high pressure conditions and if the travertine itself is put under pressure for extensive periods, it will eventually become marble. Travertine has been used in houses since Roman times and has recently come into fashion again as a suitable alternative to porcelain, marble and granite.

1. Cost

You may ideally want to add marble or granite in your bathroom. After all, a marble countertop and backsplash can look incredibly stunning. However, marble is extremely expensive. Travertine looks just as good and most people won’t even be able to tell the difference. This can save you a large amount of money while still achieving exactly the same effect. Travertine costs about five times less than granite.

There’s nothing wrong with fooling people a little as long as your bathroom looks exactly the way you want. If you can manage that on a budget, so much the better.

2. Easy to Install

Travertine is much easier to install than marble and no more complex than porcelain tile. It requires thinset, much like ceramic tile, to apply it correctly. You will need a premium quality thinset for the task. However, while this may cost a little more, the price still won't be excessive.

Travertine doesn’t require quite the same skill and care to install as marble, although it can still break if mishandled.

3. Looks

travertine close up

Travertine looks stunning. It comes in a variety of colors with decorative veining similar to marble. The choices are wide and travertine can sometimes be found on sale, making it a real bargain for that chic look you want to achieve in your bathroom.

For a countertop, you’ll need to buy travertine that’s been properly sealed or seal it yourself. This means the stone won’t be damaged by any materials that might spill on it and can retain its finish for many years. It will also clean up easily.

Travertine is available in four finishes classed as polished, tumbled, brushed, and honed. For a countertop, polished is the best option as long as a sealant has been applied. Polished travertine will reflect the light and is very shiny, giving a lustrous appearance to your bathroom.

4. Replacement

It’s possible that, after a few years, something will happen to one the travertine tiles you use in your backsplash. If you had used ceramic or porcelain tiles, it would be virtually impossible to find a match. Because of the natural variation in travertine, you should be able to find another tile that’s a close enough match to fit in without anyone noticing a difference.

5. Durability

All stone countertops are durable and travertine is no exception, as long as it’s regularly cleaned and maintained. When selecting a slab of travertine to be cut for a countertop, make sure you pick a slab with no holes (holes occur naturally in stone). Over time, these holes can grow bigger and ruin the appearance of your countertops. You should expect your travertine countertop and backsplash to stay looking good for decades as long as you care for them correctly.