Travertine the Durable and Elegant Natural Stone

When it comes to designing or renovating your living space, it is our strong recommendation to opt for materials that are both durable and sophisticated.

Natural stones, such as the elegant travertine, perfectly embody these qualities. Interior designers & contractors are well aware that incorporating stone surfaces into your property is a wise investment, capable of increasing its overall value.

The versatility of natural stone knows no bounds in terms of types, applications, and finishes. You have a myriad of options at your disposal, tailored to factors such as anticipated daily usage, design preferences, maintenance considerations, and budgetary constraints. Among the impressive array of choices including slate, granite, marble, and other alluring stones, travertine stands out as a perennial favorite. However, it is important to note that even this resilient material can exhibit signs of wear over time.

Discovering the Marvel of Travertine

Travertine, a luxurious sedimentary stone primarily comprised of calcium carbonates, forms in the magnificent geothermal environments of hot springs, geysers, and limestone caves. Its color spectrum stretches from tranquil neutrals such as white, beige, and chestnut to lively tones of pink and red, the latter showcasing an elevated iron content.

Travertine emerges as an excellent choice for both residential and commercial spaces, boasting exceptional durability, low density, and a porous structure conducive to effective thermal and sound insulation. It is equally at home indoors, gracing living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, floors, walls, backsplashes, and counters, as well as outdoors, adorning entryways, pool areas, and more. Unquestionably, travertine stands as a symbol of luxury in the realm of natural materials, offering superb value for your investment. It stands up admirably to high traffic areas, requires relatively straightforward maintenance, and comes in an array of exquisite finishes.

A Journey Through Travertine Finishes

Natural travertine, characterized by its distinctive holes and pits, endows surfaces with an engaging rugged texture, ensuring that no two tiles are identical. The classification of travertine hinges on whether these pits have been filled. After quarrying, the stone undergoes various finishes, yielding four primary ready-to-install options:

Tumbled: This finish boasts the most rugged texture, resulting in a non-reflective surface. It exudes an aged, weathered appearance, achieved by tumbling the tiles in a rubber drum filled with water, sand, and rocks. This process softens the tile’s surface and gently rounds the edges.

Brushed: Akin to tumbled travertine, the brushed finish offers a highly textured appearance, achieved through the use of a wire brush. It tends to exhibit muted colors and a subdued sheen.

Honed: The most prevalent finish, honed travertine presents a dulled, almost matte luster. Achieved by polishing the stone flat, it exudes a rustic yet refined charm.

Polished: This finish is characterized by its smooth, flat surface and high-gloss shine. Polished travertine typically showcases richer colors and remarkable stain resistance, though it can be somewhat slippery.

Understanding Travertine’s Vulnerabilities

Despite its resilience, travertine is not impervious to the ravages of wear and tear or inadvertent damage. Several types of harm can befall travertine surfaces:

Etching: Occurring when acidic substances penetrate the stone, etching corrodes the surface. Acids found in substances like wine, vinegar, coffee, or acidic cleaners can cause whitish stains or spots.

Staining: Stains result when a substance permeates the stone, leaving behind a darker mark.

Scratching: Sharp or heavy objects dragged across travertine surfaces pose a substantial risk of scratching or denting.

Mold and Mildew: Consistent exposure to moisture can foster the growth of mold and mildew on travertine surfaces.

Grime Buildup: Particularly evident on pitted travertine, small cracks and pits on the surface can accumulate grime even with proper maintenance.

Mineral Deposits: White, scaly-looking stains often form in areas with hard tap water, where soap residue combines with minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Fortunately, all these forms of damage can be effectively remedied through professional restoration, including travertine honing and polishing. At Statewide Stone Care in NYC, we specialize in these procedures and are eager to share our expertise with you.

5-star-review stone nyc

Essential Travertine Care Tips

Maintaining travertine surfaces requires a consistent care routine. Here are some straightforward yet highly effective tips to keep your travertine in pristine condition:

For flooring, employ a soft broom or a dry dust mop for sweeping. Alternatively, use a handheld canister vacuum cleaner, avoiding tough brooms that might scratch the surface. Daily dry cleaning is recommended for optimal maintenance.

When cleaning any travertine surface, use a high-quality neutral cleaner explicitly labeled as safe for natural stone. Refrain from using over-the-counter cleaning products containing acidic substances, as they can lead to etching and damage.

For routine maintenance, a combination of warm water, mild cleaners, and a microfiber rag or mop suffices. Wipe the surface with this mixture, followed by drying it with a dry microfiber rag or mop. A weekly mop is generally adequate.

In the event of a spill, promptly wipe it up to prevent staining or etching.

Safeguard your floors with carpets and rugs, and invest in rubber protectors for furniture. Employ placemats, coasters, caddies, and trivets on kitchen counters, while using vanity trays for bathroom surfaces and protecting mantlepieces with placemats.

Twice a year, consider deep-cleaning your floors and other surfaces using an automatic scrubber or a vapor steam cleaner.

After each use, squeegee your travertine shower and ensure proper bathroom ventilation to prevent moisture-related issues.

Periodically inspect your tiles and grout for cracks, discoloration, or chipping every six months. Should you encounter any issues, seek professional assistance.

Extend the longevity of your travertine surfaces by applying a sealant to the stone.

Importance of Professional Travertine Cleaning

Ensuring the longevity and luster of your travertine surfaces hinges on the critical importance of professional cleaning. Over time, travertine can fall victim to a myriad of issues, including etching, staining, and grime buildup, which can diminish its aesthetic appeal. Professional cleaning not only removes these imperfections effectively but also helps to preserve the stone’s natural beauty and durability. Experts possess the knowledge, tools, and techniques necessary to tackle stubborn stains, restore faded finishes, and rejuvenate the overall appearance of travertine surfaces. Furthermore, professional cleaning safeguards against potential damage that may occur during DIY cleaning attempts, ensuring that your investment in travertine remains a source of pride and value for years to come.

How Often Should You Seal Your Countertops?


Having natural stone countertops in your kitchen or bath can be a beautiful way to add value and luxury to your home. But stone surfaces are also porous, which means that moisture can seep into the stone, eventually causing staining and discoloration over time from everyday use. If that happens, the problem typically has to be fixed by refinishing the surface. Applying a sealant periodically can prevent this issue and extend the life of your stone. Stone sealers add a barrier of protection so moisture can’t seep into the stone underneath, thereby preventing staining. The question is: how often should you seal your countertops?

The answer is different for everyone because a number of factors are involved. Granite and marble sealing, for example, should happen at a different rate than limestone or travertine. Let’s take a closer look at these factors so that you can determine when it’s time to reseal your granite, marble, or other stone and tile counters for optimal protection.

Factors to Consider When Sealing Your Countertops

Let’s start by looking at the individual factors that can increase or decrease the rate of wear-and-tear on various natural stone surfaces.

Type of stone. The type of stone you have affects the frequency with which you need to seal it. Harder stones like granite and slate are denser and less porous than softer stones such as limestone and marble. Therefore, granite surfaces generally require sealing less often than their softer counterparts.

Color/shade of the stone. As a rule of thumb, lighter-colored stone surfaces tend to be more porous and require resealing more often–even among countertops of the same type of stone. Plan on resealing a lighter-colored granite countertop more frequently than a dark granite slab, for example.

Amount of use. How often you use your countertops can also affect how quickly sealant wears off. High-use areas such as kitchen counters, bathroom vanities, and bar tops may require more frequent sealing than surfaces used only occasionally.

Type of sealant. Some sealants are designed to last longer than others; however, they can be more expensive. If you’re using a lower-grade sealant, you may need to reapply it more often.

Frequency of cleaning. If you tend to leave spills and water droplets standing on the countertop, this can wear down the sealant more quickly. You can make the sealer last longer by cleaning spills as they happen and by cleaning your granite, marble or travertine countertops regularly with gentle dish soap and water, then drying the excess water quickly so it doesn’t stand on the surface.

Environment. Outdoor kitchens with stone countertops must be resealed more often than countertops indoors, for example, due to the wear-and-tear of the elements, the freeze-thaw cycles of wintertime, etc.

How to Tell When It’s Time to Reseal Your Stone Countertops (The Water Test)

Many home and business owners assume “more is better” when it comes to resealing, but that’s not always the case. Over-sealing with multiple layers can actually leave your stone surfaces with an unattractive “hazed” look that is difficult to remove.

The best way to tell when your countertops need to be resealed is the “water test.” Here’s how it works: simply pour a tablespoon of water onto your stone countertop and wait about 30 minutes. If the water beads up on the surface, you’re good–the sealant is still there and doing its job. If, however, the water is absorbed into the stone and darkens it, then you know it’s time to seal your stone.

How Often Each Type of Stone Countertop Should be Sealed

Remember, there’s no hard and fast rule for how often you should re-seal your stone countertops. All different factors need to be considered, including how much use the countertops get, whether the countertops are indoors or outdoors, etc. That said, the following are some general recommended ranges for how often to have a sealant reapplied. Plan on more frequent resealing for high-use or outdoor surfaces, and less frequent for low-use, indoor surfaces, and so on.


Marble is one of the most popular stone surfaces, but it’s also higher maintenance due to its porosity and light color. For regular use, plan to schedule marble resealing every 3-6 months.


Granite is one of the densest and least porous of the natural stones used for countertops. You can plan to seal your granite countertops about once every 1-2 years.


Like granite, slate is a dense and fairly non-porous stone. For best results plan on resealing every 1-2 years depending on usage.


Limestone tends to be light, soft, and very porous, similar to marble. Plan on resealing at least once a year, or every six months with heavy use.


Travertine countertops tend to be dense, durable, and low-maintenance. Resealing every 1-2 years usually works for these countertops.

Are Your Countertops Ready to Be Sealed?

Many stone sealing products are available for do-it-yourselfers, but for the best finish and an even, long-lasting seal, it’s best to have the sealant applied by a trained stone care professional. At Statewide Stone Care, our technicians are highly trained in sealing all types of natural stone, including granite and marble sealing, slate, limestone, and others. We can also do a free evaluation of your stone countertops to give more specific advice on how often you should schedule re-sealing based on the type of stone and the amount of use. For a free estimate, contact us today.