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Can You Use Travertine Tiles on Countertops?

Updated:2013-07-25 16:54:43

Kitchen countertops need to be functional as well as attractive. The ideal for every homeowner is to use a material that tones well with the color scheme of the room and is durable, scratch- and stain-resistant, and easy to clean and maintain. Travertine does not fit into this category; as a "soft" stone it damages easily, retains stains and shows acid etchings. It is used for countertops in Europe, however, where homeowners consider the marks that develop over time part of the "character" of the kitchen.

                                           


Travertine is a type of limestone, and is available in different degrees of density and hardness. The stone forms near hot springs. When gas bubbles are trapped against it, they create tiny holes that give it a "pitted" surface. Some travertine stones are more porous than others. You can fill the holes, or "pitting," with epoxy before finishing, giving the stone a more polished look. Alternatively, you can use it in its natural form and it will develop a smooth sheen over time.

Travertine Countertops

You can use travertine as a countertop, but according to the book "Tile Your World," it is not the ideal stone for this purpose. Like other types of limestone, travertine is easy to scratch and food acids such as lemon juice can damage it. It scratches easily, and because of its porosity, spilled liquids may soak in and leave a stain. In addition, the absorption of liquids can lead to the growth of bacteria in the stone unless you disinfect it regularly.
Travertine Maintenance

Polished travertine is less porous than honed travertine, but it still retains stains and etchings. Stone experts suggest that sealing helps to protect it, but you will have to re-seal travertine countertops regularly to maintain the finish and protect them from daily hazards. Seal it with a water-based or solvent-based sealer specially formulated for travertine.

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