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November 1, 2017

Travertine Driveway

Filed under: Travertine,Travertine Pavers,Travertine Tiles — Steve @ 1:15 pm

You’ve got a driveway to lay and you’re unsure of what size Travertine to choose?

The size you choose can really make a difference in the overall style when it comes to natural stone driveways, and really any location. Your Travertine options for your driveway include a stunning intricate French Pattern with a combination of sizes, including 610×406, 406×203, 406×406 and 203×203. Our French pattern comes pre-cut and packaged in an easy to lay manner and really adds character and interest to an area. When it comes to driveways an important aspect to keep in mind is: smaller is stronger, it isn’t recommended to be laying large 1000×1000 pavers on driveways with heavy traffic, so the French pattern with a combination or small-medium sizes is perfect!

Alternatively, those seeking a more traditional and classical design, the size 610×406 would suit perfectly. It can be laid in a straight bond pattern, brick bond, herringbone pattern and everything in between.

Travertine colours for pavers and tiles are available in various style options including Ivory, Silver, Nocé, Antique, Shell White, Pearl Grey and Classic, so there is an option to suit everyone, whether wanting the Shell White Travertine look of the Greek Islands or the Ivory Travertine to recreate to Roman Architecture in your own home, we have it at Stone and Slate Discounts.


October 24, 2016


Travertine Tiles Pavers

Travertine is a natural stone with beautiful variations. Sourced from quarries around the world, travertine brings a touch of nature to your home. With a wide range of styles and colors to choose from, you can easily find the perfect match for your interior and exterior flooring needs. For more travertine products, visit our travertine page.

Classic Travertine Tile Flooring

With more than 100 styles and colors of travertine tile to choose from, you can easily find the perfect match for your interior and exterior flooring needs.

A Time-Tested, Worldly Classic

Already established as one of the best-selling building materials on the market, travertine stone is becoming more popular every year. This elite, durable limestone is formed by mineral deposits from hot springs or limestone caves, and it’s cut from quarries around the world. The stone features classic, neutral colors and unique natural patterns that can give your kitchen, bathroom or other spaces an air of sophistication and elegance.

Give Your Home an Ageless Upgrade

Travertine is a sedimentary rock with a distinctive feel and texture and a rich architectural history. The Romans used it to build the Coliseum, and it’s also featured in the walls of castles, churches, monuments, bath complexes and aqueducts across the globe. The colors of natural travertine tile range from ivory and golden hues to salmons, soft beiges and browns.
Each tile is uniquely crafted by nature with striking patterns, crevices and distinctive veining. Travertine tile is available in various matte or glossy finishes; options include filled honed, unfilled honed, brushed, tumbled and polished. Using travertine flooring, you can create timeless, classic looks for your own corner of the world with a natural, neutral color palette that stands the test of time and fits any type of decor. Use it for interior floors, paved patios and garden paths.

Travertine Flooring Benefits

  • Affordable Luxury: Tiles deliver a rich look at a reasonable price.
  • Durability and Longevity: Natural stone is stronger than man-made tiles and provides decades of beauty.
  • Versatility: Travertine flooring blends easily with accent colors and virtually any decor style.
  • Adds Value: Stone flooring is a great investment that increases your home’s aesthetic appeal and market value.
  • Relatively Low-Maintenance: It’s easy to clean and only requires periodic resealing.
  • Practical Choice: Stone is a great option for high-traffic areas.
  • One-of-a-kind Looks: No two tiles are alike.
  • Easy to Work With: Tiles are easier to manipulate, especially when cutting small pieces.
  • Unglazed/Colored Throughout: Consistent color through every layer of the tile makes nicks and chips less visible.
  • Flexible Replacement: Natural variations in color make it easier to match replacement tiles.Travertine Outdoor Tiles
    travertine floor tilesclassico-travertine-tiles-around-a-swimming-pool
August 28, 2016


Walkways and driveways require a strong, durable material to hold up to heavy traffic without the need for frequent replacement. Natural granite pavers, available in colors ranging from grey and black to yellow and pink, provide a sturdy foundation that can last a lifetime when installed properly. Granite pavers for walkways and patios, which endure frequent foot traffic, require a minimum 10mm – 20mm thickness, while driveways need pavers at least 20mm thick to hold up to heavy vehicle traffic. Although granite pavers are much more expensive than alternative paving materials, their durability makes them well worth the initial investment.


Determine the desired finish height for the granite paver surface, then measure the paver thickness to factor into the excavation depth.


Mark the area for the pavers with landscaping spray paint; it helps to outline the area with a flexible garden hose before committing to the design with paint.


Calculate the excavation depth required for the project, adding the paver thickness, 25mm for a sand base, and 100mm – 150mm for a gravel base for walkways and patios or 150mm – 250mm inches for the gravel base for a driveway. A thicker base provides a more stable foundation and better drainage for the pavers; clay soils require a thicker base than sandy soil.


Excavate the area to the necessary depth as determined in your calculations. For example, a driveway with 30mm thick granite pavers on extremely clay, poorly-drained soil must be excavated to a depth of 400mm, allowing 100mm for paver thickness, 25mm for the sand base and 300mm for the gravel base to improve drainage. A walkway or patio with50mm thick pavers on clay soil requires only 175mm depth, allowing 50mm for paver thickness, 25 for the sand base and the minimum 100mm for the gravel base.


Grade the soil with a 1/2-to-1 percent slope to encourage water to run away from the paved area.


Pack the soil subsurface with a plate compactor until the area is smooth.


Fill the excavated area with the required amount of gravel or crushed rock, adding one-third of the gravel at a time. Choose base material with pieces 3/4-inch or smaller and that contains sharp edges and ground rock material for better compaction. Spread the base material evenly and check for level.


Pack the leveled base material with a plate compactor. Add the rest of the base material one-third at a time and pack it down between layers. Although you can add all the gravel or crushed rock at one time, the base material packs tighter when added in layers.


Add edging restraints to the edges of the area, using edging materials, such as lumber or polyvinyl paver restraints, to keep the pavers from shifting after installation. Secure the edging with 10-inch steel stakes spaced 2 feet apart for walkways and patios or 1 foot apart for granite paver driveways. Drive the spikes through the holes in polyvinyl paver restraints or along the outside of lumber restraints.


Add a 1-inch layer of coarse masonry sand over the compacted base layer and drag a two-by-four screed over the sand until level. Use the edge restraints as a guide to keep the sand in the boundaries.


Lay the granite pavers directly on the sand bedding in the desired pattern, spacing the pavers closely to prevent shifting in the future. If you must cut pavers to fit the outside edges, install the whole pieces in the inside area first.


Cut pavers as needed to fit within the paving area using a saw, such as a cutoff saw, with a diamond blade. Granite density and strength makes it difficult to cut, so a diamond blade is essential. You may find success with other types of saws outfitted with diamond blades, but a cutoff saw works especially well for pavers.


Pour fine sand, such as play sand or paver sand, over the granite paver surface and sweep the sand into the cracks between pavers. Spray the area with water to settle the sand, then add additional sand to fill in the cracks.


Run a plate compactor over the granite pavers to settle the pavers firmly in the sand bed and prevent shifting. Compact the pavers in a north-to-south direction, then go over the pavers again in an east-to-west direction.


Sweep any remaining sand or debris from the paver surface, then add sand binding sealant to the cracks between pavers, if desired, to reduce sand erosion further and prevent stains. As an alternative to sealants, fill the cracks with polymeric sand, which hardens similar to cement after getting wet.

Things You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Garden hose
  • Landscaping spray paint
  • Digging tools
  • Plate compactor
  • 3/4-inch gravel or crushed rock
  • Level
  • Edging restraints
  • 10-inch steel stakes
  • Hammer
  • Masonry sand
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Cutoff saw
  • Fine sand
  • Broom
  • Sand binding sealant


  • Milled granite often has a smooth side that becomes slippery when wet. To prevent slipping hazards, install the pavers with the smooth side down or heat the pavers with a torch to remove the smooth layer.


Travertine pavers give any homeowner the opportunity to own a patio, sidewalk or driveway that looks as if it were right out of a cathedral. Travertine pavers can add value to the home by being aesthetically pleasing. If you have a concrete patio, sidewalk, driveway or walls, you can make them look much better with travertine pavers. Installing travertine pavers on top of concrete saves you money while increasing value. The following article will show you how.

Step 1 – Clean the Concrete

The last thing you want is to have dirt and other debris sealed into mortar. It will not be visible, but it can cause the travertine pavers not to set properly. Sweep away any dust that may be on the surface of the concrete. Mix a few drops of soap into the water reservoir of a power washer and then spray down the concrete. Rinse out the reservoir, fill it with clean water and then rinse down the concrete. Allow the concrete to air dry. If this is inside the home, you could use a dehumidifier to hasten the drying process.

Step 2 – Apply Mortar

With the concrete dry, you can begin applying the mortar to the concrete. Since both concrete and mortar are porous, they will bond together. Install the mixing attachment to the drill and, using the instructions with the mortar, mix it in the bucket. You can also buy mortar that is already mixed. Always begin at the inside corners of the project. Apply the mortar to the concrete using the trowel and being generous with the amount that you use. Work in small sections so you do not give the mortar much time to begin its drying process. Use the trowel to spread the mortar out over the concrete as well as to give it some texture.

Step 3 – Place Travertine Pavers

Once the mortar has been spread out over the concrete, you can begin laying the pavers. Place the pavers in the corner, first making sure they are tight against the wall. If doing a driveway or sidewalk, then add extra mortar to the outside edge to compensate for the spreading of the mortar. Once the paver is in place, press down on it while wiggling it from side to side. This helps to spread out the mortar as well as allowing it to attach to the travertine pavers. Place the next paver, butting it up against the last. Continue adding mortar and pavers in this fashion until they are all placed.

Step 4 – Clean Up

As you are placing the pavers, you will notice mortar being expelled through the seams. Use the trowel to remove this excess mortar and place it back in the bucket for use later on. The mortar needs to cure for at least a full day prior to being walked on. It will be at least a week before the mortar is fully cured.

What You’ll Need
  • Power washer – gernie
  • Broom
  • Mild soap
  • Travertine pavers OR tiles
  • Trowel
  • Mortar Mix
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Drill
  • Mixing attachment for drill
  • Straight Edge or Level
  • Chalk Line
  • TIME – If no time allow approx $65-85 m2 for a professional paver to do the job.
August 8, 2016


Honed travertine tiles finish is best for travertine floors. This has a smooth, uniform surface with a matte finish. It causes less reflection of light than the polished finish and enhances indoor décor. The honed finish creates a comfortable floor surface. However, smooth honed travertine doesn’t have the glassy feel of polished travertine. This makes it easier to walk on, which helps if you have young children. The marble-like surface of polished travertine can easily trigger an accident because it gets slippery when wet.

You can add to the durability of your honed travertine tiles if you seal the floor periodically. This gives the tiles higher resistance to stains and scratches.

Travertine Tiles


Travertine Bathroom Tiles


Filed under: Travertine — Tags: , , , — Steve @ 1:27 pm

Travertine – The basic background information

When most people think of travertine they think of the Colosseum in Rome and its history of use over thousands of years, now this unique stone type has made a comeback – but what is it?
Travertine Mock up

How does Travertine differ from Limestone – Similar BUT different?

Although both are composed of calcium carbonate, travertine is different from limestone due to its mode of formation and structure. For limestone, the predominant source of calcite is from marine organisms that either die or secrete material that settles to the ocean floor. The limestone subsequently formed may be reinforced at a later date by secondary calcite provided from supersaturated waters.
Travertine owes its origins to limestone deposits that have been dissolved by warm carbon dioxide laden (slightly acidic) water. When this carbonate-saturated water resurfaces at springs, the change in pressure and temperature results in the release of the carbon dioxide causing precipitation and recrystallisation of the calcium carbonate. In most cases the precipitation settles on aquatic plants eventually encasing the vegetation within the newly formed stone producing the typical pores or spongy appearance.
The elongated cavities found in most travertine also change its physical structure and characteristics compared to limestone. Although most stone types have some form of ‘grain’ or rift which can vary the stones’ appearance to some degree, the porous structure of travertine can change the stone markedly when viewed in different orientations.

Colors of Travertine

Travertine is typically light cream to tan in colour although some localised deposits have been found to have a light grey-blue colouring. The stone can be produced in a range of finishes including polished, honed, sawn, tumbled and grit blasted.
As discussed earlier, travertine is a highly anisotropic material which gives the stone a distinctly different appearance depending on which way it is cut. Cutting travertine perpendicular to the bedding accentuates the grain and is identified as vein-cut.
The vein-cut finish exposes the natural elongated cavities within the stone which accentuate the texture of the stone but may also trap dirt and general grime. Filling the open cavities on one face of the slab with a cement or resin based filler makes cleaning easier by producing a consistent surface finish.
Travertine that is cut parallel to the bedding is called cross-cut. This orientation displays loose ‘flowery’ concentric blotches giving rise to the alternative name of fleuri-cut.

Travertine flooring and recommended aplications

Travertine is easy on the eye and soft to the touch making it a popular material for use inside and out. It is predominantly used as floor tiles, veneer cladding and paving. The natural cavities usually exclude the stone from use as bench top material although when filled with a durable epoxy or polyester could be used in areas that are predominantly dry.
Travertine is rarely used for monuments although its textural characteristics make it an interesting statuary and landscaping material. The stone is quarried in large block form. Finished unit thickness varies typically from 10 – 30mm with internal tiles typically 10mm, large format tiles and paving 20 – 30mm and external cladding 30mm thick.

Design Considerations

Both cross-cut and vein-cut are popular products and selection is usually based on the desired aesthetic. As there can be a significant difference in the strength between cross-cut and vein-cut travertine it is important to consider the static and live loads that may be imposed on the stone.
By definition, vein-cut exposes the vein and presents the material in its weakest condition although this can be offset to some degree by the use of square units or by ensuring the vein is oriented down the length of rectangular units.
The cavities in cross-cut travertine are oriented parallel to the slab which exposes fewer cavities than vein-cut. The random distribution of cavities means that occasionally cavities will lie just below the surface and can be exposed by being punched through by shoe heels or hard wheels on trolleys. In a commercial environment it should be expected that the occasional punch-through will occur and these can be repaired by use of a matching filler.
Like marble and limestone, travertine is etched by acidic substances such as wine, soft drinks and some liquid soaps. The application of an impregnating sealer will not prevent etching as they do not protect the surface of the stone. If the stone is likely to be exposed to acids the use of a honed or matt surface will make etching less conspicuous.

The physical specification requirement is primarily intended for evaluation of raw (unfilled) travertine although it provides valid criteria for evaluation of the many filled travertine products on the market. It is important to note that the flexural strength requirement in the specification is based on the testing of vein-cut travertine with the loaded applied across the grain which is the weakest orientation.
The ASTM specification is a useful guide for performance of travertine as flooring as the higher the density and lower the water absorption, the less likely the stone is to suffer from punch-throughs. Water absorption and flexural strength are the key performance indicators for this stone and should be evaluated closely throughout the project supply phase to ensure adequate performance in service.



A beginners guide to material selection
We have all been bamboozled by salespeople trying to explain the virtues of the latest product – whether it be a computer or a car.
Choosing stone need not be the same experience. By understanding stone’s basic properties you can make an educated decision when you are selecting stone for your next project.
The ‘right stone’ for your project needs to meet requirements based on appearance and performance. Selecting suitable flooring, for example, is firstly a matter of personal taste. One of the appealing aspects of using stone is how its unique character can be used to display your own distinctive personality.
The range of colours, textures and finishes available in stone now rivals the range available in more ‘traditional’ floor coverings. Like these coverings, choosing a stone that is durable and resistant to staining and wear is important. The first step is to understand the strengths and challenges of the various types of stone available.
Below is a brief beginner’s guide to the seven main stone types commercially available.

Stone Type: Sandstone

Formation and composition: A sedimentary rock composed predominantly of quartz usually cemented together with clay and/or fused with secondary silica which has been chemically deposited. Minor minerals containing iron and manganese (among others) give the stone its unique characteristics. The movement of these soluble minerals throughout the stone can produce banding or develop as a uniform colour.
Surface finishes: The typical gritty nature of sandstone precludes the development of a polished finish, but some dense materials can produce a honed finish. Coarser surface textures include sawn, sandblasted, bush hammer and rock-face.
Appearance: Typically white, gold or brown but also available in shades of red, purple, grey, green and black.
Common usage: Sandstone is commonly used as pedestrian paving, internal and external cladding, statuary and masonry construction.
Reasons for selection: Sandstone is a very versatile material that can easily be cut and transformed into just about any form imaginable. Most surface finishes will comply with the most rigorous slip resistance requirements. As sandstone doesn’t absorb heat rapidly, it tends to stay cool under foot and is therefore a good choice for entertaining areas.
Characteristics to consider: Some types of sandstone contain expansive clays which can be a problem when the stone is subjected to repetitive wet-dry cycles. These cycles can make the clay expand and contract leading to decay or bowing of the tiles. Sandstone has a relatively high water absorption (~2 – 8% by weight) which can make the stone sensitive to staining and salt attack. Sandstone generally has a low resistance to wear and tends to produce a gritty residue. This grit can be harmful to softer floor coverings such as marble or carpet.
Performance evaluation criteria: When selecting a particular type of sandstone it is important to ensure that it will perform in the intended location. Basic physical properties such as water absorption and density will assist in evaluation of stain resistance and durability. Compressive strength and modulus of rupture (3-point bending strength) allow evaluation of the stone’s performance under load. It is important to evaluate the strength of sandstone in both a wet and dry condition as sandstone can lose more than 50% of its strength when wet. Resistance to salt attack determines the degree and mode of decay when the stone is exposed to salt and frequent wetting and drying cycles. The dimensional stability test determines the linear expansion of the stone following soaking. The installation of unstable stone can lead to accelerated decay as well as ‘dishing’ or bowing of panels or tiles. Determining abrasion resistance is also of benefit if the stone is to be used as commercial paving.

Stone Type: Granite

Formation and composition: An igneous rock formed at depth. True granites contain quartz, mica and feldspar but in the commercial sense the term covers just about any igneous rock that will take a polish. The colour and texture of granite varies greatly and is dependent on the stone’s mineral composition and rate of cooling.

Appearance: The most versatile of materials. Granite can be processed to produce a wide range of finishes from a highly reflective polish to a rough exfoliated (flamed) surface. Other surface finishes include honed, sandblasted, antiqued and water-jet blasted.
Colour range: Granite covers the whole pallet of colours, from jet black to ice white. Other common colours are red, brown, green, grey, yellow-gold, blue. Granite, by definition is ‘granular’, but the grain size varies widely from less than 1mm to more than 5cm.
Common usage: Paving, internal and external cladding, wall and floor tiles, bench tops and monuments.
Reasons for selection: Granite could be considered the most durable stone type; it is generally strong and hard wearing. Granite has a relatively low water absorption capacity and combined with chemically inert minerals gives the stone good resistance to most stains.
Characteristics to consider: Dark coloured granites usually have a tendency to show oil stains. As dark colours tend to absorb more heat, it is important that expansion joints are properly designed especially where the materials is to be used in an exposed location. Light coloured stones are more likely to show rust stains, whether they are from an external source or from altered minerals within the stone. Poor extraction techniques (e.g. blasting) may introduce stress cracks into the granite which will weaken the stone.
Performance evaluation criteria: Water absorption and density are good indicators of the freshness and general strength of granite. Determining flexural strength (4-point bending strength) is vital to determine the suitability of a stone for use as large format cladding or paving. Coefficient of thermal expansion provides information on the linear expansion of the stone upon heating which can be used to determine the size and spacing of expansion joints. A thorough petrographic examination can be carried out to determine the ‘freshness’ of the stone, the presence of micro-cracks, or minerals that may cause staining at a later stage.

Stone Type: Limestone

Formation and composition: A sedimentary rock composed predominantly of calcium carbonate. Most limestone is formed by the deposition and compaction of marine fossil debris (e.g. shells, coral and bones) but freshwater and aeolian (wind blown) deposits are also known and available commercially.

Surface finishes: The density of limestone varies considerably and this affects the surface finishes available for different types of limestone. High density limestone (e.g. Jura from Germany) can be processed to produce a ‘satin’ honed finish. Coarser and less dense types of limestone are limited to a sawn or coarse-honed finish.
Appearance: Predominantly white, cream or tan sometimes with golden ‘highlights’ due to the presence of limonite (iron hydroxide). Limestone is also available in blue-grey, grey and black.
Common usage: Paving, internal and external cladding, floor and wall tiles.
Reasons for selection: Limestone is a sensual stone being pleasing to the eye as well as to the touch. It offers a range of subtle pastel and natural colours which blend in with today’s minimalist trend while still imbuing warmth. Most limestone is resistant to salt attack making it a good choice for pool surrounds.
Characteristics to consider: Because limestone is composed of calcium carbonate it is sensitive to acid which can dissolve the stone. On ‘polished’ or fine-honed surfaces this acid attack will leave unsightly etching marks on the surface. Limestone is relatively soft (compared to granite) and this can result in surface wear and loss of polish in high traffic areas – black limestone is particularly sensitive to tracking. Most types of limestone contain linear features (veins) known as stylolites. These features may be lined with clay which can weaken the stone, especially when wet leading to premature failure or surface spalling
Performance evaluation criteria: Water absorption, density, compressive strength, modulus of rupture, resistance to salt attack (for low density stone), dimensional stability, abrasion resistance, petrographic examination.

Stone Type: Travertine

Formation and composition: A sedimentary rock formed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate from mineral springs. The calcium carbonate is often deposited onto vegetation such as moss or algae which plays a part in developing the typical porous nature of the stone.

Surface finishes: Commercial travertine usually has a relatively high density; therefore it usually processed to produce a ‘satin’ honed finish. The material can be used with the pores unfilled or filled with a stable cementitious or polymer filler. Travertine can also be processed with textured finishes such as sandblasted or bush hammered finish.
Appearance: Predominantly white, cream or tan sometimes with subtle golden or blue-grey tones. The appearance of travertine can vary dramatically depending on how it is cut. Cutting travertine across the ‘grain’ highlights the tonal variations in the deposition layers and exposes the large, normally elongated pores. Material slabbed in this fashion is called vein-cut. If the travertine is cut parallel, or along the grain, the variations in the layers are presented as a flowery, blotchy or circular pattern – this slabbing orientation is called cross-cut or fleuri cut.
Common usage: Internal and external cladding, floor and wall tiles.
Reasons for selection: The unique patterning and texture of travertine has been admired for thousands of years. Travertine is generally a dense and durable material that is soft to the touch and stays cool under foot which makes it a good choice for barefoot areas such as bathrooms or pool surrounds.
Characteristics to consider: If used unfilled, the characteristic porous nature of travertine can lead to entrapment of dirt and grime. Although travertine is a relatively strong material, the elongated pores within vein-cut travertine can cause a considerable reduction in flexural strength compared to cross-cut material. Like limestone, travertine is composed of calcium carbonate and is therefore sensitive to acid attack.
Performance evaluation criteria: Water absorption, density, flexural strength and abrasion resistance.

Stone Type: Marble

Formation and composition: A metamorphic rock composed predominantly of calcite formed from limestone after the application of heat and/or pressure. Commercially, the term is also used for types of high density limestone that will take a polish.

Surface finishes: The high density and low porosity of marble allows it to be processed to a high polish. Other surface finishes available are honed, sawn and sandblasted.
Appearance: Typically white, often with some minor veining but also available in colours such as black, blue-grey, red and pink. Marble is generally very fine grained although some types with large grains (+5cm) are available.
Common usage: Paving, internal and external cladding, bench and vanity tops, floor and wall tiles.
Reasons for selection: Its translucent nature and pearly lustre is unique and no other material suggests elegance like marble. The range of materials available allows selection of uniform colours, subtle veining or a dramatic mosaic effect.
Characteristics to consider: Most types of marble are composed predominantly of calcium carbonate and are therefore sensitive to acid attack. Marble is also relatively soft making it sensitive to scratching and surface wear. The use of textured finishes in high traffic areas is likely to polish leading to a reduction in slip resistance. Some types of marble have been known warp when used externally as large format panels.
Performance evaluation criteria: Water absorption, density, compressive strength, flexural strength, dimensional stability, petrographic examination.

Stone Type: Slate

Formation and composition: A fine grained metamorphic rock that has developed a foliation (sheet like layers) due to the pressure imposed upon it. Slate is mainly composed of quartz and muscovite with lesser amounts of chlorite, hematite and pyrite. Other trace minerals that have an effect on the stone’s colour may be present.

Surface finishes: The natural foliation of the slate is used to produce a rough split-face finish. Some slates can also be produced with a honed, sawn or bush hammered finish.
Appearance: Typically various shades of grey although black, green, red and purple materials are also commercially available.
Common usage: Wall, floor and roof tiles, internal and external paving. Massive slates can be processed to produce bench or billiard table tops.
Reasons for selection: The natural split-face finish of slate makes it a relatively simple material to process that is highly slip resistant. Its low porosity and chemically inert composition make it stain resistant and is a popular and durable choice for indoor and outdoor paving.
Characteristics to consider: Some slate contains pyrite which may decay to iron oxide and leave rust stains. Poor quality slates may delaminate (split) or soften with age leading to failure. Many types of slate are not calibrated (processed to an exact thickness) which requires additional work when laying to produce a level surface.
Performance evaluation criteria: Water absorption, density, modulus of rupture, resistance to acid attack.

Stone Type: Bluestone

Formation and composition: Bluestone is a loose term covering a range of stone types that are not easily dressed such as sandstone (classed as a ‘freestone’). In Victoria, basalt is known as bluestone while in South Australia the term refers to a range of metamorphic rocks including schists and siltstone. Porphyry quarried in Queensland could also be classed as bluestone.

Surface finishes: Most types of bluestone are marketed with ‘natural’ split or rock face finishes. Victorian bluestone (basalt) is usually used with a sawn finish. Some bluestone products are also available with honed and sandblasted finishes.
Appearance: Victorian bluestone is black to dark grey-blue while South Australian bluestone is predominantly grey-blue with ‘autumn’ colour highlights. Porphyry is available in grey-blue tones as well as golden autumn colours. Victorian bluestone is characterised by large pores called vesicles but commonly known as ‘cats paws’.
Common usage: Bluestone is processed as cubic material for masonry construction and also as setts or flags for pedestrian and vehicular paving. Victorian bluestone can be sawn into calibrated slabs and tiles for use as paving and cladding.
Reasons for selection: Bluestone is a group of stone materials that is generally considered to be strong, dense, durable and stain resistant. In Victoria and South Australia, bluestone is seen as an integral part of the local history and the earthy colour range is effectively used to blend the contemporary and natural environments.
Characteristics to consider: Most types of bluestone are not calibrated during processing therefore significant thickness variations needs to be taken into account during installation.
Performance evaluation criteria: Water absorption, density, modulus of rupture, secondary mineral content.

August 5, 2016


Travertine colors, finishes, and more

The natural shades of travertine ranges from soft ivory and pale creamy white to rich golden shades of walnut and honey, silvery greens, rustic reds, and deep mocha coffee shades. Since travertine is a natural stone and the colors depend on local mineral and organic materials, the tiles are never a single solid color, although some travertine varieties are more consistent in color. Colors in each tile will vary with mottling and veins or bands of contrasting color throughout the stone. Each stone has unique character and style, although stones quarried from the same area will have enough overall similarity to create a beautiful floor.


Travertine Colors

beige travertine tiles

Beige Travertine Tile

  • Walnut – a variety of mid range browns from dark tan to milk chocolate
  • Noce – shades of walnut that range from medium gold to dark coffee
  • Chocolate – deep, rich dark brown
  • Silver – light ivory tiles with a hint of gray that creates a silvered appearance.
  • Philadelphia – earthy, medium range tan colors with a high degree of natural striation
  • Gold – rich shades of golden honey
  • Light – pale cream or ivory
  • Navona – very light beige (almost white) with a rustic, antique appearance
  • Emerald – pale shades with a greenish tinge
  • Emerald Light –  Pale green veins on white background
  • Onyx Light – Honey yellow onyx veins on white background
  • Mina Rustic  – Blend of beige and walnut and has some yellow and black veins. Has more variation comparing the other colors
  • Mina Dark- One tone darker than Beige, it can be described as “Light Walnut”
  • Scabos – a highly variegated degree of colors ranging from light honey to dark rust
  • Durango – cloudy ivory and light khaki tile speckled with tiny black dendrites
  • Red – travertine that contains a high rust content can range from a pale rust to a vibrant scarlet
  • Rosa – a deep rose pink mottled with cream
  • Gray – a heavily striated dark gray travertine
  • Classico – a uniform color and patterning that resembles natural cork
  • Beige – ranging in color from lightest ivory to pale fawn

Travertine Finishes

Tumbled Travertine Tile

Tumbled and Unfilled Travertine

  • Polished – The travertine is smoothed and polished to a shiny, reflective surface similar to marble. This finish is most common in commercial applications.
  • Honed – A honed finish is flat and satiny smooth with a low-shine matte finish. Honed travertine is the most popular choice for home use.
  • Brushed – Brushed travertine has slightly rough texture and a matte finish. More antique and is less slippery compared to honed or polished finish
  • Saw Cut  – A flat, very matte finish with no honing or polish. No further finishing after being cut with the wet saw.
  • Tumbled – Tumbled travertine is the most natural finish, resulting in a highly textured finish with no shine and edges that are rounded with a worn appearance that resembles ancient stone. Tumbled travertine is most often found in outdoor installations.

Travertine Filling

  • Unfilled – Travertine in its naturally porous state with naturally occurring holes.
  • Filled – Most commonly, the porous holes in travertine are filled with a mixture of a hardener like cement and dust byproducts from the cutting and honing process for a perfect color match.

Travertine Tile Thickness

Standard travertine tile thicknesses are 3/8″, 1/2″, 5/8″ for tiles and 1 1/4″ for pavers the recommended thickness varies depending on the type of travertine and the intended purpose.

Custom thickness can be cut to exact measurements, bearing in mind that the thinner travertine is cut, the more its tensile strength diminishes.

Travertine Tile Sizes

Travertine comes in many different sizes ranging from small pieces suitable for mosaic tiles to large-scale tiles suitable for installation in commercial building lobbies. Since travertine is a natural stone and color depends on the influences of local nature and minerals, not every color will be available in every size. It is more difficult to mine large, consistent pieces from some areas.

Some of the more common sizes are:

Antique Pattern
French/Villa Pattern
Small Pattern

Patterns are mixes of different sized tiles designed to be used together.

Antique Pattern:

Also known as Meandros pattern, sets include tiles in the following proportions:

1 pcs 16″x24″, 2 pcs 16″x16″, 1 pcs 8″x16″, 2 pcs 8″x8″.

Antique Pattern Tile layout

Antique Pattern Tile Layout

French or Villa or Versailles Pattern:

Villa Pattern sets include tiles in the following proportions:

2 pcs 16″x24″, 6 pcs 16″x16″, 4 pcs 8″x16″, 4 pcs 8″x8″.

Villa Tile Pattern Sample

Villa Tile Pattern Sample

Villa Pattern Tile Layout Sample

Villa Pattern Tile Layout Sample

Small Pattern:

Small Pattern sets include tiles in the following proportions:

1 pc 12”x18”, 2 pcs 12”x12”, 1 pc 6”x12”, 2 pcs 6”x6”

Edge Detail

Brushed & Chiseled Edge Travetine Tile

Brushed & Chiseled Edge Travertine Tile

  • Chiseled Edge – Natural stone with rustic chiseling around the edges. Travertine can be hand or machine chiseled. Machine chiseling is most common because it is less expensive and very consistent. Hand chiseled cuts are more random in size and placement.
  • Tumbled Edge – Tumbling travertine produces a rough, textured finish with rounded corners for a naturally aged appearance.
  • Straight Edge – Sharp 90° corners and edges.
  • Chamfered, eased edge, or beveled – A 90° edge that has been eased by angling tiny portion of the edge to make two 45° angles that fit together.
  • Pillowed Edge – Pillowed edge refers to a rounded bullnose edge all around the tile.
August 3, 2016

Travertine and ALL natural stone, should I seal it? – “How to series”


One of the most common questions regarding the sealing of tile, grout and natural stone is, “Do we need to seal?” The answer is that all stone and tile products –even porcelain tile –benefits from sealing. There is a broad range of elements that can penetrate or hold to the surface, including grout, dyes, polyester resins, epoxy resins, oil, water, etc.

Many products on the market have been designed to beautify and “protect” the surfaces of stone, tile and grout, including sealers, finishes, color enhancers and waxes. As the name implies, sealers actually seal the surface tight against chemicals, water and other contaminants. Normally, a finish is placed on top of a sealer. Sealers typically are not vapor permeable and can be semi-permanent and hard to repair.

Sealers can be water-based or solvent-based. Most water-based sealers cannot be used outside.


Finishes are coatings that incorporate acrylic polymers, synthetic polymerized waxes and natural waxes. These products form a hard, transparent film. They are typically applied to a surface after it has been sealed. The solids content normally dictates cost. Finishes range from 8 to 38% solids content. The higher the solids, the more difficult to use, and the more expensive it is.

Most finishes in high-traffic areas require daily maintenance of cleaning, mopping and restoring with a high-speed buffing. Typically, finishes have a limited life span of a few weeks to one year before complete stripping and re-coating is required. Stripping of sealers and finishes can do much of the damage associated with top coating natural stone.

Finishes are normally used inside away from sun, wind and rain. Typically, finishes are hard to repair and must be stripped or re-coated. They also lack vapor permeability.


Waxes are normally comprised of naturally occurring elements such as carnuba, montan, ozokorite and beeswax. These elements are heated and emulsified to desired solids content ranging from 8 to 40%. Waxes are soft materials and require buffing to obtain gloss. Waxes have low durability and may require multiple applications. Most waxes are vapor permeable and can be easily applied and repaired when scratched or damaged.

Color enhancers

These products are topical coatings in the truest sense of the word. Typically, these products are acrylics and modified acrylics with lower solids and lower viscosity. They tend to penetrate more deeply than a traditional topical coating. Color enhancers can also be more durable, allow vapor transmission and many can be used outside in the elements. As with most products, color enhancers are available in both solvent-based and water-based formulas.

Stripping coatings

In most instances, solvent-based coatings are not compatible with water-based coatings. In addition,

it typically takes a solvent-based stripper to remove a solvent-based coating and a water-based stripper to remove a water-based coating. It is important to keep similar chemicals applied to the same surface. Should a mix occur, an adhesion challenge may take place and although it may look and feel correct, the end result will cause the coatings to separate.

Impregnators/penetrating sealers

These products are surface treatments that will not change the natural look of the substrate. Impregnators will not show scratching or scuffing and do not require constant attention to maintain the quality of finish. Re-application of an impregnator can range from six months to 20 years, depending on the manufacturer, substrate and surface location.

Impregnators are typically low molecular weight polymers formulated to penetrate below the surface. To accomplish this feat, monomers are simply hydrolyzed in the presence of solvent or water. The low viscosity allows complete wetting of the particles or fibers within the given substrate. When the carrier of solvent or water evaporates, the impregnator reacts to leave a long-lasting, invisible barrier of protection from the elements.

There are three basic ways the impregnator works. With water-based impregnators, the water evaporates and leaves behind a film. This film changes the angle of contact between liquid and the solid surface that has been treated. The greater the angle of contact between the liquid and the solid, the more difficult it is to penetrate the solid.

The impregnator film also reduces surface tension, making it more difficult for most liquids to penetrate the solid surface. This change in surface tension also creates the “beading” action that customers are so fond of.

With solvent-based impregnators, there is an added benefit of a cross-link phenomenon that creates a “barrier.” This added barrier virtually eliminates any penetration of liquids.

For these three reasons, products that best protect stone and tile against water and oil stains contain complex and unique polymers and co-polymers.

Solvent-based impregnators vs. water-based impregnators

The only way to protect the substrate is to penetrate it with something that will carry the protection into it. The protection can come from silicones, silanes, siloxanes and various polymers and co-polymers. Nevertheless, it has to be carried into the substrate, and it will typically use one of two carriers: solvent or water.

Typically, solvents will allow varied and deeper penetration into the substrate than water. The curing process, which is a result of evaporation, can be adjusted by using different solvents. Solvent-based impregnators can be cross-linked, allow a wider temperature window for application, have better durability, and are typically unaffected by exposure to cold during application, storage and shipment.

Water is hydroscopic and will hold out on the surface. The protection cannot penetrate any deeper than the water will. The protection can only be in place when the water evaporates. For many dense surfaces, like porcelain tile and polished granite, water will not penetrate very deeply (if at all) and the protection is left at the surface with poorer durability over the long term. Any polymer can be emulsified, but unlike solvent-based products, water-based products cannot be cross-linked to give best performance.

Water-based products are typically lower in toxicity and have little or no smell as compared to similar solvent-based products. Contrary to some beliefs, water-based products are no easier to use or apply than comparable solvent-based products. In some instances, they can present difficult challenges when removal is necessary.

Different protection sources

The most common protection sources of an impregnator come from the silicone family and the fluropolymer family. Silicones are any group of semi-organic polymers containing chains of alternate silicon and oxygen atoms, characterized by wide-range thermal stability and used in adhesives, lubricants, protective coatings and synthetic rubber. Silicones can actually last longer that the substrate they have been applied to. Unaffected by outside elements, they can only be damaged by temperatures of +900 to +1,200 degrees F or by exposing them to a very strong caustic solution.

Co-polymers and fluropolymers are relatively new to the tile and stone industry. Usually, these products consist of long-chained molecules that contain fluorine and carbon. Because fluorine is electronegative, it is not found occurring naturally in the earth. Rather, it is always combined with something else. By extracting fluorine and then combining it with carbon, one can achieve many desired properties when such a material is applied to a substrate. These raw materials have been utilized in the fabric and textile industry for many years.

As a rule, silicone-type products repel water very well and are weaker at oil repellency, and fluropolymer-type products are weak at repelling water but good for repelling oil. It is difficult to achieve both, and most products on the market sacrifice in one area or the other. Research will find that just a few products that actually work well at repelling both elements over the long term.

Do not be misled by the unit cost of the product you are considering. There is a wide range of prices on the products available. We suggest using the cost-per-square-meter to determine which product is more expensive. Expect to pay between $60 per litre and covers 10m2 per litre, and another product costs $90 but covers 10m2 per litr. (depends solely on which suburb you shop in)

To ensure that a product will perform as promised, request independent backup for all claims made by any company. It is very simple for manufacturers to supply their products to independent labs for testing. If the results favor the specific needs of an application, then test the products yourself.

Which surfaces benefit?

Surfaces that will benefit include: grout, quarry tile, ceramic tile, some glazed tile, some porcelain tile, marble, granite, travertine, limestone, slate, brick, terrazzo, quartz, sandstone, flagstone, concrete, masonry, saltillo, terra-cotta, cantera and all types of natural and cast tile and stone products.

An impregnator will resist water, oils, grease, mold, mildew, algae, efflorescence, graffiti, grout dyes, epoxy grout film, cement grout film, mortar haze, acid rain, atmospheric dirt, lime deposits, soap scum and other penetrating items. In addition, many impregnators make the surface less slippery, harder, and allow 100% vapor transmission.

It is also important to note that while kitchens and restrooms represent approximately 10% of a facility, they are used by 100% of the occupants and visitors and cause more than 80% of the facility complaints. This is an important factor when considering that these areas typically utilize stone and tile.

Uses for impregnators include but are not limited to: grout release, kitchen floors and counters, showers, baths, driveways, pool areas, garages, restaurants, cafeterias, grocery and meat markets, loading dock areas, exterior walkways (to minimize damage associated with freeze/thaw) and buildings exteriors (to resist weather and acid rain). In addition to residential applications, sealers have been successfully used at hospitals, schools, government facilities, airports, train and bus stations, hotels, quarries, industrial plants, laboratories, service stations, bridge abutments, historical sites and shopping malls.

August 2, 2016

Installation of travertine tiles and pavers – “How to Series”

The following procedure is for the installation of Natural Stone Travertine Tile for Flooring. It may be used over any wood or cement floor that is structurally sound and dry. In new home constructions where plywood is used as a sub floor, it is suggested that an underlayment or backer board needs to be attached to the sub floor to insure rigidity where travertine floors will be installed.

Step 1

Clean area where travertine is to be installed. In the case of smooth painted or varnished floors, it is necessary to sand with a very coarse sand paper to assure a good mastic bond.

Step 2

Lay out the travertine to understand pattern choices. For multi-color travertine, blend tile randomly to give proper blend of colors as color vary from tile to tile.

Installation of travertine tiles

Step 3

Using a notched 10mm notch trowel, hold at a 45° angle to be sure a full ridge is made with the notches. Spread thinset on the floor starting at a far corner so you can back out of the room as your proceed. Spread just enough area so you can reach over it to place the travertine.Spread a good amount of thinset on the floor. Adding or taking away thinset will ensure that all the tiles are evenly set

Step 4

Maintain a grout space between the pieces as recommended by the travertine supplier (3-5mm) depending on the size of the tiles. To do these accurately, use spacers. Travertine may also be laid without joints, in which case edges are then butted against one another, only if the material is honed or polished, however we recommend 2-3mm joint.

Step 5

Each piece of travertine should be firmly pressed into the adhesive to secure a good bond, back buttering of the tile is also recommended.

Step 6

After all travertine is set in place – allow at least 24-36 hours depending on weather conditions, for drying before grouting joints.

Step 7

Travertine tile can be easily cut with a wet saw using a diamond blade.

Grouting and Cleaning

1.Have all equipment and material clean. Clean all joints and surface of the travertine. Applying clear sealer or enhancer is recommended on travertine before grouting, so that the grout color does not penetrate the travertine tiles. Use clear sealer or enhancer as a grout release to insure a clean surface.

Using a Clear Sealer or Enhancer is a personal choice.

2. Add water slowly while mixing to get the texture of damp sand mix grout according to the manufacturer specs, and apply with a grout float to press grout deeply between the joints. Mix only enough grout to be used in about 30 minutes or difficulty will result in hardening in the pail.

3.Apply mix to joints with a grout float making certain that the joint is completely filled with mix.

4.Trowel or wipe off surplus grout from travertine with a damp sponge. Rinse several times with clean water, changing the water as often as necessary so it remains clear. It is very important to do this as you go along.

5.After grout has set hard to the touch, clean surface of travertine and along grout line by rubbing briskly with a clean piece of cloth.

6. Let joints harden for three days.

7.Wash floor completely again by freely applying fresh clean water with sponge on the entire flooring and sponging dry.


Applying clear sealer or enhancer is recommended after installation to seal the travertine tiles and the grout lines using the same sealer used as a grout release prior to grouting, wipe off all excess sealer so there is no fogging.

Using the same sealer used as grout release prior to grouting, to seal the floor, apply the 2nd coat on the tiles and grout, wipe of all excess sealer so there is no fogging.

Sealing travertine is necessary, it is a matter of choice – whether you choose to retain the natural beauty of the travertine or apply a chemical sealer that is available in a shiny or matte finish. Sealers may be purchased at retail stone dealers.

HELPFUL HINTS: Do not apply a sealer over wet, waxed or oiled travertine.

1.Apply sealer with a large clean cloth or with a paint pad. Apply in a thin coat. Sealer or enhancer will dry to the touch within two hours, however, it is advisable to stay off the floor for 24 hours.

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