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Travertine Basics

Decorating expert Bea Pila explains why travertine limestone is a great choice for any room.

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Travertine Basics:

1. Travertine is a natural stone with a very distinctive appearance. What makes it so unique is its warm, aged look. While marble and granite can sometimes give off a cold, harsh feel...travertine is just the opposite. This stone is very porous with many visible holes and cavities.

2. Travertine has a rustic, casual feel that works well in a kitchen, but works just as well in a formal living room. The fact is travertine is usable in multiple areas. It helps rooms flow together and creates the illusion of more space.

3. There are several important differences when comparing travertine to marble and granite. First, travertine is somewhat limited in its shades and colors. It's mostly found in the beige, brown or gold families. Secondly, unlike marble or granite, travertine may not be the best choice for countertops and islands. Highly acidic substances like orange juice, wine, or even coffee can leave etch marks and over time can damage the surface.

4. It is important to seal travertine. Even though it’s very porous, with the proper sealants, travertine can even be used on bathroom floors. Travertine gives a very warm and luxurious feel to a master bath and helps create the feeling of being in a spa.
Tip: You can install travertine yourself and the tiles come in a wide range of sizes--from 4x4 on up. Just make sure the stone supplier helps you choose. Also, apply the right sealer to match the tile.

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