An Introduction to Stone
Humans have used stone for thousands of years. First we fashioned crude tools and made bowls and knives. Then we moved on to obelisks and henges. As we progressed, stone became a valued building material for larger, more durable homes and fortifications. There would be no architecture and aguably, no interior design without stone and our knowledge of how to use it.
As the uses for stone increased so did our understanding of the properties of different types of stone. The techniques used to work with stone went through a process of evolution limited only by the ingenuity of the mason, the tools available to him and the type of stone he had to work with.
Because of the difficulties involved in moving large quantities of stone, the designs of stone buildings often had to make best use of locally available materials, although this was not always the case. For example, in 2011 it was discovered that the 'smaller' bluestone pieces used to build Stonehenge were transported from south west Wales. As we have shaped stone it has, because of the wide variants in its characteristics, played its part in the way our ancestors lived.
Stone is the most enduring of building materials, one that we value as a traditional decorative finish for floors and walls. Choosing the right type of stone is essential, not only to achieve the result you want but because you're likely to live with your choice for many years. It's a rare event for someone to have a stone floor taken up.
Like all stone, travertine is formed naturally under immense pressure. It's the result of a build up of carbonate minerals and is completely white when pure. Fortunately, the conditions under which travertine is formed give us a high probability of impurities such as fossils and fragments of other materials. This means travertine has a rich and varied colour palette ranging from white through creams, beiges, warm caramenl tones and browns. There are also travertines in all shades of grey called silver travertine.
Although we tend to consider travertine as a flooring material or a wall tile, it has been used as a building material for over 2000 years and is highly durable. If you any doubts on that bear in mind that travertine represents the majority of stone used to build the Coliseum in Rome, finished in 80 AD under the watch of Emperor Titus. Don't be concerned about it being a ruin either, because the damage was caused by earthquakes and stone thieves.
An better example is the amphitheatre at Pozzuoli. It's smaller and was completed around the same time yet even now stands almost completely intact and is testament to the longevity of travertine. As a floor, travertine is as durable as concrete. Properly installed and with a little maintenance, it will outlive the person buying it. Even if its appearance changes slightly over time, it will always be a pleasure to look at.
Take a look at our selection of beautiful travertine wall and floor tiles.