Are You Thinking About Travertine for Your New Patio?

Understanding what Travertine is, its strengths and weaknesses, and how it reacts in different areas, is something Deck and Patio’s Outdoor Living Expert, Bill Renter, has discussed with stone experts from around the world. He has also studied existing Travertine projects over a period of years to see what actually holds up — and what doesn’t — in our climate.

Travertine natural stone has been in existence for thousand of years. It comes in many different colors, ranging from reddish orange, beige, to white, and is sometimes mistaken for marble. Italian Travertine, revered for its hardness and porosity, is what the Coliseum in Rome was constructed of, so the durability of Italian Travertine is not in question, although it can be expensive.

However, Travertine is quarried from around the globe and is widely used beyond Italy —  mostly in tropical locations for patios, walks, terraces, etc. Although it is typically used indoors in colder climates, there has been an increase in its usage outdoors, in and around pools and homes. But can all Travertine stone be used this way?

The answer is no, or at least it shouldn’t for best results. The three most common locations where Travertine comes from are: Italy, Turkey, and Mexico. Mexico’s Travertine is a much softer and much more porous and does not hold up well in our frost zone. Turkish Travertine, is very common and, in most instances, is less expensive than the Italian. It does hold up quite well in our Northeast’s freeze/thaw climate.

Be aware, however, that some companies offer very inexpensive Travertine for use outdoors and may seem to be a great deal. However, they may be using stone quarried in, say, China, where the qualities of such stone differ considerably and will not stand up to certain climates. Just because a stone is called “Travertine,” don’t assume it’s all the same. It’s not.

 

 

Travertine Patio:

Travertine Patio:

For this glorious expansive Travertine patio, Deck and Patio installed Travertine from Turkey — for its beauty, density and porosity — which we could guarantee would withstand our area’s severe climate changes and maintain its elegance.

 

 

 

Travertine’s Appeal:

Travertine’s Appeal:

The look of Travertine is exquisite. It has a smooth surface with small pores and dimples that give it an “old world finish.” This particular project used well over 2,500 square feet of Travertine, and over 180 linear feet of fullnose coping for the pool and spa.

 

 

Pool Surrounds:

Pool Surrounds:

In our area of the Northeast (Long Island, NY), the summer sun gets intense. However, Travertine does not absorb the heat like brick or bluestone, and is similar to light-colored concrete pavers where heat is not retained in the paver. This makes it ideal as a pool surround, where being barefoot is unavoidable.

 

 

 

Outdoor Kitchens:

Outdoor Kitchens:

Deck and Patio used a natural stone for the veneer of the bar/barbeque and constructed a seat wall made of the same veneer, with the same edge-restraint as the capstone for the seat wall. This created a unique contrast between the patio, bar area and the extensive back veneer used for the house.

 

 

 

Using Travertine Outdoors:

Using Travertine Outdoors:

The Travertine stone we used for this project enhanced the geometric shape of the pool and it was decided to elevate the diving area for added interest. This raised area offers a quiet escape for relaxing; bright plantings add to the pleasure of it all.

 

 

 

Under the Umbrella Sun:

Under the Umbrella Sun:

Travertine doesn’t absorb heat like other materials and offers an elegant contrast to robust lawns and plantings.

 

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. James May 27, 2015 at 4:36 am - Reply

    Hi, thank you for your article regarding travertine in the north east. I live in Long Island and I am considering a travertine paving stone around my pool area. What material do you recommend to use as a base for the pavers to be installed over? Compacted RCA? Thank you for your reply.

    • June Sullivan May 27, 2015 at 6:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your question. Travertine does make a beautiful pool surround. The good news is: the base for Travertine is the same base as for pavers.

      A word to the wise, however…as we mentioned in the blog, do be careful with Travertine. All Travertine isn’t the same. Alas, we are aware of a contractor who claims it is high quality from Turkey, but it comes in crates labeled China. That said, it’s a lovely choice!

  2. […] design called for sinking the portable spa half way into the ground. Using Travertine and black stone veneer panels, we built a stone wall around it that matched the pool and patio, […]

  3. Kent Howton November 16, 2016 at 10:40 pm - Reply

    I once did a travertine design for a stamped concrete overlay that we did for a client a few months ago, I must say that it looks and bledns pretty well especially with outdoor areas and scenes that have a pool or something.

    • June Sullivan November 16, 2016 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      Yes, it does blend well, doesn’t it. Particularly around pools. You have to make sure you
      get quality stuff, but that done, it’s a beautiful stone for sure. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Danny Shushan February 21, 2017 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Lovely article, thanks for sharing

    • June Sullivan February 21, 2017 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the nice comment. We appreciate it.

  5. Elia March 19, 2017 at 12:18 am - Reply

    Hi, I am considering using Travertine in New Jersey. Can you tell me where I can source quality, turkish travertine from? I was looking at TravertineMart and the lady said theirs is from Turkey.

    • June Sullivan March 19, 2017 at 12:20 am - Reply

      Why don’t you give our office a call; someone will be able to help you. Office hours are Mon-Fri 9-5. 613-549-8100.

  6. Elia March 19, 2017 at 12:23 am - Reply

    Thank you June I will do that on Monday, very kind of you to offer that!

  7. […] is also very durable — just be sure it isn’t coming from say, China, where the Travertine they quarry is not nearly as durable as more costly Mexican, Italian and […]

  8. Joe P July 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    I love the fact that Travertine does not absorb heat so you don’t have to worry about blistering your bare feet. Not to mention I love the look of it as well. The pool surrounds are lovely!

    • June Sullivan July 13, 2017 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the kind comment. Have you ever used it where you work? It does create a beautiful surround for sure.

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