Is Travertine Good For Showers? (Find Out Now!)

Gary Evans
by Gary Evans

Are you planning to build or renovate your home shower? In that case, you may be looking for some suggestions regarding what to put in there. Perhaps you’re wondering about which tiles to use.

While going through your options, you may stumble upon travertine. Travertine is not an especially well-known material and that’s why it stands out as an intriguing decorative option. Is travertine going to work in your shower though?

Travertine is a porous material and because of that, many homeowners assume that it’s a poor fit inside the shower. It doesn’t have to be that way though as additional treatments will allow travertine to work well even in wet environments. Travertine tiles that feature the right finish and seal can be exposed to water consistently without issue.

Can you use the beautiful travertine tiles to line your home shower? Find the answer to that question by continuing with the rest of this article.

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What Is Travertine?

Travertine belongs to the limestone family. Per Encyclopedia Britannica, travertine deposits can be found in Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park as well as New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns. The material itself is the result of river and spring water evaporating into the air.

The reason why you often see travertine used to make bathroom and shower tiles is due to its appearance. It features a look that is quite similar to marble.

We all know just how good marble looks inside a home setting. That’s especially true if it’s utilized for the bathroom. The intricate patterns in marble combine with its luster to create a spectacular building material.

A lot of homeowners would love to use marble, but they cannot do so because of how pricey it is. That’s where travertine comes in.

It can serve as a more affordable alternative to marble. Beyond that, travertine is also pretty easy to work with if you need to customize it. That means it should work well even in bathrooms and showers that have odd dimensions.

Can You Use Travertine Tiles in Your Shower?

Travertine possesses the looks and customizability to work well inside a home bathroom. Still, there are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed whenever you’re thinking of using travertine tiles in a moist environment. We detail those concerns below.

Travertine Tiles Are Porous

Before you consider installing travertine tiles inside your bathroom, you first need to recognize one of their inherent characteristics. You see, travertine is a very porous material.

It’s not quite like a sponge, but it does absorb a lot of moisture. Homeowners usually don’t want their bathroom or shower tiles to be absorbent.

If travertine tiles take on too much water, their appearance may change. Substances found in the water, soap, or shampoo can seep into the travertine tiles and change their color.

Travertine tiles that become too moist may also turn into breeding grounds for bacteria. Even the thought of touching bacteria-covered tiles is unpleasant. No one really wants to experience that.

Travertine Tiles Can Contribute to Leaks

Leaking is also a legitimate concern when using travertine tiles. With the tiles soaking up so much water, some of the excess liquid may go into the wall. Your bathroom wall may sustain damage as it’s continually exposed to moisture.

How Do You Make Travertine Tiles Usable inside the Shower?

The porous nature of travertine can be a problem inside the shower. So, is there anything you can do about it?

Yes, there is a way to neutralize the porosity of travertine. In fact, there are three things you can do if you want to safely use travertine tiles inside your bathroom.

Finish the Travertine Tiles

First off, you can choose travertine tiles that feature a specific kind of finish. You specifically need tiles that feature either the honed or tumbled finish.

Travertine tiles that have been honed have some texture to them. They are not completely smooth to the touch and that’s important because you don’t want to slip on your tiles.

Honing your travertine tiles means they are less lustrous compared to smooth tiles. Even so, they still retain their marble-like appearance and they can be positive additions to your shower. Tumbled finishes are rougher than honed. They are more rustic and textured, which makes them more appealing in some ways.

Travertine tiles with a tumbled finish fit very well inside the bathroom. Those tiles are going to help you stay on your feet.

Seal the Travertine Tiles

In addition to choosing the right finish for your travertine tiles, you should also seal them. Sealing your travertine tiles prevents them from absorbing all the water being blasted at them while you’re showering.

Don’t skip on the sealing because it’s the only way to preserve the travertine tiles. Consult with a professional and ask them about which sealant to use. You can even have them handle the job if you are so inclined.

Install Waterproof Substrate

Sealing the travertine tiles may already be enough to stop water from leaking into your bathroom wall. If you want to err on the side of caution though, you can also install a waterproof substrate.

Cement board is a good substrate to use for your bathroom wall. Stick the travertine tiles on to that to stop the water from going anywhere.

What Are the Other Benefits of Installing Travertine Tiles inside Your Shower?

Travertine’s gorgeous appearance is the main reason why people love using it as a decorative element. Quite frankly, it doesn’t hurt that the aforementioned material is also budget-friendly and easily customizable. Apart from those, there are other reasons why homeowners like travertine tiles.

For instance, travertine is very easy to clean. You can wipe the tiles clean with a sponge and some towels during routine maintenance. When dealing with more intense stains, you can use warm water. A product specially formulated for cleaning stone can also be used.

Travertine is also very durable. After installing travertine tiles in your shower, you can expect them to last for a long time.

Diligent maintenance is required if you have a shower lined with travertine tiles. That’s not exclusive to travertine though as all types of tiles need that level of care.

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Related Questions

Can You Use Any Kind of Cleaning Agent on Your Travertine Tiles?

No, you need to be more careful when choosing cleaning agents to use on your travertine tiles. Because travertine is a kind of limestone, it is vulnerable to certain substances.To be more specific, acidic cleaners can be very bad for travertine tiles. Avoid using any acid-based commercial cleaner on those aforementioned tiles. Household cleaning items such as vinegar and citrus juice should also not be used.Homeowners will also want to avoid cleaning agents that contain ammonia or bleach. Those cleaners can ruin your travertine tiles so keep them outside of your bathroom.Stick to the stone cleaners because they are perfect for this job. Remember too that just wiping down the tiles is enough for routine cleaning.

How often Should You Seal the Travertine Tiles?

You should set a yearly reminder to reseal your shower’s travertine tiles. Fail to renew the seal in time and you’ll see the tiles gradually change in appearance. They may even sustain a fair amount of damage if they remain unsealed.Sealing the tiles on your own should only take one afternoon. You can also entrust that job to the professionals.

Gary Evans
Gary Evans

Gary Evans is passionate about home improvement. He loves finding out how to make improvements in the easiest, most practical, and most affordable ways. Upgrading his home kitchen is one of his ongoing hobbies. Gary is also a long-time content creator and enjoys spending his free time tending to his hydroponic vegetable garden.

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