About Travertine's Unique Appearance
Natural Travertine is a very distinctive natural stone with a unique look that makes it stand out from other natural stone that is very similar in composition. If you have ever seen raw travertine, then you know what we are talking about. If you haven't seen it though, we will describe it briefly to give you an idea of what this material brings to the table.
Raw travertine that has not been filled yet is very porous. The surface of the stone is riddled with pores of varying sizes. These pores, also called pits, voids, holes, etc, are made when the material is formed. They occur naturally as a by product of the process. It may look like the holes are merely on the surface. But they actually go all the way through the stone. When you cut a piece of travertine, you can see the pores on the edge of the material where it was cut.
The porosity of travertine is the hallmark of this natural stone. The appearance of natural travertine is rustic and is loved by many designers, homeowners, and architects. However, there is a downside to the stone's having these intriguing pores.
Travertine's Porosity Weakens It
The beauty of travertine stems from its rustic porosity. However, these voids in the material also weaken it somewhat. Because of the holes in the material, instead of travertine being a solid stone that is break resistant, it has invisible weaknesses. Strengthening travertine then, is a key to getting the best of worlds.
Strengthening Travertine With Fillers & Adhesives
As we have already mentioned, travertine is weakened by the pores that permeate the stone itself. Yet, there is a solution to the issue. During processing, travertine fillers and adhesives are used to fill the pores in travertine. Most travertine is a shade of brown, cream, or beige so a buff colored polyester adhesive is used to fill the stone. Buff colored filler compliments the brown tones and blends well with the natural appearance of the stone. Travertine filler is harder than the travertine itself so the stone is strengthened by adding this filler to the pores of the material.
If the owner of the stone prefers the appearance of the pores that travertine naturally has, travertine can be filled using a transparent filler. The result of this is a stone that appears to have the voids, but in reality those voids are filled with an adhesive that can allows the hole to be seen even though it is filled.
Inferior Fillers Might Require Repair
Sometimes stone professionals use other kinds of fillers for the pores of the surface of the stone. Some of these solutions are not as long-lived as is filling the stone with an adhesive. Using a colored grout to fill travertine for example, often times results in the grout coming out of the holes and revealing the pits that were previously filled.
When the pores of travertine open back up due to a professional using an impermanent grout type product to fill travertine, it becomes necessary to repair the stone by re-filling the pores that lost the filler.
Choosing the right type of filler for strengthening natural travertine can be the difference between filling a hole once, and having to repeat the process of doing travertine repair to keep a surface looking its best.