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Travertine vs Concrete

Visually it is obvious that these materials are very different from one another. One is a stone that forms in nature and the other is a man made material. Each material offers multiple applications and performs well. In this article we will take a stroll through a comparison of travertine vs concrete. As we compare these materials we will consider the properties of each material. Additionally, we will take a look what to keep in mind when cutting these materials. Finally, we will examine the care and maintenance of each.

Natural Travertine Information

Natural travertine is a material that forms around the mouth of hot springs reservoirs. This natural stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate which contributes to its appearance and texture.

Travertine's Properties

The calcium carbonate that travertine is composed of is a light colored and soft mineral. Thus, travertine is a relatively soft stone that is light brown, beige, or gray in color.

In addition to the light color, natural travertine has very distinct holes (also called pits or voids) that run throughout the surface of this unique stone. The holes are frequently filled using one of several travertine filler products. Some of the fillers used are a complimentary shade of the color that the stone is and others are completely clear. No matter which color of filler is used, the surface is smoother after it is filled than it is beforehand.

About Concrete Surfaces

In contrast with natural travertine, concrete surfaces are man made and are formulated in a variety of ways to reach very specific hardness. Since it is man made, concrete is able to be poured into molds to fit many different applications.

Properties of Concrete

Concrete is ubiquitous. You may think that it is found in a relatively small number of colors. Yet, concrete can be dyed to match any number of other materials or surfaces.

In addition to flexibility in color and shape, concrete is also a very hard material; much harder than travertine is.

Uses for Travertine

When it comes to uses for natural travertine, you don't need to look far to find examples. Flooring tiles and wall tiles are two common uses for this surface material. However, it can be used for a number of other applications. Countertops, fireplace surrounds, and pool decking are all examples of how travertine is used.

Concrete Applications

Concrete is a very versatile material. It is seen in many parts of residential and commercial buildings. Concrete is used for sidewalks, driveways, patios, and even countertops just to name a few. Additionally, it is used for stairs, foundations, and many other structures.

Working Travertine Compared to Concrete

With so many uses for each of these materials, knowing what tooling and equipment to use for working them takes a bit of research. We won't get into all of the different equipment it takes to work travertine or concrete. However, cutting is one of the main tasks performed on this material. Therefore, the blade selection is important. So we will talk a little bit about each of these materials here.

Cutting Travertine

As we mentioned earlier, travertine is a relatively soft material when compared with other natural stone. Because of this, it is recommended that a saw blade be designed for soft stone. In other words, using something like a marble blade be used since softer calcareous stone can clog up the necessary space that exists between the stone and the blade and between segments in blades that are not designed for calcareous stone.

Cutting Concrete

Like travertine, concrete also requires specific equipment while working with it. In the way of diamond blades though, the reason is different. When cutting concrete, it is important that a concrete blade be used since it is a very hard material. Hard materials and particularly natural stone that is very hard require specially designed blades. We won't elaborate on the details of how it works, but you can read about what to know regarding diamond blades.

Care and Maintenance

Every surface requires a measure of care and maintenance to get the most from it. In this section, we will take a look at some things to know about caring for and maintaining these materials.

Concrete Care & Maintenance

When it comes to caring for concrete there are some basic practices that can help you keep it looking its best. Cleaning concrete comes down to using the proper product for the type of cleaning you are doing. For example Tenax has 3 BrioAction products to clean concrete with. They are:

Another facet of concrete care and maintenance is sealer application. Applying sealer to the surface periodically helps concrete to resist moisture. Absorbing moisture leads to mold and staining.

Caring for Travertine

Caring for travertine is straightforward. It consists of a 3 phase routine. The three phases are as follows:

  • Periodic Sealing
  • Daily Cleaning
  • Stain Removal When Needed

Sealing travertine periodically help the stone be as resistant to staining as it can be. Water based and oil based liquids that penetrate the pores of the surface get into the stone and discolor it. This causes the need for a stain remover to be used. Applying an effective stone sealer periodically can reduce the number of stains.

Carrying out these three aspects of the routine are important to the long life of the stone. The daily cleaning should be done using a cleaner formulated for natural stone. Some cleaners are harsh and can break down sealer that has been applied to the surface.

There will be times when the stone will etch. It may have an acidic liquid on it too long, or it might go an extended period of time without having sealer applied and react with a food item. In these cases an etch remover is needed to correct the issue. Simply follow the directions on the container and you can restore the area of the stone that was marred.

So when it comes to working on concrete and travertine, you will find that these materials are very different form one another. But the care and maintenance of them is very similar in a lot of ways.