When travertine will take a high "marble-like" polish it is called travertine marble. Travertine is a beautiful sedimentary rock that is often quite porous, with numerous holes and troughs formed from escaped gases during the period when the rock was forming.
Grade A Travertine
Premium or grade A travertine has the fewest holes and surface troughs. Grade A is generally considered a completely metamorphized limestone base, which moves it into the marble family.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior, "Scientific and commercial descriptions of various dimension stone types overlap." Of several hundred stone types, only 10 types are commonly recognized for commercial use: soapstone, marble, onyx, granite, limestone, slate, travertine, quartzite, serpentine and sandstone. Many rocks are composed of more than one group or type. Travertine marble is a good example of a rock that belongs in two groups. Popular travertine marble is generally available in shades of beige, brown, rose, red, gray, peach, pink, white, tan and dark red, but other colors may be available as well.
From a consumer standpoint, the actual composition of the stone is less important than how the stone will perform. Although bridging the stone groups of travertine and marble, travertine marble performs more like marble does, with a very high polish possible. In this regard, the designation and grade (higher density) of the stone become more important.
Partially Metamorphosed Travertine
When looking for a high-density travertine, ask about partially metamorphosed travertine that is capable of taking a high or marble-like polish. These stones are often categorized by the stone company in the marble area and will often reflect marble rather than travertine pricing. This designation is based on behavior and performance rather than appearance.
Given that travertine marble is essentially categorized as marble, it should perform as marble does as a premium floor surface, tabletop surface and wall cladding. The same care and consideration should be taken to preserve the beauty of the stone, such as by using neutral pH cleansing products. This also means that travertine marble is subject to the same concerns as marble in general. It requires consistent maintenance, stain prevention, thorough cleaning and routine sealing. While it can be used in wet environments, travertine marble will still be porous even when well sealed, and its underlying calcite composition makes it vulnerable to acids commonly used in both bathroom and kitchen products.
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