When choosing flooring materials, you have a wide variety of selections available, ranging from man-made tiles to natural stones and woods. Travertine is one of the most expensive natural stones you can use, but its durability can be worth the price, and compared to wood floors, the costs can seem prohibitive. The difference between wood floors and travertine floors is quite large, and understanding the reasons why can help you plan your floor.
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Durability is the main reason for the disparity in price between hardwoods and travertine. While wood floors can last a lifetime if they are installed properly and the required maintenance upheld over the years, travertine floors can last generations. Rome was built almost entirely with travertine, and you can get a good idea of the longevity of the stone by studying history. Wood generally ranges between $4 and $8 per square foot, as of August 2011, while travertine can range between $5 and $30 per square foot, depending on the region of the world it was quarried from.
A major gap exists in the price of installation when you compare wood to stone, and there are a variety of reasons for this. While general carpentry tools can be used to install wood, and it installs fairly easily, when installing travertine, you not only need specialty tools but also specialty skills to work with a material that is far heavier and has more requirements for a proper installation. The average carpenter may only charge $35 to $50 per hour while a master stone craftsman will generally charge over $75 per hour.
The maintenance on the two materials also changes the overall cost between wood and travertine. While travertine only requires a coat of sealer once in a while to protect it from water and stains, wood requires regular upkeep that can include resanding, restaining and refinishing the surface multiple times per year to keep the wood fresh, depending on the level of foot traffic. While stone may cost more up front, wood can cost more per year to maintain.
Cost of Living
Your section of the country will directly affect the cost of labor, materials and otherwise. Shipping and handling is a concern for any type of material, and the further out in the country you live, the more this will cost. In addition, different states, cities and counties have varied levels of taxes and costs of living, so while a contractor in Oklahoma might only charge $35 per hour to install travertine, a craftsman in New York City may charge $80 per hour.