Porcelain or slate, luxury vinyl tile and more — if you aren’t a flooring pro, it’s difficult to know what floor coverings will be best for you. In this post, we’ll compare and contrast two tile flooring options in order to give you an idea of what’s out there and what might be the best fit for your home.
What are Travertine and Ceramic?
Ceramic is one of the most popular and identifiable tile flooring materials, while travertine is a sought after natural stone material. Ceramic is made of natural clay that is kiln fired into tiles. Pottery is one of the earliest forms of human art, with some ceramic artifacts dating back 27,000 years. Now that’s a flooring material that you know will last! Travertine, on the other hand, is a sedimentary rock formed from limestone that is made porous by the release of carbon dioxide in hot springs over long periods of time. Ceramic is a fairly ubiquitous material, and many of us have molded clay a time or two ourselves, while travertine is a rarer material, quarried primarily in Italy, Turkey, and Mexico.
Appearance of Ceramic vs. Travertine
Travertine tile floors have a very distinctive look to them that makes them particularly sought after. Travertine tends to be light in color, with tones such as white, gray, tan, gold, and light brown being common. The most common type of travertine is honed travertine, which features a smooth, matte surface. But travertine also comes with polished finishes, as well as textured finishes in the cases of brushed and tumbled travertine. There is much more diversity in the look of ceramic tile flooring. Ceramic can either be glazed or through bodied. Through bodied ceramic has less color options, but the color permeates throughout the entire tile, whereas with glazed ceramic tiles you can get all sorts of color and pattern options. Ceramic tile doesn’t offer the same texture diversity as travertine, and travertine does not offer the same color diversity as glazed ceramic.
Durability of Ceramic vs. Travertine
Travertine tile is very hard, being a natural stone, while ceramic tile comes in a range of hardnesses. The Porcelain Enamel Institute created a system to measure the hardness of ceramics on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest. Some ceramic tiles, if they are as low as a 1, are not even suitable for floor use, but should only be used on walls. High-end ceramics such as porcelain though, which is a 5, are approved for use in such high traffic areas as airports and malls. Travertine tends to be much more consistent in its hardness. On the other hand, ceramic tile is much more resistant to water than travertine, which is fairly porous and, if not properly filled and sealed, can be prone to staining.
Price of Ceramic vs. Travertine
As a scarcer material, travertine is definitely the pricier of the two tile options here. But some ceramic can come pretty dear as well. Porcelain ceramic tile floors, for example, are not that different from travertine in price. The price of your ceramics will directly relate to the complexity and quality of your desired tile floor.
Whether you want ceramic or travertine, or simply wish to explore even further tile and flooring options, be sure to call your local Floor Coverings International for all your flooring needs.
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