Porcelain Tile versus Travertine Tile – What are the Differences

Porcelain Tile and Travertine Tile each offer Unique Advantages and Disadvantages

By Mark J. Donovan

Porcelain tile and Travertine tile both offer their special brand of beauty to a kitchen, bathroom or entranceway. There are a number of key differences, however, between porcelain tile and Travertine tile that a homeowner should carefully consider.

One of the main differences between porcelain tile versus Travertine tile is that porcelain tile is a manmade product where as Travertine tile is a natural stone product. Consequently, since Travertine tile is a natural stone that is quarried it is typically more expensive than porcelain tile or ceramic tile.

Travertine Tile Advantages and Disadvantages

Travertine tile has been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world. Travertine tile comes in two basic types, honed and natural. Honed Travertine tile is polished down to a smooth finish and is ideal for bathroom and green kitchen design applications. Natural Travertine tile, or tumbled Travertine tile, is left basically in its raw form and thus has an antique texture to it surface. Natural Travertine tiles are ideal for hallways and entranceways. Travertine tile is available in all types of shapes and sizes and typically varies in color from beige, to gold, to reddish colors, depending upon the amount of iron in it.

Travertine tile is a limestone based product and thus has a more rustic and natural look, compared to porcelain tile. Travertine is also quite porous and as a result it is susceptible to staining and needs a bit more maintenance than porcelain tile. Travertine tile is also very reactive to acid products such as vinegar and orange juice. A spilled acid drink or solution, for example, can easily cause permanent stains on the Travertine tiled surface.

This said, the maintenance of Travertine tile is pretty simple and requires only about an hour or two of work every year or so. By applying a sealant to the travertine tile every 6 to 12 months you can reduce the risk of staining.

Travertine Tile

Travertine tile, versus Porcelain tile, is also much easier to cut and shape, and therefore is ideal for more intricate tile projects.

Porcelain Tile Pros and Cons

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a more modern tile look, with a bit less maintenance required, then porcelain tile may be a better choice. In addition, if you are on a limited remodeling budget but still prefer a tiled floor or wall surface then porcelain tile is a better choice.

Also, since porcelain tile is a manmade product it is typically harder than Travertine tile and thus less likely to stain or become as dirtied from ground-in dirt. Porcelain tile is also available in a wide assortment of shapes, sizes and colors since it is a manmade product.

So when making the porcelain tile versus Travertine tile decision consider how the tile surface will be used, as well as the appearance you are looking for. If, for example, you plan to tile a wall surface then there is less likelihood of spills and staining to worry about, so Travertine tile may be your preferred choice.

Ceramic tiling

If on the other hand, you are considering a tiled kitchen floor and you have pets and small children then staining is a major threat and thus Porcelain tile may be a better choice.

For information on installing a shower pan membrane liner for a ceramic tile shower, see the Shower Pan Membrane Liner Installation Ebook from HomeAdditionPlus.com.  The Shower Pan Membrane Liner EBook will quickly teach you the step-by-step process for installing the shower pan membrane liner correctly. It includes instructions on framing the shower stall, pouring the pre-slope and shower base mortar, and installing the shower pan membrane liner.

See HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Ceramic Tile Calculator

See my “How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower” Ebook to learn how to tile your own shower:  For a detailed set of instructions on tiling a shower floor and walls, including pictures for every step in the process, see my “How to Tile Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook”.

Related Information

Additional Ceramic Tile Resources from Amazon.com


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