Travertine is a gorgeous paver for a pool surround
Travertine was once considered a luxury paving material. Recently, however, travertine has dramatically dropped in price to become one of the most common paving types on pool decks and in warm climates. Travertine stays cool to the touch even in the hottest weather, which makes it feel great on bare feet.
Art in Green, original photo on Houzz
The basics: Travertine is a naturally occurring stone that falls somewhere between limestone and marble and is found in springs and caves. It has variable small holes throughout, giving it a unique texture and also making it slip-resistant. Most travertine that’s imported to the United States comes from Turkey.
Cost: $8 to $12 per square foot installed. The material on its own can be found for as little as $3 per square foot.
Shown: Square travertine pavers in a gray-tan tone create a patio around a rectilinear water feature.
Dean Herald-Rolling Stone Landscapes, original photo on Houzz
Surface stays cool to the touch, making it ideal for pool decks and patios in warm climates
Most common colors are affordable
Porous texture; naturally slip-resistant
Can be dry-laid instead of mortared in place
Luxurious texture gives a unique look
Color does not fade
Rare colors and textures can be expensive
May cost more initially than concrete pavers
Commonly sourced outside North America, meaning a high carbon footprint because the travertine is often transported from halfway around the world (most travertine comes from Turkey nowadays)
Shown: A mix of gray travertine pavers in a few sizes makes a lovely flush pool deck.
Tongue & Groove, original photo on Houzz
Size and color: Travertine pavers come in multiple sizes, similar to other natural stone pavers. The most common size is 6 by 12 inches. Other sizes include 4-inch-by-8-inch rectangles, increasing to 24-by-24-inch squares.
Travertine pavers for outdoor use are a standard 1¼-inch thickness, but they also come in a 2-inch thickness. The thicker paver is most appropriate for cold climates to ensure that the stone does not have problems in freeze-thaw cycles. Various thicknesses and edges are also available for use as pool coping.
Tropical Patio, original photo on Houzz
The most common colors are white to whitish tan, from an ultrawhite ivory to a whitish caramel color. Other colors include chalk grays, gold-browns (shown) and tan-grays. These more unusual colors are more expensive.
Finishes: Tumbled, honed and filled are the most common finishes for outdoor travertine paving.
Marengo Morton Architects, original photo on Houzz
Tumbled: Has a rough texture that looks aged or naturalistic.
Honed: Lightly sanded for a consistently smooth surface.
Filled: The surface holes are filled and sanded smooth for a very smooth surface.
Sustainability: Since travertine usually travels far to its destination, its only real sustainability points come from its long-term use. Travertine lasts a lifetime because it is so durable. It is a sustainable choice in countries where it can be sourced locally.
Travertine Warehouse, original photo on Houzz
Shown: Antique Gold travertine pavers with visible striations
Maintenance: Travertine was used to construct the exterior wall of the Colosseum in Rome, so we have a piece of history to study when thinking about the best maintenance. Sealing travertine is a personal preference, much as with its cousin limestone.
Travertine is very low-maintenance when used in full sunlight and requires only a light pressure washing every few years. For shaded areas that might remain moist, an annual pressure washing may be required.