Stone origins: Travertine
In some ways, limestone is like the patriarch of stone products. Not only is it a fantastic product by itself that looks great as the material for any number of features, it’s also the starting point for a number of other types of natural stone.
Marble is one. Another is travertine, an interestingly textured, multi-colored sedimentary rock that you will often find being used for gardens, patios, flooring and even the exteriors of buildings.
Telling all about travertine
Despite its relationship to limestone and marble, travertine is a very different stone from these two, which are metamorphic rocks. Its most notable characteristic is the many visible holes which sit on its surface, which add to its porosity and make surface protection vital.
Like marble and limestone, travertine’s chief mineral is calcite – or calcium carbonate – making it particularly vulnerable to acid etching from substances like soda or vinegar.
The in-between stone
Travertine can be thought of as what you get when you interrupt the thousands-of-years-long process of limestone’s transformation into marble. Travertine is created in hot springs and limestone caves, formed from the evaporation of water. As such, it is commonly found in places where hot and cold springs have been active for many thousands of years.
As rainwater percolates beneath the soil, it dissolves limestone thanks to its carbon dioxide-filled make-up, carrying the dissolved stone material to the surface of a spring. The carbon dioxide of the water is released into the atmosphere, similar to the bubbling found in soda water.
The limestone, meanwhile, becomes solid again as it passes over films of algae, bacteria and other substances. The stone’s famous hole-filled surface is partly the result of unreleased gas bubbles, which get trapped between layers of rock and erode the stone as they attempt to escape into the atmosphere.
Sealing travertine is imperative due to the results of this process, which make the material particularly prone to retaining moisture. Use a sealer like Dry-Treat’s DRY-TREAT 40SK™ to keep it protected.
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