When you want to build a patio on your property to expand your usable space or add value to your home, then travertine pavers are an alternative to concrete that could be worth considering. Travertine is a form of limestone that civilizations have use in a variety of ways throughout human history. We might not be using it to build houses today, but it is a useful product around pools, for garden walkways, and various other landscaping needs.
The pavers that you find today that are made from travertine typically come from Europe and South America. Because the primary component of this natural compound is calcium carbonate, you’ll find local quarries producing it all over the world too. It forms when spring water deposits the limestone against a solid surface and then continues to rush across it. The minerals in the fluid keep building over time to create a usable product.
When you consider the pros and cons of travertine pavers, your first consideration must be for the quality of the finished product. Cheap pavers tend to be more porous and require additional sealing to maintain their quality. Then you’ll want to think about each key point if you like the looks of this sedimentary material.
List of the Pros of Travertine Pavers
1. Travertine pavers adjust well to changing conditions.
If you need pavers that can manage a variety of changing seasonal conditions, then travertine is a natural material that adapts well. It is an ideal surface because of its resiliency against temperature extremes that can happen. Your patio might receive direct sunlight in the summer and a freezing chill in the winter, but it will continue to perform as expected. This advantage is due to is natural composition that works to transfer extremes in either direction either downward into the soil or released into the atmosphere to create a consistent feel.
2. The porous nature of travertine can work to your advantage.
If your intent is to build a patio or deck around a pool, then travertine is an excellent choice to consider. The porous nature of this natural material allows for additional water drainage when the pavers become wet. You’ll seal most of the large pathways that would direct liquid through its surface to maintain its visual charm and appeal, but it will also direct excessive fluid to a different destination. That’s why it is such a versatile product. You can walk on the surface with wet feet while reducing the risk of a slip.
You can also choose to coat your travertine pavers in a waterproof sealant to preserve the exact quality of the material for patio and pathway building options.
3. It provides your property with improved aesthetics.
Travertine pavers convey a message of luxury and opulence when used to create a patio or porch. You can even use this product inside to create a stunning, usable space that can upgrade the value of your property. There are natural veins in this stone because of the way it forms that you won’t find in other natural materials. Each piece offers a different color tone as well, even if the pavers come from the same source. That depth and dimension naturally draws the eye to the final product, allowing you to create something useful and visually appealing at the same time.
4. Travertine resists color changes and fading even in direct sunlight.
Travertine pavers will also give you the advantage of aesthetic consistency when you install them for a patio or porch. This product resists the impact of sunlight on its surface, reducing the risk of fading or discoloration over time like you can encounter with concrete blocks. Even if you purchase blocks that come in different tones or hues, there won’t be the white splotches or points of black or brown that form with alternative building products.
You can increase this advantage with travertine pavers even further by using a light sealant around the product before setting it into your patio or porch.
5. You get the look of marble or granite for a fraction of the price.
Travertine pavers do an excellent job of replicating the look of marble or granite, especially if you place them around a pool on your property. The price that you’ll pay for this building item is a fraction of what it would be for those materials. It will cost about $6 per paver if you purchase the standard size. If you can use something thinner and smaller, that price can be cut by up to 50%.
You can even find a pallet of travertine pavers for less than $200 if you can transport the items yourself from a local supplier. If you went with the marble or granite for your patio or porch, it could be double or triple the cost. Unless you want flagstone, there isn’t a better value for landscaping that you can find today.
6. If travertine pavers break, replacing them is a simple process.
Although you can mortar and grout your travertine pavers when building a porch, patio, or pool deck, the easier landscaping method is to float in your system. By using a combination of setting sand and drainage gravel, you can just pop out a broken product if an issue occurs with your installation to replace it. That process can save you a lot of time since you won’t be pulling up an entire pattern or forced to work your way in from the closest side.
That does mean you’ll need to replace the entire paver block if an issue occurs instead of patching it like you can sometimes do with concrete products, but it also saves a lot of time on the actual repair.
7. Travertine is an environmentally-friendly product to use for your building needs.
If you are choosing travertine pavers for your porch or patio, then the blocks do not go through the same production processes that are necessary for marble and other items considered luxurious. It provides you with a natural non-slip surface that installs immediately with few modifiers. That means there are fewer chemical exposures to the product, less manipulation of the materials, and the acquisition processes typically use fewer fossil fuels. Even if you use sealers to create a polished look, this advantage applies in a comparison to almost any other building material you would use for your landscaping.
8. The installation of travertine pavers is a simple, easy process.
If you have a surface that is level for your porch or patio, then the travertine pavers are going to install quickly. Most of the pavers are sold in blocks or locking shapes so that you can place one down after the other to build out your surface. That’s why this product is useful for the creation of pathways too. It helps to place vegetation blockers down before setting the base for the blocks to ensure Mother Nature doesn’t try to take over any time soon. You will also need to compact your soil or base. Once that prep work is finished, you’ll find that the stones cut easily, offer resilience, and provide excellent value with their long-term viability.
The average installation that involves travertine pavers will last between 10-20 years with regular care.
9. Travertine is naturally resistant to issues like mold, mildew, and grime.
When you install travertine pavers, then you won’t experience the same struggles with your porch or patio that you would with concrete and similar porous options with regards to mold, mildew, and environmental grime. This natural product resists the growth of these items so that you don’t have to continuously scrape them off to maintain the integrity of your installation. Although your shapes might be basic and your color options generic in some situations, the final result means less work on your end to make sure everything stays beautiful.
List of the Cons of Travertine Pavers
1. It is more expensive to use than concrete pavers.
Because travertine is a natural product, it must go through a quarrying and manufacturing process before it becomes a usable product. You can’t just mix it into forms to create the specific blocks that are needed for your landscaping installation. That means you’re going to pay more for your pavers than you would for concrete options. You’ll pay at least 20% more than you would for a block installation, and it is significantly higher than a porch or patio slab that gets poured directly into the ground.
2. You’ll need to watch the cleaning agents that you use with travertine pavers.
The natural materials in travertine are sensitive to certain chemical agents since its primary composition is calcium carbonate. Think about the scale that can build up around your faucet after some time and how you clean that up – you’re essentially removing the building blocks of travertine when you take that action. Even when you seal the blocks, this disadvantage is still present with your porch or patio. Anything that is an acidic substance, including items like vinegar and orange juice, can cause discoloration, staining, and etching into your installation.
3. There is almost no way to avoid the sealing process.
The only way to avoid the work of sealing your travertine pavers is to install them indoors and away from your kitchen or bathroom. This natural material is resilient, but it is the sealant that helps to make it that way. Since it is calcium carbonate that makes up the majority of its composition, the natural wear-and-tear on this item can be significant if it sees high levels of foot traffic.
You will sometimes need to seal your travertine pavers annually if you use the porch, patio, or pool deck frequently. Pathways that see plenty of moisture due to rain, snow, or irrigation will experience this disadvantage as well.
4. Staining can be a significant problem with travertine pavers.
Even when travertine pavers go through an extensive sealing process, the porous nature of this material rarely creates a waterproof surface. That means you can experience superior drainage with this natural material, but you will also encounter a higher risk of stain development. This problem is so significant that the chlorination in a swimming pool can be enough to turn the blocks to a blue color over time.
If you plan to use travertine pavers to create a porch or patio where you’ll be entertaining or dining outdoors, then it might be useful to place a rug or some other item that can catch fluids before they make an adverse impact on your investment.
5. Travertine pavers can be heavier than concrete and other materials.
If you have weak soil structures around your home, then travertine pavers might not be the best choice for a patio or porch. There must be enough foundational support to help with the extra weight that this material provides. Even reinforcing your installation with gravel and sand might not be enough to neutralize this disadvantage.
This issue is most prevalent when homeowners decide to use travertine pavers for their pool deck. The extra weight can impact the foundation of the basin around the structure, creating cracks or irreversible damage that could eventually result in the failure of the installation.
6. The color choices for travertine pavers is minimal.
Most of the color choices that are available for travertine pavers involve earth tones and neutral colors. This disadvantage is present because of the way the calcium carbonate develops with water movement. You can create a striking look that compliments your home, but it can also feel dull and boring if your blocks are all of the same generic color. You can sometimes avoid this disadvantage by applying a sealant that darkens the color of the product. It can also be helpful to shop around to see if there are other options available in your extended community.
7. The installation effort can be challenging for some DIYers.
Because the weight of travertine can make for an unwieldy product, you might find that some installations could be challenging if you’re doing a solo landscaping build. This disadvantage won’t always apply, but you may need to pay for freight to bring you the pavers in the first place. If extensive prep work is necessary, bringing in a contractor might be helpful as well.
Verdict of the Pros and Cons of Travertine Pavers
Travertine pavers provide a budget-friendly way to add a little opulence to your property. Although you’ll pay more for this option per block than you would with concrete, it is still far cheaper to choose this option that it would be for granite or marble. That’s why it tends to be the first choice for homeowners who want an upgraded curb appeal.
There are challenges to face with travertine that you cannot ignore. It requires sealing, ongoing care, and a precise installation to create a desired outcome.
When you look at the overall pros and cons of travertine pavers, the results are generally positive unless you have weak soil structures or have budget restrictions that you must manage. Consider the needs of your porch, patio, or pool deck today to see if this natural material could be the perfect solution.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer and banker. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.