We sometimes get asked the question: “Why does my travertine have pores?”
Surely others may be wondering the same, so we thought we’d put together a post about the nature of travertine.
To start, it has pores and holes because… it’s Travertine! The beauty of travertine is in its natural state. Completely raw, unfilled travertine is so beautiful that it’s become a top request from the world’s best architects. Unlike marble, travertine is porous. And unlike marble, travertine is the perfect stone for exterior surfaces for this very reason. Ever tried to walk on marble after a good, long rain? You’ll likely be walking slowly to avoid slipping and falling. Travertine, on the other hand, is the material of choice outdoors; it has pores and holes, making it practically slip resistant.
Let’s take a look at the breathtaking Salk Institute in La Jolla, CA, designed by Louis Kahn. It’s a sight to behold, with travertine as far as the eye can see.
Down the center of the main promenade is a long narrow Travertine water feature, extending all the way towards the Pacific Ocean.
Square Travertine benches are scattered around. As you can see, it’s been left in its natural, unfilled state. Completely gorgeous.
Stairs leading down towards the main promenade, are filled with porosities, because they didn’t want slippery stairs, and because: Travertine.
The cubed benches have been filled whereas the flooring is unfilled, and you can see the difference in texture. See how smooth the benches appear? As a seating surface, it must be smooth to make it more suitable to sit on.
Over time, Travertine develops a certain patina akin to its environment. It is chosen as a building material due to its strength and durability over time.
Much of Rome was built using Travertine and that’s why just the colosseum alone has been standing since 70 AD.
Hopefully this sheds some light on how porous Travertine is and how it only adds to its natural beauty and desirability.