Travertine vs Ceramic Tile Flooring

Travertine vs Ceramic Tile Flooring

By Fortino Rosas / October 7, 2021 / 2 Comments

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    You’ve narrowed down your bare flooring selections. It’s down to the last battle: travertine vs. ceramic tile. Both look great in the home improvement store or in images you find online. But which flooring is best for your household?

    If you’re in the market for new flooring and you’ve started shopping around, you probably already know that the possibilities are limitless. Even if you narrow down your choices, it’s still difficult to determine the best flooring for your home. After all, most homeowners aren’t flooring experts.

    In order to find out which flooring is right for you, we’ve put travertine and ceramic head-to-head across a variety of categories. You’ll read about the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. That way, you can make the most informed decision and feel confident in your flooring choice.

    Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in to see how travertine and ceramic tile stack up against each other in the following categories.

    In this guide, we’ll explore:

    Side-by-Side Comparison

    TravertineCeramic Tile
    DurabilityExtremely durable but may stain or crack over timeExtremely durable but may crack, chip, or scratch over time
    Water-ResistantYes, but extended exposure to moisture may lead to stainingYes
    CleaningDeep cleaning with mild soap and water or product designed for natural stoneDeep cleaning with a mild cleaning product or product designed for ceramic flooring
    RepairsCracks can be sealed repaired using caulk or epoxys Damaged tiles must be replaced
    Self InstallationNot recommended for beginnersNot recommended for beginners
    Pet-Friendly$5 to $30 per square foot$2 to $30 per square foot
    Installation Costs$10 to $30 per square foot$11 to $16 per square foot
    LifespanOver 100 years with proper care75 to 100 years with proper care
    Styles & ColorsVariety of styles, colors, and textures availableVariety of styles, colors, and textures available


    For most consumers, the durability of their new flooring is one of the most important features they look for when shopping around. If you’re spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on new flooring, you don’t want it to show damage the first week of use. Throw in kids, pets, and heavy traffic, and you can’t help but wonder if the new flooring you select is built to last.

    If durability is your top priority, you can’t go wrong with travertine. This natural stone is one of the most durable flooring materials on the market today. It’s more resistant to scratching than other types of bare flooring (we’re looking at you, hardwoods), it’s not easy to crack or chip, and it has an unbelievable lifespan, which we’ll explore a little later.

    However, don’t think that travertine is completely immune to damage. Dragging heavy furniture or appliances when rearranging your home can lead to cracks or scratches. Another issue is staining, which can occur when this porous material has prolonged exposure to moisture.

    The good thing, though, is that if your travertine cracks, you can often repair it using caulk or an epoxy. You won’t have to rip out the floor and start from scratch in most instances, which saves time and money. Also, these cracks don’t just develop from regular use in most cases, so it’s not a concern for most people that own travertine.

    Ceramic tile is also extremely durable. It is very resistant to scratches, so it is ideal for homes with children and pets.

    Unfortunately, moving furniture or appliances or even dropping something heavy can result in cracks or chips in your tile. It is not quite as durable as other hard floors such as porcelain tile or even travertine.

    You won’t have to worry about your floor staining, though, because ceramic tile is resistant to water. This means you can wet mop, drop liquids, or even install it in rooms with high levels of moisture without worrying about staining.

    If your floor does become damaged, the remedy is usually to remove and replace the tile. This is a messy job, and if you hire a contractor, it can be a little expensive.

    Even though travertine and ceramic tile are both extremely durable, travertine takes this round. This is because travertine is extremely durable and resistant to scratches and cracks, and even when it does crack, most of the time it is an easy repair.

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    We’ve determined that both travertine and ceramic tile are very durable, but exactly how durable are they? With typical use, how long should you expect your flooring to last?

    Travertine, like other natural stone flooring, comes out on top. This is because with typical use, travertine can last over 100 years. As long as your flooring is properly maintained and not subjected to excessive wear and tear, travertine can easily be the last flooring you purchase in your lifetime.

    Even though travertine comes out ahead in this category, ceramic tile doesn’t fall far behind. With a high-quality ceramic tile, the lifespan averages around 75 to 100 years, per the National Association of Home Builders.

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    Cleaning & Care

    If you’re like most consumers, you don’t have hours to devote to the cleaning and care of your flooring. If you’re the low-maintenance type, which floor is the better option: travertine or ceramic tile?

    Daily cleaning of travertine is extremely easy. You can use a dust mop or broom to clean up daily messes. You can also use a vacuum cleaner, although you must make sure that it is designed for bare floors to prevent damage.

    When travertine needs a more thorough tile cleaning, this is where it gets a little complicated. Because travertine is a porous material, prolonged exposure to moisture can result in staining. When you’re cleaning this type of flooring, you should never saturate the floor, and you should always immediately wipe up any spills.

    To clean travertine, you can use a mild soap mixed with warm water. Again, the floor should never be overly saturated, although a damp tile mop or cloth can be used. You can also use a product designed for cleaning natural stone flooring.

    For the daily cleaning of ceramic tile, you can take the same steps as you would with travertine. Use a dust mop, a tile vacuum cleaner, or just an everyday broom to tackle dirt, dust, pet hair and dander, and other debris.

    For a deep clean, you can simply use a mild cleanser or even vinegar and water, which many ceramic tile owners swear by. Ceramic tile is impervious to water, so wet mopping is no problem at all.

    Even though both flooring types are fairly low-maintenance, ceramic tile is the superior option because exposure to water will not cause irreparable staining.

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    If you’re like most consumers, you have a budget in place for your home renovation project. While sticking to a budget is important, it’s also necessary to make sure that price isn’t the only factor you consider. Sure, you could save a few bucks by purchasing cheap flooring, but you could lose money over the long term with frequent repairs or replacements.

    It’s also important to note here that it’s difficult to nail down an exact price of flooring. Factors such as where you live, the brand that you select, and the retailer you purchase your flooring from all influence the cost of your tile flooring. However, we’ll provide a range of prices so you can get a better idea of what to expect when you start shopping around.

    Travertine flooring is beautiful and durable, but unfortunately, that comes at a cost. Like other natural stone, it is an expensive type of flooring, although it’s typically less expensive than marble or granite. Travertine flooring costs anywhere from $5 to $30 per square foot, with the average cost about $15 per square foot.

    Ceramic tile, on the other hand, is extremely affordable. It is one of the most affordable bare flooring options. Though pricing varies, you can find tiles for as low as $2 per square foot all the way up to $30 for the most high-quality specialty tile, with the average being about $10 per square foot or less.

    When it comes to pricing, ceramic tile is typically the cheapest option, so it comes out on top in this category.

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    Another factor to consider when choosing your new flooring is installation. If you’re the type that wants to DIY, just know that installing travertine and ceramic tile can be difficult unless you have the know-how and the right tools for the job. This is why many homeowners opt to hire a professional installer to get the job done properly.

    We’ve already went over the price range of materials, but another cost to consider is professional installation. If you’re following a budget, which is the most cost-efficient when it comes to installation costs?

    The installation cost of travertine flooring is about $10 to $30 per square foot. On average, expect to pay around $15 per square foot for the installation of your new flooring.

    The installation of ceramic tile is a bit more affordable. Most people will pay between $11 and $16 per square foot for the installation of their flooring.

    Not only is ceramic tile the least expensive material when compared to travertine, it also is less expensive to install, making it an ideal choice for the budget-minded consumer.

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    Overall Selection

    Another factor to consider before selecting and purchasing new flooring is how it will flow with the rest of your home. You want to select flooring that coordinates with your other flooring, paint colors, home furnishings, and décor. You also want to pick flooring that fits your personal style.

    If you decide to go with travertine, you’ll have your selection of different cuts, colors, and styles. There are shiny finishes, matte finishes, and natural tumbled finishes. You can also pick from a wide selection of sizes to give your home a beautiful custom look.

    Ceramic tile is also available in a variety of colors, styles, patterns, and textures. You can purchase traditional ceramic tile in your choice of color – think white, gray, charcoal, or ebony – or you can even purchase ceramic tile that looks like other materials, such as natural stone or tile that looks like hardwood.

    You can also purchase ceramic tile in multiple sizes. The most common sizes are 12 inches by 12 inches or 18 inches by 18 inches, but larger and smaller sizes are also available.

    With so many choices, it’s easy for anyone to find travertine or ceramic tile that works best for their home. However, ceramic tile has a slight edge because it is available in styles that mimic other popular flooring materials.

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    Is Travertine tile more expensive than porcelain?

    Yes, travertine tiles cost between $5 and $30 per square foot. Porcelain tile costs between $5 and $20 per square foot for the material and installation. To install travertine costs between $10 and $30 per square foot over and above the materials.

    How long does travertine tile last?

    Travertine can last over 100 years if cared for properly. Travertine is extremely durable, but can crack and stain over time. Although it’s water-resistant, it can stain if exposed to moisture. Cracks can be repaired and sealed on travertine tiles, though, to avoid a floor appearing greatly damaged over time.

    How much does it cost to switch to travertine tile?

    If you plan on replacing your ceramic tile with travertine tile, it will cost you between $23 and $40 per square foot. You will need to pay someone to remove the tiles before they can be replaced because it can be difficult to do it yourself, and it’s recommended to use a professional to do the installation as well.

    Is travertine tile more expensive than ceramic?

    Yes, travertine tiles cost between $5 and $30 per square foot. Ceramic tile is much more affordable, ranging between $2 and $30 per square foot and averaging $10 per square foot. It’s important to consider the cost of installation as well; travertine installation costs between $10 and 30 per square foot, while ceramic tile costs between $11 and $16 per square foot to install.

    Final Verdict

    Travertine and ceramic tile flooring both have their benefits. Either type of flooring is extremely durable and looks great in any home. However, you can make your selection based on the features that are most important to you.

    If you want durable flooring that’s easy to clean and maintain, very affordable, and comes in many different styles and colors, ceramic tile may be your best option.

    If you’re willing to spend more money for materials and installation and you want a beautiful natural stone flooring that’s unique and will last for a century or longer, consider purchasing travertine to update your space.

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    About Fortino Rosas

    Chief Floor Critic, 32 years of experience in flooring installation and sales

    Fortino Rosas is an independent flooring contractor with 32 years of experience in residential and commercial flooring installation and sales. He joined the Floor Critics team to share his expertise with our readers. Fortino has acquired vast knowledge and skills in the areas of product selection, space planning, and installation. He has installed flooring in residential, government, and commercial office projects in the Midwest. Visit Website.

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