Travertine Countertops Pros and Cons: A Comprehensive Guide

By Artem Kropovinsky, Interior Designer and Founder of Arsight |
December 29, 2023

Italian architecture features travertine – a natural stone used by ancient Romans in their temples, memorials, shrines, and other landmarks. The stone with a remarkable legacy is now readily being used in modern architecture. Its beautiful creamy and earthy color and great resemblance to marble make it an ideal choice for interior designers to show their creativity. Whether it’s a Spanish, French, American, or Italian interior style, travertine is the perfect addition.

Why is Travertine Best for Designing Interior Spaces?

Travertine is commonly used for designing kitchens, bathrooms, and floors. Designers love the stone for its soft swirly look that is a result of combining minerals with calcite. You may find a variety of vibrant colors that can be used to complement any interior. Some popular travertine color shades include red and rusted orange, green to deep brown, and ivory to honey.

Which Travertine Surface Finish Is the Best?

Travertine has different surface finishes for you to choose the best fit for your interiors. If you plan to include travertine in your home remodeling project, then you must know different finishes. Every finish varies in terms of shine and texture to best adapt it to your décor.

Polished Surface

This glossy surface is best to give a sleek modern interior look to your counters, bathroom vanities, fireplace areas, flooring, and much more.

Honed Surfaces

Some people like matte surfaces, so travertine honed finishing is for them.

Brushed Surface

It is one of the most favorite travertine looks that feature a rough and rustic look with clear edges. It's best for bathrooms, outdoors, and wet areas.

Tumbled Surface

It features a highly textured and rustic finish with dilapidated sides and typical traditional appeal. You can ideally install it in kitchen splash-back, indoor flooring, and outdoor surfaces.

What Travertine’s Quality Grades Are Available?

Travertine is usually available in three quality grades which vary according to permeability, color consistency, performance, strength, and durability.

Matthieu Salvaing

Premium Quality

Sourced from Italy, this quality features a steady color with a little filler. Though, it is costly but does not guarantee lifetime durability. On the contrary, premium stone is not necessary to create the world’s best interior spaces.

Standard Quality

You can easily find standard-quality travertine stones in your nearby home improvement store or market. Sourced from Turkey, the standard quality features a vast color range and high filler content.

Commercial Quality

The commercial travertine variety has even greater color variation and more filler. It is commonly used to layer commercial building walls for beautification and protection purposes. If you want to use it for residential purposes, you can find some commercial quality that is similar to the standard variety.

What is the Cost of Travertine Counters?

The price of travertine counters varies significantly depending on the quality you choose. However, on average the travertine counters may vary from 25 to 100 USD per sq. foot. While this is the material price only, the overall price including labor cost may increase it up to 50 to 100 USD per square foot. When compared to marble and granite, travertine counters are much more affordable and promise the same durability.

What are the Travertine Countertops Pros and Cons?

Travertine is the best alternative to expensive stone varieties used for countertops. However, all homeowner’s requirements and preferences vary. So, it is important to know the travertine countertops' pros and cons before making the final decision.

Travertine Countertops Pros

Never Goes Out of Style

Travertine tiles feature an antique and pastoral look that can be a perfect addition to your modern interior. The best thing about travertine is that it will complement any interior décor style.


While home improvement projects are all about choosing the best material and price, travertine is a budget-friendly material that can be ideally used for counters. It is much more affordable than the other natural stone alternatives including granite, marble, quartz, and many others. However, the final price of a travertine counter depends on the specifications.


Travertine may last for years even if used roughly. However, you will have to follow a regular care and maintenance routine to keep looking it fresh. Moreover, you will have to focus on proper surface finish to make it last longer. Keep in mind that travertine stone is prone to scratches, and you must be careful while using it.

Dieter Vander Velpen


Travertine is a multi-purpose stone that can be used for many different surfaces. It can be ideal for kitchen counters, splashback, indoor flooring, shower areas, walkways, pool walls, fireplaces, and courtyards.

Easy Shaping

Travertine installation can be a DIY project. However, if you don’t have any experience installing such materials, Arsight can help you find the best professional in town. They will be responsible for design, installation, and after-service protocols. As travertine is a soft stone, it can be easily shaped to fit any space.

Easy Repairing

Everything tends to get worn out and damaged with use. Though, travertine can get easily scratched and damaged, however, it is quite easy to repair. You may seek a professional’s help through Arsight, or manage on your own. The repair will make the stone look like new.

Travertine Countertops Cons

Requires Maintenance Budget

With regular use, travertine may get scratched, stained, or damaged, so it requires timely maintenance from a professional. You may have to allocate a budget for it to avoid any inconvenience.

Requires Sealing

Travertine surfaces are usually polished, brushed, honed, or tumbled. So, they require a sealing coat to protect the surface.

Hole Filling

Travertine’s special feature includes holes in the surface. Usually, the holes are covered using epoxy material to facilitate easy cleaning. If this is performed unprofessionally, travertine counters may appear shabby and challenging to clean.

Acid Damage

One drawback of installing travertine counters is that it is reactive to acidic materials. So, you must be careful while cooking as any acidic liquids or food substances can cause permanent damage to the surfaces.


If you love Italian and Roman-inspired interiors, then travertine countertops are the best pick.

Artem Kropovinsky is an author, interior designer and the founder of Arsight, a globally award-winning design firm based in New York. With over decade of experience, Arsight specializes in complex projects, including new constructions, complete residential renovations, restaurants, and retail stores.