Building Materials - Table of Contents.................. Illustrated Architecture Dictionary

Travertine
TRAV er teen

Neither limestone nor marble, it is sometimes known as travertine limestone, sometimes as travertine marble; these are the same stone.

Falling somewhere between marble and limestone for hardness and porosity, often characterized by a pitted surface. Some varieties of travertine take a polish and are known commercially as marble.

Name origin: The rock derives its name from Tivoli, Italy, which in ancient Roman times was known as Tibur. The ancient name for the stone - which was used extensively as a building material - was lapis tiburtinus meaning tibur stone, which has evolved today to travertine.

Formation: Travertine is a sedimentary rock that began as limestone. It often forms near hot bubbly mineral rich springs. Gas bubbles become trapped and create a pitted surface on the stone.

Texture: The stone is characterized by pitted holes and troughs in its surface. Some installers use a grout to fill these holes, whereas others leave them open. It can be effectively polished to a smooth, shiny finish.

Color: Pure travertine is a creamy white color, but the building stone is more often found in various shades of brown, yellow and even red because of the inclusion of other minerals.

Example: The largest building in the world constructed mostly of travertine is the Coliseum in Rome. The amphitheater was constructed using a combination of concrete for the foundations, travertine for the piers and arcades, tufa infill between piers for the walls of the lower two levels, and brick-faced concrete used for the upper levels and for most of the passageways beneath the arena floor.

Popularity: The stone is most widely used in Italy, Greece and Turkey..

Sources:


Examples from Buffalo:

Other examples:


Photos and their arrangement 2009 Chuck LaChiusa
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