Types and Grades of Stone-Mart Travertine Tile

Before purchasing your travertine tile, it is important to become familiar with industry terms in order to choose the type and grade of tile most appropriate for your purposes. While there is no industry standard name for the grades of travertine, most establishments use the names listed below. The two types of travertine tiles are created by using different cutting methods, not by using different types of travertine stone.

Travertine Grades

Premium grade travertine tile

Premium Grade Travertine

There are three grades of travertine: premium, standard, and commercial. Premium grade, which is sometimes called first grade, is a tile that has been perfectly cut and has a uniform thickness throughout with very little filler. Standard grade, also called second grade, will also be perfectly cut with a uniform thickness, however, there will be a bit more filler in the stone. Commercial grade, also known as third grade, may not be perfectly cut on all sides and it will not have a uniform thickness. Additionally, there will be a great deal more filler within the stone.

Premium or First Grade

This grade offers the greatest selection of colors free from black or gray discoloration in the travertine tiles.

The travertine tiles are carefully chosen to be consistent in color.

The tiles are double filled, first, by machinery and then by hand if any holes remain.

None of the travertine tiles of this grade will have large holes that were filled.

The edges of the tiles are smooth and evenly sized with uniform beveled edges.

Standard or Second Grade

This grade offers the second largest selection of travertine tile colors free from gray or black discoloration.

The travertine tiles are carefully chosen to have a consistent color throughout the lot.

Tiles are double filled as in the premium grade.

Some large holes are allowed in standard grade travertine tiles. Additionally, some holes may be filled through the full thickness of the tile.

The color may contain some striations or swirls.

The edges of the tiles are smooth and evenly sized with uniform beveled edges.

Commercial or Third Grade

Large color variations are allowed within the tile including gray or black markings.

Small unfilled holes are allowed as are small defects in sizing and honing.

The tiles are not hand filled.

It is acceptable for large voids to be filled.

Small holes that run from the surface to the bottom of the tile are allowed.

Edges may be cracked or broken.

Tiles may be delivered without color selection or sorting.

Mid Grade Travertine

Middle grade travertine tile

Mid Grade Travertine

Travertine Types

Cut Types

Due to the bedding planes inherent in most travertine, it is possible to achieve a dramatically different look depending on the cut type chosen. The two cut types used to create travertine tiles are the Vein Cut and the Fleuri Cut. The travertine itself is the same for both types of tile; it is only the type of cut that causes the stone to differ in appearance.

Vein Cut

Vein cut describes the cutting process by which a cut is made against the bedding planes, or along the vein. This exposes the edge of the formation and gives the travertine tile a linear pattern.

Fleuri Cut

Fleuri cut, which is also known as a cross cut, is a cut made parallel to the bedding plane. This exposes a random pattern that is often circular. This cut does result in a strong tile; however, it is not ideal for high-traffic areas due to holes that may appear with heavy use. After installation, if holes should appear, it is standard practice to fill those holes instead of replacing the tile.

Vein Cut Travertine

Cross Cut Travertine

What criteria indicates good quality travertine tile?

All four corners of the tile should be cut at 90 degrees.

The color of the stone should not be marred my rust colored markings on either side.

There should be no pores in the filling of the stone.

The filling should consist of a hard resin that will not chip; cement is unacceptable.

The side cuts should be perfectly perpendicular; a slope is unacceptable.

The color of the tile should be consistent throughout the lot with limited color variations.

The thickness of the tile should be measured in inches and should be 18” x 18”.

The shipping crates should be strong wooden pallets suitable for forklifts.

The face of the tile should be visible from both sides of the shipping crates.

Styrofoam should be used on the bottom and sides of the tiles for protection.

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