Travertine is a natural stone composed of calcite and formed in hot springs or limestone caves. Beautiful colors and interesting veining make it a popular choice for flooring. Because it’s one of the softer natural stones, your pooch’s toenails clicking across it might be leaving scratches.
Moh’s Scale was originally developed to provide a measure of the hardness of gemstones and minerals. On this scale, talc has a value of 1, and diamond has a value of 10. It’s a scale of scratch resistance, because the materials with higher values can scratch the materials with lower values. Travertine has a value of about 3 or 4, which is comparable to marble. For comparison, granite has a value of 7 or 8. Human fingernails are assigned a value of around 2.5 and so cannot scratch travertine.
Fido’s toenails are not given a specific hardness value on Moh’s scale, and there’s a lot of variation among breeds. But even that little Yorkie has nails that are at least as hard as yours, and a German shepherd’s thick claws can definitely scratch a travertine floor. Additionally, when your pooch is walking across your floor, he might have dirt or small rocks that have collected in his feet and the surface of his nails. Most dogs will leave at least minor scratches on travertine tile.
Travertine is characterized by pitted holes that can be filled by the installer or left open. You can also choose from four finishes – polished, honed, tumbled or brushed. Polished tiles are shiny; honed tiles are matte; and brushed and tumbled are textured. Polished travertine is harder and more scratch-resistant than the other finishes, but it's also more slippery, making it difficult for your pooch to gain traction, especially after a rain. The other finishes have better traction, but can be difficult to keep clean due to the porous nature of the stone.
Although not as hard as granite, travertine is still pretty tough. The Trevi Fountain in Rome is made from travertine, and it’s been impressing tourists for more than 300 years. Few stones can match the beauty and warmth of travertine, but regular maintenance is necessary to keep scratching to a minimum. Travertine is also vulnerable to etching and requires appropriate cleaning products.
By Leslie Darling
About the Author
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.