What Is Travertine? Pros and Cons of Using It Around Your Pool

Written by Michael Dean
January 16, 2024

swimming pool deck

If you’re looking at renovating or building a pool patio or deck, one of the first considerations you’ll make is the type of material you use. Travertine is a popular material that offers several benefits. But what is travertine, what forms and colors does it come in, and what are the pros and cons?

In this article, I will discuss all of this and more. Let’s get into it!


Main Takeaways

  • Travertine is a limestone that has been used as a building material for thousands of years.
  • Travertine pavers are available in a variety of finishes, such as brushed, honed, and tumbled.
  • Acidic substances, such as muriatic acid, will harm travertine, causing it to dull or etch.
  • Travertine requires periodic sealing to preserve the natural beauty of the stone.

What Is Pool Travertine?

A form of terrestrial limestone, travertine is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate. It is a dense rock that has been used as a building material for thousands of years. Pool travertine, or travertine pavers, are formed using this material and used for pool decks or coping. The material forms around hot springs and limestone caves and has a uniquely beautiful appearance.

swimming pool with stone deck

The pavers have an earthy elegance and come in warm, neutral tones such as cream, ivory, brown, rust, and silver, with visual variations in texture and veining. Pool travertine is a popular choice for pool decking due to its aesthetics and functionality.

Pros of Using Pool Travertine as Decking

Travertine is not only very versatile and beautiful, but also functional as a paving stone for swimming pool surroundings. Here are the pros of using travertine as pool decking.

Aesthetically-Pleasing

Of course, at first glance, one of the first advantages of travertine pavers is that they are beautiful. It is luxurious and can really transform the look of your pool deck! Its classic beauty will never go out of style.

Durable

A naturally hard and dense stone, travertine is highly resistant to scratches, chipping, and general wear and tear. It can withstand pool chemicals, scuffing, harsh weather conditions, and much more, keeping your pool deck beautiful for a long time. In fact, average-grade travertine pavers can easily last you a lifetime (or more)!

Slip-Resistant

When sealed, travertine has a naturally textured, porous surface, unlike other paving options, which offers excellent slip resistance, even when the stones are wet. The holes make it difficult for water to form puddles or floods. You don’t have to be a seasoned pool owner to understand that this is an extremely useful safety feature around pools.

Heat Resistant

If you live somewhere with incredibly hot summers, you know that some materials can get so hot that they can burn your feet! With travertine, you don’t have to worry about this. Travertine’s light color and porosity transfer the cool temperatures from underneath while also reflecting the heat from the sun, keeping the decking at a nice and cool temperature for your bare feet even in the middle of a hot summer’s day!

Cons of Using Pool Travertine as Decking

When considering what type of decking material to use for your pool deck, it is just as important to consider their cons. Here are some disadvantages of choosing travertine over other materials.

Cost

Travertine is a bit more expensive than other common pool deck materials, such as concrete. Travertine pavers can cost from $5 to $30 per square foot.

Porosity

Unfortunately, the same trait that makes the material slip-resistant also makes it susceptible to staining. Chemicals or liquids (such as red wine) might be able to penetrate the pores, so you would need to clean up spills immediately to avoid any staining. The porousness of travertine pavers also means that the tiny holes may become more noticeable over time.

Sealing Needed

To avoid any staining issues, travertine may require sealing. Sealing acts as a protective barrier, helping to preserve the travertine’s natural beauty. While sealing might ever-so-slightly reduce the natural aesthetics of the stone, it is a necessary step for most travertine pavers. I highly recommend choosing a high-quality, breathable sealant for your travertine.

You may need to reseal your travertine decking every 3 to 5 years.

Types of Travertine Pavers

So, you’ve decided to go with travertine for your pool decking! What type of travertine pavers should you go for? You can find many different styles and textures of travertine, and you should pick one that best suits your aesthetics!

Honed

Honed travertine pavers have a smooth and matte finish. It offers a polished appearance, displaying the stone’s subtle veining and natural beauty—ideal for a simple yet sophisticated look.

Tumbled

Tumbled travertine pavers have a rustic feel. The edges are rounded and have a textured, pitted surface, giving them a weathered and unique look. This variant can add a lot of warmth and homely character to your swimming pool area.

Brushed

Brushed travertine pavers enhance the natural pits and voids in the stone via brushing for a more textured look. This makes for a good balance between a smooth, polished aesthetic and a rough, natural one.

Travertine Colors

Just as you can choose the type of travertine pavers you want for your pool, you can also have some choice regarding the color.

Neutral Colors: Cream, Beige, Ivory

The most common and popular colors for travertine are beiges, ivories, and creams. These highly versatile colors can blend seamlessly with other elements of your pool area. They can add a highly polished, elegant touch to your surroundings, giving the place a bright, airy feel.

Warm Colors: Brown, Rust, Walnut

These tones are warm and rich, ranging from reddish-orange rust to deep walnut. These colors may be a great fit for pool owners who want to curate a rustic, timeless look that’s simultaneously cozy and classic.

Cool Colors: White, Silver, Gray

These tones of colors are unusual but are preferred by those seeking a cool, modern aesthetic. Gray, silver, or white travertine (or even a mix of the three!) makes for a highly sophisticated, sleek aesthetic with light veining and a seamless feel.

Of course, exact color variations in travertine will vary depending on the specific quarry of the stone. Plus, the finish you choose will also influence the final appearance of the stone.

Travertine vs. Marble

Both travertine and marble are commonly used as pool decking materials. Choosing the material that works for you depends on your priorities. Here’s a breakdown of their differences:

Appearance

Travertine is naturally a bit rough and textured, with pitted surfaces. The appearance is aged, rustic, and homely. In contrast, marble is highly polished, smooth, and more luxurious and elegant.

Durability

Travertine is very durable—it’s resistant to chipping and scratching. However, marble is even more durable and more resistant to the elements, as it is denser than travertine.

Cost

Travertine is generally much more affordable than marble, costing around $5 to $30 per square foot, whereas marble can be pricier, with prices increasing to $15 to $40 per square foot. Note that these prices don’t include installation.

How Much Does a Travertine Pool Deck Cost?

The final cost of a travertine pool deck depends on many factors, including the price and quality of the travertine, as well as the labor and installation charges.

For the cost of the material itself, you can expect to pay anywhere between $5 and $30 per square foot, depending on the quality, finish, and grade of the travertine.

You’ll also have to consider labor and installation charges. Labor costs will highly depend on your location, so to get the best idea of how much you can expect to shell out, I recommend contacting a few professionals in your area to get a ballpark. However, on average, travertine pool deck installation labor costs will range from $50 to $70 an hour. How much you pay in terms of labor will depend on what is needed, including site preparation, leveling, laying the pavers, grouting, and sealing. Also, permits and design fees might add to the total cost.

Need Help Building Your Pool?

I offer design consulting services to help you build your ideal pool. I'll work with your contractor, create build-ready designs and specs, and much more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is travertine high maintenance?

Travertine is not high maintenance, but just like any other decking material, it does require regular care and upkeep to preserve the natural beauty of the stones. Specifically, you should seal the stones every 3 to 4 years to keep the travertine in the best possible shape.

Does chlorine damage travertine?

Absolutely not! But with that said, while chlorine won’t damage travertine, high chlorine levels or improper pool chemical balance might lead to some staining. Maintain your pool’s pH and chemical levels within the recommended range to minimize such risks.

Will muriatic acid hurt travertine?

Yes, muriatic acid can harm travertine. Although durable, travertine is highly susceptible to acidic substances, so the acid can cause unsightly dulling or etching on your expensive stones.

Enjoy Your Gorgeous Travertine Pool Deck

I hope this information helps you plan your budget and design preferences for your dream travertine pool deck! If you’re after a natural stone look with a smaller budget, travertine is a great choice for pool decking.

If you have any further questions about pool decking, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Scroll to Top