Natural Stone

Ever wonder what Travertine and Marble really are, or how they are made? Well, we here at Mann Tile got curious about the history behind the stone we sell, so below are some of our findings–along with tips on how to care for your natural stone.


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The above is Travertine terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park. Amazing, isn’t it? Travertine is a type of limestone, formed mainly at mineral hot springs. It is called a sedimentary stone, which means it is a blend of different organic materials, broken down by glaciers, wind, oceans, rivers and plants. Travertine has holes in it formed by heat, pressure and water flowing through it. Usually they fill in those holes so that it is flat and usable for flooring. The pretty coloring you see develops as a result of iron compounds or other organic impurities.

Most travertine is imported from Italy, Iran, Mexico, Turkey, and Peru. Mann Tile’s travertine is supplied by Tar Mak USA, which primarily imports stone from Turkey.

Here’s a video about the process of mining and refining Travertine:

Travertine is very sensitive to acid, so you should use a neutral PH cleaner and clean water. Be sure to wipe up any spills as quickly as possible to try to avoid stains. Even water can harm it if you leave it wet too long.

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This picture is of travertine that was used to build a wall 400 years ago!


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Impressive, isn’t it? This particular quarry supplies Carrara marble.

Marble forms rather differently from Travertine…It is made through a process called “metamorphism” (which just means “to change form”). It begins as limestone or dolostone, and is then exposed to immense pressure and extreme heat for long periods of time. Instead of melting, the minerals around (usually calcite or dolomite) recrystallize into interlocking mineral crystals. Usually, the cause of the heat and pressure is the result of the stone being caught in the collision of two tectonic plates. Sometimes, though, marble is formed on contact as the result of being exposed to heat from the source of magma–basically, being near a volcano. A little complicated, but maybe now you will value your marble more highly! 🙂 The process doesn’t stop there… it takes a lot more work to get it into the nice smooth marble tiles that you see in our store. Here’s a little video that shows you more of that process in an interesting way…

Marble has been used in many beautiful ways over the years… One of the most famous, of course, being the Taj Mahal, which is entirely covered on the outside with marble!

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