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Home Improvement Contractors

Decorating and Maintenance Tips for Travertine Tiles

Travertine tiles have quickly become a favorite of homeowners and decorators alike. These versatile flooring tiles can be used both indoors and out, and come in styles that can easily mimic more expensive cuts, like marble. They do require some special care and maintenance but even so, their unique look more than makes up for any special considerations that have to be taken.
A Stone with a Long History
Travertine tiles can be a bit expensive to obtain, but the look that they can give to any home more than makes up for the cost of having them installed. The history of their use dates back several hundred years and the best examples can still be found in the ruins dotting the countryside of Italy, Mexico, Peru and Turkey. The largest producer today for these unique flooring tiles is Italy, though domestic United States producers still do a fine business quarrying and aging travertine for sale in this country.
Styles and Finishes
Travertine can be order in one of two finishes: natural and filled. The natural stone look is one of the most popular choices when it comes to installing these tiles in an outdoor setting. The appearance of the stone is exactly how it looks once it is quarried and cut into tiles, resembling limestone in appearance. The overall look once it is installed is of an ancient walkway or floor section, where the stones within it are pitted and worn by the ages. If used around an outdoor area that sees a lot of traffic, like around a pool, they act as a natural safety barrier, as their composition and pitting offers a slip-proof surface, no matter how wet they get.
Inside the home, the preference tends to run towards the filled travertine. Highly polished to a glossy shine, these tiles can resemble marble and mosaic tile, depending on the composition of the stone when it was filled and polished. This makes them perfect for areas of the home that need to be showcased, but will experience little heavy traffic. Entryways and hallways are perfect for them, or larger rooms that will not see a lot of children or animals running through them. The filled and polished stones can be a bit slippery and are a bit more fragile than the natural stone.
Maintenance Tips
Using travertine outside of the home requires very little maintenance, just a quick washing with a hose occasionally. It is the tile used inside of the home that may require a bit more care than usual. The first thing to remember about using this natural stone in your home, especially in areas like the kitchen or bathroom, is that any spills will need to be wiped up, immediately. One reason that they are not often used in these rooms is because of the chance that an acidic juice or carbonated drink will be spilled on them, which can quickly ruin the polished finish if not taken care of.
Using commercial cleaners on travertine tiles is also not a wise idea. The majority of commercial cleaners available today can leave a dull film behind on these natural stone tiles, reducing the gloss that they were created with. The best way to clean these tiles is to sweep them, sometimes up to twice a day, with a soft bristle broom, followed by a mopping with clean water, no additives or detergents. Be careful not to walk on them while wet, because even though they have a natural barrier against slipping on them, they are still fragile enough to be damaged while the stone is drying. Once they are air-dried, if any moisture still exists, you can easily get rid of it by using a dry mop. This should keep the polish and shine of these stone intact.…

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Basement Remodeling

Green Products

As more and more environmentally friendly products are coming to market, it seems only fair to mention the role of a few construction material products that are doing their part in helping to clean up the environment. Known as green construction or sustainable building methods, some of these innovations are quite interesting if not amazing. Goals of green building include being health conscious by decreasing pollution and toxins thereby limiting the impact on our environment. Also designed to conserve energy and valuable natural resources, many of these materials are quickly renewable such as fast growing bamboo used to manufacture flooring and paneling. Some products indirectly offer environmental benefits by conserving the water that would normally be an ingredient used to complete the final product such as cement used to mud-float showers and bath tubs in preparation for the installation of ceramic tile.
Although many building contractors and tradesmen are very negative when it comes to new products and techniques, these are usually old school veterans who are very set in their ways. You know the ones who live by the motto: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But in keeping an open mind, one will understand and soon admit that there may very well be superior products and techniques available today that were not available yesterday.
One product that comes to mind is a waterproof backer board designed to be applied directly to a tub or shower wall prior to the installation of ceramic tile. While there are several different manufacturers, the benefits are primarily the same and include:
A� Lightweight and easy to install over existing drywall or open studs.
A� Water conservation. Minimal water usage required.
A� No need to for a sand/cement mixture which can release toxins as bags are opened and mixed.
A� Minimal gray water or cement debris generated thereby making clean up easier both in the staging area as well as in the work area.
A� Installation options include flush surface or simulated mud-float.
A� Designs and specifications allow for soap and shampoo niches, shelves and seats, and even tub decks and bases.
If you are considering the installation of a new shower or tub ceramic tile surround and based on the benefits mentioned above, I think it would be prudent to at least investigate using a new product such as this. Not only will you be environmentally conscious and socially responsible but it just might save time and money.…