Limestone vs travertine

Limestone and travertine are both popular types of natural stone. Each stone makes for popular choices in material for the use in construction, home design and renovation.

While there are similarities between the two, and both are formed in similar natural circumstances (more on that in a minute), both travertine and limestone are unique and distinct stones in their own right.

If you’re looking to install stone flooring in your home and want to know what the pros and cons are of limestone vs travertine flooring, you’ve come to the right place. First, though, let’s define both of these types of stone.


Limestone is a natural stone that forms at the bottom of water depositories and is formed mostly of the skeletal and shell-like fragments of marine organisms. Subjected to high amounts of pressure and a lot of heat, these minerals form into crystalline calcium carbonate rock. In both appearance and function, limestone can seem very similar to marble.


Like limestone, travertine is made of compact calcium carbonate and also forms at the bottom of bodies of water and from the remains of aquatic creatures. The big difference between travertine and limestone in terms of development is that when extra heat and pressure is added to travertine it then forms subsequently into limestone. When the necessary heat and pressure is absent, travertine is left: made up of a compact composite of layers of different materials. Hence, travertine can be considered as a stone in a pre-limestone stage. 

Both limestone and travertine offer unique features and benefits when used as a building material, including flooring. 

So, how to choose between the two? Here are the pros and cons of limestone vs travertine flooring.

Stone colours and shades

This ‘pro’ and ‘con’ is entirely dependent on your preference of style and indesign. Limestone comes in brighter and lighter shades and colouring, while travertine tends to either be darker in shading or have deeper, darker streaks of colouring through it.

Of course, this being the case if you want to go down the road of marble-eque visuals, limestone offers you a more affordable option to do so. If you want to incorporate a bold colour scheme into your flooring travertine will be your better bet. Therefore the pros and cons of the colouring of limestone pavers vs travertine pavers will be entirely dependent on your personal preference and aesthetic choices.

Stone porousness

Travertine is a much more porous stone than limestone due to the differences in its formation. For that reason if you’re tossing up between a limestone vs travertine pool deck or you’re looking for a stone paver for an area that is likely to be exposed to excess liquid or high amounts of traffic in the house, limestone may be the smarter option. It’s a durable stone that is likely to stand up to high foot traffic exposure and resist staining and discolouring over time. Travertine, being softer, is more susceptible to this sort of ‘wear’. However, with proper treatment, polishing and maintenance, travertine is also more than capable of offering long-term, high quality flooring.

Stone value

When trying to assess the value of different stones such as travertine and limestone by objective metrics, it’s important to consider three different factors:

  • Limestone vs travertine price
  • Limestone vs travertine longevity 
  • Limestone vs travertine maintenance costs

Of course the lower the price and ongoing costs, and the higher the longevity, the more valuable a long-term investment a stone is. 

On the one hand, a con of limestone is that it is more expensive than travertine. On the other hand, a con of travertine is that it requires more maintenance and does not last as well for as long.

Cleaning and maintenance 

Like with most considerations on this list, choosing between limestone and travertine is not so much a determination of which is better, but which pros and cons you personally value over the other. When it comes to long-term maintenance, travertine requires both more intense and more regular maintenance to keep it sealed and resistant. Unfilled travertine, if such stone is your style, can be difficult to keep clean due to the crevices and pock marks that are inherent in the stone. On the flip side however, being the darker of the two stones, travertine does not show up dirt as easily or quickly as limestone. Limestone, while less porous when sealed and easily cleanable, does require more consistent cleaning to keep looking sparkly, shiny and squeaky clean.

Versatility in application

There’s plenty to love about travertine, especially when it comes to splashbacks and wall cladding, but in terms of flooring versatility limestone’s higher durability and lower porousness takes the cake. If the application in mind for your new stone flooring is a pool deck or bathroom pavers/flooring, limestone is the smarter and better long-term solution. Even something like underfloor heating is much more suitable for limestone than travertine.

Another important point to bear in mind with pool paving and stone surrounds is that because travertine absorbs more water, if you live in an area cold enough for the stone to freeze during winter you could damage the stone as the water expands. In the hotter months, additional water retained by travertine can produce more glaring sun refractions than limestone would.

A last word on limestone vs travertine flooring

As you can see there are clearly pros and cons to using both limestone and travertine. Travertine offers home-owners a unique, darker patterned aesthetic, while limestone is less porous and more suitable for bathroom, kitchen or pool-surrounding flooring.

At the end of the day the best stone for you will depend on your preferences, budget, priorities and application. As always, the team at Euro Marble is here to help you with your stone-related questions, queries and conundrums. Want to drill down more on the pros and cons of limestone vs travertine? Or do you want to walk through your specific home renovation? Give us a call on (02) 8585 2999 to chat about all the above and more.

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