Decisions, decisions…. I have to admit that I do not like making large-ticket, gotta-live-with-it-for-a –long time choices, but let’s face it – every now and then we have to make long term financial commitments like when it’s time to get a new car, paint the house, replace the refrigerator, or change the flooring!
My husband and I had been talking about redoing our floors for years. Patrick (the husband), is a residential realtor, so sees a lot of nice homes and flooring. Our family room, kitchen and hallway floors had 12” off-white ceramic tile, while the living room and den had the same off-white carpet as the bedrooms for about the last eight years. Why did we think that off white was a good idea with two Persian cats (or even without cats, for that matter)??? See below for the "before" pics of our family and living rooms.
I also have to admit that I am not the best comparison shopper. Experience has led me to believe that too many choices end up muddying the waters. However, not knowing exactly what we wanted, we had no option other than to look many places at different types of flooring in multiple types of outlets. We knew that we wanted a larger tile, but weren’t totally committed to its composition. Patrick was already convinced that he wanted travertine, but I wasn’t sure one way or another. Each time we spoke to a flooring sales rep the message that I took away from it was that ceramic tile was much easier to care for than travertine, and would end up being roughly about half the cost considering the much lower price per square foot and installation cost. Some new ceramic tiles have the “travertine look” that was convincing enough for us to honestly not be able to tell the difference between that and the real stone tiles.
Sounds like we’d be choosing ceramic tile, doesn’t it? Didn’t happen! Most of the absolutely beautiful “look alike” man-made products would repeat in pattern every four tiles, which would be a sure indication that it was not the natural product. We brought home several samples, and placed them in various spots around the rooms. It was surprising how heavy one travertine tile is.
The demolition and installation process took just under two weeks. We’d scheduled that to happen while my sister and her family were on vacation, so I was able to move into their house with the cats while the work was being done. My husband camped out in the bedroom with all of the things he needed along with way too much miscellaneous “stuff” that we had nowhere else to put. We had been cautioned by friends to expect to find dust everywhere after installation, but we lucked out -- very little residue was left behind. Installing the tiles at an angle has led to a very nice overall look. Pictured below is the kitchen area during installation.
Now that we’ve lived with the travertine for a few months we are thrilled, but it hasn’t been long enough for me to figure out what products are best to clean it. In a subsequent post I will discuss the sealing process and those products I have found most effective for maintenance. Take a look at the during and after pictures of our installation process and the final results with which we are thrilled. If anyone has tips on good products to use to clean and maintain travertine, I'd love to hear from you!