Travertine Backsplashes

Browse ideas for travertine backsplashes, and get ready to install an elegant and durable backsplash in your kitchen.
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Photo by: Igor Terekhov

Igor Terekhov

By: Sean McEvoy

Travertine backsplashes can offer attractive, durable and elegant options for homeowners looking to install a new kitchen or refurbish an existing one.

Travertine is a form of limestone, most often created by mineral deposits from hot springs. Generally available in tan, cream or white/beige colors, it's been used in construction and architecture for centuries, and it appears in many modern homes in various forms. Travertine offers an attractive, long-lasting and low-maintenance backsplash option; however, depending on the scope of your backsplash plans, it can be an expensive material to incorporate into your kitchen design.

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Your first task after deciding on a travertine backsplash will be to determine how much material you'll need to cover. Many homeowners install a backsplash that covers only a portion of the walls between the countertops and cabinets in their kitchen, while others may choose a more dramatic approach that covers the entire wall. Whichever approach you prefer, determine the amount of travertine you'll need by measuring the area you want to cover, then calculating the square footage.

When you've got the measurement in hand, it's time to decide on the style of travertine that's right for your kitchen. In terms of colors, travertine is most commonly available in light hues like beige, tan and cream. Textures vary, from smooth to slightly more rough-hewn; for a backsplash, most homeowners choose a smooth style, to ensure that the backsplash will easily wipe clean. Various patterns are available as well, since travertine exhibits a wide range of unique patterns developed by nature and enhanced by modern production techniques.

Once you've settled on a style direction, it's time to source the travertine and any other construction materials you'll need for the installation of your new backsplash. You'll find plenty of options at most home improvement or tile specialty stores, and there's as much travertine as you can bear to browse online. When you've landed on the right outlet for the materials, it's time to install your travertine backsplash—but you have one more decision to make: whether to install the backsplash yourself, or hire a professional to install it for you.

If you've got considerable home improvement skills, installing a travertine backsplash likely won't be too much of a challenge (in particular if the travertine has already been cut to your measurement specifications, meaning all you'll need to concern yourself with is securing it to the walls). Conversely, if you haven't installed a backsplash before, need to cut and size the material, or just aren't particularly handy, you'll probably want to enlist the services of a pro for the installation; it will cost more, but your chances of a botched job or one that takes significantly longer than you anticipated will be significantly reduced.

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