Travertine flooring in a Luxury Vinyl Tile — good for a 1960s or 1970s house

Writing about Amy’s Naughty Pine Lounge, I was reminded of how much I liked travertine. Amy has travertine laminate on her bar top. But, I think of this classic stone (online I find that travertine is a type of limestone) as more of a flooring option that you would see in fancy 1960s and 1970s homes. Carrara marble or carrara laminate countertops… Terrazzo (marble chip) flooring… Travertine flooring … and slate flooring … are four of the marbles/stones I think you’d most likely have seen in use back in the day. Above: Karndean has translated the look into large-format 18″ x 26″ Luxury Vinyl Tiles in two colorways. Vinyl: That’s so 1970s, too! I’m sure there are other travertine flooring options — either as resilients or actual limestone tiles — but here’s a start putting travertine out there!


  1. Steve H says:

    A very classic mid century material. You often see it both as a wall and floorcovering in office buildings, libraries and churches from the 1950’s-1970’s. It’s kind of the stone equivalent of pecky cypress.

  2. BobinAlabama says:

    I’ve used Armstrong’s 18″ X 18″ travertine luxury vinyl tile. It is self-stick, easily cut with a utility knife or utility shears, and can be installed with or without grouted seams. There is even vinyl grout available for use with vinyl tile. The grouting process is quite tedious, but I found that using a butter knife was the easiest way to press the grout in between the tile edges. Tips: Be sure the floor you’re covering is clean, flat (no curled edges of old flooring) and free of any debris; restrict the project to a small area (it’s laborious); place the loose tiles into an arrangement you find most pleasing before actually sticking them down. My bathroom floor is still beautiful after six years, and it’s one of the projects I’m most proud of.

  3. Carolyn says:

    The issues I have with today’s trend of wood, porcelain, and slate/stone flooring, besides the cost and spending my free time keeping it clean, is how much noise it generates and unforgiving if you drop something. Vinyl, etc. is much quieter and easier on the feet (notice the huge sales of GelPro mats you used to only find at workstations in factories? These new floors are hard on your feet and back!) When you drop something, even Corelle, it just shatters.
    This flooring would work in a Modern home, not sure if it wouldn’t be too fancy for a modest. Would be a good alternative for re-habbing an aging genteel home that you’d want to bring back to its former glory but the value wouldn’t be recouped due to the values of the neighborhood. It would be a sight better than throwing everything and anything in the big box store to “update”.
    So, Pam, after your binge of your ceiling papering, now you’re looking down to get your neck back into alignment?

  4. ineffablespace says:

    The positive thing is that vinyl is making a comeback in the form of of “luxury vinyl” or LVT.

    If you look at old Architectural Digests and other magazines from the 1960s they used vinyl tile in pretty high end applications and it was not considered cheap.

    My favorite vinyl tile is something that’s not really trying to look like anything, like the black streaky VCT that seems to have been the go to tile for new construction and renovation of condos and apartments in the 1960s to very early 70s in my area. (Turned to a lot of carpet in the 1970s)

    But for the old “stone” looks, I think I liked them better than the new “stone” looks, personally. The old Amtico, in particular was pretty dimensional and they actually made travertine and brick style tiles with holes for the travertine and a different texture for the “grout” in the bricks. However, it wasn’t completely realistic –you could kind of see the hand of the artist in it.

    The newer tile seems to use something for an almost photorealistic surface but it’s also very flat, and doesn’t seem realistic in that sense.

    I may end up using real slate or porcelain even though I would prefer vinyl for weight, resilience and authenticity. I am not sure my house would have had a real stone floor in it.

  5. Pam Kueber says:

    This may be embossed… not sure. But to get a more realistic texture, that’s something to look for…

  6. ineffablespace says:

    Yes, some of these seem to have some texture, but much of the detail is in the “print”. Amtico seems to have two slate looks and one is a solid black vinyl that is textural but has no color variation and the other is a photographic representation of vinyl but almost completely smooth. It seems like it’s maybe difficult to have too much of both, like one process interferes with the other.

    When it comes to some things, like vinyl and countertop laminate, I think I’d almost rather just have it look like vinyl or laminate rather than trying to look like something else. Some of the LVT floors are very realistic but I sort of liked the artistry of the earlier unrealistic vinyls–the brick and stone patterns that were mimicking a brick or stone appearance but pretty clearly were not. That’s personal preference of course.

  7. Carol says:

    I absolutely love vinyl and laminate. So easy to keep clean and very tactile and user friendly. Both are more forgiving to dishes and bare skin and quieter for sure. I’ve been told not to put real travertine on a wood subfloor. The tile guy said travertine is delicate and will eventually crack on anything used as a substrate except poured concrete. Travertine is so tempting because it feels like walking on baby powder with bare feet. Travertine was super, super inexpensive 15 years ago. It now requires a healthy flooring budget. Sometimes trendy does equal spendy.

  8. ALLISON says:

    Vinyl is such a comfortable, workable surface for a house you actually live in. The same for laminates. Ceramics, porcelain and stone are just cold, loud and hard to my mind; good for wet areas and not much else.

    I confess, the older I get, the more I appreciate a quiet home and comfortable flooring underfoot- including wall-to-wall carpeting, which seems to be anathema in this modern age.

  9. Lynn says:

    Along these same lines, Home Depot has a 12×24 self-stick vinyl tile that goes wonderfully with my Carerra or Calcutta (can’t remember which) counter top and blue sink and walls and is a reasonable price. I laid it brick fashion like in the photo above and it looks great. A tip I learned to cut vinyl tile that has saved me so much time and frustration since I am a lousy cutter is to cut with a paper cutter. It makes things so much easier (and straighter)!


  10. Lynn says:

    Oh, and on the hard floors breaking dishes, even Corelle, I concur! More than one of my Butterfly Gold cereal bowls has shattered to smithereens on a tile floor. I was sad–these were my grandma’s. Luckily, replacements are pretty easy to get.

  11. megan says:

    We have travertine in our 1965 ranch, although it’s not original (as far as I can tell, the original kitchen floor was that brown, fake-brick linoleum). I don’t love it for the reasons mentioned by other posters. I wanted a flagstone style black slate floor, but the comments here make me wonder if that would be a poor choice as well. I actually forgot that people choose flooring for reasons other than looks and price.

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