BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

French Pattern Layouts For Natural Stone Tile Lend the Power of Subtlety

One thing that becomes apparent when looking at flooring and wall cladding installations is this: the subtleties count the most.

When shopping for flooring, either wood flooring or natural stone tile, it’s always a good idea to have a general idea of the effect you want.  This is setting aside the suitability of wood or stone in any given space of course.   But, what remains are the light touches, the sought-after effects that the right choice in flooring  or wall covering can bring.

This idea has got me thinking about French pattern tile.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  Recently, we launched a range of French pattern slate tile, a layout style which is more associated with marble or travertine tile.  And perhaps this association with those other types of tile is simple enough to explain.

French pattern has that old-world feel to it, evoking the time when travertine and marble were vital building components as Western civilization began to emerge.  And even now in the 21st Century, there’s just something about it that seems to communicate the idea of ‘stateliness’ in a tile floor or wall clad.

French pattern is a variety of mosaic layout that takes tile of various sizes and interlocks them.    It’s been used as a way to lay out tile floors, but also shower walls, verandas, and pool decks too.  This Navona Light Travertine Tile in French pattern is a great example of the ‘old world’ effect you can get with it:

(Click image to view full size)

French pattern tile is also associated with the popular aged look – chisled, tumbled or brushed travertine tile, are great examples – which really brings out a sense of history, and the flavors of stone cutting in the Ancient World even if your tile is brand new.

Another thing I’ve picked up, being immersed as I am in the world of building materials, is that the effects that quality materials that appeal to the artistic eye can be transformative.  In residences, these subtle effects can turn a new house into a home.  And in commercial spaces, they can help to keep customers coming back.  I certainly think a creative layout like French pattern is one of those choices in flooring and walls that can make this subtle, yet hugely significant, effect take place.



Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.


  1. This is my favorite installation pattern for stone! This is a timeless pattern that allows the range and beauty of natural stone to shine.

    • Hey Shannon!

      I agree. For stone tile, I love that old-world look, which is seems to have that ‘timeless’ quality too. And now, it’s not just about the travertine, but you can get the pattern in slate as well, which is a favourite stone surface of mine because of the striking color variations.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Rob,

    When you lay travertine in a French or Versailles pattern, do you but the tiles against each other? If yes, do you use an unsanded grout to fill in any voids between the tiles? Our plan is to butt the tiles but leave the chiseled edge free of any grout

    • bathroom guy Reply to bathroom

      It might be wise to leave an average 1/8 ” space between tiles for two reasons: One, you will want a good bond with the grout from top to bottom and two, tumbled, chiseled Travertine are not all the same size, as they can vary up to an 1/8″

    • bathroom guy Reply to bathroom

      Almost forgot, use sanded grout not powdered grout. An option is to use powdered grout for a second coat. This will make grout lines smoother and easier to clean.

  3. vishal garg Reply to vishal

    would like to know how to lay versailles pattern on flooring.
    Typically how to explain the contractor that they woulkd know how to arrange the tiles on floor.

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