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How to Repair and Replace Travertine Tile

Sometimes, no matter how careful a person is to care for their travertine tile, the tile sustains damage and must be repaired or replaced. Loose or damaged tile is most often the result of issues with the subflooring or improper installation. Though it is not the easiest or most pleasant task in the world, it can be done. Fixing loose tiles and/or replacing broken ones as needed is the best way to preserve the rest of the tile.

How to Repair a Loose Tile

Installing Single Tile

First, identify loose tiles by listening for noise when walked on or a hollow sound when the tile is hit. In most cases, replacing the tile all together is the best thing to do. If this is not possible for financial or aesthetic reasons, injecting an epoxy glue solution underneath the tile to re-bond it to the subfloor is the only other option.

The tools needed for this job are: a drill, carbide tipped blade equal to or slightly smaller than the grout joint size, a large construction syringe, a high quality two part epoxy, and matching grout.

On either side of the loose tile, carefully drill holes into the grout joints. Mix the epoxy solution according to the directions. Carefully inject epoxy into one hole, until enough works its way through the tile to come out the hole on the other side. It may be a good idea to use a golf tee in the other hole to ensure the epoxy solution fills all voids before coming out the other side.

Dig out the epoxy slightly and allow it enough time to cure. After the mixture cures, fill the holes with the matching grout to finish the job.

How to Repair a Damaged Subfloor

If the subfloor is damaged, it should be repaired before the initial installation of the tile floor, to prevent further complications and issues as the floor ages. If the subfloor damage has to be repaired after a floor installation, the tile must be removed to expose it, therefore creating more work in the long run.

Use tools such as a: reciprocating saw, circular saw, jigsaw, or handsaw to carefully remove any damaged subfloor material. Wear the appropriate safety to protect from injury. When removing the damaged subfloor, practice care to avoid damaging any adjacent areas that are in good shape.

After the damaged material is removed, replace it with new materials. Secure it accordingly.

Once the damaged subfloor has been replaced, follow tile installation instructions to install the new tile floor.

(25) Comments

  1. I wonder if you could use thinset mortar instead of the ‘high quality epoxy’ mortar you mention here. When I did my travertine hearth, a small square tile in the corner wasn’t properly set and broke off. I need to fix it and I have leftover thinset and am planning to use this. Do you see any problems with doing this?


    • BuildDirect Product Expert Team - Reply

      Hi Kara,

      Thank you for getting in touch! You can definitely use the thinset to reattach the tile that has come loose. They only suggest the epoxy in this case to ensure there are no gaps beneath the tile if it is still party stuck down. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. My travertine backsplash was just installed a week ago. The edges are not straight and some of the tile is not even. Is there a way that it can be grind to straighten the edges?

  3. While repairing a toilet in the bathroom the tank was sat on the floor and created light scratches
    on our Travertine tile. We buffed the area but the scratches are still showing up as white streakes. What is the best way to get rid of these?

  4. My kitchen has travertine. I want to strip it and refinish it myself. I have received quotes from those that use the honing machines, but I want to do this myself and wondered if anyone has the steps to do this? Installer did such a poor job on this, although, it is even, it has the incorrect sealer on it, if there was a sealer at all, it always looks dirty and gets gummy from dirt, cooking, etc. I want to strip it, and put a sealer on it myself. Thank you for any help anyone can provide. Have tried to find classes on this, with no luck so far (Conroe/Montgomery/Spring/Houston) area.

  5. I want to move my toilet and wonder if I can replace the surrounding tiles. The floor is grey/white marble and I believe I can match the product. But they are concreted to the subfloor. Is this a big job or should I consider gutting the whole thing. Thanks.

    • Hello Roberta, This is not a big job, but you should get an expert to physically inspect the area also. There might be some issues from the initial install that might be uncovered, and might avoid some larger issues with the surrounding tiles.

  6. Good Morning.

    I am not a builder but a friend has done enough work as a builder that he has offered to help build a small bungalow, 26′ x 36′. We are thinking of using Tavas Travartine (18″x18″ light color). The customer sevice rep. suggested to use 2,… 3/4″ plywood sheets as a base to prevent flexibility. The thickness of the plywood subfloor would leave quite a rise when entering the bathroom (5’4″ x about 9′) I’ve been reading about the Ditra product. Is it expensive? What would you recommend using? I will have a retired carpenter who lives in the area walk by to make sure we don’t build anything upside down. Sub-contractor prices being all over the map, is the main reason for going it alone wherever possible. Population of our community is about 1200. As you can see, finances are a main concern. The Travartine is $1.99/sq.ft. Can I install the Travartine in a staggered fashion like brickwork? Thanks for taking the time.


  7. We have many wear holes in our Crema Travetine floor tiles and cannot source a filler material here in South Africa. How can we make a filler? We do have spare tiles we could break up or can we use a travetine grout with some other material?
    Help please.

  8. The Company that cleans house for me damaged my Travertine Tile shower.
    They put a sponge with some kind of cleaner on it on my bench in the shower and it ate
    through a small part of the tile. They also used some kind of cleaner on the bottom of the shower
    and it made a white mark on the tile.
    I live in Sparks Nevada which is adjacent to REno Nevada and I am looking for a professional
    to correct this.

  9. I have travertine in my entry hall that was installed years ago before we purchased the home . We have extra tile and need to have some of the tiles replaced that are cracked . Can this be done and then a finish put on it to help it blend with the exiting travertine

  10. I need help with my Travertine. Someone that can tell me why my tile is splitting in half in a straight line up about 5 pieces so far. We also had a puddle of water one day on our tile for no reason. No leakage of the pipes and no accidents on the floor. I live near Houston,Texas. Is there someone I can call for help.

  11. I have a client who has had thier entire house covered in Travertine and the installer did a poor job, resulting in lippage through out the house. Also I need to replace 5 tiles in different places. Am I able to grind/sand the entire floor in order to get rid of the lippage and then refinish with a high gloss? If so what would be required to accomplish this task in order to make my clinet happy

  12. HI,
    We are in the process of renovating a master bath, and have some questions regarding radiant heat and floor tiles. We are thinking either Travertine – Durango Cream, or Marble, Crema Marfil.

    I read that if some stones have high iron content, the stones may stain, or change color.
    The radiant heat will be electric.

    How can I be certain that this will not be the case with the flooring we choose.

    Also, is there a preference of one over the other for bathroom floors?
    What is the best size for shower floors and shower walls – or doesn’t matter.

    Thank you

  13. What type of filler and where do you get it? What type of sealer do you recommend? Should the installer be the one to fix it?
    Thank you.

  14. We had a travertine floor installed a month ago and just noticed a small hole in the travertine a pit that just appeared. Why would that happen? Did fill fall out? How would you recommend repairing it?

    • Hi there Renee.

      It appears that the filler did erode away. The best way to repair it would be to reappy filler and then reseal the tile. A simple solution.

    • Ella,

      Yes, you can seal both sides of the Travertine. Whether, you need to is up to you (there is a pretty low chance of the underside getting stained since it won’t be exposed directly to any potential spills). The sealer does not penetrate all the way through the tile, so the absolute safest way would be to seal both sides (even though the risk of the bottom getting stained is very low).

  15. I had travertine flooring installed in my small bathroom. Once done, I noticed that the grout line appeared, from a distance, to be wider than when you look down on it. I am told that it was not properly installed. I am being told that grout release should have been used prior to applying the grout which would have prevented the group from bleeding into the edges of the stone. That not being the case, there appears that there is nothing that can be done, short of replacing the tiles. That being said, the whole floor would not need replaced, just about half. Is this a hard job and is it hard to do? I am having trouble finding someone who wants to fix what someone else has done and I don’t want the original contractor back. Any suggestions?

    • Hello there Linda,

      Sorry to hear that you got stuck with a flooring installer who appears to have done a shoddy job on the installation. All hope is not lost, I can recommend a third party website that will help you locate a certified flooring installer in your area and I suggest you get a couple of different quotes for the repair job. If they say that the repair job would be too difficult it might just be better to replace the incorrectly installed floor.

      Here is a link to the site: (just enter your zip code at the top and you will should able to locate some installers in your area)


  16. I have just had travertine tile installed on my porch and patio. One tile is higher at one corner than the others and is obvious and uncomfortable when stepped on with bare feet. This is in the area most walked on the porch. I do not wish to contact the original installer. I would like to know if it is possible to replace that one tile without causing problems with the surrounding tiles. It is sealed with slip resistant coating. The tile was purchased a week ago at Home Depot and I can easily purchase another box – it’s walnut. My thought is to purchase the tile and ask Home Depot or call other tile stores to find someone who is good with travertine tile. I would appreciate your help.

    Judith Meri

    • Hi Judith,

      It should be possible to fix this issue as the tile should indeed be level and flat. The fact that they are are not flush with each other likely indicates a less than perfect installation. Unless the tiles have large variations in thickness such as in a stone like slate with a split face, tiles should always be virtually perfectly flush. Even were the subfloor not perfectly level, the installer should put down a mortar bed thick enough that the tiles can be adjusted deeper or shallower in the mortar to make up for minor variations in the subfloor. I’ve encountered this issue before and it was caused by a high spot in the underlying concrete. Unfortunately in that case the concrete underneath may need to be chiseled level. It should be possible for a good installer to chip out the problem tile and replace it but I would act quickly to make sure you can get another tile from the same batch to ensure it is similar in size, color, thickness, etc. and I would ensure you can get the same slip resistant coating and grout. Home Depot may not recommend an installer for liability reasons (I used to work at Home Depot) but it’s more likely that a tile store will be willing to.

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