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Travertine Tile Installation Tips

Installing Travertine Tile

Travertine is a natural stone tile, imported from many countries all over the world. Installing travertine is much like installing any other tile, though it is important to practice care. The installation steps include: preparation, laying the tile, and grouting it to keep it all together. Travertine can be installed for countertops, flooring, and walls. Installation is considered a medium to high difficulty job, and will require a wet saw is required to cut the tiles to the appropriate size. Other tools and materials to complete the installation will include: Chalk line, tape measure, carpenter’s pencil, power drill with mixing paddle, notched trowel, beater block, rubber mallet, grout float, 4-foot metal straightedge, and a dry-cutting saw.

Floor Preparation

To prepare the floor for the travertine installation:

  • Remove any existing flooring.
  • Repair or replace the sub-flooring.

Do a dry test run to layout the tiles and inspect them for defects. This will ensure you have everything planned accordingly and will be able to complete the floor.

Installing Ditra Anti-fracture Membrane

The Ditra Anti-fracture membrane is a type of underlayment designed specifically for stone and marble floors. It is highly recommended to use this type of underlayment because it offers many benefits: uncoupling, water proofing, vapor management, and support/weight distribution.

Tile Installation

  • If the Ditra anti-fracture membrane is not installed for the underlayment, then it is necessary to install is cement backing to the subfloor.
  • Use a chalk line to mark the tile layout, leaving room for the grout. Make sure the tiles are dry and ready to be installed.
  • Mix the thinset adhesive according to the directions. When it reaches a thick consistency, apply it to the tiles and lay them according to the chalk lines for the layout. Cut tiles to fit the measurements around the edges, using the wet saw.
  • After allowing drying time of up to 24 hours, apply the grout in between the tiles.

Installation Tips

  • Wet stones should not be installed. Be sure the stones are completely dry before beginning the installation.
  • When possible, use a white thinset. Gray thinset may bleed, and should be avoided when using a lighter travertine.
  • Be sure the thinset is thick and sticky, with a peanut butter like consistency.
  • Ultraflex II may be used as a thinset.
  • It is better to use a non-sanded grout.
  • It is a good idea to pre-seal the tile to avoid potential staining with mortar.
  • When the installation is complete, seal the tile with the appropriate type of sealer. It is recommended to test the sealer on a small, inconspicuous area of one tile before applying it to the entire installation.

(87) Comments

  1. What is the dry cutting saw used for, I don’t see it mentioned anywhere in the directions. I have installed porcelain tile before and never needed one, just nippers.

  2. I am also considereing ordering chiseled edge tavertine tile and is it any way to make edge chiseled on cut piece of tile

  3. I need to know more about the Ditra underlayment. Do you need to use mastic or mortar to adhere it to the floor, and do you use screws or nails? Please give me the steps for installing Ditra. also, can the Ditra be bought from Build Direct? What is the size of the underlayment and thickness?

    Can Build Direct sell me the sealer? If no what type of sealer is recommended?

    Is it possible to take a cut edge and make it look chiseled like the rest of the tile?

    Can any materials be returned for refund?

    When starting to lay the tile do you start in the middle of the floor or what is recommended?

    I would appreciate the answers as soon as possible.



  4. I have installed Mexican Travertine. How high should the grout between the tiles be? 1/2 way, flush with the top of the tiles????

  5. im planning to tile my house 1650 Sq ft. I plan to instal ceramic tile either 18×18. My question is my subfloor is concrete floring and im worried that there are going to be even spaces throughout the floor, how can i ensure that the subfloor is level throughout, I’ve been told that there is a substance liquid form that you can spread throughout the floor and let it dry. Once dried the floor would be level If this is true what is it called and how long do i have to wait before i start laying the tiles. Appreciate all the help you could offer, Thank you

  6. I Will be setting 24″x24″x1 1/4″ travertine on à 31/2″ thick concrete pad outside, should I use à antifracture membrane if so what kind? Liquide roll on or cloth. There is à pool next to it long with random flagstone. Please advies

  7. betoniniu grindu irengimas

    I think that it is better not to try to do it by yourself. I say it from experience of mine, just because I tried to do everything with my hands, but finally everything I made was damaged, and I had to leave everything for professionals. So try to0 do the same, in case you don’t want to loose money

  8. We are getting ready to lay travertine on top of concrete floors. After removing the previous tile, there is a lot of thinset that won’t come off without hours of removing. Can we just lay the travertine over the thinset as long as it is level?

  9. I have applied 2 coats of AquaMix Sealer’s Choice Gold to the top and side surfaces of about 1/3 of the travertine tiles to be installed as the backsplash in our kitchen. Water beads up very nicely on the top surface as a result – so its working. Am I going to have a problem with getting the grout to adhere to the sides of the tiles given I have applied the sealant? If so, how would you rectify this situation?

    Thank you.

  10. I am trying to decide on flooring for our new home/new construction. I would really like to have antique travertine in the kitchen, but also love the look of stained concrete in the adjoining living area. How would this normally be transitioned (without having the kitchen section of the slab lowered ahead of time)?

  11. Tiling a bar counter outdoors in New England temp runs from 100 degrees in summer to 16 degrees below in winter and want to use travertine 1 in tile on 12″ mosaic sheets. Already, I installed the 1/4″ cement board on 3/4 plywood (CDX) and used a waterproofing product to seal cement board and plywood. What kind of thinset should I use that will hold up to the various weather conditions? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

  12. I’m having a tile guy tile Travertine right over my porcelin tile floors. He plans on roughing up my existing tile, using thinset, grouting, and then sealing everything. Do you recommend the anti-fracture membrane first over old tile, then the thinset on top of it, or can the thinset go right on top of my existing tile. Thank you.

  13. Installing 16 in travertine and if we are suppose to seal it before it gets wet do you seal it before you cut it with a wet saw? How long do you wait after you lay it before you grout it? Doesn’t it turn orange if it gets wet before sealed? We have honed and filed tile. Help we are lost.

    • Hi K R, Yes, if the Travertine Tile has straight edges, it is possible for a butt joint installation, or “butting” the tiles against each other with no grout lines.

  14. I will be installing travertine tile on my kitchen backsplash. I plan on sealing the tops and sides of the tile first and am wondering if it is wise to seal the back of the tile also before installing?

  15. this may not make me very popular here, but im a little curious regarding your answer to the lady who asked you about some of the things her contractor told her having to do with travertine installation. you seem to question the contractors intgretity yet state you have no experience with travertine ? you don’t see any issue with raising questions regarding someone elses reputation when they are on-site with what i would have to assume is experience in this product, and you are giving out advice over the internet and admittedly have no experience with the same product ? she stated that her contractor informed her the installation cost is usually 1 1/2 to 2 times more than ceramic if i remember correctly, which in my experience is actually a pretty good price. just a thought.

  16. Hello to every one my name is Jeremy.
    I have been tiling for thirty years, and I do especialise in travertine and different type of stones.
    here is my opinion on a few different subjets.
    1) always do floor before walls, cover your floor to protected it from scratches, and dirt.
    2) always use non sanded grouts, travertine color it’s best.
    3) always butter floor and back of tile before you laid them on a semidry mix of sand and cement.
    4) always seal one coat before grout, clean floor and apply second coat, a third coat will be even better.
    5) using unfilled travertine in a shower or any wet area it is never wise to do so, due to moisture, and bacteria building up in every hole ,cracks, etc.etc.
    6) travertine or any other material if laid properly?? should never have any lippage.
    7) always use low shrinking thinset, as some thinset do cause lippage over the natural drying time.
    8) travertine is hard and a very beautifull stone to have anywhere around the house, and in walls and floors.
    most answers to some of the questions were given in what I will give a 10 out of 10 correct.
    I hope I was able to help anyone even if I am more than a year late, sorry…..
    I also am a stone layer from Australia, but hey travertine is travertine all around the world.
    thank you all and all the best.
    Jeremy Miranda.

  17. some of the travertine installation I have seen on utube include thin set on the back of the tile, before placement on the grout. Is this necessary for travertine tiles? We have put the thinset on the concrete flooring, then grout, then tile. Is this correct?
    Also, does the old mortar from previous ceramic flooring need to be removed on the floor before installation of new grout and tile?

  18. Can I apply my travertine to where they touch each other.I want A very thin grout line.If so do I still sell the tile before I grout.

  19. I just wanted to add a few things that I have not seen on here for installing travertine. For my credentials, I have been in the tile trade for 15 years (experienced in custom installs, hard surface restoration, refinishing adobe/mexican tile and brick, and master technition of tear outs and repairs.).

    When installing travertine, a step that is tradition but often left out in all tile installs is skim coating the back of the tile (with the flat side of your tryle, forgive my spelling). However, travertine is one of the few tiles that will always be better off not forgetting this step.

    Travertine is a brittle stone when it comes out of the box, but take my word for this when I tell you; when travertine is installed correctly it becomes one of the most hard and durable surfaces known to mankind!

    Sealing the stone is not a must, but without the protection of a sealer, the stone highly vulnerable to stains of even the smallest nature; even water deposits from cleaning. I recomend sealing the stone if you want to protect your investment. Hey, you don’t have to wash your car either, but eventually, the dirt, grease grime will, in fact, discolor your vehicle.

    I hope this helps all you do it yourselfers and consumers taboot! Have a nice day. :^)

    -Jason Huggett

  20. Travertine should be set on dry mud and thin-set to be able to have a good leve on floors and to eliminate lippages (uneven corners) due to being rectified edge . If it is less than 1/6″ of grout space , use un-sanded, if bigger than 1/8″ then use sanded grout. To fill the unfilled surface, i would recommend depending on the size of the hole, either un-sanded or sanded grout. You be the judge of that since quality on travertine varies a lot. Sealing should be done after installation and grouting. Make sure the surface is clean before applying water based or oil based sealers.

  21. hello i am instal 18 +18 travertine mi question is where to star and type of mortar and twin set, i also have decorative sun square . i want the sun righ in the center of the room thanks CESAR PEDRIN

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