How to install travertine tile grout

Written by kevin mcdermott
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How to install travertine tile grout
Travertine tile may appear to be pocked and chipped. (severija/iStock/Getty Images)

Travertine is a natural stone tile with small holes and pockmarks in the surface. This gives it a unique look, but also creates some complications when it comes to grouting. There are two methods: leaving the holes open, or filling them with grout that's a different shade than the tile, thus highlighting the shape of the holes. Filling the holes will make the tiles easier to keep clean, while open holes give a more natural appearance.

Things you need

  • Installed travertine tile
  • Tile sealer
  • Paintbrush
  • Unsanded grout
  • Bucket
  • 10 cm (4 inch) putty knife
  • Rubber grout float
  • Sponge

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    Open holes

  1. 1

    Brush on your tile sealer, starting from one corner of the room and using your paintbrush. Brush it on in a thin layer, getting sealer down into the surface holes of the travertine, but not letting it pool there. Cover the entire surface of the tile, but don't let the sealer get inside the lines between the tiles or on the tile edges. Let the sealer dry for an hour.

  2. 2

    Mix your unsanded grout in a bucket with water, stirring it with a 10 cm (4 inch) putty knife and getting it to the consistency of peanut butter. Let it sit in the bucket for 10 minutes to allow the chemicals to meld, or "slake."

  3. 3

    Re-mix the grout. Starting in one corner of the room, scoop up a bunch of grout on the end of your 10 cm (4 inch) putty knife and set it directly into the spaces between the tiles. Pile it there so it mounds out of the top of the space, while keeping it off the face of the tile has much as possible.

  4. 4

    Run your grout float along the line to take off the excess grout and get the grout line smooth and flat. If any grout gets into any of the holes on the tile face, wipe it out immediately with a wet paper towel. Let the grout sit in the lines for a minute, then wipe over the surface with a damp sponge to take the grout residue off the tile face.

  5. 5

    Let the grout set for two days after doing the whole floor. Re-seal the floor as before, going over the tiles and grout together.

    Closed holes

  1. 1

    Seal the ungrouted travertine surface as before, but only brush the sealer over the flat part of the tile face, keeping it out of the holes. Also keep it out of the spaces between the tiles.

  2. 2

    Mix your unsanded grout as before, letting it "slake'' in the bucket for 10 minutes.

  3. 3

    Apply the grout with your grout float, wiping it across the entire surface of the tile. Hold the float at an angle so it presses the grout into the lines and into the holes and pockmarks, while squeezing it off the flat surfaces. Let the grout sit for a minute, then wipe it down with a damp sponge.

  4. 4

    After the whole floor is done, let it set for two days, then seal the whole floor.

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