Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Travertine: Fill or Not To Fill...

Tumbled Travertine:

* has a worn, uneven edge giving it character.

* it is a natural stone thus it does need to be sealed (Previous post discusses sealers which can enhance & darken the stone or keep it in its naturally matte finish).

* due to the stone being tumbled it has visible holes in the tile itself which can be grouted or left unfilled.

Tumbled travertine has a worn, uneven edge.

(An example of tumbled travertine)

Directions for Grouting: 

Filling the Travertine Holes


Seal the surface of the travertine by gently brushing only the top surface with a foam paintbrush dampened with stone sealer. Avoid getting excess sealer inside the holes of the stone, as this will prevent the grout from sticking there. The sealer is to help make the grout clean up from the surface of the tile easier. Let the sealer sit for 10 minutes, then buff it away with a soft cloth.


Mix up the sanded grout until it is the consistency of peanut butter. Scoop up an orange-sized ball of grout and apply it to the surface of the travertine with the grout float.


Drag the grout float over the entire tile to push the grout both between the tiles and into the holes. Hold the float at a 45-degree angle to the tiles and push it flat onto larger holes and the grout joints to help pack in the grout. Make passes from several directions to help ensure the grout enters all the holes and joints.


Turn the float closer to 90 degrees and begin scraping off the excess grout from the surface of the tile. This will help push the grout deeper into the holes.


Wait 10 minutes for the grout to begin to harden. Lightly dampen a grout sponge and begin to wipe clean the surface of the tiles. Use the edges of the sponge to shape the grout around the larger holes and grout joints. Do not over-wet the sponge, as this will wash the grout back out of the holes and joints. Continue wiping the surface of the tiles until all excess grout is removed. Allow the travertine to dry for 24 hours.

Leaving the Holes Unfilled


Apply a thick coat of sealer to the entire surface of the tiles. Make sure the sealer enters the holes of the stone. This will help prevent the grout from sticking to these areas. Let the sealer penetrate for 10 minutes, then buff it away with a soft cloth.


Mix up the sanded grout until it reaches the consistency of soft peanut butter. Scoop up a very small amount onto the end of the grout float.


Apply the grout at the corner where four tiles meet. Use the top edge of the float held at a 45-degree angle to the tiles to drag the grout along the grout joints of the tiles. Make several small passes from side to side over a joint to help pack the grout. Try not to get too much grout onto the surface of the tile itself.


Let the grout dry for 10 minutes, then wash away the excess with a damp sponge. Rinse the sponge frequently to help remove the extra grout. Shape the grout lines with the curved edges of the sponge. If any grout entered the larger holes of the tile, use the corners of the sponge to clean it away. Let the tiles dry for 24 hours.

Note: When deciding on a natural stone application you need to keep in mind that it will have a strong colour variation. Also, when choosing a grout colour it is recommended to choose a similar colour to the tile especially if you are filling the holes with grout. If you were to choose a darker or lighter shade of grout your eye will often go to the filled grout holes rather than the tile itself.

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