How to Grout Travertine Backsplash

Installing a travertine backsplash can add natural beauty and elegance to your kitchen or bathroom. Travertine is a type of limestone formed by mineral hot springs, giving it an aesthetic, earthy look. While beautiful, it requires proper grouting to achieve the full effect. Follow these steps to learn how to grout a travertine backsplash.

Selecting the Right Grout

Choosing the proper grout is key to achieving the look you want with your travertine backsplash. Consider the following when selecting grout:

Grout Color

Select a grout color that complements the color variation in your travertine. Light travertine works well with white or ivory grout. For darker, rustic travertine, use a darker grout color like taupe or brown. Contrasting colors can make the veining in the travertine pop.

Grout Type

Use an unsanded grout for travertine with tight joints 1/8 inch or less. For wider joints, use a polymer-modified sanded grout. Both provide good flexibility. Avoid standard cement grout which can crack.

Grout Haze Protection

Look for grout that offers resistance to grout haze and discoloration. This will make clean up easier. Opt for a grout with sealer already added for protection.

Prepping the Surface

Proper prep work ensures the grout adheres well to the travertine:

  • Clean the travertine thoroughly to remove any dirt, oil or residue. Use a pH neutral cleaner and rinse well.
  • Seal the travertine with a penetrating sealer to prevent staining and ease grout clean up. Apply sealer evenly across all tiles.
  • Allow the travertine to fully dry after sealing before applying grout. This prevents trapping moisture underneath.

Mixing and Applying Grout

Mix and apply grout using the following techniques:

  • Prepare grout according to package directions. Do not add too much water as this can cause cracking and weaken the grout over time.
  • Use a rubber grout float or squeegee to spread grout diagonally across the travertine. Hold the float at a 45° angle to the surface.
  • Apply even pressure and fill all joints fully without leaving voids. Remove excess grout by holding float edge at a 90° angle.
  • Immediately after applying, use a damp sponge to gently clean grout haze and shape joints. Rinse sponge frequently.
  • Avoid over-washing unsealed travertine as this can stain the surface.

Curing and Sealing Grout

Allow grout to cure properly and seal for best results:

  • Let grout dry 72 hours before sealing to allow proper curing. Keep the area ventilated and away from direct sunlight.
  • After curing, apply a penetrating grout sealer using a foam brush. This adds protection from moisture and staining.
  • Buff surface lightly with a clean cloth once sealer is applied for an even finish.
  • Avoid heavy use of the backsplash for 7-10 days to prevent damage while grout fully cures.

Following these tips will help you achieve a flawless travertine backsplash installation. Take care in selecting quality grout and prep the travertine properly. Applying grout accurately and sealing once cured will lead to a durable, beautiful backsplash you’ll enjoy for years.

Frequently Asked Questions About Grouting Travertine Backsplash

What’s the best grout color for travertine?

For a natural look, match the grout color to the lightest color in your travertine. White or ivory grout is common. For more contrast, go with a darker grout color like walnut or taupe.

Does travertine need to be sealed before grouting?

Yes, sealing travertine before grouting will prevent the porous stone from absorbing pigment from the grout and make clean up much easier. Use a penetrating sealer specifically made for natural stone.

How long does grout take to dry on a travertine backsplash?

In most cases grout will be dry to the touch in 24 hours but allow 72 hours for proper curing time before sealing or heavy use. Low humidity and good airflow will help speed drying.

What kind of grout is best for travertine tile?

For tight joints under 1/8 inch, use unsanded grout. For wider joints, use polymer-modified sanded grout. Avoid standard cement grout. Make sure to use a non- shrinking grout.

Why is my travertine backsplash grout cracking?

Cracking grout in travertine often results from using improper grout, not allowing full curing time, or an underlying issue with the installation. Make sure to use unsanded grout for small tile joints.

How do I clean travertine backsplash after grouting?

Gently sponge off residual grout haze with a lightly damp sponge and clean water once the grout becomes firm. Avoid harsh scrubbing and acids. Use a pH neutral cleaner after grouting. Re-seal travertine after cleaning.


Installing a travertine backsplash brings natural style to any space. Pay close attention to preparing the travertine properly, selecting quality grout suited for travertine, and allowing ample drying time. With care taken during application and curing, your travertine backsplash will provide many years of durable, low maintenance enjoyment. The finished product will enhance your kitchen or bath with timeless beauty.