How to Grout Travertine Tile Backsplash

Installing a travertine tile 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 earthy, rustic look. While beautiful, travertine requires special care when grouting to avoid staining and damage. Follow this guide to properly grout your travertine tile backsplash.

Choose the Right Grout

The type of grout you use is critical for travertine tile. We recommend a polymer-modified sanded grout. Standard cement-based grouts can stain travertine and cause pits and holes in the surface. Polymer-modified grout resists staining and provides a stronger bond. A sanded grout gives a better appearance by matching the texture of travertine’s natural pits. Some excellent polymer-modified sanded grout options include:

  • Mapei Flexcolor CQ
  • Laticrete Permacolor Grout
  • Bostik Hydroment Vivid
  • Custom Building Products Polyblend Sanded Grout

Make sure to choose a grout color that complements your travertine tile. Lighter grout shades work best for highlighting travertine’s natural color variations.

Prepare the Tile Surface

Proper preparation is key for successful travertine grouting. First, clean the tile thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris, or oily residues. Use a pH-neutral cleaner and scrub with a stiff bristle brush. Rinse well and let the tile dry completely.

Next, seal the travertine with a penetrating sealer, like Miracle 511 Porous Plus. Sealing prevents stains from setting into the porous travertine surface during grouting. Apply the sealer with a paint pad applicator, let it soak in for 5-10 minutes, then thoroughly wipe off any excess. Allow the sealer to cure fully before grouting, usually 24-72 hours.

Mix and Apply the Grout

Mix the grout per the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not add too much water, as this can cause shrinkage cracks and weaken the grout. Apply the grout to the tile joints using a rubber grout float. Hold the float at a 45° angle and firmly pack the joints full.

Make sure to push the grout fully into the travertine’s pits and crevices for optimal adhesion. Clean off excess grout held on the tile face with a damp sponge. Go slowly and be careful not to pull grout out of filled joints.

Seal the Grout

Once the grout has dried and cured (24-48 hours), apply a grout sealer to protect the joints and prevent staining. Use a sealer made for cement grout, like Miracle 511 Porous Plus. Apply with a small paintbrush, working it deeply into the grouted joints. Wipe off excess sealer from the tile surface with a clean cloth.

Sealing the grout is an essential step for travertine backsplash maintenance. Reapply the sealer every 1-2 years depending on usage and wear. Proper sealing keeps the grout looking new and prevents discoloration.

Grout Maintenance Tips

To keep your travertine and grout looking beautiful:

  • Use pH-balanced cleaners only
  • Avoid harsh chemicals and acidic cleaners
  • Dry spills quickly to prevent stains
  • Reseal grout every 1-2 years
  • Repair any cracks immediately to prevent damage

Take care to follow these travertine grouting best practices. With the right products, techniques, and maintenance, your travertine backsplash will stay lovely for years to come. The natural look of travertine tile paired with richly colored grout makes for an eye-catching focal point in any kitchen or bathroom.

Frequently Asked Questions About Grouting Travertine Tile Backsplash

What is the best grout to use with travertine tile?

For travertine, we recommend using a polymer-modified sanded grout. The polymers provide staining resistance, while the sanded texture matches the natural look of travertine. Popular options include Mapei Flexcolor CQ, Laticrete Permacolor, and Bostik Hydroment Vivid.

Should you seal travertine tile before grouting?

Yes, it is highly advised to seal travertine with a penetrating sealer before grouting. Sealing prevents the porous travertine from absorbing stains during the grouting process. Let the sealer fully cure for 24-72 hours before grouting the travertine tiles.

What color grout looks best with travertine backsplash?

Lighter grout colors like white, ivory, or tan work best with travertine backsplashes. The lighter shades complement the subtle color variations in the travertine. Dark grout can appear too harsh and show more dirt over time.

How soon can I seal the grout after grouting travertine?

Wait 24-48 hours after grouting to allow the grout to fully dry and cure before sealing it. Sealing the grout too early can cause issues with curing and lead to weak or flaky grout joints. Use a grout sealer compatible with cement grout.

Should I use sanded or unsanded grout for travertine floor tile?

For travertine floors, sanded grout is the better choice. It provides greater durability and resists cracking from the floor’s movements. Match the grout joint size and texture to the travertine floor tiles for a seamless look.


Grouting travertine backsplash tile requires careful product selection and application to avoid staining or damaging the natural stone. With a top-quality polymer-modified sanded grout, proper pre-sealing, and routine maintenance, you can achieve gorgeous, long-lasting results. The extra care taken gives your travertine backsplash a flawless finished look. For a striking yet earthy focal point in your home, a properly grouted travertine tile backsplash is hard to beat.