How to Seal Travertine Backsplash

Sealing a travertine backsplash can help protect its natural beauty and prevent staining. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to properly seal a travertine backsplash.


Travertine is a natural stone that is formed by mineral deposits from hot springs. It is a popular choice for backsplashes and other surfaces due to its aesthetic appeal and earthy texture. However, travertine is porous and prone to staining from liquids and dirt. Applying a sealant creates a protective barrier that prevents stains from penetrating the stone. Sealing a travertine backsplash is an important maintenance task that will help keep it looking beautiful for years to come.

Things You’ll Need

  • Travertine sealer – Use a water-based, penetrating sealer formulated for travertine.
  • Paint brush – Choose a high-quality brush with soft, natural bristles.
  • Clean rags – Have plenty of lint-free cloths or towels on hand.
  • Bucket – Use this to hold sealer and for cleaning rags.
  • Rubber gloves – Protect your hands from the sealer.
  • Eye protection – Wear goggles to shield eyes from splashes.
  • Dust mask – Help filter fumes from the sealer.

Cleaning the Surface

Before sealing, it is crucial to thoroughly clean the travertine to remove any dirt, debris, oils or soap residues that could prevent absorption of the sealer. Here are the recommended steps for cleaning:

  • Sweep or vacuum travertine to remove loose dirt and dust. Get into crevices with a soft brush.
  • Mix a mild detergent with warm water in a bucket. Use a non-abrasive cleaner formulated for natural stone.
  • Dip a clean rag in the solution and wring out excess. Wipe down the entire surface of the backsplash.
  • Rinse with a rag dipped in clean water to remove any soapy residue.
  • Allow the backsplash to fully dry for at least 24 hours before sealing.

Applying the Sealer

Follow these steps for easy, effective application of travertine sealer:

1. Prepare the Work Area

  • Clear the area around the travertine backsplash so there is plenty of workspace.
  • Cover any surfaces near the backsplash with drop cloths. This prevents unwanted staining.
  • Ensure proper ventilation by opening windows or turning on exhaust fans.

2. Prepare the Sealer

  • Before opening the container, read the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Stir or shake the sealer thoroughly to blend any settled ingredients.
  • Pour a small amount of sealer into a clean tray or roller pan to work from. Don’t contaminate the original container.

3. Apply the First Coat

  • Use a high-quality natural bristle brush to apply the sealer in thin, even coats.
  • Start at the top and work methodically from side to side down the backsplash.
  • Allow the first coat to penetrate for 5-10 minutes then lightly buff off any excess with a clean, dry rag.
  • Don’t allow sealer to dry completely on the surface.

4. Apply Additional Coats

  • Wait at least two hours then apply a second coat following the same method. Two thin coats are better than one thick coat.
  • For optimal protection, consider applying a third coat if recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Always buff off any excess sealer and remove drips or sags before drying.

5. Allow Proper Curing Time

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time between coats. This is usually 2-3 hours.
  • Allow 72 hours for the sealer to fully cure before using the backsplash. Avoid water exposure.
  • Properly seal and store excess sealer if needed for future touch-ups.

Post-Sealing Care

Once sealed, a travertine backsplash needs proper maintenance to get the most out of the sealant. Here are some tips:

  • Use coasters under glasses and avoid placing hot items directly on the surface.
  • Immediately wipe up any spills to prevent staining.
  • Clean only with a pH-neutral stone cleaner, not harsh chemicals.
  • Reapply sealer every 1-3 years depending on usage and wear.
  • Watch for wear patterns and reseal those areas more frequently.

Sealing a travertine backsplash takes a little time and effort, but helps retain the natural beauty of this gorgeous stone. Follow these best practices for preparing, applying, and maintaining sealant on travertine. Take care to properly clean, coat, and cure the backsplash to achieve maximum stain protection and longevity. Your travertine will reward you with years of easy-care beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does travertine sealer last?

On a backsplash with typical kitchen use, travertine sealer can last 1-3 years before needing reapplication. High-traffic areas may need more frequent touch-ups. Use wear patterns as a guide.

Does a sealer change the look of travertine?

High-quality penetrating sealers are designed to soak invisibly into the stone pores without altering the natural appearance. Always test in an inconspicuous spot first.

What kind of sealer is best for travertine backsplash?

Look for a water-based penetrating sealer specifically made for use on travertine and other porous natural stones. Top brands include Miracle Sealants, TileLab and Aqua Mix.

Can you use a grout sealer on travertine?

No, grout sealers are formulated for cementitious grout joints. Only use a sealer recommended for natural stone on a travertine backsplash.

How do you prepare travertine before sealing?

Cleaning thoroughly with a mild stone cleaner is the most important prep step. The backsplash must be free of any oils, waxes, dirt and residues for proper sealer penetration and adhesion.


Sealing a travertine backsplash provides an invisible armor against stains and helps maintain the elegance of this beautiful natural stone. With the right sealer and proper application technique, you can easily seal your backsplash for long-lasting protection. Follow the preparation, application and maintenance tips outlined to gain years of enjoyment from your travertine backsplash.