Travertine is a sedimentary stone that comes in varied shades of ivory to cinnamon brown. It has been used for architectural applications since the time of the ancient Romans. Uniformly cut tile in a variety of interlocking shapes makes travertine usable for flooring, patios and walkways. While installing travertine tile is within reach of skilled do-it-yourselfers, it requires extra attention to ensure that the stones are level, flush, and well-sealed to provide a safe, professional-looking finish.
- Open all pallets of travertine tile and ensure that the product delivered is uniform enough in color and size to serve your flooring purposes, and that any breakage incurred during shipping is minimal.
- Apply a thin layer of penetrating water-based sealer to all travertine tiles, using clean rags. Allow the sealer to dry on one side before flipping the stones over and sealing the other side. Repeat with a second thin coat of sealer and allow to dry before installing the stones.
- Remove old flooring, if any. Inspect the subfloor, making any necessary repairs, and using a level to ensure that it is flat.
- Install anti-fracture membrane, following the manufacturer's directions.
- Lay out the travertine tile over the membrane exactly as you would like it installed. Rearrange the tiles if desired to provide the most attractive presentation. Locate chipped or odd-colored tiles where they will be covered with furniture in the finished room. Use a tape measure, snap line and marking crayon to mark tiles that must be cut to fit around doorways, appliances and other objects.
- Cut tiles to shape where marked, using the wet saw. Lay the cut tiles in place to ensure accurate fitting.
- Mix white thinset with water according to manufacturer's directions, using a stiff putty knife. Take up one course of your stones at a time. Apply thinset mortar to the back of each tile with a mortar trowel and set the tile firmly into place. Use clean rags to remove any thinset mortar that gets on the tile surface. Allow the thinset to cure for at least 24 hours, or as long as recommended in the manufacturer's directions.
- Apply grout between the tiles with mortar trowel or putty knife, using rags to wipe off any excess on the surface of the tiles. Allow the grout to dry before walking on the floor.