Travertine fill and other issues [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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09-01-2017, 07:53 AM
Hello all. I may be in for trouble, so need some advice.

I am getting ready to grout a travertine floor (12" tiles, 3/16"space, total of about 120sqft). The travertine is tumbled, and has some voids in it which I would like to fill.

Here are the challenges:
1) The tile was set on DitraHeat membrane (and has heating in it), but on a single layer of subfloor. The joists are 2x10 with 16@ spacing and 12' span, so the deflecto tells me it is insufficient support. But the tile is set, so no going back now. I can access below the floor, so could potentially add joists if it is worth the [rather significant] effort to do so.
2) The travertine is pretty soft (obviously) so not sure if sanded grout will be a problem?
3) So far the tile is not sealed. I plan to use Dupont penetrating stone sealer prior to grout. But I want to be sure the grout actually fills the holes in the travertine and stays put.

I don't mind the cost or complexity involved in any grout selection - I just want to use what is most likely to get the best results.

Any advice on type of grout? Order of operations?

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Tool Guy - Kg
09-01-2017, 10:07 AM
Hi Matthew.

Sorry to say that it sounds like you've stacked the deal against yourself. Let's try to clarify just how heavily you've done so. What thickness is your single layer subfloor?


09-01-2017, 11:05 AM
Thanks for the reply.

The subfloor is 3/4" T&G. I will also note that about half of the floor has joists on 8" centers - there is a large tub on one side of the room, so that is supported rather well.

09-02-2017, 08:19 AM
Tumbled travertine does real well with sanded grout. You can use a combination of sanded and non sanded grout depending on the size of the voids. Dupont is good sealer, but why seal before grout if you want to fill the stone with the grout? Are there only a few voids you want to fill?

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09-02-2017, 08:30 AM
I meant use a combination to fill voids, not to grout the tile and not to mix them but 2 separate batches

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09-04-2017, 06:58 PM
Thanks for the reply, Kati.

I guess a better way to ask my question would be this:

If my structure may be marginal (or may need to be reinforced a bit), is it better to use a more rigid grout or a more flexible one? My gut says flexible, but maybe that is the wrong call. In either case, what type of grout best suites that need?

A separate question would be the best grout type (sanded, unsanded, epoxy, other?) for filling voids from very small to relatively large (i.e. both smaller and larger than grout line size).

To Kati's point, would it be make sense to fill voids with one type, then grout lines with another type? I assume that even if I use two different types for these applications, I would seal it after everything is done, correct? The number of tiles that need to be filled is significant, so I don't want to try to fill in each individual hole... unless that is the best route to go. Thoughts?


09-04-2017, 07:20 PM
Whatever you decide to use I would use some scraps or extras and do a sample board first. If the face of the marble stains you may want to seal all the tile first.

09-04-2017, 08:50 PM
As you are probably aware already, Ditra requires two layers of plywood for stone, regardless of the floor deflection. But what's done is done, now you just have to hope for the best. I always grout first and then seal stone and grout together. Almost any kind kind of sanded grout will work. I have attached a couple of pictures of stone similar to yours sealed with Enrich'n Seal colour enhancing sealer. This type of sealer changes the appearance of the stone, but also makes it much more durable.

As you can see the grout completely fills all voids (which are numerous in both pictures), so you have to choose a colour that fits well.

09-05-2017, 01:31 AM
I spread it on the floor like peanut butter across the entire floor or wall when you want a filled look. Then I remove half of it by accident when I very minimally damp sponge off the residue so then I go back and fill it and scrape it with a plastic gift card or old hotel key and sponge the residue again.
You want to enhance the strength of the floor at this point bc there's no turning back. You already got your tile down so as long as you did a good job at mortaring with minimal air underneath, you have to push your grout down into the space between really good. I like taking time with grouting. I mix small bunches and add Anti-hydro. Just fill in the space super well so they are supported on the sides. I have no info on which Brand will work best but if you do sanded, push it in and then push more. Itll be great, look amazing and be 💪.

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09-05-2017, 01:32 AM
PetrH, beautiful stonework. Looks like a very complex layout or a very complex non layout. Awesome

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09-07-2017, 11:10 AM
That is some nice stone work, PetrH. Thanks for sharing the pics and opinions.

So no thoughts on whether I should use more flexible or more rigid grout? Sanded has been mentioned a couple of times, but I don't see anything definitive on the flex/rigid issue...

BTW, I am building up a sample board. Just want to confirm a starting point. Thanks.