More Travertine Advice [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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07-21-2004, 08:20 AM

Great forum!

I am building a new house in North Florida. I have rec'd so much conflicting information re: Travertine floor.

Travertine floors are relatively new in our area so most of the installers here have been in the stone business for a short period of time.

Reading this forum I see that we do not want to put travertine on our shower walls and perhaps not on our second floor.

We do need to have approximately 2,700 square feet of travertine installed downstairs. We have a concrete slap/stemwall construction. We are close to the marsh, I understand that slab cracking is inevitable.

Here are my questions-

First, what are the pros/cons re: 18 vs 24 inch tiles? The price of the tile is not that much different (2.75 vs. 3 dollars a square foot) and we prefer a 24 inch tile. All the installers are giving us prices in the 6-7 dollar a square foot range for the 18 inch installation but they want 0-2 dollars more for the 24 inch install.

All the installers I spoke to said we need a 1/2-2/3 inch mud set installation.

Should I be suspicous of an installer who wants to charge 0-.50 cents more for the 24 inch installation? I understand it's harder to do.

Also, some installers insist we need underlayment, most say it's not nec.

Some say 2.50 per sq. foot for underlayment, some say .50. I assume it depends on the material we use.

Some say using paper as an underlayment is worthless.

Some rec. a rubber coating you roll on.

Our budget will not allow us to spend more than one dollar a square foot on underlayment.

Also some rec. sealing every year, others say it's not nec.,

Lastly, is Italian generally a better travertine? I have seen the Turkish and the Italian at several different places and the Italian does look denser and feel heavier.

We have a travertine floor in our house now, laid with Turkish travertine, medium grade, and there are already small depressions where the tile has caved in. I don't want that to happen again. I understand the sealing job may have been done incorrectly but it's only been 3 months since it was installed. Also it was thinset, I assume that may have caused a crack in one of the tiles (another problem) but these are small depresssions, perhaps no bigger than 1/4 of an inch in diameter. Some are even smaller. We are not looking to rectifiy this problem but concerned about it in our new, much more expensive house.

We hope to do this right and stay in budget.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this!

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07-21-2004, 08:22 AM
That travertine post was from me, Tammy.

I don't know why the post does not list my name since I was logged in.

John Bridge
07-21-2004, 06:07 PM
Hi Tammy, Welcome. :)

We have a number of Florida installers who frequent our boards. One will be along shortly.

Six to seven dollars for the mud job sounds reasonable to me. We don't do it that way around here, but I know it's commonplace in Forida.

Nobody can install any kind of "underlayment," which I assume is a membrane, for .50 a square foot. You can't buy the material for that. Two dollars a square foot sounds more reasonable. That's a dollar something for the material and a little labor.

Has anyone mentioned "movement joints" or "expansion joints"? In a 2700 square foot floor there will have to be several, at least.

I would go with the 18 in. tiles. They are easier to install, and that will save you a buck, maybe. :)

07-21-2004, 06:26 PM
Hi Tammy, the tile setters you've talked to want to set the stone in mud because of the size of the stone. It's the best way to get a smooth, flat floor. The prices seem in line to me.

I would put down a membrane, Semco runs about .75 per ft and Ditra about 1.20, add some labor to both. There are other membranes on the market, cost is about the same.

07-22-2004, 09:58 AM
Hi again.

Has anybody heard about Mer-Krete Fracture Guard 5000? It's an underlayment rec. by a tile place I went to last night.

It's a roll-on membrane that "will inhibit cracking caused by movement in the sub floor... when stone overlays are used"

It says that it "exceeds all ANSI A-118.10 requirements for anti-fracture membranes"

It's .26 per cents per square foot for materials, the labor involved is supposed to be easy and fast so I assume it would not be too expansive to have this applied.

Does anyone have an opinion about this?

Also, did anyone have an opion re: Turkish vs. Italian and/or why my Turkish travertine is pitting?



p.s. no one has mentioned expansion joints. Does it make a difference that only about 1,700 sq. feet of travertine will be "linked"?

The additional square footage is rooms that are seperated by other rooms that are carpeted.

Steven Hauser
07-22-2004, 04:43 PM
Hi Tammy,

1st No opinion on the underlayement. I have not used it. If it is a crack suppression membrane then I guess it is OK but I worry about the fact that you may have verticle movement with the slab. For that I don't think any of the membranes would cover that problem.

It sounds to me that a 1&1/4" mud bed might be the way to go.

For 24" tiles I want $10.00-12.00 a square foot mud included. The membrane would cost what ever it would cost. Pricing is such because the material is not typically sized very well and this requires thought. Thought costs money. The material cost will reflect quality.

The difference between turkish and italian travertine is aesthetic in nature. The turkish material I get that is filled sometimes makes me think someone was smoking hash when they picked the fill color. I actually got a pink filled one recently.

I digress, my point is to inspect all the material not an individual tile.

The caved in section of your current travertine is most likely the fill. It is easily repaired.

The installation will require soft joints every 24'. In areas with strong sunlight you will need them placed every 8-12' in each direction.
Good luck

07-22-2004, 05:16 PM
Hi, i'm in Naples,and we use an underlayment paper here that's similar to the paper underneath vinyl,that's in the .50 range.It's not waterproof,but is cheap and works great as an anticrack.You'll definitely need an anticrack.I haven't used the Mer Krete,but it says you need to caulk existing 1/8" cracks.Down here we generally mud all stones,from 1/2" to 11/4"mudbeds, depending on the slab and door and cabinet heights.And yes we typically charge +.25-.50 for 24" because they are more difficult.Steven's right about the fillers,kinda makes you wonder what they're thinkin.We usually use a fiber for expansion around the perimeter.The price is in line with that area.

Chad Deiter Company
02-24-2008, 04:13 PM
I think 1/2 to 2/3 inch mud set is to little. Maybe some non sag morter for that little bit. :uhh:

02-24-2008, 04:19 PM
Uhmm... Chad, this thread is 4 years old. :shades:

Brian in San Diego
02-24-2008, 04:23 PM
Hey Mike,

It's raining here in Southern California, maybe Chad got bored or maybe he got ahold of some of that Turkish stuff that Steven was talking about and I don't mean the "filler" for the travertine. :lol1:

But then again it coulda been bugs on the windshield.