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


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01-06-2003, 02:27 PM
I have recently purchased travertine tiles from HD to use on my backsplash project.

I need to find a way to finish the edge of the tile where the countertop ends. The associate a HD told me that they don't make bullnose tile for travertine (I find this hard to believe). Does anyone know where I can find bullnose tile? Or does anyone have any suggestions for finishing this edge? (Someone suggested using detailed wood with the same finish as my cabinets)

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!

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01-06-2003, 02:34 PM
Travertine is a natural stone. The edges can be shaped and polished. Find a tile shop or a good installer in your area to help you locate someone with the proper tooling and experience.

01-06-2003, 06:12 PM
Hi Rookie,

Travertine is a very soft stone. Some good wet sand paper ( of varying grits) and a belt sander will work.

Just make sure to practice on some scrap pieces first :D


01-06-2003, 08:24 PM

Shaping and polishing travertine is fairly easy. Get hold of a disc sander (belt sander is a bit cumbersome and difficult to see what your doing). Get some silicon carbide discs (80,120 240 360 500 grits. You can use this sand paper dry, just try not to heat the stone up to much or you will pop pieces off. Play around with some sample pieces. You will see it’s about as easy as sanding a hardwood. The rough grits will remove material faster for shaping. The finer grits will remove less material but will start to produce a shine on the stone. Rough shape with 80 and 120, final shape with 240 and 360, 500 and above will get your stone shining without removing material. If 500 grit does not produce enough shine you can go to higher grits and then even some polishing compounds. Just practice until you feel comfortable with your technique.


01-09-2003, 11:47 AM
Cool! This is almost the same question I was going to ask...except, I want to finish the edges of a couple of granite tiles. How difficult is thisto do?

01-09-2003, 11:57 AM
See my reply above. Granite is much harder!

Bill Vincent
01-09-2003, 03:12 PM
Dino-- Polishing granite is a whole different ball of wax. You can try sanding on it, but you'll be there for a while, and the polishing pads and grinder that it takes to do it right would be so costly, that it would be impractical. Your best bet would be to take the tiles you need finished to a shop that fabricates granite countertops, and have them polish the edges for you. It'll cost you between 7-10.00 a piece-- a helluva lot cheaper than the 300.00 minimum it would cost to get the equipment to do it right yourself.

01-09-2003, 03:34 PM
Thanks. I suspected as much. The trick is finding a fabricator. It seems to be kind of a closed industry, in that you tend to have to go through certain (retail) channels. I recently had a granite counter top done for a bathroom vanity. I had the granite slab already. It was tough finding somebody just to do the "fabricating" (finishing the edges). And from the price qoutes that I got, they apparently are not at all hungry for work and didn't want to be bothered with my little project!

01-09-2003, 06:06 PM

Crossville makes a beautiful, shiny, poliched travertine-looking
porcelain bullnose tile. I know ... it is up in our new bathroom.

Each piece is 14" long, and about 3 1/4 inches high,
and about 5/16" thick.

I don't have the model number at hand right now,
but I can post it later for your info.

I hope this helps.


I bought 'em from the close-out table at EXPO Design Center;
they were marked-down to an amazing $ 1.88 a piece.

Bill Vincent
01-09-2003, 06:30 PM
Dino-- Get in touch with a couple of area tile contractors and ask them. I'm sure they have someone they deal with, or, like myself, they have the equipment to do it themselves.

11-23-2003, 09:01 AM
Hi again folks ... :D ... we just moved into our new home, and we had professionally-installed 18" x 18" travertine on our downstairs slab, which for all intents and purposes turned out beautifully.

The only slight issue that my wife and I have with it is that the "shine" or reflectivity of each piece is not consistent throughout the floor. When you look at the floor at an angle with light reflecting on it, some pieces are much "glossier" or polished-looking than others.

I'm attaching a photo of this floor (family room area), and I would appreciate any other advice that might be helpful in attaining an even "sheen of reflectivity" for our new floor.

Thanks for all your helpful advice in advance!

Jack ;)

11-23-2003, 09:23 AM
You might try a stone enhancer to get the look of the other tiles.

I have seen this sutuation on numerous occasions. Depending on the actual composition of that specific tile, it may not polish the same as other tile.

I had some granite that did the same thing


11-23-2003, 09:34 AM
Thanks Jason for your suggestion there ... the travertine has been sealed with the 511 Impregnator already twice (once before grouting and once after), so it is still OK to use the enhancer at this point?

And more specifically, is there a particular product you might recommend for this?

Thanks again ...


11-23-2003, 10:12 AM
I can't say about using the enhancer over the sealer you already put down, maybe one of the stone experts will help us.

I've seen travetine like you've explained many times. I think that's the way it's going to be, some say that's the beauty of it, no two pieces the same.;)

John Bridge
11-23-2003, 12:50 PM
Hey Jack, How ya been? :)

It does look like some of the tiles were honed to a finer finish than some of the others, but we probably won't be able to help much from here. I think you'll need a pro to even things out either by etching or grinding the stone. Let's home some of the stone guys happen along. ;)

11-23-2003, 05:30 PM
Hi again Master John ... I'm glad you remember me ... I've been really busy with getting the new house set up and with my "day job" ... I'm finally now just regaining my bearings with life as it once was prior to our upheaval (i.e. move).

To fill you in on things, originally we were going to use the Aggliosimplex agglomerate from Lowe's, but after I placed the order for it, it didn't show up in the time frame that was originally estimated, and we had to resort to Plan B, which was 18" Durango travertine. We are overall very pleased with the finished look of the travertine, especially since it is warmer than the color of the Aggliosimplex stone, which would have been more of a "New England Clam Chowder" color.

As for the travertine, it really looks great, as the installer used 1/16" spacers for the job. All in all, there are only a few areas where the tiles are slightly less shiny than the others, but if there's a solution (no pun intended) to evening things out, I'll give it a try.

Cheers! ;)

Rd Tile
11-24-2003, 05:54 AM
Try this on the dull ones.

11-24-2003, 09:33 AM
Thanks RD for the suggestion ... looks promising, and I'll let you all know how it turns out.

Thank you in advance!

JOAT :shades:

11-24-2003, 10:54 AM
Hi Jack :)

RD definitely pointed you in the right direction…great idea!

Two things, though. How big is your floor? Getting an even finish is very difficult on larger areas when you are not equipped to do so. I would also recommend practicing on as many scarp pieces as possible.

Next…about that even finish. Travertine is easier dealt with if it were honed. It can be polished, but you can end up with an inconsistent finish still. Honing will even everything out. If you want a shiny floor, then by all means get it, but I want you to be prepared for some spots to be more reflective than others, especially if you do it yourself. Even if you achieved a consistent polish, the different colors, shades and materials in the floor can make it look as though its not consistent. Honing tones everything down a bit. Honing will be easier for you to pull off. Stone Tech Euro Hone will do the trick. :)

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to call a stone pro and ask for a price. They will be equipped to do it and could fix you right up. Honing is rather inexpensive, sometimes they can use screens on their machine and crank it out real quick. Polishing is not much more work for a pro. ;)

How flat is your floor? Any lippage? :)

Oh...and you will have to "re-impregnate" after this is done. :D

11-24-2003, 11:31 AM
I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to talk you out of a polish, so let me add a few things. ;)

You say you have just a few areas that need attention. The polish will bring them up, hopefully to your liking. Something like the Euro Polish is the ticket.

If you are concerned about a consistent finish throughout, you will need to do the whole floor, or have it done for you.

If you are extremely concerned about a consistent finish, but a high sheen is not a big deal, then honing is the ticket.

A honed stone will stay looking better longer than a polished stone. Traffic patterns will show up quicker on a polished surface due to “grit” from shoes and whatnot. Any kind of acid etching that may take place (spilt Margaritas?) will not show up near as much on a honed Travertine.

Just depends on the desired look, as well as the amount (frequency) of maintenance you want to deal with. If polished, you will have to do it every year or two, depends on traffic, placement of walk-off mats and such. Honed Travertine can buy you a few more years over a polished.


11-24-2003, 02:26 PM
Thank you kemguru for your thoughtful and detailed explanation.

To answer your questions, the floor has virtually no noticeable lippage, as the installer was very meticulous in getting everything flush and flat.

The area with Durango honed/filled travertine is about 16' x 30', with a lot of areas taken up by the kitchen islands and countertops, etc. The entrance foyer also is about 15' x 18'. All tolled, we have almost 1200 square feet of the material downstairs, into a hallway and a couple of small bathrooms as well. But the only areas that have a few "less shiny" pieces is in the family room, the 16' x 30' area.

As a matter of fact, if any of you are interested, the installer who did our floor is the son of Armen Tavshanjian, Keith. Armen is the inventor of various excellent products for professional tile installers. He markets his unique tile spacers ( at Lowe's in fact, quite remarkable.


11-24-2003, 03:02 PM
Try to polish those few areas yourself then. If it works out, then right on. If not, you’re not out anything really. Call a pro to erase your markings and even everything out if it heads south on you. No biggie…no worries. ;)

Food for thought though…a stone pro can make it look better, if you so feel. :)

That is very cool, in regards to your installer. I bet that is one flat floor…don’t suppose he used the Tavy Tile Puck to check it, eh? :D

11-24-2003, 08:24 PM
Yep, the floor is pretty darn flat if I say so myself. I was very involved with the floor prep, doing a lot of checking for flatness, and marking those areas that were low. We had already had the builder grind down the high spots twice. The slab had some seriously low spots, as there were some areas where Keith had over a half inch bed of mortar. I think he said he had used a whole bag of "thickset" (pun intended) mortar for four (4) 18" tiles in those areas that were low. The tiles were half inch thick themselves, so the resulting layer was over an inch deep above the slab. He didn't use any self-leveling compound in case you were wondering.

As for the polishing effort, I'll give it the ol' college try, and we'll report the results in a later post.

As for using the Tavy puck for lippage checking, he didn't have one handy, but I don't think it would have been of much use!

Thanks again!


Steven Hauser
11-25-2003, 08:02 AM
Hi Jack,

Due to the nature of travertine it has different quantities of fill in every piece.

Because your tile is what I call a high hone this exascerbates the issue.

The only thing to do is make the floor a low hone or duller finished floor.

I would recommend a qualified pro for the process.

Best regards, Steven

11-25-2003, 09:42 AM
Hi Steven, thanks for your thoughts on this subject ... all you guys in here are great for your help, and I greatly appreciate all the helpful suggestions and professional insight.

I'm probably going to try out the Europolish and see if I can't bring up the shine on those select tiles that aren't quite as shiny or reflective. Even if it isn't terribly successful, it isn't all that noticeable in the big scheme of things. I'll probably just sleep a little better at night knowing that my floor is consistent!