Travertine Installation / Subfloor / Grout Film [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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02-28-2007, 02:06 PM
Wow, I'm so glad I found this forum! It looks like this is a great resource.

Thanks in advance, btw, for all of your help!

I purchased my first home in September of last year, and have spent the time since upgrading the kitchen. I completely gutted the kitchen myself, and had a contractor come in and bolt 2x12 joists to the existing 2x8 joists to stiffen the floor for tile. A new 3/4" plywood subfloor was placed over the existing floor boards.

Because I need to save money wherever I can, I'm going to be installing the tile floor myself. Originally I was going to go with ceramic or porcelain tiles, but I fell in love with honed travertine, and found a number of sources on the internet where I can get it for approximately the same price as the tile I was looking at.

Here are my questions:

1) Is the subfloor strong enough for 18" travertine, which is the size of the biggest tiles in the pattern I am going to install?

2) What should I use as a backer to the travertine on top of the subfloor? My father and I were going to go with cementboard, but had heard there might be better choices out there.

3) We got a number of samples of honed and filled travertine online, but the one we liked the best actually seemed to be filled rather poorly. There was a qrout film over the travertine tile, so it didn't quite look clean, and some areas felt rough to the touch. Is there a way to buff or sand this away before or after installation? Or should I avoid this tile (and company) completely?

Thanks again for your help!!!!

Anthony Frasso

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02-28-2007, 06:15 PM
The floor should be strong enough but to determine if the deflection is adequate, use the Deflecto (

Cement board is adequate, but you could also use Ditra, Hardibacker, Mapelath, or a handful of others with equal success.

Natural stone has lots of "character" - some people like the roughness and other want something more refined. If you don't like the look of the tile, try getting some samples from another company or look at samples from any local suppliers till you find one that suits your taste. The film you see may just be stone dust from the factory. Wash it off and see how it looks.

02-28-2007, 06:42 PM
1) Thanks for the reply. The deflector tool thinks I should be okay; I was just concerned about the larger size of the tile (18" vs. 12").

2) I'll check out the other types of board you mentioned.

3) As far as the film... it's definitely grout. I've tried washing it off with little success. You can take your fingernail and scratch it away to reveal the tile underneath. I'm going to try using some high-grit sandpaper to remove it from the tile, and I'm hoping the sandpaper won't damage the tile.

02-28-2007, 09:12 PM
Do NOT use sandpaper! (unless you want a honed finish, and it will never look right).

I'd avoid the tile if it looks funky from the get-go. You can try some vinegar and scrub a little - the mild acid will break the bond with the cement, but it will also dull the finish on the stone tile if you leave it on too long or don't rinse well.

02-28-2007, 09:24 PM
The tile is a honed finished tile; but I will try the vinegar approach to see if that works.