How to Install Travertine Tile in a Shower


Install travertine tile in a shower to create a beautiful oasis for yourself. While it may seem like a challenge to the uninitiated, you will be well on your way to a bathroom escape within the time span of a weekend. Learning to install travertine tile in a shower for yourself will save a great deal of money and provide an amazing sense of satisfaction that you were able to really do it yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Cement backerboard
  • Tiles
  • Travertine tiles
  • Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Wet saw
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • 1-by-4 inch board
  • Screw gun
  • Screws
  • Thinset adhesive
  • Grout
  • Spacers
  • Penetrating sealant

How to Install Travertine Tiles in a Shower

  • Install cement backerboard to the shower walls you wish to tile. Attach a 1-by-4 inch board to the wall at a height of 1 tile plus 1/8 inch from the lowest position on the shower base. Make sure this board is completely level. Understand that you will be removing it later to add custom-sized tile in the spaces below the board.

  • Use pre-mixed thinset adhesive and spread evenly on the wall and backs of each tile piece with the notched side of the trowel. Place travertine tiles in place with 1/16-inch spacers between them. This keeps them even and allows room for grouting later.

  • Remove the ledge you created with the 1-by-4 inch board earlier. Use tiles and spacers to fill in the space below the tile line. Check to see if any smaller pieces will be needed to fill in gaps. Measure the size of the tiles needed for this purpose with a measuring tape and cut tile pieces with wet saw to fit. Attach finishing pieces to the wall with thinset and allow to rest or set overnight.

  • Remove spacers from between the travertine tiles and apply sealant to protect the porous travertine from the wide variety of materials it will encounter in a shower. Use a roller to apply the sealant then allow to dry for several hours.

  • Apply grout to the travertine. Use a grout float to drive the grout into the spaces between the travertine. Avoid tendency to smear the grout around and attempt to stay within the grout lines. Failing to do so will result in a white sheen to the travertine. Sponge off the tile frequently, with a slightly damp sponge, to avoid allowing the grout to set on the travertine.

  • Allow grout to season over the course of several days and then add a sealer that is designed to penetrate and protect the beauty of your travertine stone tiles. Allow them to dry before exposing your tiles to water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take extra caution that the thinset adhesive does not get on the front of travertine tiles. Unlike ceramic tiles, travertine is porous and can be damaged by the thinset.

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