How to Use Travertine Tile Outdoors


Travertine is an extremely hard type of limestone that is quarried in Turkey, Italy, Greece and South America. Its durability, beauty and nonslip surface make it ideal for outdoor use. Another quality is travertine's ability to stay cool underfoot, even in summer. Because it is a natural material, each travertine tile is unique, with a blending of earthy colors such as ivory, gold and walnut. The tile can be purchased honed (polished), filled (holes are filled with grout) or tumbled (rough surface with holes).

Things You'll Need

  • Concrete surface
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Concrete patch
  • White mortar
  • Grooved Trowel
  • Grout
  • Grout Float
  • Rag or sponge
  • Penetrating sealer

Travertine Applications

  • Use travertine tile as flooring for an outdoor kitchen, courtyard or patio. Apply over a concrete base and top with penetrating sealer to protect from moisture and spills.

  • Use travertine tile as a countertop for an outdoor kitchen. Repeating the material used on the floor unifies the look and gives a lasting, durable quality.

  • Use travertine tile on top of risers for outdoor steps. It makes an inviting approach to a front door and is especially suited to Mediterranean-style homes.

  • Use travertine tiles as paving around pools. Its surface reflects heat and stays cool in the summertime.

  • Use travertine tile to face retaining walls. When used in the landscape surrounding a travertine patio or outdoor kitchen, the result is a cohesive look that ties all the outdoor elements together.

Installation Instructions

  • Clean the concrete slab or other area where travertine tile is to be installed with trisodium phosphate. Allow the area to dry completely. Use concrete patch to repair any cracks or holes in the concrete. Seal the concrete with a penetrating sealer.

  • Plan your tile layout. Mix mortar. Spread it over a small area with a grooved trowel. Working with three or four tiles at a time, place the tiles into the mortar until you have covered the area.

  • Clean excess mortar from the tile surfaces with a sponge or rag.

  • Mix and apply grout over the tile with a grout float. Clean excess grout from atop the tile as you work. Allow the grout to dry.

  • Do not walk on the tile surface for 48 hours while the grout sets.

  • Thoroughly clean the tile to remove grout residue. Allow it to dry. Apply a penetrating sealer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Proper installation is key to travertine tile's longevity. For outdoor use, always install over a concrete base. Use white mortar, which won't discolor the porous stone. Because of its porous nature, travertine must always be sealed. Sealer also makes the travertine surface easier to maintain and clean.

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