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Travertine Mosaic Tile: Types, Maintenance, Pros & Cons and Design Ideas

Travertine Mosaic Tile: Types, Maintenance, Pros & Cons and Design Ideas

What is Travertine?

Travertine limestone or Travertine marble is formed once minerals of hot springs are collected. Considering the location it has been installed to and its purpose of use, it can be sealed or not. Since it is porous in nature hence it has a specific natural texture. Travertine tiles can be found as travertine mosaic tiles, pavers or slabs. Travertine tiles can be used in various forms like for flooring, backsplash, countertops and many others. Its protection requires various sealant coats in order to prevent dirt from entering into the pores of tiles.

Types of Travertine

Since travertine tiles are durable, easy to install and maintain as compared to other stones, they are widely used in various places like flooring, paving, patios etc. They can also be used as wall coverings and claddings. Travertine tiles have bedding planes. In the way these tiles are cut, they have been bifurcated into following types:

Vein Cut Travertine Tile

Vein cut travertine has linear pattern since the stone is cut right along its vein or against the bedding plane. This cutting style display lines or bedding planes.

Fleuri Cut Travertine Tile

Fleuri cut travertine tile is made by cutting the stone parallel to the bedding plane. It is also recognized as crosscut. It creates circular patterns. Fleuri cut travertine tiles are not highly recommended to be used in areas or passages which are in common use. They are prone to damage with heavy use continually.

Types of Travertine Products

Travertine products come in different forms. They vary in size and thickness depending upon the product type. For instance, tile has a different size than slabs and pavers; so is their purpose. They come in all finishes.

Travertine Tiles

Travertine tiles are normally ½” thick with square edges which makes the installation seamless. Tiles are installed using grout and the surface needs to be smoothed out before applying grout and installing the tiles.

Travertine Pavers

Travertine pavers are made up of natural stone and are available in different sizes and shapes. They are 1 ¼” – 2” thick with chiseled or tumbled edges. They are installed with the help of sand or gravel. They give unique look when put together on any pool deck, patio or driveway. Designed for exterior installation, these tiles have the capacity to absorb heat and moisture and hence prove to be suitable for locations they have been installed.

Travertine pavers color ranges from cream tones to gray shades and the pallet spread from gold to brown. They add a classy look and elegant texture to the area.

Travertine Slabs

Travertine slabs are large pieces of travertine stone which are commonly used for countertops. These slabs come in all type of finished depending upon their requirement and usage. With a wide range of neutral color tones, these slabs can blend efficiently with the surrounding tiles and backsplashes.

Travertine Mosaic Tiles:

Travertine Mosaic tiles are small square shaped tile casually of 1” x 1” combined together to give a subtle effect. They come in various colors like Noce, Gold, Ivory and Silver.

Travertine mosaics have a wide variety. Small pieces are precisely crafted so they can fit together to form a decorative, accent or field tile. Mosaics are usually available with meshed backing so they can be handled and fitted just the way they have been manufactured.

Mosaic tiles are in harmony with their larger counterparts generally. If not, they can be used in contrast to other colors, textures or dimensions. Tumbled travertine mosaic tiles are mostly used for pool deck, tub surrounds, bath walls, flooring accents, decorative nooks and kitchen backsplashes.

Pros and Cons of Travertine Mosaic Tile

There are some pros and cons of travertine tiles depending upon the area they have been installed.

Easy Cutting: Travertine is a soft stone than marble etc. but hard enough to break. The softness of stone lets you resize it by cutting just the way you want for installation. The mosaic tiles are also easy to handle for installation.

Persistent: Travertine is a persistent and durable stone. It can easily withstand through ages. Ancient buildings are proof of its time-tested strength. It can stay fresh for long period of time giving the area pristine look.

Style: Travertine gives style and beauty to the area it has been installed in. It can create any look from ancient to modern or anything in between. The earth tone pallet of travertine gives unique work sponsored by nature.

Repair: Since it is a natural stone and have a subtle natural look, hence it can be replaced in case of being damaged. Moreover, it won’t look odd one out among the other tiles and is economical as well.

Finish Variety: Travertine has four different finish types i.e. tumbled, matte honed, brushed and polished. These can be used as per their usability or can be used in combination. Backsplashes are best with polished tiles whether they are mosaic or any other.

As everything is not perfect, travertine has some drawbacks too. They are not always perfect in every location. Some demerits of travertine tiles are:

Maintenance: Travertine is porous stone and therefore its maintenance needs regular filling otherwise the holes will get larger and reduce the life of tile.

Prone to Acid: Travertine is stone made from the deposition of salts and minerals. Therefore, it is reactive to etching and staining. Avoid cleaning them with acidic cleaners. Refresh the sealer periodically to maintain the life of tile.

Expensive: Travertine is cheap as compared to marble but expensive than granite. The cost of tile includes grout price, sealer and labor. In moist areas, tile protection cost is higher because they are exposed to moisture and water.

Travertine tiles have their own pros and cons but the analysis shows that it is still better and economical option for decorating the commercial or domestic building with multiple combinations as well as options.

Types of Travertine Mosaic Tile

Travertine mosaic tile can be classified into different types depending upon their finishes like honed travertine mosaic, tumbled or split face travertine mosaic tiles.

Honed Travertine Mosaic Tiles:

Honed Mosaic tiles are the one with matt finish and rusty edges. It is created via grinding and sanding in order to generate the smooth surface. Its surface is smooth but not as much as the polished travertine and is commonly in use for home decoration purpose in kitchen, pool areas and bathrooms. Periodic sealing is necessary in order to preserve it.

Tumbled Travertine Mosaic Tiles:

It gives the most natural and raw finish with worn out edges and refined texture. Tumbled travertine mosaic has rough surface. It is used in both outdoor and indoor installations. The rustic look makes the area more retro. In order to maintain the tiles fill the holes with grout during installation. Blend the tumbled mosaic tile with pavers or patios the way you want to give a unique look to your installation.

Polished Travertine Mosaic Tiles:

Mosaic tiles with smooth, slippery finish are polished ones. It closely resembles with marble having attractive shine and smooth matte finish. It needs timely sealing in order to protect the tiles. Regular polishing is required to maintain its shine. Polished travertine is more sustainable to stains and scratches.

Split Face Travertine

Split face tiles give a rustic look to the area they have been installed. The blistered rough look makes them well-suited for vertical installation like an accent wall, fireplace wall, and stacked stone backsplash.

Maintenance of Travertine Mosaic Tile

Maintenance of travertine mosaic tile needs special attention depending upon the location of the tiles. For indoor and outdoor tiles, there are separate ways.

Indoor Travertine Mosaic Tiles:

Honed travertine mosaic is mostly used for indoor installation. It can be cleaned by dry dust mopping. In order to wash the indoor tiles, one must use neutral cleaners or stone soaps.

Follow the instructions mentioned on cleaner and wash gently in vertically upward direction. Rinse properly with clean water afterward. In order to clean the tiles in an area mostly in use, automatic scrubber with disc brush is efficient for cleaning the debris without affecting the tiles.

Outdoor Travertine Mosaic Tiles:

For travertine mosaic tiles installed outdoor, it is necessary to have periodic cleaning like once a year. Simple yearly cleaning can be done by cleansing it with water in order to remove dust and other impurities.

Better installation guide to Travertine Mosaic tile

Though installation method and guidelines differ from tile style to tile finish. There are some general rules for mosaic tile installation. They may vary from tile finish to tile finish.

Preparation and Substrate:

  1. Analyze the surface where tiles need to be installed. Preparation varies from substrate to substrate.
  2. Surface should be smooth otherwise tile may not generate the desired results.
  3. If the application surface is newly built, drywall is appropriate for the mosaic. For renovating purpose or uneven surface, add a layer of backer board like Durock. It will work as a substrate for the mosaic.
  4. Use the dry mosaic sheet for installation.

Mosaic Installation:

Following steps are observed for installing mosaic

  1. Skimming:
  • Surface should be smooth in order to do proper installation.
  • Test the surface by applying a thin layer of setting material to make sure that it is ready for tile.
  • Let it dry for almost 12 hours
  1. Guide Lines or Rulers
  • Measure space where mosaic is intended to be installed
  • Develop a grid on substrate equivalent to nine sheets of mosaic tile. Consider the spaces between sheets too while putting lines.
  1. Applying settling material
  • Mix the setting substance.
  • Now apply the first coat one section of the grid with the help of trowel.
  • For the second coat, create ridges by combing the applied material via trowel.
  1. Tile Installation
  • Mosaic sheets have front face covered with clear tape so the design can easily be seen during installation.
  • Put the back side of each sheet into the setting material keeping the face of sheet outward i.e.
  • Tap the mosaic sheet so that it may be attached to the surface properly. It can be done via flat tool.
  1. Space Adjusting
  • Adjust the space while the material is wet.
  • Adjust the uneven tiles so the gaps are uniformly distributed. Use small trowel for this purpose.
  1. Application of Grout
  • Grout should be applied on dry and cleaned surface.
  • Remove the clear tape from mosaic surface and make sure it has been removed completely before applying grout.
  • Peel it off in diagonally.
  • With the help of small trowel, spread grout from bottom to top diagonally.
  • Wipe the extra grout in opposite direction i.e. from top to bottom but in diagonal direction.
  1. Expansion Joints
  • For corners and other changes in plane, expansion joints should be installed. These spaces should be filled with silicone caulking sealant instead of grout. It will create expansion joints in these areas.
  1. Cleaning
  • Clean the mosaic after almost 30 – 60 minutes of application of grout.
  • Clean it with clean water via sponge scrubbing in circular motion.

Design Ideas

Travertine tumbled mosaic tiles serves as an efficient finish for indoor walls. It also works well if used for outdoor wall cladding. One can install them in patios, pool deck or grills. Some travertine mosaic tile ideas are below. They will give you a wide number of options ranging from classical to modern.

Travertine mosaic tiles in different shades of brown i.e. light, medium and dark, when put together, makes an incredible backsplash. It can blend in with any tone of beige or gold countertop.

Travertine mosaic tiles can be used in combination with larger tile like noce tile to create basket weaved effect. Different patterns like checkerboard or herringbone can be created from white travertine in combination with other tiles.

With the wide pallet of travertine ranging from gold to brown or rust, different looks can be attained. Give your kitchen an Italian look with earthy shades of mosaic backsplash or checkerboard pattern in rust, black countertop and natural crafted wooden cabinets.

Embellish your bathroom with travertine mosaics in Leonardo. Use 2×2” mosaic in split face style for the wall following bathtub. Use Ogee on top and bullnose at the bottom to give a finish and complete look.


Travertine mosaic tiles are a good option if you want to create unique design for countertop or backsplash. Travertine is an economical option only if its proper maintenance and care is done.

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