Travertine Countertops Pros, Cons, and Using Guide

Travertine Countertops Pros, Cons, and Using Guide


1. Less Expensive than Granite

Besides travertine, other types of natural stones such as granite and marbles are also commonly used as building materials, but travertine is usually less expensive yet it has an excellent visual appeal. A premium grade travertine is available for around $5 per square foot, but the commercial grade can reach up to $30 for the same size.

2. Easy to Cut and Shape

Compared to porcelain tiles, travertine is relatively soft so it is easier to shape or cut. You can easily use it to cover corners or other areas with considerably odd dimensions. In case you need to replace some tiles on your countertop, you will easily find travertine tiles to match the color and size of the existing ones.

Travertine is naturally formed and colored, so it is available in many different beautiful shades of ivory, coral red, cream, walnut, beige, and gold. The impurities in Earth help to form this natural stone. In fact, the holes and veining in travertine make it even more aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. When used in houses, travertine brings natural yet luxurious appeal.

With proper maintenance, travertine countertops will be more durable than most other types of tiles, making it ideal as a building material for both indoor and outdoor areas. They can absorb moisture and water as well so it can be good choice for bathroom flooring and wall.

5. Environment-friendly

As travertine is formed by the nature, it is an environment friendly building material. When everybody strives for the best eco-friendly products in almost all aspects of life, having travertine tiles for countertops is always a great option. It is strong and durable as a building material, yet it retains every natural aspect properly to allow you to be environment-friendly without sacrificing comfort and quality.


To maintain its nice visual appeal, sealant is used when installing travertine tiles. In certain areas such as bathroom floors, countertops, and kitchen, those tiles will need resealing periodically to keep it polished and stain free. In those areas, travertine is continuously exposed to water, moisture, and occasional scratches by kitchen utensils, causing stains and faded polish. Resealing helps to keep the filler and grout intact, preventing permanent damage to the tiles’ natural colors. To do this. you need certain cleaning products specifically manufactured for travertine.

2. Reactive to Acids

Acidic spills such as coffee and wine can make distinctive marks on travertine countertops. If you spill acidic substance, you must clean it immediately before it etches the surface. Wipe any stain with a soft cloth thoroughly to prevent permanent damage. It can be a regular work if you use travertine tiles on kitchen countertops.

3. Professional Maintenance

As mentioned earlier, travertine naturally has noticeable holes. Manufacturers often use fillers to cover these holes before the tiles are sold. Sealant is the protective layer that prevents the surface and filler from direct exposure to stains. Without periodic resealing, stains can be permanent which simply ruins travertine’s aesthetic value. Due to color variations of travertine, it is almost impossible to reapply fillers properly. This job is best left to professionals.

4. Prone to Scratches

Travertine is susceptible to scratching. You must consider this drawback before deciding to install the tiles on your countertops or any outdoor area. The natural stone does absorb moisture and water, but freezing temperature can easily crack it. Metal kitchen utensils are also quite unfriendly to travertine.

How to Use Travertine on Countertops

Installing travertine tiles on countertops is actually quite easy as long as you have the necessary tools to do the job. You will need an assortment of carpentry and construction equipment including 1/4-inch cement board, carpenter’s glue, 1/8-inch plastic spacers, screw gun, razor knife, and so on.

1. Cut and Set the Cement Board

Measure and cut the 1/4-inch cement board to match the size of your countertop. Use your razor knife to mark the cutting lines and break the board according to those lines. Take a generous amount of the carpenter’s glue and spread it all over the back of the board. Set this ready-to-use board on the countertop and secure it with the galvanized screws. To make things easier, use a screw gun.

Travertine Countertops Pros, Cons, and Using Guide

2. Draw More Lines

Once the cement board is properly set, mark some lines exactly at the middle of the countertop to make starting points when installing the tiles. You have to draw these lines on the top and front sides.

3. Place the Tiles

Based on the dimensions of your countertop, you need to cut the travertine tiles with a wet saw to match the required size. Apply the thinset mortar to the edge of every tile by using the notched trowel. Start placing the tiles from the front edge of your countertop, starting from the center line. Please remember to give 1/8-inch of space between every tile as you go on to put the plastic spacers. Use the same method to apply travertine tiles on the top side, also staring from the center line. Please make sure that the tiles on the edge of both front and top sides come out even. You can cut the tiles once again if necessary. When everything is set, remove the spacers and leave your work overnight to allow the tiles to set securely to your countertops.

4. Apply the Sealant

Brush sealant over the tiles. It is important that you only apply sealant on the flat parts of every tile. Travertine tiles have natural holes, and you must avoid applying sealant to those holes. You must not apply sealant to the spaces between tiles too. Leave the sealant to do the job for few hours before you continue working on your travertine countertops.

5. Apply the Grout

Use your grout trowel to apply the unsanded grout all over the surface of every tile. You need to apply it in such way that the grout goes into the lines and holes. Excess of grout on the tile surface is expected, but you can always wipe it with a sponge easily. You need to wait after two days before you re-apply the sealant to the surface of your countertops.


If aesthetic is your main consideration when designing a countertop, travertine can be an excellent material to cover the surface. This material is quite soft and prone to scratches, but if you can make sure that you will do proper maintenance and resealing, travertine countertops can indeed give a great deal of aesthetic and natural values to the overall design of your house.

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