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How to Lay Seamless Travertine Tile Successfully

Laying a seamless travertine tile floor (ie without grout) is a skill you can easily develop. It only takes a little knowledge, a few tools, patience, and diligence to complete this job successfully.

There is no need to be intimidated by this type of project. After all, if the ancient Romans and Greeks could do it, why couldn’t you?

Other than tiles, only a few things are required to complete this type of home improvement job: a thin-set mortar, notched trowel, level, and soft rubber mallet. The difficulty level of this DIY project is considered medium to moderate; however, that is due to the fact that some tiles may need to be reset to ensure a level plane on the floor.

It’s all in the preparation

Preparation is key for a perfect installation of this type of natural stone. Ninety-nine percent of all successful home improvement jobs begin with proper preparation of the work surface. For any surface, whether it’s a floor, countertop, or wall, level the work area as much as possible before doing anything else. Check your work with a level before any travertine tile installation.

Thinset application on floors – Give it a boost

Working from the center of the room, use the notched edge of the trowel to apply an even coat of thin-set mortar to the surface of the floor, spreading it evenly over the area where the travertine will be installed. Take your time when doing this to avoid gouges and/or air pockets that can cause the tile to sit improperly.

Thinset application on the back of the tiles – Flat Is Beautiful

Now is the time to use the flat side of the trowel to apply a thin layer of thinset to the back of the travertine tile. Make sure it is evenly distributed all over, being careful to cover the edges of the tile.

Apply tile with gentle but firm coaxing

Place the tile in place on the floor, apply pressure and move it back and forth in all directions to form a good bond and remove any unintended trapped air pockets/bubbles.

Then it’s time to place the second tile next to the first, lining up the corners and moving that tile back and forth like you did the first.

Make sure the tiles are the same height. Using a soft rubber mallet, lightly tap the second travertine tile until it butts up against the first. There should be a tight fit with no gaps.

Keep your head level and get a level floor

Put a level on the tile floor to make sure the tiles are flat and flush. If a tile is too low, remove it and add more thinset to the floor. If the opposite is true and the tile is too tall, lift the travertine and remove the excess skim. Either way, there is a remedy for you to get a level floor by keeping a level head and doing what needs to be done to get a perfectly even travertine tile floor.

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