A type of limestone found in caverns, travertine is classified as a secondary rock, according to the Indiana Department of Conservation. The construction industry prizes natural stone such as travertine for its durability, aesthetic appeal and sustainability; the National Association of Home Builders estimates stone tiles such as travertine last 50 to 100 years with proper maintenance. Grouting is the final step of installing travertine tile.
Choosing and Mixing Grout
Choose a complementary color of grout to fill in the spaces between the travertine tiles. You buy grout in powder form with premixed colors and then mix it thoroughly, using as little water as possible, according to Home Depot. Using a minimal amount of water results in a strong and colorfast grout that lasts over time. Before mixing and applying grout, allow the tile adhesive to dry and cure for a minimum of 24 hours.
Once the tile has cured and is firmly in place, use a tool called a grout float to force the grout into the joints between the tiles. Home Depot advises holding the trowel at a 45-degree angle and spreading the grout in sweeping arcs across the tiles and spaces between. To avoid future cracking, work slowly and force the grout deeply into the joints. Once you have filled all the joints, use the grout float to remove the excess grout from the tiles; hold it at a 90-degree angle, and sweep it across the tiles. Allow the grout to dry and harden for several minutes.
Removing Excess Grout
After the grout has hardened for several minutes, remove the excess grout from the travertine tile surfaces with a damp sponge or cheesecloth. Carefully wipe the surfaces in a circular motion so as to avoid removing grout from between the joints. Be sure the sponge or cheesecloth is only slightly damp so the grout does not absorb too much water and sag as it dries completely. If a slight film remains on the tiles after the grout dries completely, wipe them once more with a damp cloth and then dry them completely with a towel. Once the grout dries for the length of time recommended by the grout manufacturer, apply two coats of sealant to the grout with an applicator or paintbrush to protect from stains and water intrusion. You also can use caulk where the grout meets walls or other structures.
Once you have installed and grouted your travertine floor, maintain it by regularly sweeping and vacuuming to avoid dulling the finish over time. Sand and dust from foot traffic may cause abrasive damage to natural stone; providing entry mats for visitors may limit the amount of surface scratches over time, according to the Natural Stone Council. You can use a nonacidic soap and water solution to clean travertine tile and prevent a dull finish.