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Grouting natural stone

Doing a small border as a backsplash in a bathroom. The tile is 1"x1" pieces of travertine amd marble on mesh, I'm going to cut it into 4" strips and then use a travertine chair rail to finish the top. Do I seal all the tile before I put it up or after it is glued up and before grouting? I have read the natural tiles must be sealed before grouting so the grout doesn't bleed into the tile or stain it. Also, how do I keep the grout from filling the holes in the travertine pieces? Or is there a way to get the grout out afterwards?

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Posted 2012-02-26T23:52:52+0000  by bb512 bb512

Hey Madison,


Welcome to the community, we are glad you are here!


Yes, do seal the tiles before you are grouting, even if you are placing grout to fill in the holes...this makes it all more important to do so. If you didn't the grout has a much better chance of staining and getting into the tile, making you do way more cleanup and maintenance.


Use a tile setting mat as you wish, it does save time and money versus mortar or quick set. I used this in fact, on tiling my coffee table, and it saved me a day of waiting for the table to dry. 


The grout itself will stick to the tile even after you sealed them, even if you chose a high sheen tile sealer. Usually, most customers choose to use the natural look, which basically looks like you didn't even put a tile sealer down...if that makes sense.


Basically, use the sealer or pre-grout first, grout your tiles (including holes) and wait as directed on the bottle. Next after you have cleaned the surface off of any excess grout and haze and inspected that the area is dry, you can now seal the tiles again.


Always work in a small 2 foot x 2 foot or 3 foot x 3 foot area, so as to ensure all cracks, crevices, and holes are being filled with grout. As long as you seal your tiles first, your backsplash will be fine. Grout will only damage the look of the travertine if you don't seal beforehand, or clean the grout off the tiles surface before letting it dry.


Hope this has helped you out, and let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Posted 2013-03-09T20:55:29+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Quick question..I installed travertine & porcelain on bathtub surround & just finished cleaning it with TILELab Sulfamic Acid Cleaner (yes made a mess) anyway I am ready to seal the tile. Do I need to wait  before sealing (since its still damp) or is it ok to seal? & just to confirm, I should seal the tile twice then grout then seal the grout???

Posted 2013-04-27T00:34:11+0000  by Myfatty22

Hey Myfatty22,


Thanks for joining us here on the community; welcome!


In terms of waiting for the tiles to dry, wait at least a full 24 hours after application. Even if the tiles a bit damp, after that time frame, you can still apply the sealer.


And yes, seal twice: before the tile (the first should of actually been before adhering the tile on the wall) has been grouted and after the excess grout has been removed.


Also, make sure you use a tile sealer that is rated for stone tile. This kind of sealer will also work on porcelain as well.




Posted 2013-04-27T20:27:39+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
We installed our tile floor but for some reason it looks deep set, it was a month or two months ago do you think that I could re apply grout on top of the one that is alrady set or what should I do?? Please help me I'm frustated 😞!!
Posted 2013-08-16T21:34:33+0000  by alexatrejos

Hey alexatrejos,


Welcome to the community!


If the grout is 'deep set' as you say, you have two options.


The first would be to remove as much of the grout as you can using a grout saw. This will guarantee the new grout will firmly adhere properly between the tiles. If you simply apply grout over the old, the new won't stay and you'll have a much worse situation on your hands.


After you remove the old, you can place the new grout in. Make sure any grout haze is completely removed before the grout cures.


The second option would be to leave the grout alone, as is. I would opt for this if you have a large area. This may not sound like an option, but if the grout isn't as deep as the tile depth itself, then you should be fine.


If you can, uploading an image or measuring the depth of the grout can give us a better idea of whats going on.



Posted 2013-08-28T12:20:42+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Hi - I am in the process of setting river rocks (individually, by hand) onto a post that had been previously painted plywood.  It's going great!  (if somewhat slowly!) - now I have a lot of uneven areas though and I don't know whether I should try to match a new grout to the white thinset I'm using, or to use a grout bag and thinner-than-usual thinset to fill the small gaps. I'm going for kind of a rustic look, and I do plan to seal the whole thing after it's completed.  This is what it looks like so far. Any input or suggestions?IMG_1091.jpg

Posted 2013-12-16T12:03:41+0000  by kimflorida

Hey kimflorida!


Thanks for joining us here on the community!


I appreciate you uploading the pic of your awesome river rock post, great job so far!


Grout as a whole is going to go between the small areas better than any thin-set would.


Since you have massive spaces larger than 1/8" in between the stones, always go with a sanded grout. It's much easier to clean and wipe off afterwards vs. mortar.


I'd definitely agree and go with the grout bag to fill in those gaps.

12-3/4 in. Heavy-Duty Latex Grout Installation Bag

Just make sure to clean up any grout/mortar haze on the stones as soon as you are finished with applying it, for a better look.


Work clean and seal afterwards, and you'll get the final look that looks very professional!




Posted 2013-12-18T13:46:26+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL


I would love to buy these tiles and install them above my shower (from top of shower up to ceiling):


The description says that "Natural stone mosaics with copper should not be used where there is moisture or in wet areas, oxidizing or rusting will occur."


I was wondering if:


1. Is this true of this natural stone slate mosaic with copper finish as well? Would you recommend that it is ok to install above a shower? (this is not the primary shower/bathroom)

2. Would I be able to prevent oxidizing or rusting by sealing the natural stone? Or would another/an additional treatment be required?

3. Would you recommend using the grout bag to grout these once applied to wall? (I was going to use the tile setting mat product). The seams appear quite narrow to fill.


Thank you for your recommendations... these tiles are beautiful! I hope they will work!


Posted 2014-01-14T03:12:42+0000  by ldmerkel

Hey ldmerkel,


Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!


The Jeffrey Court Satin Copper is indeed a beautiful a mosaic tile, thank you for sending the link so we can all view it!

Copper will oxidize over time, anytime especially there is an abundance of water present. Think of the Statue of Liberty; she is all copper and oxidized green very quickly due to being surrounded outdoors by moisture. The green is simply a reaction to water and oxygen, hence the word oxidized.


With that said, if this isn't an active bath and it is out of the direct stream of water from the shower, you can use this product. In either case, always seal the stone/copper/grout with a stone-rated sealer. Do this about once a year to help with protecting everything.

While I can't guarantee how much or little oxidization will occur, it you seal everything, keep the moisture at a minimum, and even have a bathroom fan to extract the moisture during can significantly reduce the amount of moisture present.


As for the grout, the lines appear to be 1/8" wide joints, which is pretty standard and not too thin for grout joints.


You can apply sanded, non-sanded, or pre-mixed grout depending on your tastes and budget. However, any grout that is powdered you mix with water will dry faster and dry harder than pre-mixed acrylic based grouts. Count up your square footage first to ensure you get the most grout without getting too much or too little.

Step 1: Pour a quart to half gallon of grout on the tiles

If you have any further questions, please let me know.


Posted 2014-01-15T16:21:28+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Thanks for the information regarding grouting natural stone.  I would like to install an accent tile in my master bath and as a vanity backsplash that is a combination of natural stone and copper (Jeffrey Court mosaics from HD.)  Is this totally impractical for a wet area?  If not, is sealing required?


Posted 2014-01-21T20:49:05+0000  by MVLulu
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