Can You Paint Travertine Tile Backsplash? (Find Out Now!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

When it comes to adding a new look, a fresh face, or an updated feel, travertine tiles are a great option. The question, however, often arises after we have installed that fabulous new look. What happens when we decide the following year or three years down the road when those new additions mean a color scheme change? Can you paint travertine tiles?

Travertine tiles can be painted, but the job must be done following a careful process. This process includes a correct preparatory cleaning, proper use of sealant, and a hand brushed layering technique. Painting travertine tiles won’t require hiring a professional painter, only a few thorough steps.

It might be surprising to many to discover how simple it is to change the color of that travertine tile and the entire look of your decorum by simply painting it. Despite its Limestone roots, this tile is surprisingly receptive to paint when properly prepared.

Here are the steps and what you need to transform the look, feel, and color of your travertine tiles.

Do You Need Painting or Staining Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

How to Paint Travertine Tiles

These are the basic steps along with some options and suggestions for painting your travertine tiles. This process can take between one and three days, depending on which options are chosen and which suggestions are followed.

What you will need:

  • Paint
  • Quality paint brushes
  • Mild cleanser (soft detergent and water, or other mild cleaning agents)
  • Sponge, Soft cleaning brush
  • Sealant

Those painting in enclosed areas should be sure to have good ventilation and be mindful of taking breaks to get air. Gloves are also another option during either the cleaning, sealant, or painting stages that may be used if desired. Now, if you are ready to transform your travertine tiles with the stroke of a brush, begin with step one.

Step 1: Cleaning The Tiles

When cleaning travertine tiles use soft-designed brushes and safe non-corrosive cleaning agents. It might be helpful to imagine treating travertine tiles as if they were marble. That same process and care would be very similar to the cleaning and care of travertine tiles.

The cleaning solution can be made up of soft detergent mixed with four parts water, or a safe TSP heavy-duty cleaner. For areas like a kitchen countertop, a lighter cleaning might be needed versus a bathroom travertine backsplash that may require a deeper cleaning.

The key, in either case, is to be certain that enough drying time is permitted. The most important aspect of drying is to allow enough time for the grout to become completely dry.

Step 2: Pre-Paint Sealant

After thoroughly cleaning the travertine tiles and allowing them to dry completely, the next step is to apply a coat of sealant. Make sure to use sealant made for stone surfaces. The sealant plays a very significant role and serves a few important purposes in the process of painting travertine tiles.

Applying a pre-coat of sealant will help to protect and extend the longevity of the tiles. This coat of sealant also will allow the paint better absorption against the naturally porous nature of travertine. This will be evident in the final look and in the appearance of the painted tiles.

With a soft high-quality paintbrush, simply apply a solid single coat of sealant, making sure to cover the entire area. Allow the sealant to dry completely, there should be no tackiness or moisture to the touch when dry. When the sealant has dried it is time to grab a brush and get ready to paint.

Step 3: Painting Your Travertine Tiles

This is not the time or the place to skimp on quality or go with the less expensive option. A good quality moisture-resistant paint will pay dividends in the end and in the results. Using another one of those good soft paintbrushes it is time to finally begin painting and transforming those travertine tiles. Verify once more, that tiles are clean, dry, and ready.

Now, evenly apply a single coat of paint. It doesn’t need to be too thick as this is only the first of several coats of paint. Ideally, light coats are the preferred approach, but the key is to attempt to apply each coat as evenly as possible.

There are some variations in the application process and dry times for painting travertine tiles. One option suggests very light coats, allowing several minutes of dry time between coats. Then to repeat this process until the desired color and tone are achieved.

The other option is considerably longer and suggests that a solid, even layer of paint is applied, then allowed 12 to 24 hours to dry between a second (and sometimes third) coat. Once the painting is completed, regardless of which option is chosen, it is time for the final step.

Step 4: Final Sealant Application

We are almost done! Despite how good you think it looks (and how proud of yourself you are – it’s okay you should be), the job isn’t quite finished. First and foremost is the job of protecting the fantastic job you just did.

That means applying one final and even coat of the sealant again. Not only will this protect the paint from external exposures including dust, debris, and water, it can also add something extra to your work. Some sealants even come with a variety of sheen choices, from low or none to high-gloss looks.

Depending on the decorum of your room and your travertine tiles, the sealant could also be just the finishing touch you didn’t know you wanted. Oh yes, and it will also help to extend the life of your paint job too.

How Fragile are Travertine Tiles?

Not all surfaces have the unique qualities of being both hard and delicate. Travertine tiles have this distinction and that special distinction will also dictate how to best clean them.

On the delicate end of the spectrum, it is important to remember that the external or surface area of travertine tiles is very fragile. That means they are susceptible to scratching, marring, chipping, and other potential abrasions.

For tougher stains, it is okay to add some extra gentle scrubbing, just remember that this will be painted over shortly. It is imperative that wet travertine tiles never be painted, or attempt to be painted. It is also worth noting that it isn’t necessary to spend an extensive amount of time cleaning the grout before painting.

Are Travertine Tiles In Style?

Travertine styles have been popular for a long time, and that popularity isn’t waning. With the durability, ease of installation and cleaning, along with their polished and stylish looks, travertine tiles are always a popular and smart backsplash option for kitchens, showers, countertops, and more.

Find out how to install subway tile backsplash corners.

Can Travertine Tiles be Painted Any Color?

While the options for colors are entirely up to the individual, there are a few things to consider when choosing a paint and the paint color. The issues of bathroom decorum, kitchen decor, or wherever those travertine tiles are unfortunately up to individual taste. When it comes to colors, however, be mindful of being too drastic with color changes. Attempting to transform black travertine tile tones to white or yellow, for example, will be more challenging than opting for a less dramatic color change.

Color changes like these require more paint to conceal bleed through, the natural opposition of the color itself, and create other potential issues. The two most important aspects of getting the right paint for the job, however, are still the quality of paint and making sure it is moisture-resistant paint. Any color can be chosen, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but to the victor go the spoils.

Do You Need Painting or Staining Services?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

What Are The Other Ways Besides Painting To Change The Look of Travertine Tiles?

Painting is only one of a few options people have when it comes to changing the look and feel of travertine tiles. In addition to being able to paint them, they can also be stained using wood stains. This can greatly impact the look, depth, and even color of the tiles.Another option to change the look of your decorum is to have your travertine tiles whitewashed. This is also another effective and definitive method to completely transform the look of your tiles.

Are There Any Concerns About Painting Travertine Tiles?

The results can look great and the process is easier than most might imagine, but are there any concerns or worries about painting travertine tiles? The answers here are a bit of a mixed bag.The good news is, the majority of information out there, including an abundance of data from DIY-ers overwhelmingly is supportive and positive. There is another conversation among some experts, however, especially regarding the location of the paint job.If there is any major concern, it may be the question of longevity, as some professionals have suggested. The argument here is simply that repainted backsplash tile in any heavily trafficked or highly-used area will falter, show wear, and ultimately need repainting.

Related Articles

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

More by Upgraded Home Team