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Travertine Shower Tile Is Deteriorating

I bought my house 10 months ago which has a fairly recently remodeled bathroom with Travertine floors, tub surround and stand up shower. I didn't notice any problems when we bought it but now 10 months later, the tile on the shower floor is severely "pitted" - particularly right around the drain and in the grout line intersections around the drain. It seems obvious that it's due to the additional water that pools in these areas. The rest of the shower floor shows some minor pitting but not nearly as severe as the areas mentioned. I've read on another forum countertopspecialty.com that moisture problems with Travertine are almost always due to moisture getting behind the tile and that there's not much you can do once it starts happening. They also recommended against sealing Travertine in a shower. However, I asked the guy at one of the big box stores and he said it was most likely due to hard water and he recommended filling the pitting with grout and sealing the tile. Anyone had this problem before or have any advice? Thanks!

Re: Travertine Shower Tile Is Deteriorating

You are looking at a possible replacement down the line. Travertine is not good in the shower.

Re: Travertine Shower Tile Is Deteriorating

What DJ said plus;

Travertine, especially the really cheap stuff, is horrible for a shower. It sounds like you have a 'traditional' vinyl liner construction with a white plastic round drain with stainless steel grate. THis construction method has a 2" layer of cement under the shower floor tiles. This bed of cement often traps water, deteriorating travertine.

Head on over to the John Bridge Tile Forum where the fine folks there can talk you through a complete re-model.

Re: Travertine Shower Tile Is Deteriorating

First off, get ready to replace it, but don't freak out just yet!

I had a similar problem and was able to stave off replacement for awhile.

My solution was similar to what the big box guy said. Hopefully, you have another shower you can use, because here's what I did...

I put a fan in my shower with a dehumidifier and let them run for a few days (about a week, actually). After it was bone dry, I grouted with the least noticeable grout I could find and used a latex/rubberizing admix with the grout. Once the grout was dry (I think I waited 3 days just to be sure), I put several layers of sealant on. I resealed every year and this lasted about 5 years until one day I saw a crack in the grout and a couple drops of water squeezed out when I stepped down. That's when I decided it was time to finally replace.

Here's the other thing... Don't be a cheap bastard on the sealant. The spray can stuff is garbage. Get a sealant you paint on. And remember, you get what you pay for. I've done several showers since and anything in an "easy to use spray can" is absolute crap. While I don't care for their prices, I don't care for their tile, and their tools are garbage, I've come to love the tiling products (mortar, grout, sealant, etc.) from "The Tile Shop." If you have one near you, check them out. And they will also haggle on price and usually come down about 30% if you push them for the discount.

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