I am have a debate with a client and partner as to whether we need to install a hardy board over the existing drywall ( including with screws and adhesive ) before installing travertine for a kitchen back splash. the tile is a porous finish 3/8"thick travertine tile on 12'x12" sheets, the space to cover is about 18' x 30', the dry wall is pre-painted and about 15 to 20 years old

  • If the client feels more comfortable with the extra money being spent then don't debate it - do the work and nod that you will do it as they wish. It will not hurt anything but their wallet to do more work, they will feel better about it.
    – Ken
    Mar 23 '18 at 7:13

The kitchen splash hardly ever gets wet enough to do anything to the drywall behind it. Travertine, since it is very porous, should be sealed to keep cooking grease, food splatters etc, from staining or discoloring the tile. The sealer will help prevent water passing through as well.

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