I need to grout a travertine tile wall. Tiles are small, pattern of 2x2", 2x4" and 4x4" tiles. The gap is approximately 1/8". Tiles are tumbled, and there are quite a few imperfections, pits, crevices, etc., on the face of the tile.

I cannot decide whether I should use a grout bag or a float to apply the grout.

With grout bag, it's obviously much more work, and I'm not sure I'll be able to tightly pack grout into 1/8" crevice with the bag. But hopefully I will be able to fill just the grout lines, and not fill the crevices on the face of the tile (it won't be possible to get grout out of them with sponging).

With a float, it's much easier (just float and sponge, same as ceramic tile) but I think tiles will look really bad with all these natural holes, crevices, etc. filled with grout.

So, which is the accepted way to deal with grouting natural stone (travertine) tiles?

  • Do you not intend on sponging with a grout bag? I wasn't aware that was possible for a clean finish.
    – user12839
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 13:24
  • 1
    I ended up doing it as in the accepted answer (with the grout float), and it turned out great, much better than I suspected it would.
    – haimg
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 17:20

2 Answers 2


In all my jobs, whether large or small tile, using a grout float has always been the way it has been done.

Bagging it would practically do the same thing. The tip of a grout bag is much, much wider than the joints, and you would need to force the grout in anyway, still smearing it over the face of the tile.

  • My impression is that grout bags are better for projects with much wider grout lines, or figured tiles that make a float impractical.
    – bib
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 22:54
  • I have never seen tile grouted with a grout bag either. Brick repointing and flagstone paving, is the only time I seen it used. The question was asked about it though, so I answered along that line.
    – Jack
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 0:42

You should seal the travertine tile face prior to "sticking" them on the wall. I use a tight nap roller or set them flat and tight together and spray light with aerosol sealer and wipe off excess. Use the float and you can get messy with no worries. This will prevent the pits and crevices from holding the grout unless that's the look you want. The grout will stay in the grout line and wash off the tile face with your first sponge wipe. The bag takes too long unless you're use to cake decorating.

  • Why before sticking to the wall? That seems contrary to what I've heard Commented May 26, 2015 at 1:27

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