travertine backsplash tile honed vs tumbled?

luvpatch2May 23, 2011

Hi everyone!Well I've picked my granite (yellow river) and a blanco silgranite sink (biscotti). Now its time to choose a backsplash. I am interested in travertine in a cream color . Is honed or tumbled travertine the best and is there a difference in quality of travertine? Is one better than the other as far as staining and keeping clean. Any tips on travertine, grout spacing etc? I think I want a diamond pattern with 4x4 then a row of 3x6 at the bottom. Any suggestions? Will a cream color go with Yellow river? Thankyou everyone. When this kitchen is complete I will post pics!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think tumbled will be more rustic. My advice comes from a small use of it in a bathroom. I think if you have samples you should post those pics for people's advice on color choices. Also you may want to be sure the travertine doesn't change color greatly from piece to piece since you are putting it in a large area.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 8:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I faced the same decision and decided to use honed and sealed travertine instead of tumbled. Six months later I am convinced it was the right decision for me.

Sealed & honed looks a bit more sophisticated (if that is possible with travertine) because of the smoother surface finish, the straight edges, and the thinner grout lines you can get away with. I also like the low gloss sheen as a contrast with my shiney granite. I did have trouble finding the right tone in available 4 x 4 tiles. After finding 12 x 12 floor tiles that were exactly what I wanted, I splurged and had them cut into 4 x 4s (with all edges eased). The result was perfect for my kitchen.

The occassional pasta sauce or oil splatter have cleaned up super easy.

(Excuse my laziness - to see pictures you might have to search on my user name to pick up an old thread.)


    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 3:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Luv patch,

Did you get your biscotti sink? How do you like it? I,too, am putting in yellow river granite and can't decide on a sink! I keep flip flopping between anthracite or biscotti silgranite. I kind of like the look of the biscotti better. How do you like yours? I'd love to hear from you (and would love to see pictures!). Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 9:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Lily512 I love the biscott sink! It looks fabulous with yellow river! The kitchen is almost done . I went with Durango travertine for the backsplash and it looks great. I would love to post pics but I'm having major problems with Flash player is being blocked on my computer so pics aren't able to load. When I get it fixed I'll send pics. I'm so excited that kitchen is almost done. You will love the biscotti sink with the yellow river. I would love to see your pics also! Email me pics of your yellow river.Have a great day!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I really prefer the honed to tumbled. The cleaner edges are more contemporary. Less grout the better in a standard bricklay pattern, offset 1/2 the length of the tile on each row. Clean and classic. I would avoid that "Tuscan" themed look. It's a bit dated and the tumble trav was overdone. Other similar picks would be crema marfil or emporador light, also very nice. Beveled is trendy, also a cute option. Thinking 2x4 or 3x6 instead of square.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 10:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I prefer the tumbled, but I chose Durango instead of Travertine, because I decided I liked the tile that wasn't quite as pitted. I don't love the contemporary style - I like certain things that have an aged, beat up look to them. I'm basically doing the opposite of what ptamom suggested. 4x4 tumbled Durango in a brick pattern. I am not sure what "classic" could possibly mean when you're speaking of a tiled backsplash, which is a fairly new concept for kitchens. When you think of kitchens in the past one hundred years, tiled backsplashes have only been around for... I don't know... thirty years or less? Classic is a word I would never use for something with such a short history.
Here is my suggestion, if you haven't already done so: go look at the tile and you may figure it out just by doing that. I was set on Travertine until I saw Durango.
As far as practical advice, I am sorry but I can't give you any regarding which would clean better, because ours isn't even installed yet.
Good luck, luvpatch!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tile has been used on walls for millenia. Applying it to a kitchen setting may be newer but certainly not 30 years. Common in turn-of-the-century kitchens, subway tiles flocked walls from top to bottom. My specific reference to "classic" was the bricklay pattern. I love it. What I edited out earlier, that I will add now since my opinion is under scutiny, is that I think diagolal 4x4 was overdone in the 80's and 90's and looks dated. My opinion, allowed to have it. Isn't that the point of a forum?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 12:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Of course you are allowed to have an opinion, and voice it, as well. Me too.

No hard feelings, ptamom?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 1:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We just installed our yellow river last week and used 4x6 tumbled travertine (chiaro). It looks great! I love the subway tile look; it's clean and doesn't look too busy with the granite. Our kitchen is more of a country French style so it was an easy decision. Check out and type in backsplashes or kitchens etc. and check out the pictures!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 7:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I chose tumbled as well and I did not fill in the holes of the stone. I had to tape each one singularly. It is really pretty and look amazing once done.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 7:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank You Adrienne2011. Much appreciated!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 9:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am considering tumbled travertine for backsplash, in 2x8 tiles. I like your idea peytonroad of taping each tile, but let me you think that grime, food etc. will fill in the holes? I am leaning toward honed for that reason.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 1:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are installing Colonial Gold granite and are deciding between honed travertine (veracruz in sand, creamy with grey tones) and slight bevel, or tumbled 2 x 6 in a brick pattern. Is there a way to accent the "contemporary" look of the honed tile to blend with traditional? My cabinets are a Shaker style with a half round bead inside in natural cherry with a black glaze. Stainless appliances. I know, pictures are needed, will post soon.
Any thoughts are appreciated! Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Can you bring home samples of each? The best way to tell what you'll like in your kitchen is to bring some home for auditions. I'm guessing your granite isn't installed yet, so you might want to wait until it is. I don't think there is a "best" when choosing between honed and tumbled, it's all a matter of preference and look. Also, travertine isn't all the same exact color, so it would depend on the particular travertine you're looking at as whether it is a good match with your granite.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 3:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Tumbled is more rustic looking. Honed gives a smoother look. Given the same tile spacing, tumbled will give you wider grout lines than honed, due to the rounded over edges. So, it depends on the look that you want to go for.

In our last house we did tumbled travertine with copper accents and loved it. With our new house, we think we will go with a honed travertine, as that will probably go better with our cherry cabinets and crema bordeaux granite. We want the cabinets and the counters to be more dominant than the backsplash.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 3:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you both for your replies. We had a busy day cleaning up Sheetrock dust! I will take a final look at both the honed and tumbled as you suggested
when the counter tops are installed in two to three weeks. We are installing wood floors next week and then the cabinets go in, can't wait!
The travertine we are looking at for an off white or creamy color is Vera Cruz and also Durango. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:32PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What are your thoughts about a scullery? A place to...
Stacked uppers?
Is it worth doing stacked uppers? I love the look but...
General Contractor bid excessive?
I'm doing a forced remodel due to a flood and handling...
Anyone have solid walnut slab cabinets?
Howdy! We're trying to decide if we want to do walnut...
Fori is not pleased
New to Kitchens? Read Me First!
Welcome! If you are new to the Kitchens Forum, you...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™