How Much Does Travertine Tile Cost Per Square Foot?

If you’re looking into different types of tile flooring, you have likely come across travertine. This natural tile is one of the oldest building materials for its durability and versatility. Today, travertine comes in many styles and classifications. If you’re wondering how much does travertine tile cost per square foot, the price ranges from about $2 to $30, depending on several factors.


Travertine is a high-quality flooring material. However, the quality ranges greatly within the category. If you’re looking for tile with an even color and appearance, you’ll get the best results with premium travertine. Commercial grade travertine tile has more imperfections and isn’t usually sorted and sold with uniformity in mind.

Premium Travertine

Because premium tiles are the most popular, most flooring companies only have this type available. The best quality tiles have a uniform design with no blemishes or discoloration. This is the smoothest type of travertine. Only tiny pits or holes are permitted to qualify for this category. Still, indentations are filled and finished manually to give the appearance of perfectly smooth stone.

Premium travertine tiles cost $5 to $30 per square foot.

Standard Travertine

Standard travertine tiles look very similar to premium travertine. They have a uniform thickness and minimal imperfections. While these tiles shouldn’t have black or gray blotches, they may have some swirls or variations in the design. Standard travertine tiles are also allowed to have deeper and larger holes. Still, these divots are filled to provide a smooth surface. 

Standard travertine tiles cost $5 to $15 per square foot.

Commercial Travertine

There are fewer restrictions on commercial travertine than other quality levels. Therefore, these tiles can have a great deal of variation in the color and design. Commercial travertine is not always cut perfectly, delivering variations in thickness and edge structure.

These tiles may also have large holes, which can make the stone look like a sponge. Although the pores may be machine-filled, delivering a smooth appearance, the filler detracts from the overall quality and durability of the natural stone.

Commercial travertine tiles cost about $2 to $4 per square foot.

Travertine Tile Cut Type

Travertine is cut into blocks when it is mined from the earth. Those chunks are cut into slabs to create different types of travertine tile flooring and other products. The way that the travertine tile is cut affects its appearance, longevity and price. The same stone can be cut in different ways to deliver distinct looks.

Cross-cut travertine is becoming more popular than vein-cut travertine. Therefore, you can usually find it in a wide range of prices. Because vein-cut travertine is not as common, it may be more expensive. 

Vein-Cut Travertine

Vein-cut travertine is cut along the natural planes where the veins are created. This produces a rich visual effect, with subtle lines running parallel to one another. These lines are slightly darker than the background, but the level of contrast varies. However, the slight undulations in the veining evoke the appearance of wood grain. 

This cut offers the most uniformity between tiles. Vein-cut tiles complement one another and give your floor a continuous look without distracting breaks in the pattern.

Cross-Cut Travertine

Cross-cut travertine is sliced across the veins. It results in a flowery, organic pattern that varies from tile to tile. Cross-cut travertine looks more like marble than wood. The subtle patterns meld together in a cloud-like motif. Some veins may appear, but they don’t dominate the design.

Because every piece is different, this flooring doesn’t have the symmetrical appearance that vein-cut travertine does. However, it does create a more seamless look than vein-cut travertine when you lay the tiles next to each other.


The color can tell you a lot about the quality of travertine tile. Most natural travertine has warm, golden tones and almost no blue, black or gray spots. The most in-demand colors are cream, tan and amber. You can find these colors in just about every price range.

However, there are some unusual colors, such as blue, which is a light ivory color with a cool, bluish-gray tint. This color is reminiscent of marble. But there are a few advantages to choosing blue travertine over marble flooring. Although both are natural materials, travertine is more durable. Moreover, travertine usually costs less than marble. You can often save up to 50% per square foot by choosing travertine over marble flooring. Still, unique colors, such as blue travertine, tend to have a higher price tag than more common shades.

Black travertine is a striking color for this type of flooring. Also known as silver ash travertine, this shade combines hues like deep silver and charcoal with contrasting threads of white and gray. It infuses every space with a luxurious atmosphere at a similar price as other high-quality travertine tiles. 

Types of Finishes for Travertine Tile

The type of finish refers to the way that the surface of the travertine is polished or sealed. This can influence the final price. Therefore, you should ask about different finishes within your desired color range.

Travertine has an inherently weathered appearance. The most natural-looking stones are often used as pavers outdoors. For indoor use, many homeowners and decorators choose a more refined surface.  

  • Polished travertine – To obtain this modern finish, manufacturers fill the holes and buff the surface. This is the glossiest finish, but it’s also quite slippery. It’s not recommended around bathtubs or swimming pools.
  • Honed travertine – This common finish is much more matte than polished travertine. Because the pits are filled, it has a smooth surface. But it’s not as glossy and can be used as flooring in any room.
  • Brushed travertine – To achieve this finish, the stone is mechanically brushed with stiff bristles to create a textured surface that’s not quite as rugged as tumbled travertine.
  • Tumbled travertine – The most rustic finish, tumbled travertine is extremely textured. It’s not usually used for indoor flooring, but it’s a unique option for a shower or fireplace surround.

Polished travertine costs the most per square foot, whereas tumbled travertine has the lowest price.

How Much Does Travertine Tile Installation Cost?

The cost of travertine tile installation is about $30 to $70 per hour. Because most travertine tiles are not sealed, you will have to decide whether to add a sealant to prevent stains. This is not always recommended. However, if you choose to seal the tiles after they’re installed, expect the price of the project to be higher.

Some other factors that can increase the overall cost of the job include:

  • Repairing or adding new subflooring – $2 to $7 per square foot
  • Adding grout or mortar – $1 per square foot
  • Renting a wet saw – $75 per day
  • Sealing the surface yourself – $35 per quart

How to Choose the Best Travertine Tile for the Price

The cost of a home improvement project can quickly max out your budget. Therefore, it makes sense to save money where you can. No matter how much travertine costs per square foot, you can ensure that you’re purchasing a high-quality product by following these guidelines:

  • Make sure the tiles are cut square.
  • Look for travertine that has been filled with an epoxy or resin-based product; cement filler is not as durable.
  • Avoid tiles with cracked, rough or discolored edges.
  • Typically, fewer black or gray marks indicate better quality tile.
  • Select tiles that are similar in color and pattern.

Protecting Your Investment

After you have installed travertine flooring, you should take steps to protect your investment. Sealing the floor will reduce its permeability and make it resistant to water damage and stains. Using cleaning products that are intended for your type of flooring and testing them before application will also ensure that your floors look great for years. Regular mopping will prevent the accumulation of grime and dirt, reducing wear and tear on the finish.

How to Fill the Gap Between a Baseboard and Tile Floor

Whether you just installed a new floor or moved into a new place, you might notice a gap between the tile flooring and the wall. It’s not a good idea to leave that void as is. Let’s find out why there’s a space in the first place and learn how to fill the gap between a baseboard and tile floor.

What’s the Gap, Anyway?

Experts in the industry recommend that you leave a ¼-inch gap around the perimeter of a tile floor when installing it. This allows for shifting without causing the tiles to crack. 

You should fill this gap at the time of installation to prevent problems in the future. But the gap may widen as the house settles. Movement in the walls and joists can throw the junction of the tiles and wall out of square.  Therefore, over time, you might have to fill the gap between baseboard and tile floor. 

Why Should You Fill the Gap Between Baseboard and Tile Floor?

If the gap is so small that you barely notice it, why should you fill it? The empty space attracts moisture, dirt and organic debris. As this builds up in the dark space, it can develop mold and fungal growth. Gaps between the tile and baseboard act as traps for bacteria. They can also contribute to pest problems. 

It’s best to seal any gaps in your tile as soon as you notice them. If the gaps are caused by broken tiles, have them repaired or replaced. Otherwise, moisture can continue to build up in the empty spaces and damage your subfloor.

When this area is left unsealed, it reduces the insulative qualities of your flooring. You might find that your flooring feels extra cool to the touch or your electric bill is costlier than it should be.

Should You Use Caulk or Grout in the Gap?

Many tile floors require grout between the panels. But you don’t need to extend the grout around the edges. Grout is porous, which means that it doesn’t have waterproofing capabilities. If it absorbs water, it can trap that moisture close to your drywall, creating the perfect environment for mold. Grout around the edges of the floor is also prone to cracking.

Instead of using grout to fill the gap between a baseboard and tile floor, opt for caulk. It’s flexible and waterproof, creating a strong seal around the perimeter of your room. Latex painter’s caulk is ideal for this project. It creates a secure, flexible bond and accepts paint without flaking.

You might want to avoid acrylic caulk, especially in wet areas such as bathrooms. Although acrylic caulk  doesn’t attract lint and dust, it’s also not waterproof. Silicone caulk is completely waterproof and very flexible. However, it doesn’t take paint very well and isn’t recommended for wooden areas, such as baseboards.

How to Fill a ¼-Inch Gap Between Baseboard and Tile Floor

As long as the gap between the baseboard and the tile floor is narrower than ¼ inches, you can seal it using caulk alone. Here are the steps for how to fill a ¼-inch gap between a baseboard and tile floor:

  • Use a small brush to remove debris from the gap.
  • Vacuum the space using a crevice attachment.
  • Use a damp sponge to scrub away any remaining residue.
  • Dry the area thoroughly with a towel.
  • Apply painter’s tape along the tile next to the gap so that you don’t get caulk on the grout or tile.
  • Cut the tip off of the caulk tube or gun, leaving an ⅛-inch opening.
  • Using a smooth, steady motion, apply a narrow strand of caulk along the gap.
  • Smooth the caulk between the baseboard and the tile with a tool or your finger.
  • After the caulk has dried and cured completely, paint the baseboard and the caulk. Use painter’s tape where appropriate to create a clean line.

How to Fill a ½-Inch Gap Between Baseboard and Tile Floor

If the gap between the baseboard and tile floor is larger than ¼ inches, you can’t use caulk alone. The caulk would shrink as it dried, creating a messy look and pulling away from the edges. This would impair the seal and negate the purpose of filling the gap in the first place. 

Adding shoe molding fills in part of the gap, leaving a space that’s ¼ inches or smaller to finish off with caulk. Shoe molding is usually narrower than quarter-round molding. However, you may need to use quarter-round molding if the gap is extremely wide.

By adding shoe molding, you can also customize the architectural appearance of your flooring. This molding comes in a variety of profiles, from sleek rectangular edges to stepped curves. 

It makes sense to use wooden shoe molding in most homes. But you can add strips of flexible shoe molding in large or commercial settings for ease of installation and cleaning. 

You can also find self-adhesive shoe molding that looks a lot like wood to get the job done faster. This might also be the best option in high-humidity environments because it doesn’t swell and shrink as much as wood. Just make sure that you can paint it to match the baseboards to tie everything together.

After installing shoe molding, you can follow the instructions above for how to fill the gap between a baseboard and tile floor.

Tips for How to Fill the Gap Between Baseboard and Tile Floor

Filling the space meticulously will help your floor look great for a long time. Doing this reduces the risk of damage and improves the aesthetics of your home. The following tips will help you get the best results when filling the gap between a baseboard and tile floor:

  • Measure the tile carefully.
  • Remove baseboards when replacing or installing flooring for the most attractive results.
  • Use a new drop cloth over the tile so that it doesn’t get damaged by the caulk.
  • Use a paintable caulk so that you can create a seamless finish from the edge of the tile to the wall.
  • Painting the caulk also reduces its stickiness and ability to attract dirt and dust.
  • You’ll need about one tube of caulk to fill a ¼-inch gap in an average-sized bathroom.
  • Dip your finger in alcohol before using it to smooth the bead of caulk.
  • Remove the painter’s tape before the caulk dries to avoid trapping it beneath the latex.
  • Clean caulk spills, splatters or drips with a damp rag as soon as they happen.
  • Remove dried caulk from unwanted surfaces using a sharp razor blade, taking care not to scratch the tile.
  • If wielding a caulking gun doesn’t feel natural, use a small tube of caulk for better control.
  • For a modern, consistent, luxurious look in a bathroom, consider using pieces of tile as trim instead of wooden baseboards.
  • If you feel air flowing near the gap, consider adding weather stripping for extra insulation.

Don’t be tempted to leave the gap between the baseboard and tile floor unsealed just because it’s narrow. Even a small space can attract critters, soil and moisture. Caulking the gap is easy to do yourself. If you’re not sure how to do it, contact a flooring professional or general contractor for help.

How to Remove Efflorescence from Grout

What is Efflorescence?

Efflorescence occurs when a white, powdery substance seems to grow on the surface of your grout. It can look like patchy discoloration or a bloom of some kind of fungus. If it’s severe, efflorescence can appear thick and bubbly. It could even clog your drain.

But it’s not organic growth; efflorescence comes from the mineral deposits within the grout. Certain conditions cause these compounds to rise to the surface, where they create a white, yellow or tan haze over your tile and grout.

What Causes Efflorescence?

Efflorescence is a phenomenon that happens when too much moisture gets into the grout. Because the grout contains salts and other water-soluble compounds, it’s susceptible to efflorescence. The moisture dissolves the minerals. Then, as the moisture evaporates from the porous grout, the minerals rise to the surface. However, they can’t evaporate along with the water, and their residue remains on the grout.

Porous tiles are also prone to efflorescence. Therefore, you often see it on terracotta tiles and travertine flooring as well as the grout between the tiles.

Efflorescence vs. Mildew

Grout is notoriously tricky to keep pristine. Besides developing efflorescence, grout also seems to create the perfect environment for mildew growth. Identifying the problem correctly will help you take the right action to prevent and correct the issue.

Mold and mildew are organic materials that grow on surfaces that are frequently and continually exposed to moisture. Mildew often grows on the grout and flooring in showers and bathrooms because of the high humidity in that environment. 

While mold and mildew can be just as unsightly as efflorescence, they have the following differences:

  • Mold and mildew usually look darker, whereas efflorescence appears light in color.
  • When you rub it, efflorescence will transfer to your finger as a white, powdery substance. Mildew stays in place when touched.
  • Mildew and mold grow. Therefore, they spread over time. Efflorescence doesn’t change much after it appears.
  • Efflorescence dissolves in water. Mold and mildew don’t.

Is It Latex Migration?

Latex leaching, or migration, is another problem that can affect tile floors. It is also caused by excess moisture and creates a similar light-colored residue as efflorescence. However, latex leaching creates a harder residue. It’s not powdery and soft, like efflorescence.

Can You Remove Efflorescence From Grout?

The same solutions to remove efflorescence from grout won’t necessarily work on mildew, and vice versa. Efflorescence isn’t unsafe or dirty. Therefore, you don’t have to remove it. However, many people choose to remove efflorescence from grout because they don’t like the way that it looks.

On dark grout, the light patches that efflorescence creates make the dark areas look like mildew. Therefore, you should inspect the material thoroughly to determine what you’re working with before you try to tackle the problem.

Use a Stiff Brush

A stiff nylon brush can remove efflorescence without damaging the tile. Simply use the dry brush and moderate pressure to scrub the powdery flakes off of the grout. Don’t use a wire brush, steel wool or abrasive sponge, though. These products can scratch the tile and damage the grout.

Use a Mild Acid

Vinegar is an excellent product for keeping floors clean. It also helps to remove efflorescence from grout. Here’s how to use it to clean your grout:

  • An hour before you plan to clean the grout, saturate it with fresh water.
  • Create a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.
  • Dip a stiff nylon brush into the solution, then scrub the grout lines with it.
  • Rinse the grout with fresh water.
  • Dry the surface with a towel.

If the vinegar solution doesn’t work, try using undiluted vinegar. You can also purchase a commercial product that’s designed for removing efflorescence from grout. If you use this, follow the instructions on the label to use it properly. You might also want to test an inconspicuous area before you use the product everywhere. 

The process for cleaning with a commercial solution is generally the same as using vinegar. However, you may have to add more water to the grout to prevent the acid from deteriorating it. You should also wear safety goggles and gloves.

Can You Prevent Efflorescence?

Cleaning off the efflorescence is only a temporary solution. The powdery substance will return if you don’t get to the source of the problem. Plus, if excess moisture is leading to efflorescence, it’s only a matter of time until the grout develops mold and mildew growth.

Ideally, you would want to prevent efflorescence to keep your tile flooring looking pristine. Taking steps to combat efflorescence before it starts also reduces the amount of maintenance that the flooring requires over time.

Acclimate Your Tiles

Have your tiles been stored in a humid environment, such as a warehouse or garage? If the inside of your home is drier, it can cause the tiles to leach moisture. Avoid housing unused tiles in moist locations. Allow them to acclimate to the indoor atmosphere before you install them.

Use a Sealant

Creating a waterproof barrier between the tiles and the environment helps to prevent efflorescence. In extremely wet areas, such as spas and showers, you can install a waterproof membrane behind the tile to limit its water absorption.

You can also seal the grout from the front surface. Penetrating sealer fills the pores and prevents water from entering or escaping. 

Never use a sealer while the efflorescence is present. This will make the problem permanent, and you won’t be able to remove it. It’s best to apply the sealant after installation, once the grout is cured. If you want to seal older tile, use the steps for removing efflorescence from grout first.

Reduce Humidity

Basements and bathrooms are usually more humid than the rest of the home. Use the ventilation system in the bathroom during and after showers to prevent moisture from lingering. Run a dehumidifier in damp basements.

After showering or bathing, use a squeegee to remove excess moisture from tile walls and flooring. Follow up by drying the surface with a towel. This will help reduce the amount of moisture that the tile absorbs and holds onto.

Use High-Quality Products

The product that you use to set the tile can affect the grout’s absorption. If the adhesive or mortar is absorbent, it will contribute to efflorescence. You can also find grouts that are designed to minimize this issue. For example, epoxy grout won’t transfer minerals to the surface. However, you could still experience problems with the grout if you have moisture issues that need to be remedied.

Install the Right Underlayment

Efflorescence can build up rapidly and abundantly on concrete. If your house is built on a concrete slab or you’re using concrete tile, make sure that you follow proper installation instructions. This includes taking measures to prevent moisture from building up beneath the floor. Hiring a professional contractor for your flooring needs will help keep efflorescence at bay.

Fortunately, efflorescence is fairly easy to remove. Plus, the methods that you use to remove efflorescence from grout will also minimize the appearance of mold and mildew growth. However, it’s important to minimize excess moisture in any area of the house to keep your tile looking great for years.

Travertine vs. Porcelain Flooring

Tile flooring is popular for its ability to keep your home cool, easy upkeep, durability and timeless style. But with so many types of tile available, you might wonder which is the best option for your space. Travertine and porcelain are popular high-end choices. Learning more about their characteristics and benefits can help you make the best selection.

What is Travertine Flooring?

Travertine is a natural limestone that develops around mineral-rich springs. As the minerals from the springs interact with the limestone, they create unique swirls and patterns in the stone.

This is one of the most ancient building materials. Its durability and attractiveness made it an exceptional material for building many famous structures, such as the Trevi Fountain and Getty Center. Although travertine tiles are processed to deliver a relatively consistent look and feel, they retain the original peculiarities of the stone.

The following classifications of travertine offer distinct looks:

  • Brushed – The surface of the stone is textured with a wire brush to remove traces of shine and deliver a matte finish.
  • Honed – Grinding the top surface of the stone gives it a subtle sheen.
  • Polished – The surface of the travertine is smooth and glossy, giving it a marble-like, reflective appearance.
  • Tumbled – The stone is processed with abrasive particles to deliver rustic style.

Travertine tile can be filled or unfilled. Filling the indentations with grout or epoxy makes it smooth. Polished travertine is filled before it is buffed and polished. Honed travertine may be filled or unfilled. Tumbled travertine is typically unfilled, especially when it is used outdoors. Filling it adds some protection and consistency, however. Brushed travertine is usually unfilled.

The method that’s used to cut the tiles also affects their appearance and functionality. Straight-cut tiles have smooth edges that enhance a polished style. Chiseled-edge tiles have irregular borders, which provide traction and a more irregular look. Polished tiles usually have a straight edge, while brushed and tumbled tiles generally have a chiseled border.

What is Porcelain Flooring?

Porcelain tile is a type of ceramic that is made from fine, dense clay. Manufacturers produce porcelain tile by combining materials such as clay, feldspar and sand. Other materials, including quartz and silica, are often added. The wet mixture is poured into molds and flattened under high pressure. Then, it is fired at extremely high temperatures. This process removes moisture, makes the porcelain waterproof and increases the durability of the product.

You can find porcelain tiles in glazed or unglazed varieties. Glazed tiles are coated before they enter the kiln. The glaze is fused to the material under high heat and can add color, glossiness and design elements to the tile. Unglazed porcelain may have more texture than glazed tile. However, unglazed tiles can be polished to achieve a glossy finish.

How Do Travertine and Porcelain Tiles Compare?

Travertine and porcelain tiles have many similarities. But knowing how they differ might help you choose the best type of flooring for your home or business.


Travertine and porcelain come in many different colors. Whereas travertine obtains its hue from the natural elements to which it is exposed during its development, porcelain can be colored artificially. Therefore, it has a broader range of tones and patterns.

Porcelain glaze can be applied in an intricate design, resulting in unique patterns and images that create lovely mosaics. Porcelain tile may also be colored before it is pressed and fired, resulting in a consistent tone throughout the material. Digital printing creates porcelain tiles that mimic other materials, like vintage wood or travertine.

Although sealing travertine can bring out the depth of its natural hues, it doesn’t change the color dramatically. Travertine usually comes in warm, neutral tones, such as cream, rust, tan, gold and gray.


Travertine is a rugged stone that stands up to heavy traffic without cracking or chipping. However, its porous surface should be sealed to prevent damage and corrosion from acids, the elements and moisture.

Outdoor travertine flooring doesn’t necessarily need to be sealed. But coating it with a sealant will protect it from sun and rain damage, reduce staining and prohibit mold, algae and mildew growth.

Porcelain is the hardest type of ceramic. To be classified as such, porcelain must have a moisture absorption rate of less than 0.5%. Therefore, it is inherently water and stain resistant.

Both types of tile are ideal for busy areas and pet traffic. Even though travertine and porcelain are incredibly durable, they can get scratched. Don’t drag furniture across them or scrub them with abrasive materials. After installation, you might want to add a rug as a layer of protection in heavily trafficked areas


Travertine and porcelain tiles have a wide range of uses. Because they’re so durable, they are often used for indoor and outdoor flooring as well as backsplashes and fireplace surrounds. However, porcelain is less commonly found outdoors than travertine.

Porcelain is more compatible with moisture than some types of travertine. Therefore, you’re more likely to find it in a bathroom or kitchen. Porcelain is commonly used in showers and on countertops. Using porcelain slabs instead of tiles eliminates the grout, which can absorb moisture and stains.

Travertine can be used in bathrooms if it has a proper finish and sealant. It may not be as slippery as porcelain when it’s exposed to water. But you should not use unsealed travertine for indoor flooring in moisture-rich areas. It can be difficult to clean and may increase the risk of mildew growth inside your home.


Tile flooring is much more rigid than wood, carpet or vinyl. If you drop a glass on porcelain or travertine tiles, it will probably shatter. But travertine is Travertine tiles aren’t as susceptible to temperature changes as porcelain. The fact that travertine doesn’t get uncomfortably hot in the sun makes it an excellent choice for outdoor areas and porches.

Although porcelain remains stable in extreme temperatures, it reflects the heat and coolness of the environment. Therefore, it may feel colder than travertine in the winter and warmer underfoot in the summer.

porcelain tile flooring outside


Both types of tile are relatively easy to clean. You can wipe spills from porcelain and sealed or polished travertine easily. Remove acidic materials, such as juice, coffee and wine, as soon as possible. However, you should be cautious with the products that you use to deep clean both types of tiles.

Use mild soap or a product that’s designed for natural stone to clean travertine. Avoid using cleaners with bleach, ammonia, citrus or vinegar, as these can etch the surface of the tile. Don’t use generic cleaners on travertine either.

You can use a diluted vinegar-and-water solution to give porcelain a deep cleaning and sanitize the surface. For everyday cleaning, hot water, mild soap or multipurpose cleaners that are safe for porcelain will work well. However, avoid leaving puddles, and use fresh water to rinse the surface and remove residue from the cleaning agent. You should avoid using waxes, oil-based cleaners, ammonia and bleach on porcelain tile.

No matter what type of cleaner you use for your tile, sweep up loose debris before mopping or wiping your floors. If you don’t, you risk scratching the surface with particles of sand and dirt. Regular sweeping and mopping extends the longevity of the tile, preventing residue from building up.


Porcelain tiles require little maintenance compared to travertine. Depending on the amount of traffic that it’s exposed to, travertine must be sealed every three years or so. You can tell when it’s necessary to seal travertine because it starts to look patchy and absorbs stains easily.

You don’t have to do much more than clean porcelain to maintain it. Most porcelain tiles don’t require a sealer. Some homeowners choose to seal the porcelain to protect the appearance of the grout, however.

You may have to perform more complicated repairs on porcelain than travertine, though. You can often fix cracked travertine epoxy. But repairing damaged porcelain tiles usually requires you to remove them and install new ones.

What You Need to Know About Carpet Tiles for Basements

Having a basement as part of your property can mean one of two things. Either it’s a storage area for the junk you’ve accumulated over the years, or it’s an opportunity to take advantage of a potential extra room. Whether you’re building a man cave or making a serviceable utility area, it’s important to make sure you choose the right flooring.   

Carpet tiles for basement flooring are increasingly popular. They’re versatile, cost effective, and have insulating properties. In the current market, there is also a growing range of styles and materials available.

So what do you need to consider when deciding whether carpet tiles are the right choice for your basement project? We’re going to give you an overview of the key areas for focus, along with some practical guidance on their effective use. 

What Are the Different Types of Carpet Tile?

When it comes to aesthetics, your design options can stretch beyond monochromatic or checkerboard patterns that were popular in the past. These modular panels come in triangular, diamond, rhomboid, and even herringbone shapes, among others — allowing you to be more creative in the patterns you can arrange them in.  

One of the key choices you’ll also need to make is about the backing. While this is not the visible part of the carpet tiles that you’ll see every day, it certainly makes a difference to their feel and performance. In most instances, you’ll need to decide between three options:

Hard Backed Tile

In this instance, the carpet fibers are attached directly to a thin base of PVC. One one hand, this can make for a sensation of stability and security underfoot, and tends to be the lower-priced option. However, these are not always the most suitable choice for basements as there is no insulating layer to protect against the cold, or against rising moisture.

Closed Cell Cushion Tile

This option has a similar PVC backing to the hard backed variety, but is separated from the carpet fibers by a layer of compressed foam. This adds some insulating properties to the carpet tile, and the potential for shock-absorption extends the lifespan of the carpet. 

Open Cell Cushion Tile

Like the closed version, this type also has a foam layer sandwiched between the carpet fibers and the PVC backing. The key difference in this case is that the cells in the foam cushioning are not as densely packed. The core’s ability to inflate after being compressed underfoot means that it is a more comfortable, durable, and insulating carpet tile for basement floors. 

How Much do Carpet Tiles Cost? 

The cost of carpet tiles for basement floors generally comes down to these factors:


The more comfortable and insulated the tiles are, the higher the price tends to be. Hardback tiles can cost as low as $0.94 per square foot, while the open cell variety averages at around $3.20 per square foot.    


For additional stability, there is also the option for tiles that interlock. Some of these have a visible “jigsaw” appearance, others lock beneath the surface. These come in at around $2.80 per square foot


When installing carpet tiles for basement refurbishment projects, it’s important to bear in mind that these rooms can be subject to greater degrees of cold and damp than other areas of your home. As such, it’s advisable to seal the floor with an epoxy concrete sealant before laying the tiles. A gallon of this can add around $26 to your budget. 


Many carpet tiles come with peel-and-stick adhesives already applied to the back, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, if your basement is particularly susceptible to damp climate or moisture, it’s important to apply your tiles using a moisture resistant adhesive. A gallon comes in at around $17.

Assuming that you have various accessories such as carpet knives, tape measures, trowels, and paint rollers already to hand, the average cost of carpet tiles for basement projects measuring 100 square feet is around $300. 

How to Install Carpet Tiles 

Basements can be notoriously tricky to remodel, but the good news is that carpet tiles are one of the more simple options when it comes to installation. Depending on the condition and shape of your basement, there can be some preparation involved, and if you have ambitious pattern plans it is essential to plan ahead.

For the most part, though, you’ll find installing carpet tiles for basement floors runs as follows: 

  • Remove Old Flooring — if you previously had full carpets, ceramic tiles, or vinyl you’ll need to remove this first. Use a scraper or pry bar to pull up all pieces of glued down materials. 
  • Make Repairs — assess the state of your basement floor; are there any cracks, holes, or dips? If so this could affect both the finish and safety of your carpet tiles. Use concrete filler or floor leveller to create a smooth, stable surface. 
  • Sweep and Clean — make sure that the area is free of dirt and dust that could interfere with the solid bonding or curing of your sealants and adhesives. Make sure the cleaning surfaces are entirely dry before beginning your installation. 
  • Apply Sealant — follow the manufacturer’s instructions, but this is usually applied by using a paint roller to spread evenly about the surface. Avoid walking on the wet sealant, and make certain the room is well ventilated while you’re occupying the space. 
  • Test Your Placement — if you’re using a complex pattern, it’s helpful to place the tiles as intended before committing to gluing them down. This way you can assess where adjustments need to be made. 
  • Install the Tiles — it’s advisable to start from the center point of the room and work your way out toward the edges. Work patiently, applying adhesive to one tile at a time, and press the tile firmly in place on the floor. Remember that until the adhesive has cured, the tile can still be subject to shifting, so be careful as you place the other tiles that you’re not inadvertently nudging others out of position.

Conclusion – Why Carpet Tiles?

The reason to choose carpet tiles for basement flooring is more than a simple budget-friendly consideration. Today, cushioned cores can help create a cosy underfoot feel, as well as insulate from cold and damp conditions. They’re easy to install, which makes them not only ideal for DIY enthusiasts, but also cuts down on labor costs. The variety of designs available means that you don’t just have to settle for drab squares, you can make your floor a key feature in your creative remodeling plans.