Removing Grout Haze From Travertine Backsplash

by Kristin
(San Francisco, CA)

QUESTION:

My contractor installed a honed & filled Travertine kitchen tile backsplash (with a 2"x2" crackle glass accent tile) 2 days ago.


The surface of the tile feels dusty from the grout.

Do I need to clean this off before sealing the tiles? If so, what do I use to clean the tiles?

I've read that maybe we should have sealed the tiles before grouting, but we didn't.

Is that a problem? I purchased "Glaze 'N Seal" Waterbase Stone Sealant natural look impregnator as a sealant for both my granite counters and my travertine backsplash.

Is that a good sealant?

ANSWER:

Sometimes applying a sealer prior to grouting can be beneficial for grout clean-up. The sealer can act as a "grout release" so to speak.

Some installers love to do it this way, but it is not always successful and often extra work since you still have to clean-up and remove grout residue after.

But too late now, so....

I'd recommend using Soap Scum / Hard Water Remover, which is safe for travertine (won't etch) and very effective removing grout residue, hard water deposits and soap scum.

Regarding the sealer: I'm aware of the brand, but have never used it and don't know any other fabricator that does. They call it "green" because it is water-based vs. solvent-based. Many sealers offer a water-based variety, so nothing special there.

It's a fluoro-chemical type sealant, which is not the latest-greatest chemical technology anymore, but it is becoming a more common/standard recipe. It will need re-application at some point when sealing granite countertops. Should be fine for a kitchen backsplash.

If you'd like a more advanced, durable and long-lasting sealer I'd recommend SenGuard Marble & Granite Sealer.

SenGuard forms permanent bonds and will require only one application. It also won't degrade over time from cleaners, etc.

Also, be sure to use only cleaners safe for travertine (marble) to avoid etching the stone. Nearly all common cleaners will damage stone.

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