Removing Streaky Travertine Sealer

QUESTION:

I installed polished travertine flooring (Jinshan Carmel P/F) which my installer sealed with an unpolished sealer.

The results were streaked even though he used a sponge as well as a paint brush.

How do we solve the streaking problem?

We bought the sealer from LOWE's and this was the sealer they said we should use.

However after it was applied I read on the bottle that it was for unpolished stones. Now what do we do?

ANSWER:

Travertine tile is not as absorbent as most people (including most salespeople) think.

When travertine flooring is polished it is essentially non-absorbent.

So, usually it doesn't need sealing and in fact, often cannot be sealed... meaning the sealer simply won't absorb into the travertine, dries on top and leaves a streaky mess.

That's why you always want to water test any stone surface to see if it even needs sealing and if it does then apply sealer only to a left-over or sample tile or to a small area first.

Too late now I know, but for future reference.

To remove the sealer clean the travertine tile with acetone. This won't harm the travertine and should remove the sealer.

Pour a bit of acetone on a small area and agitate with a soft bristle brush. Let it sit for a few minutes while agitating, then wipe clean and dry completely with a clean cloth.

Again, test a small area first. If it works, do the whole floor. If the acetone doesn't do it, use methylene chloride.

Obviously, you don't need to seal your floor. If the sealer won't absorb, neither will anything else.


True, there are different types of sealers, some that are more effective on (or "for") polished and/or dense stones, but in general an impregnating sealer can be used on any stone (porous enough to need sealing) no matter the type of surface finish.

But again, I wouldn't worry about sealing it.

A sealer only slows down the rate of absorption so you have more time to clean up a spill. It doesn't provide absolute protection.

And since polished travertine tiles are near impossible to stain anyway, why bother especially when it will be difficult to get any sealer to absorb and you may just end up right back where you are now.

Another FYI... you should not seal floor tile or wall installations for at least 3 weeks after intallation to let the stone and grout dry out completely. Also, make sure (after several cleanings) that it is free of dust and dirt.

You don't want to trap moisture under the sealer and a dust/dirt free floor simply allows for better sealer coverage.

You may want to check out our Cleaning Marble Secrets e-book to find out how to properly maintain your travertine flooring. (Travertine and marble are essentially the same for maintenance purposes)

Obviously, advice from Lowe's won't cut it. Some salespeople at big box stores can be very knowledgeable, however, there are many myths and lots of bad advice regarding stone and travertine maintenance passed around by stone "pros" even, so expecting expert advice from Home Depot, etc. is a stretch.

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How Long To Leave Sealant on Tile Before Removing
by: Anonymous

How long should you leave sealant and enhancer on travertine before removing it? My husband has been told from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. I've read online to leave it on 30 minutes. Which is correct?

====ANSWER:

Well you should read the bottle instructions for a start. And the enhancer must be applied first.

There isn't a set time to leave it on. Since stone is a natural product there can be lots of variation.

You need to apply the sealer to create a film over the area being sealed. Let the stone absorb as much as possible, without letting it dry on the surface.

Once you see areas drying you need to add more until it appears the stone is not absorbing more, then you need to completely remove all sealer residue from the surface.

This process can take between 2 and 10 minutes depending on the stone. Definitely NOT 30 minutes.

You'll find complete info on sealers and how to seal properly in the Removing Granite & Marble Stains ebook.

Good Luck,
Ryan

Streaks due to Topps Tiles Advice
by: Anonymous

Sadly I was advised by the sales person in Topps Tiles to apply their sealer (Fila Honed/Tumbled travertine protector) with a roller and as per the instructions, to leave it on for 4 hours. When I then came to remove this it had formed terrible patches of sealant that now remain as horrible streaky areas on our Travertine floor. The stuff from Topps was an inpregnator and having tried various stone cleaners am unable to remove these streaks so guess we will also need to strip the stone back with somthing like acetone and start from scratch?

Just to confirm, our sealant streaks are mainly visible when looked at from a certain angle in the light and hence are not grout or white areas, more like far more reflective areas of the travertine where the pools had formed from the roller - so wish I'd seen this forum before applying this sealer :-(

===ANSWER:

Yes, travertine is very dense and often doesn't need/cannot be sealed (especially when polished). Honed travertine will usually take a sealer, but of course it must be applied correctly. Letting it dry for 4 hours was the likely mistake. But if the stone is too dense to absorb the sealer in the first place, then the first mistake was applying a sealer at all.

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