If polished, then most likely no... you won't need to seal it.
Polished travertine tile is nearly stain-proof on it's own. Polishing closes down the pores. In other words, it is naturally stain-resistant.
So, it definitely won't stain easily (if at all) and typically can't even be sealed because it won't absorb the sealer. Testing will tell you, though.
Honed travertine tile (or tumbled or any non-polished finish) should be sealed for sure if in the kitchen. Unlike most polished travertine, honed travertine can usually take a sealer.
Sealing bathroom travertine flooring is probably a good idea even though the risk of staining is minimal.
Honed floor tile in the living room, bedroom or hallway really doesn't need it... the risk is small (unless you have kids!), so it comes down to whether or not you want to spend the time and expense to do it.
Without considering time and expense, I'd recommend you seal it. You'll probably only have to do it once and it will make the stone much more resistant to staining.
Sealing is a DIY job IF you prepare well and precisely follow the directions especially about wiping up any excess (unabsorbed) sealer before it dries on top.
Regarding re- sealing travertine.... you may not have to.
Travertine tile is not that absorbent and if you sealed it well once it may not ever need it again.
Remember, sealing protects against staining only and your risk of staining anywhere but the kitchen is minimal. So, the benefit you gain from sealing (except in the kitchen) may not be worth the effort.
However, you can simply and easily answer this question by testing with water in many places around all floors.
You don't have to strip the old sealer. If the water absorbs, the sealer will too.
Now there is a potential issue....
The type of sealer used previously... was it solvent-based or water-based?
You can (usually) apply a water-based sealer over a solvent-based, but not solvent over water. Typically this is no longer a problem after 2-3 years from the initial sealing, but it could be.
So, if testing shows it should be re-sealed, the common wisdom is to use the same sealer originally applied. If you don't have or don't know which sealer was first applied, then a water-based sealer (like the Impregnating sealer linked above) is the best bet to ensure proper absorption and adherence to the stone.
If you're wanting to apply a solvent-based sealer (like SenGuard), then first perform the absorbency test (the "water test for sealing") using a solvent (like acetone) instead of water. If it absorbs and no problems, then you should be good to go
Either way though, you should certainly do a test application before launching into the whole project.
I just had honed travertine floor tile laid and grouted. I want to follow the process closely to make sure that everything turns out perfect.
How long should we wait to apply the sealer and what kind would you recommend?
Also how can I make sure that all the grout dust is off before sealing. Would you recommend anything special to get the grout dust off? Thanks for your help.
You should wait 2-3 weeks after installation before sealing travertine on a new floor (or wall) installation.
You need to wait to make sure all moisture has evaporated from the stone, grout, etc. Also, you'll want to damp (not wet) mop and sweep several times to clean all the dust off the surface to allow optimum sealer coverage.
But don't worry... you won't trap the dust under the sealer... the sealer doesn't form a film... it soaks into the stone.
An "antiqued" surface is just one of many finish styles like polished, honed, brushed, tumbled.
Usually, it's done by water with an added abrasive to give it an old "rustic" look. It's done much more often on travertine and marble because the composition of these stones responds more effectively to the treatment.
Comments for How To Clean and Seal Granite and Travertine
Unfortunately, there isn't any product that can solve this issue on a honed/tumbled surface. These types of finishes require physical treatment to restore... which is what is described in the e-book above.
Retreating Dull but Sealed Travertine with Aldon Lifeguard
by Chris Payer
I had my travertine floors resealed to a gloss finish 2 years ago. One area of heavy traffic looks dull and is difficult to clean because the mop head nearly sticks to the surface.
The floor is clean looking with good color but just dull dull dull. I did a 2 drop of water test for absorption and in 6 minutes, no absorption.
I want to avoid resealing and I found Aldon Lifeguard, Will this product work to bring back the gloss finish and help me avoid resealing when I have a 7 foot by 25 foot area of heavy traffic I need to fix up? Thanks for your help.
You stated that you had the travertine floor "re-sealed to a high-gloss finish"....
Just to clarify, when 99% of the people in the stone industry say "sealer" they mean an impregnating sealer that absorbs into the stone, working below the surface and does not change the look or the finish of the stone.
Now an "enhancing" sealer is a bit of a hybrid. It is still an impregnating sealer and will give a wet look to stone, which is commonly used, but this is not your regular "sealer".
What you are talking about is actually a film-forming "coating" applied to the surface of your stone. It may penetrate some, but it's the coating that dries on top of your stone that provides the gloss.
Manufacturers of such products (like aldon) call them "sealers" so consumers will think they are the same type of product as an impregnating sealer only theirs has the "advantage" of adding a high-gloss, etc.
However, any product that puts a "gloss" on your stone is a "coating" and not a true "sealer."
Sealers are commonly used, increasing stain resistance without affecting the stone in any other way.... this is good.
Coatings are not commonly used and most stone professionals agree that you should not apply coatings to stone, especially on a travertine floor or wall where only one surface is exposed to air.
These coatings will do what they say... add gloss, but you permanently change the natural and beneficial characteristics of your stone and your ability to effectively maintain it.
Coatings don't allow the stone to breath, are more easily worn down than the stone itself, often make the stone look like plastic, can peel and can create more problems if travertine maintenance is ever required since you have to then remove the coating, fix the stone and re-apply or patch the coating.
The Aldon product is not meant to protect "sealers" as we commonly know them... as explained above. Again, sealers work below the surface and don't need protecting.
The life guard product is made to prolong the life of a topical coating applied to the surface of the stone.
As noted some of these coatings will dry with a glossy finish, which will wear away pretty easily as you have discovered. Life guard is meant to protect that kind of coating from wearing away so quickly.
Get it? ... you need a coating to protect the coating.... not the most brilliant idea especially when it is widely accepted that the best rule of thumb with travertine maintenance (or any stone) is to leave it alone as much as possible.
However, it will not dry glossy. If the gloss coating you applied two years ago is now worn away, you'll have to re-apply it and then the life guard product.
Really you should just hire a marble / travertine maintenance pro to remove all that junk and simply polish the travertine to a shine, if that is what you really want (although polished travertine flooring is 10 times the work of a honed floor).
Stone comes in a variety of finishes, so there is no need to apply some troublesome product. The correct way to get the desired finish is to have your contractor treat the stone itself and not by applying a coating.
Often people think all stone is supposed to be shiny and when they see one that is "dull" they think something is wrong.
Often that stone was not finished to a high shine. Rather it was tumbled, or honed, or flamed, or antiqued depending on the look that was desired.
The various finishes are made using a number of techniques, machines, tools and abrasives, which is the best way to get the look you want.
For a floor though a honed finish is much better. A polished floor is a pain to maintain. It shows dust more, needs constant attention sweeping and moping to keep it shiny and the shiny finish wears away (just like a coating except not as fast) with foot traffic.
A honed surface rarely looks dirty or like it needs cleaning and will probably never need re-finishing because of wear.
Now, a polished finish will create the most saturated color, but a honed travertine floor is still gorgeous.
Hope that helps!
Good Luck, Ryan
Comments for Retreating Dull but Sealed Travertine with Aldon Lifeguard
Hello, I just bought a travertine coffee table and the care & maintenance of it didn't occur to me until after making the purchase.
Given the high maintenance I am now wondering if this was the wrong purchase for me.
Is travertine not a suitable choice to be used as a coffee table? How costly is it to care for it?
I'll likely spill juice, red wine etc. on it at some point and am thinking about trying to return it or re-sell it.
What preventative stain care and maintenance would I need to do exactly and how often?
Will this ensure it won't get stained?
If it does get stained, how do I get the stain out?
Your help is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Beth-Anne McGarry
Travertine is not very porous and does not stain easy, however, it will etch easily from coffee, juice, wine spills or any other acidic food or drink.
Etching is a chemical burn that eats into the stone creating dull and discolored spots.
So, if the table gets a lot of use it is likely you'll have some maintenance repairing etch marks.
The possibility of etching can be greatly reduced by using coasters, but of course spills will still happen.
Etch marks aren't necessarily difficult to repair, but they can be a nuisance.
On polished (shiny) travertine you can use the Marble Polish / Etch Remover, which is specifically designed for use on marble, travertine tile and limestone.
It works very well, is easy to use and produces quick results in most cases restoring the color and shine to like-new condition.
In some cases, you'll need to apply the product a few times and if the etching is severe (rough to the touch) you'll have to hire a professional to re-surface the travertine. But severe etching is rare.
On honed (matte) travertine the solution is a bit more involved since there isn't a DIY product suitable to repair etch marks on honed travertine countertop or table.
A marble repair pro will yield best results, but a simple and cheap do-it-yourself option is possible (see below).
Stains are not much a worry since travertine doesn't stain easy and stains are cheap and easy to remove if you do get one.
Get DIY solutions and detailed instructions for removing stains and restoring etch marks (and a ton more info on how to clean marble & travertine) in the Cleaning Marble Secrets e-book.
FYI... care & cleaning for marble and travertine is the same... related stones.