Travertine Maintenance Sealing & Cleaning Answers

How To Clean Travertine: Questions & Answers

How To Clean Travertine: Questions & Answers


I've installed brand new travertine floor tile.

I've heard that you must have it buffed and sealed.

Do professionals have to come in and do this or is there a product out there that I can simply spray on it and do it myself?

Also, what do you recommend for travertine maintenance afterwards? Please advise. Thank you.


Well.... it depends.

First... just FYI... sealing travertine does not make it (or any stone) stain-proof.

How a sealer works is by delaying absorption which dramatically increases the time for a stain to form, thereby giving you more time to clean it up without issue.

Sealing is needed only on areas at high risk of staining.

Floor tile is not nearly as susceptible to staining as a countertop unless it's in the kitchen. And most marble and travertine stains can be removed with a simple and inexpensive procedure using this stain removal poultice for travertine, granite and marble.

Should you seal the floor?

Well... Here's what you need to consider with travertine flooring:
  • Is the travertine floor tile polished or honed?

  • Is it installed in your kitchen, bathroom, living room?

  • How many square feet are we talking about?

  • Does the sealing test show it could be sealed?

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.

I recommend using one of these travertine sealers.

However, if this is a large area (500+ sq. ft.), or a multi-room project, then I'd consider hiring a pro.

Save yourself many a headache and use only products formulated for marble and travertine maintenance for cleaning.

They cost a bit more, but you don't have to use them that much and they won't damage your stone like most typical cleaning products will.

There are several products available. Some are very good and some are trash.

The recommended products/brands at our Stone Care Center were found to be quite a bit better than the rest and no more expensive.... in fact, often cheaper.

You'll get excellent results cleaning floor tile using the Tile Floor Cleaner.

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Travertine bathroom floor
by: Anonymous

I used Weiman granite and stone daily cleaner and polish on my travertine floor. On the directions which I did not read. It said do not use on floors. What should I do?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Clean the floor with this Marble & Granite Floor Tile Cleaner.

It will remove the residue from the other cleaner and properly clean your travertine floor tile without damage or issue.

This cleaning product is specifically made for cleaning travertine, marble, granite, and all types of natural stone flooring.

It's a concentrate that you mix with water and does not require rinsing.

Cleaning Hairspray Residue on Travertine Tile
by: Nan

How do I get hairspray off that has built up on my travertine tile?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Using straight acetone (not fingernail polish remover) and a little scrubbing with a non-abrasive pad or brush should remove hairspray residue from your travertine tile.

Acetone and other solvents are not harmful to the travertine but will remove the residue.

Of course, you don't want to use acetone on a regular basis to clean the floors or countertops.

So the idea is to use the acetone to remove heavy build-up and then use the Tile Floor Cleaner or Heavy Duty Tile-Grout Cleaner as your regular cleaner on floors.

Or use the Granite & Marble Cleaning Spray on countertops for regular cleaning.

Regular cleaning with the above products should keep hairspray residue from building up on the surface.

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Re-Sealing Travertine Floors


We installed Travertine tile floors in our kitchen, house entrance and exit, around the fireplace, and in the main level bathroom (no tub or shower) in 2004.

I sealed them all then with several (I think it was 3) applications.

There are now some holes in the travertine (all smaller than a dime).

We also have some white substance buildup in the foyer where we have a larger water fountain that drips water onto the floor.

I assume the white substance is from our hard-ish water (no water softener, well water). I need help knowing how to proceed.

Do I need to strip the old sealer first?

If so, how do I go about that?

What product is best?

Can I fill the holes with the grout?

When do I seal it again - before or after or in the middle of re-sealing it?


Here are the solutions to your travertine maintenance issues:

For the holes.... use un-sanded grout as the travertine filler. Non-sanded grout fills the small holes better. For larger holes (1 inch plus), sanded grout can be used if desired.

For the hard water use this Hard Water / Soap Scum Remover.

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.

If the testing shows the travertine flooring should be sealed again, then I recommend SenGuard or the Impregnating Stone Sealer.

Senguard is the superior sealer on the market. UPDATE: THERE'S A NEW PERMANENT SEALER BETTER THAN SENGUARD WE NOW RECOMMEND. Click the link above to check it out!

You don't have to strip the old sealer. If the water absorbs, the sealer will too.

One 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.

NOTE: The new Permanent Stone Sealer we recommend can be applied over any other type of sealer. It's super-advanced!

If you're wanting to apply a solvent-based sealer, 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.

Or simply apply the "Permanent Sealer" linked above.

Either way though, you should certainly do a test application before launching into the whole project.

For more in-depth and detailed guidance on sealing travertine or any stone consult the All About Sealing e-book.

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Cleaning & Sealing New Travertine Floor


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.

If there is still grout stuck to the tile, using Hard Water / Soap Scum Remover is very effective to remove grout haze as well.

For sealing, I recommend the Stone Impregnating Sealer or the Permanent Sealer.

Honed travertine tile will take a sealer (polished travertine typically will not) but you may not really need to seal depending on the location.

Definitely seal the travertine if it's in the kitchen. Sealing the dining room and bathroom floors is a good idea too.

But if this is a living room or other room that really doesn't see much food or drink, then you may not benefit too much from the cost and effort.

Nothing is going to stain instantly, so you have to consider how often you'll spill something and not clean it up quickly in living rooms, etc.

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Sealer Made Polished Travertine Dull. How To Make it Shine?
by: Susan

We had travertine installed 16 years ago in our kitchen, eat-in area, and butler's pantry.

It has chiseled edges and was sealed when installed.

It had gotten dirty and grout had come out of the holes. We stripped off the old sealer regrouted and polished it with 3 different pads.

When we applied the first round of new sealer it left the tile dull.

Should we polish it again?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

You may have to polish the travertine tile again depending on how large an area it is.

Most likely what has occurred is that sealer residue remains on the surface creating a dull haze.

If you applied a standard stone impregnating sealer then it would not damage the surface. If some other type of "sealer" then it could be a different issue.

However, a key step is to never let the sealer dry on the surface.

Apply the sealer, let it dwell and absorb, and then wipe off all excess sealer and buff the surface completely dry. This step will prevent hazy residue.

You may be able to remove the dull haze by washing and scrubbing the surface with a solvent like acetone. This may work if the sealer was recently applied in the last few days and it's not too large an area (making this a huge task).

If cleaning with acetone does not work, then yes... try polishing again. Or just the last step in polishing. This may be enough to remove the sealer residue haze or dullness.

Travertine and Pets
by: Anonymous

I really like travertine floors, but I have pets that I know will at some point have an accident on the floor.

I am concerned about the floor absorbing the urine smell or staining. Should I pick another floor or will sealing it be enough?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Pet urine, vomit, and the like can both stain and etch (dull spots from acidic corrosion) travertine.

Sealing will prevent staining and absorption unless the urine is left a long time. Sealers slow down absorption but do not absolutely stop it. So, theoretically, if a liquid remained on the surface for 3 hours it could absorb.

Urine stains could create an odor issue, however, urine and other stains can be removed using the Stain Removal Poultice for Stone.

Etching cannot be prevented. This is physical damage to the stone surface and sealers cannot prevent such damage. Etching can be repaired rather easily though with the DIY Etch Remover (for polished finish) or a different but simple method for honed finish (which I'd recommend for a floor).

Depending on how often you think accidents will happen you may want to consider another surface like porcelain tile. Any stone could potentially stain.

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How To Clean and Seal Granite and Travertine

by Roger


Antiqued golden flame granite (tan color) and semi-polished rustic (brown color) travertine were installed as countertops.

Both were sealed with a silicon-based impregnator.

How should I clean the countertops?

Would it be okay to add more sealant?

Would I have to use the same type of sealer ( a silicon-based impregnator)?

Also, I've not heard a complete explanation of what "antiqued" granite really means, but I liked the look and feel.

Thank you


For daily/weekly cleaning you can use hot water (soap will build up on the surface) and/or a granite and marble spray cleaner like Marble and Granite Spray Cleaner.

Sealing again may be necessary since neither surface is polished (polishing makes stone less absorbent). But you don't have to guess about it....

You can do a simple test with water (see link above) that will tell you if your countertops are still absorbent.

Perform this test every year... really you'll notice just from general use... to determine when or if you need to seal.

When it's time to seal I'd suggest using one of the top brands recommended at the Stone Care Product Center.

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.

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Cleaning mildewed grout
by: Kat

We have polished travertine tiles
in our shower.
Lately, the grout has become black and even though
the grout was a type "which resisted mildew", our shower looks dirty after 2 years.

The glass door is left open so the shower area dries after it's used, daily... but this is still not helping.

What can I use that won't hurt the travertine?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

It could be that you have some cracks in the grout and water is getting trapped behind the tiles breeding mold.

To clean the mold with damage to your travertine use this Mildew Stain Cleaner.

Vinegar Etching on Travertine Floor
by: Nancy

My son had over 200 teenagers at my house for a party (without my consent). After I kicked them all out, my travertine floors were disgusting.

Some of the kids took gummy bears and smashed them into my floors.

I made a huge mistake and took vinegar to clean my floors where the gummies were smashed and couldn't get them out.

This created an etching of splash marks from the vinegar. Is there a product I can use to minimize or eliminate those stains / etchings?

I don't want to hire a professional because it's only in three small spots but it happens to be in the middle of the room. Please help!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Luckily, there is a product specifically for repairing etch marks on polished travertine, marble, and limestone.

It's the Etch Remover / Polisher. Again, for use on "polished" (shiny) travertine. It will buff out the etch marks to restore the color and shine.

For a honed (matte) finish, a different DIY method is needed. There's no product. Just send us an email and will provide instructions.

How to remove sealer brush marks on travertine?
by: Judy

Can you please advise me what to do about a filled, honed travertine floor that was sealed with Stone Defender Color Enhancer and Sealer?

Instructions said to apply with a natural bristle brush, which we did.

But now you can see all the brush marks on the tile that the sealer has dried.

So, how can we get this coat of sealer off now & what should we re-apply? Thanks, Judy

ANSWER: If you let the sealer dry on the travertine.... there's your problem. You are supposed to wipe all excess sealer from the surface before it dries or you get problems.

If a large area, it may be best just to have it re-honed. Or you can try to strip it with acetone or methylene chloride.

I'd have a pro come take a look before you do anything though.

After you solve the problem you can re-apply an enhancer or sealer. An enhancer makes the stone look "wet" or darker.

Apply the enhancer first. You may be able to apply just an enhancer if it is also a sealer.

I recommend this Color Enhancing Sealer.

Using Two Different Sealers
by: Ryan

Sealers can be either water-based or solvent-based.

The "general" rule is that you can apply a "water-based" granite sealer over a "solvent-based" product, but not vise versa.

SenGuard (And our new Permanent Sealer recommendation) can be applied over a water-based sealer.

Typically, the above rule is no longer an issue after about 2-3 years. Of course, you should always test a new/different product, but the chance for water-solvent compatibility problems decreases a lot a few years after the original sealer application.

Although, sealer resins (the part actually doing the sealing like: silicone, siloxane) can be of different types and quality sometimes affecting compatibility.

You noted that your sealer was a silicone sealer. True... silicone sealers are not the best anymore. But the real factor is whether the silicone sealer is "water-based" or "solvent-based".

Mixing sealers can be a problem because you just never know if they will work together and/or create a crummy look on the countertop.

Sometimes sealers in the same family and brand can be chemically incompatible. That's why the recommendation is to just go with the same sealer.

I'd test on a sample left over tile. Apply some of the original sealer and then a coat of whatever sealer you want. See what happens.

I'm betting your sealer was solvent-based so you can try using a water-based or another solvent-based sealer.

I'd recommend trying the Stone Impregnating Sealer for a new water-based sealer.

Followup Question
by: Roger

Concerning the type and brand of the sealer, would it be ok if I do use a different product to seal the slate, granite, and travertine? My concern is that a lesser quality of sealer might have been used for the installation. Thanks

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Sealed Honed and Filled Travertine in Shower

by Sergio


I just used Miracle Sealers Sealer and Enhancer on my honed and filled Travertine shower.

I wish I would have read the posts on this site about NOT sealing travertine in showers, but it is too late now.

So, my question now is, is there a product I can use to remove the sealer to avoid any of the issues that may arise with water getting trapped underneath/in the stone?

Or do I just have to live with it and hope nothing bad happens? Thanks!


While sealing travertine or other stone showers is not recommended because it can contribute to destructive problems, the main reason not to apply a sealer in a shower is simply that it isn't needed.

Not many items stain in showers and all the water washes most stuff away. So, sealing a travertine shower provides very little benefit for the time, labor and expense of doing it.

However, sealing travetine showers does not directly cause any problem. Some people still opt to seal a shower even when they know it is largely unnecessary.

The only time the sealer can work against you in a shower is if the tile installation was done poorly and/or there are voids/cracks in the grout allowing water to get trapped behind the tiles.

When this occurs the sealer keeps the water from evaporating, will exacerbate the problem and speed decomposition of the stone.

Now, even without a sealer the shower and stone could be in trouble if water is constantly leaking behind the tiles due to a poor install or grout cracks, etc.

Water has to wick all the way through the travertine tile to evaporate and if you use the shower daily it's a losing battle.

Poor installations happen more frequently than you might think. The tiles aren't set right, the grout isn't seated well.... makes for a leaky shower.

So, periodically you should inspect all grout lines and especially the caulking where walls meet other walls and the floor tile.

You could strip the sealer using methylene chloride, but it's a nasty job and no real reason for it unless you have a known leak issue.

Chances are you'll enjoy your travertine shower trouble-free for many years and the sealer won't cause any problem, so I wouldn't worry or do anything about it now that it is already applied.

Good Luck,

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Sealed honed Travertine Shower
by: Anonymous

The grout is turning dark. When scrubbed, it looks like some peels off, it does not matter that I dry with a towel, more and more of the grout is darkening.

Is it the sealer causing this?

It does not appear to be mold. Shower is only 6 months old and noticed this starting right away. I only clean with dove dish soap or stone safe cleaner.


Most likely it IS mold coming from water trapped beneath your tile. This can happen with a poor installation.

The fact that it started happening right after install is a key indicator of the poor installation.

Nothing else explains it. It is not a sealer issue except that you should NOT seal stone in a wet environment like a shower precisely because it will trap water into the stone when it gets behind the tile.

And your risk of staining is a shower is near zero and you are not sealing against water. Water can absorb into the tile, but then will evaporate. So, sealing provides no benefit here.

It isn't staining or etching and if it was mold from too infrequent cleaning or poor ventilation, then the mold would develop right on the surface and could be rather easily cleaned off.

The fact that you clean and clean and the darkening of the grout continues to spread... sounds like water behind tiles and mold.

Do not use shower for at least one week or more... until it is completely dried out. Check for cracks and voids in grout. Fix any damage.

If you do not find any damage to grout then problem is a generally poor installation and typically the only solution is to tear it out and start over.

Good Luck!

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White Film on Tumbled Travertine Shower Floor

by Gerald Holland


I have a mosaic of tumbled Noce Travertine tile on my shower floor. The shower is about 4 years old.

Recently the 2-by-2 mosaic tiles started turning white and dull. I think the cleaning person used x-14 to clean them and maybe let it soak to long (although she does not admit to this).

What do I need to do to get the color back?

When the floor is wet it looks as good as the day it was installed. When it dries, is when you see what looks like white film. Thx.


Since it is tumbled travertine tile it isn't likely that you'd notice a big difference if cleaned with too harsh a chemical, which could etch the surface.

When cleaning travertine (or any stone) you should only use products safe for cleaning marble and travertine, but it's a polished surface that really shows damage from harsh cleaners.

The cleaners still eat away at tumbled travertine tile and continued use over time could produce the effect you are describing.... but generally etching isn't that noticeable on a tumbled finish.

I'm 99% certain that all it is is soap scum (or hard water deposits) and you just need to use Hard Water / Soap Scum Remover.

This product will work for either on either problem very well. You'll get best results if you spray on and let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes and scrub with a soft-bristle brush.

However, soap scum and hard water usually do not build up evenly over an entire surface. They will be concentrated in certain areas.

So, if you are seeing the entire travertine shower floor is the same dull white, then yes... you likely have etching.

To fix etching on honed/tumbled travertine you'll need to follow the simple instructions in the Removing Etch Marks e-book.

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.

Good Luck,

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Retreating Dull but Sealed Travertine with Aldon Lifeguard

by Chris Payer
(Orlando, Florida)


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,

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High gloss travertine floor
by: Dave

Thanks so much for the travertine high gloss finish comments. I was considering it, but not now. If someone wants a high gloss finish better go to marble or granite Thanks again for the educational summary.

Cleaning Honed Travertine Grout
by: Anonymous

What is the best method for cleaning 12 year old honed travertine kitchen tile?

I have had someone come clean with a machine and half the floor looks great but the area around where I cook and kitchen island is still appears dull and dirty to me. Especially within the grout. I'm at a loss and ready to rip tile out. :(

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

It's likely that the tile and grout in the cooking area is stained and/or has embedded dirt.

Stains are absorbed into the stone so surface cleaning methods won't remove them. You'll need to use a poultice to remove any stains.

For embedded dirt in the travertine tile and grout use the quality tile floor cleaner with a scrub brush. Consider a "heavy duty" cleaner if really soiled.

Then, once cleaned you should apply a stone sealer to guard against staining.

See links above on this page for recommended tile floor cleaners and sealers.

Travertine Seal Vs Coating
by: Anonymous

Hello, I believe my installer put a "coating" vs a penetrating seal on my tumbled travertine floor.

The bottle says Gloss Sealer and Finish (it is acrylic water based).

It is only 5 months old and is already looking dull and scratched. I believe this is the coating giving it that look as none of the scratches are deep.

Should I be trying to remove the coating he put on it? Or is there a way I can remove these surface scratches? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Yes, if it contains acrylic, then it is a coating and not a typical impregnating stone sealer.

The acrylic is there to dry hard on the surface and create that glossy finish.

However, coatings will scuff and scratch easily and need their own maintenance.

This is a cheap way to make a honed or dull stone look shiny, but it is not the normal way it is done. The correct method is to grind and polish to a shine the actual stone.

Coatings can be good for use in some special circumstances where the stone surface is in bad shape, can't be refinished or don't want to pay the much higher cost of professional refinishing.

However, coatings should not be used on floors since they create a film and don't allow the stone to breath properly. This can lead to deterioration.

I'd strip off a small area (scrubbing with acetone should work) and see if it solves the dull scratchy problem.

Most commonly travertine floor tile is installed with a honed (matte) finish. This finish is "dull" compared to a polished finish but it hides wear better and is far easier to maintain and keep looking good than a polished floor.

Travertine will wear over time from foot traffic, but we are talking years... not 5 months. So, almost certainly a coating and should be stripped. But test first.

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Travertine Coffee Table Maintenance

(Beth-Anne McGarry)


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.

Sealing Travertine

If the travertine is honed you can apply one of the recommended stone sealers to further reduce the chance of staining.

However, sealing is unnecessary on polished travertine as polishing makes travertine virtually non-absorbent and stain-proof.

Good Luck,

Comments for Travertine Coffee Table Maintenance

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Grout not cleaned off good on Travertine backsplash
by: Chris

What can I do to clean off the grout that was not cleaned off the tiles good by the company who did it. I have not sealed the grout yet cause I would like to clean this up first. Thanks

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

To remove grout haze on your new travertine tile kitchen backsplash, you need to use the Hard Water / Soap Scum / Grout Haze remover mentioned several times in the article above. This product will take the haze off without damaging the travertine tile.

Sealing and maintaining look of new travertine
by: Anonymous

We have tumbled travertine stone laid in 4 different sizes. Its a light ivory shade. We plan to grout and fill the holes ourselves. It does change the whole look.

Does a light polish help maintain the original look of the stone?... With a matte finish sealer?

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

It's unclear what you are asking, but I'll give it a shot....

Depends what you mean by "polish". You don't want to apply any type of permanent topical coating especially on a travertine tile floor. These wear poorly and require more maintenance than the stone itself.

Also, if this is tile flooring you need to let the stone breath and coatings don't allow this.

If you are thinking about protecting the travertine from wear, then don't worry about it. Tumbled travertine already has a worn look and it will take years for foot traffic to have any noticeable affect.

The best way to "maintain" a finish is to simply take good care of the stone via regular sweeping / mopping / cleaning with quality stone care products.

Sealers that create a certain look (shiny, matte) are not the kind you want to use. These are topical coatings.

The type of finish has no bearing on the type of stone sealer needed. Impregnating sealers are for use on all stone regardless of finish.

For sealing travertine use one of these Impregnating stone sealers.

Use an "Enhancer sealer" if you wish to darken the color a bit and create the "wet look" on the stone.

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