Travertine Maintenance Sealing & Cleaning 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?
, 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
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.
ANSWER: 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.
How To Clean and Seal Granite and Travertine
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.
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
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.
Sealed Honed and Filled Travertine in Shower
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.
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.
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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!
Travertine Coffee Table Maintenance
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.