Travertine Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Travertine tiles carried out in West Cheshire

Cleaning and Polishing Travertine tiles

Travertine is a natural material that has unique features and colouring that no other stone can offer. The distinctive look of Travertine creates some of the most distinguished floor tiles and has proved very popular with commercial and residential use. It can be used for floor tile, kitchen flooring, bathroom walls and floors, and it is often used externally. There are many varieties such as Tumbled and Polished and like all natural stone it needs to be sealed to prevent dirt becoming trapped in the pores. Unlike other stones however Travertine does suffer from pitting however these holes can be filled.

One of the main issues with polished Travertine is the polish starts to wear down with use and eventually becomes dull. Another issue we see is acid etching where strong unsuitable cleaning products used on the stone etch the surface and ruin its appearance. To resolve both these problems the stone needs to be re-polished with diamond encrusted burnishing pads of different grits to hone the stone and bring back that deep shine. If this sounds familiar you should talk to us about our annual maintenance program where we visit you once a year to clean, polish and seal your floor thus keeping it in top condition.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor Before After Polishing Delamere

Polishing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor in Delamere

This Travertine Polishing enquiry came from a homeowner in the village of Delamere which is in the middle of the Cheshire countryside, West of Winsford. The customer had recently moved to the area and was unhappy with the dull appearance of their Travertine tiled kitchen floor, there were also small holes in the tiles which needed filling.

Travertine is a natural stone and holes or pitting can appear as thin layers of surface stone break down to reveal a cavity underneath. This is a common problem and can be made worse by the use of strong acidic cleaning products that eat away at the surface over time.

The solution was to fill the holes using a matching epoxy filler, deep clean the grout and then burnish the tiles to remove the dirt and bring up the polish. Happy with my quote we agreed a date for the work to commence.

Travertine Floor Tiles Before Polishing Delamere

Grout Cleaning and Filling Pitts in a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

The first job was to fill the holes/pitts in the Travertine using a purpose made product called Tenax which comes in a variety of colours and is described as an adhesive filler that sets hard.

Travertine Floor Tiles During Filling Delamere

Step two was to get the grout clean so I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an alkaline tile and grout cleaner. I left this to soak in and breakdown the dirt for roughly ten minutes before scrubbing it in by hand. Once done the floor was rinsed with water and the soil now released from the stone extracted using a wet vacuum.

Polishing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

To bring back the polished appearance of the Travertine I applied a set of four diamond burnishing pads of different grades in sequence from coarse to extra fine. The first two pads take off any remaining sealer and dirt, the floor is then washed down and the residue removed by wet vacuum. We then go onto the third pad which is a 1500 grit which starts to put a shine back on the stone. The floor is then washed down again with clean water and the slurry removed with the wet vacuum.

The floor is then forced dried by large fans and once dry the last pad is applied which is a 3000-grit pad that puts a high shine on the floor. A small amount of water is sprayed onto the tiles during this process which we refer to as a spray burnish.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Spray burnishing also leaves the floor dry and ready to be sealed. The owner wanted the Travertine to look as natural as possible so two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal were applied. This is an impregnating sealer which is recommended for use on polished stone and for use in kitchens. To finish and to remove excess sealer the floor was then buffed with a White pad.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Tiles After Polishing Delamere

I mentioned at the beginning of this post not to use strong cleaning products on Travertine and this advice is especially relevant if the stone is sealed as strong products including bleach can also erode the sealer. For the regular cleaning of sealed Travertine, I would recommend using Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is a gentle but effective cleaner that also helps maintain the patina.


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Travertine Kitchen Floor Renovated in Thurstaston Wirral

Polishing Travertine Kitchen Floor Tiles in Thurstaston

Although the Travertine tiles in this beautiful kitchen floor in Thurstaston were in fair condition the Grout had turned black with dirt. This normally happens when the stone is sealed but the grout has been left unprotected, then when cleaning the floor dirt is washed off the stone into the grout line where it gets trapped in the rough surface of the grout. Overtime the dirt builds up and the grout lines turning it black and completely changing the appearance of the floor.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Renovation Thurstaston Wirral

After visiting the property, I could see the polished appearance of the Travertine had faded and the sealer was wearing thin, so I recommend not only cleaning the grout but also burnishing the stone to deep clean it and restore its polished appearance.

Burnishing and Cleaning a Travertine Kitchen Floor

To get the best from a stone floor, we apply a set of Diamond encrusted burnishing pads of different grades starting with a coarse 400 grit pad run over the tiles using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean. Once the pad had been run over each tile at least three times attention was turned to the grout lines which was scrubbed with more Pro-Clean and a stiff brush. Afterwards the floor is rinsed down with water and then the dirty residue is extracted with a wet vacuum.

The 400-grit pad was followed by the application of a medium 800-grit pad using only water this time to add lubrication. Again the floor is rinsed with water after use and the soiling extracted with the wet vacuum. The next two pads are a Fine 1500 grit and Extra Fine 3,000 grit which really build up a high-quality polish on the stone. Before applying the 3000-grit I spent some time filling in the larger pits (holes) in the Travertine with an epoxy filler. Travertine is notorious for having this problem and being an acid sensitive stone it very important not to use even a mildly acidic cleaning product as this can make the problem worse.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

The floor was left to dry off fully overnight and I returned the next day to seal the Travertine first checking with a damp meter that the stone was dry. The customer wanted a natural look finish to the Travertine, so to seal the tiles I applied two coasts of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer doesn’t change the look of the stone in anyway. Ultra-Seal is an impregnating sealer that works under the surface by occupying the pores in the stone thus preventing dirt from becoming ingrained there.

Travertine Kitchen Floor After Renovation Thurstaston Wirral

Once the sealer had dried the floor was treated to a gentle buff with a white pad to bring up the shine even further. Once complete the stone looked a lot healthier and the grout looked so much cleaner.


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Travertine Tabletop Before and After Polishing Heswall

Polishing a Travertine Table Top in Heswall

One of my customers for who I recently polished their Marble floor was over the moon with the results and wondered and if I could achieve the same effect with a Travertine table which had many scratches to the top. The table was at his house in Heswall which is located on the Wirral, on the Eastern side of the Dee Estuary with lovely views across the river towards North Wales.

Travertine Tabletop Before Polishing Heswall Wirral

The table was a lovely piece of stone furniture, but I could see it was badly marked, scratched and had lost much of its surface sheen. Whilst this was a slightly unusual request, the polishing process works equally well on any type of stone so apart from the physical issue of working on a raised surface, I couldn’t see a problem with working on the table and anticipated that it would come up quite well. We agreed a cost and I arranged a time to come back and complete the job.

Travertine Tabletop Before Polishing Heswall Wirral

Cleaning and Polishing a Travertine Table

When polishing floor tiles, I would normally use large Tile Doctor 17-inch diamond encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary floor buffer, naturally that simply wouldn’t work on a table however, I do have a small hand-held buffing machine that’s perfect for getting into small spaces and polishing stone wall tiles which would be perfect for this situation.

To restore the polished finish on the table I was able to use the hand buffer together with a set of four 6-inch diamond encrusted burnishing pads of different grits from coarse to very fine. The process involves working through the pads in sequence. I started the polishing with the coarse 400-grit pad and a little water, this coarse pad removes the scratches and ingrained dirt. The table was rinsed down and then the 800-grit medium pad was applied which is the first step in the polishing process. Again, this pad is applied with water to lubricate and the table was rinsed down afterwards. The process was repeated with the 1500-grit fine pad and then the 3000-grit very fine pad to bring up a really nice shine to the Travertine table, I should mention the last pad is applied dry with only a tiny amount of water sprayed onto the surface.

Sealing a Travertine Table

The last step was to seal the stone to protect it going forward for which I used two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. The sealer is rubbed into the top then the excess polished off after ten minutes. Once the sealer was dry the table surface was then buffed with a white pad to bring up the finish even further.

Travertine Tabletop After Polishing Heswall Wirral

The client was really pleased with the result, the table looked like new; he was so glad he had asked me to look at it following the work on his floors. Before leaving I talked to him about the best way to look after his table in the future and recommended for regular cleaning that he use Tile Doctor Stone Patina Spray which has been especially formulated for the regular cleaning of stone worktops.

Travertine Tabletop After Polishing Heswall Wirral


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