Travertine, a type of limestone, can be left in its natural state, with no polishing. Travertine is a sedimentary rock formed from calcareous remains of plants and animals or precipitated from solution. It is natural Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) and will yield lime when heated. Varies in hardness. Etched by acids. Porous with many visible holes, often filled with epoxy. Polishing powders tend to accumulate in the holes and can make clean-up difficult. Because it is soft and has epoxy-filled holes, it should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout and the epoxy filling are in good condition.
Travertine is one of several natural stones that are used for paving patios and garden paths. It is sometimes known as travertine limestone and as travertine marble. The stone is characterised by pitted holes and troughs in its surface. It comes in a variety of colors from grey to coral-red. Travertine is most commonly available in tile sizes for floor installations.
Travertine is etched by acids, including soft drinks and juice. Acid-based cleaning chemicals can also etch. Absorbs oils and other liquids and is more easily stained than marble. Therefore, putting Travertine in a kitchen or heavily used bathroom is not a good idea. Travertine should only be cleaned with a neutral or mild alkaline-based cleaner.
Travertine can be used for countertops but it’s not recommended. It is easy to scratch and etch. It works well for flooring, accessories and smaller spaces. This stone seems to open up small areas and makes them feel more spacious and airy. The surface finishes for travertine stone vary. Not all travertines are capable of the polished high gloss finish – only the harder types. This stone will never achieve the same glossy finish as marble. and granite will.
When it comes to bringing a beautiful, authentic and inviting aesthetic to your home, one of the best types of design materials you can use is natural stone. But with so many different types to choose from, how can you decide what is the best fit for your humble abode?
Well, travertine installation can lend your next indoor or outdoor design project plenty of style, versatility and durability. However, you should take the proper precautions to make sure your travertine tiles and travertine pavers look great for years to come.
In particular, sealing these stones will help them stand up against weather damage, scuffs and abrasions down the line. Here is some basic information about how and why you should seal your travertine installation.
Where do I seal?
Travertine stones can be used both inside and outside your home, which can leave you wondering in which circumstances you should seal the material. These stones are naturally strong enough to withstand heavy use, but sealant can ensure that they retain their charm down the line.
While it can make sense to protect tiles installed in your kitchen or bathroom – where water spillage could potentially damage the surface – this procedure is primarily done for exterior patios and travertine pool coping as well as driveway and walkway pavers.
Why is it necessary to seal?
Travertine pavers are naturally durable and resistant to water, allowing them to remain impressive parts of your home decor for many years. However, outdoor travertine pavers need extra protection when used near pool areas, especially salt water pools.
The reason for this is because travertine stones feature a surface that is naturally porous. This allows salt water to pool and become absorbed into the stone.
Additionally, external sealants are effective at protecting travertine from weathering over the years. During the cold winter months, this procedure can also shield the material from damage caused by ice repeatedly freezing and thawing.
Travertine can have four major finishes: polished (shiny), honed (matte), brushed and tumbled (textured surfaces). The type of finish given to the travertine will determine how shiny the surface will be. The most common finish for travertine is honed.
Travertine should be sealed with a penetrating sealer such as Bullet Proof to prevent staining and reduce soiling.
What are the DO’s and DON’Ts of Travertine?
• DO clean up spills immediately to minimize damage to your stone.
• DO use trivets or mats under hot dishes and cookware.
• DO use place mats under china, ceramics, silver and other objects that can scratch the stone’s surface.
• DO use coasters under glasses, especially if they contain alcohol or citrus juices.
• DO clean surfaces regularly with StoneTech™ Professional Revitalizer™ Cleaner & Protector.
• DO use StoneTech™ Professional BulletProof™ Sealer to protect the stone.
• DO use a tray for toiletry products in the bathroom to protect the surface from the damaging chemicals contained in many toiletry products.
• DO dust mop marble floor tile regularly.
• DO use door mats inside and out along with runners and area rugs on marble floors.
• DON’T wait to clean up spills on stone.
• DON’T use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub cleaners.
• DON’T use vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other general-purpose cleaners.
• DON’T use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
• DON’T use alkaline cleaners not specifically formulated for stone.
• DON’T use scouring powders and abrasives because they will scratch the surface.
• DON’T Place toiletry products directly on the countertop surface.
Care & Maintenance of Travertine:
Travertine is porous, and easily stained and is etched by acids. Avoid setting beverage glasses directly on Travertine as they leave rings. Fruit juice, carbonated beverages or other acids will etch (remove shiny surface) if allowed to remain on marble. Wipe up acid spill immediately, and wipe surface with wet cloth. If surfaced is etched, polishing may be required.
Natural stone is very porous. The best way to prevent stains is to treat the surface with a protective sealer. The sealer fills in the pores and repels spills on the surface, allowing you time to completely wipe it away.
Dust mop interior travertine floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Mats or area rugs inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the stone floor. Be sure that the underside of the mat or rug is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes. Do not use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.
We recommend that you use care and maintenance products from TASMAN CHEMICALS that are specially formulated to protect and enhance the beauty of your travertine. We recommend either STONE SHIELD ( near invisible finish) or the ENHANCE SEALER ( Deepens the natural colour shades in the stone). Once the stone is sealed, clean up is usually easy. We recommend that you use Tilekleen OR Slatekleen Cleaner. Slatekleen cleans with a gentle, pH-neutral formula that removes soils while reinforcing the original protective seal to help prevent future staining.
Although we usually think of travertine as “hard,”, it is a very porous material. Travertine has varying degrees of porosity. If left unsealed, spills and everyday messes can easily penetrate the surface. The liquid eventually evaporates but the stain is left behind.
Removal of oily stains is easily accomplished with a poultice.
The following procedure is for the installation of Natural Stone Travertine Tile for Flooring. It may be used over any wood or cement floor that is structurally sound and dry. In new home constructions where plywood is used as a sub floor, it is suggested that an underlayment or backer board needs to be attached to the sub floor to insure rigidity where travertine floors will be installed.
Clean area where travertine is to be installed. In the case of smooth painted or varnished floors, it is necessary to sand with a very coarse sand paper to assure a good mastic bond.
Lay out the travertine to understand pattern choices. For multi-color travertine, blend tile randomly to give proper blend of colors as color vary from tile to tile.
Using a notched 10mm trowel, hold at a 45° angle to be sure a full ridge is made with the notches. Spread thinset on the floor starting at a far corner so you can back out of the room as your proceed. Spread just enough area so you can reach over it to place the travertine.Spread a good amount of thinset on the floor. Adding or taking away thinset will ensure that all the tiles are evenly set
Maintain a grout space between the pieces as recommended by the travertine supplier (2mm-3mm OR if laying tumbled french pattern butt joint with expansion joints around perimeter of job and as per Australian Tiling Standards) depending on the size of the tiles. To do these accurately, use spacers. Travertine may also be laid without joints, in which case edges are then butted against one another, only if the material is honed or polished, however we recommend 2mm – 3mm joint.
Each piece of travertine should be firmly pressed into the adhesive to secure a good bond.
After all travertine is set in place – allow at least 24-36 hours depending on weather conditions, for drying before grouting joints.
Travertine tile can be easily cut with a wet saw using a diamond blade.
Grouting and Cleaning
1.Have all equipment and material clean. Clean all joints and surface of the travertine. Applying clear sealer or enhancer is recommended on travertine before grouting, so that the grout color does not penetrate the travertine tiles. Use clear sealer or enhancer as a grout release to insure a clean surface.
Using a Clear Sealer or Enhancer is a personal choice.
2. Add water slowly while mixing to get the texture of damp sand mix grout according to the manufacturer specs, and apply with a grout float to press grout deeply between the joints. Mix only enough grout to be used in about 30 minutes or difficulty will result in hardening in the pail.
3.Apply mix to joints with a grout float making certain that the joint is completely filled with mix.
4.Trowel or wipe off surplus grout from travertine with a damp sponge. Rinse several times with clean water, changing the water as often as necessary so it remains clear. It is very important to do this as you go along.
5.After grout has set hard to the touch, clean surface of travertine and along grout line by rubbing briskly with a clean piece of cloth.
6. Let joints harden for three days.
7.Wash floor completely again by freely applying fresh clean water with sponge on the entire flooring and sponging dry.
Applying clear sealer or enhancer is recommended after installation to seal the travertine tiles and the grout lines using the same sealer used as a grout release prior to grouting, wipe off all excess sealer so there is no fogging.
Using the same sealer used as grout release prior to grouting, to seal the floor, apply the 2nd coat on the tiles and grout, wipe of all excess sealer so there is no fogging.
Sealing travertine is necessary, it is a matter of choice – whether you choose to retain the natural beauty of the travertine or apply a chemical sealer that is available in a shiny or matte finish. Sealers may be purchased at retail stone dealers.
HELPFUL HINTS: Do not apply a sealer over wet, waxed or oiled travertine.
1.Apply dealer with a large clean cloth or with a paint pad. Apply in a thin coat. Sealer or enhancer will dry to the touch within two hours, however, it is advisable to stay off the floor for 24 hours.
Travertine usually has the following types of finish: polished, honed and split-faced. Travertine is also widely used as cobbles with a tumbled or sandblasted finish.
2.1 Initial wash
Do not use acid products. Since travertine is a calcium-based material, it reacts with acids and is dissolved by them. Use only neutral or alkaline detergents, depending on the type of residue to be removed.
In the case of polished travertine, do not use strong alkaline products because they could damage the mirror finish of the material. In this case, we recommend only the use of neutral detergents.
In the case of a rustic finish — whether it is tumbled or sandblasted material — and when removing installation residue (i.e. cements), disregard the above cautionary remarks and use an acid descaling agent, because this is the only way to thoroughly clean the surface of these residues.
In this case we strongly recommend the use of buffered acid descaling products, which are free of strong agents such as muriatic acid, at the greatest dilution compatible with the amount of dirt to be removed. Note that the material must be professionally installed. It is important to leave the smallest possible amount of residue so that it can be cleaned without the use of powerful chemicals.
2.2 Protection and care
Just as with marbles and polished limestone, travertine is normally only used for special applications such as bathroom and kitchen flooring. In this case, protection is assured by the use of special water- and oil-repelling products which protect the surface without generally changing its look. After application of these products, a surface residue can crop up. This must be removed after drying, from four to 24 hours after treatment according to the type of solvent used in the protective product. The same type of treatment can be applied when polished travertine is used in non-walkover areas such as: vanity tops, cooktops, thresholds, etc.
Another widely used protective treatment is waxing. In the case of home floors, we recommend the use of traditional polishable wax, which requires polishing with a cloth or polisher after application to give it a shine.
In the case of public installations, and hence with high foot traffic, we recommend the use of self-shining waxes, such as metallized waxes.
Unlike marble, which is normally waxed when its shine starts to show wear, waxing on travertine can be carried out anytime in order to protect its surface. Foot traffic can damage the original shine faster than in the case of marble or granite, which are harder materials.
The material must be maintained with a neutral detergent to avoid damaging the surface, its shine or protective treatment. It can be applied manually, with a bucket, mop or brush and rag, normally in a 3 to 5% dilution, for traditional maintenance over a small surface area. It can alternatively be applied with a scrubber-drier machine for larger areas, in which case the dilution will normally be 1 to 2%.
If stronger solutions (5 to 10%) are required for washing away more tenacious stains, a final rinse is required.
In the case of waxed floors, an alternative is 200 to 300 ml (8 to 10 fluid ounces) of a â€œwash and waxâ€ product that is poured into the washing solution. If the floor is treated with metallized wax, the normal procedure for these waxes must be followed. This includes the above-mentioned washes as well as dewaxing every one to two years, using a special wax-stripping detergent at the recommended dilution, with a subsequent application of two to three coats of the same wax.
A further maintenance treatment is crystallization, using a special crystallizing product.
This treatment is used in cases in which the mirror finish of the travertine is moderately damaged and the user wishes to avoid waxing or repolishing it. Crystallization attacks the already damaged surface to a greater or lesser degree according to the acid used in the crystallizing agent, followed by a partial repolishing with a wire wool disk added to the weight of the professional polisher. When the damage is significant, however, we recommend repolishing the floor mechanically in the traditional manner.
There is also special maintenance, which falls outside of the normal routine care schedule. Two of these operations have already been mentioned, crystallization and dewaxing. There is also a third procedure: stain removal.
A polished travertine surface can be stained in a variety of ways, especially if not treated. Note that in many instances — as with marble and polished limestone in general — these defects will not be penetrating stains, but rather surface opacity, which looks like a stain at first glance. This can happen when an acidic liquid is spilled onto the limestone surface: coffee, wine, ketchup, tea, beer, soft drinks, lemon juice, etc. In general, this covers the majority of food stains.
In such cases, there is an aggressive chemical reaction with the surface; the staining agent dissolves the salt constituting the mirror surface and renders it opaque. Normal protective agents can slow down and hold back this reaction, but they cannot fully prevent it. Only by creating a significant surface layer can the material be protected against stains of this type, but such a protective layer would destroy the natural aspect of the surface, and this is not generally an attractive option. A surface which has been damaged in this way can be partially restored with crystallization or using a polish. Other typical stains are those due to grease or oil, which can be completely removed using a stain remover spray or with poultice.
The difference between this type and the preceding lies only in the polish of the surface, so that the same types of protective treatments recommended above can be used also in this case. We can also recommend an alternative wax treatment, whereby this type of surface can be treated with two applications of a matte-finish wax, which is then obviously not polished. We can recommend this type of treatment in cases in which the customer — having chosen a smooth but opaque surface finish — wishes to keep the finish unchanged. A similar result can be obtained using a water- and oil-repelling product or a combination of water- and oil-repelling products, which normally gives a better result in terms of proofing but does not guarantee dirt repellence, which is what waxes do.
For routine care, the same considerations mentioned previously apply.
As for special maintenance, we must distinguish between the two cases. Crystallization is not an option, and staining is not a problem due to the inherently opaque surface of the material. In this case, we may see stains due to the color of the staining agent, whether it is coffee, the tomatoes in ketchup or red wine. In such cases, a special color stain remover must be used. For oily or greasy stains, stain remover sprays or poultice are both excellent solutions.
2.2.3 Tumbled stone
One of the most widely used materials employed to create tumbled stone is travertine, in all its colors: Roman, walnut, red, yellow, etc. The recommended treatment in this case consists of applying a base coat of a product, such as the usual non-filming solvent-based water and oil proofing or the more recent analogous water-based type of product, to ensure uniform absorption. This must be followed by a couple of applications of one of the vast range of commercial waxes, depending on the intended use and the type of finish desired: from extremely brilliant self-shining metallized waxes to opaque wax.
An alternative to this treatment, which is widely used especially for exterior surfaces, consists in applying two coats of a stone enhancer, which results in the so-called wet effect.This is normally an oil or resin of diverse origin.
Another possibility, which is widely used in exteriors, is the application of two coats of penetrating waterproofing, which proofs the surface against water — thus preventing damage while also impeding the formation of mold, without altering the aspect of the material. If a more extreme degree of proofing is required, especially against greasy and oily dirt, this treatment can be completed with a finish coat of oil-proofing.
As for maintenance, in this case the problem is rather more complicated. Tumbled travertine has open cavities at the surface, in contrast with polished or honed materials which are filled. These cavities are excellent accumulation points for dirt, and hence, stronger products must be used for cleaning the surface, combined with the mechanical action of the cleaning machine. Furthermore, since tumbled stone is generally used in exteriors, the dirt in question is generally much more tenacious than indoor floor dirt. Cleaning therefore requires the use of alkaline products in combination with a professional cleaner with an abrasive disk (up to green disk) or hard nylon brush. On the other hand, the surface to clean is not particularly delicate, and therefore, it can accept the use of more energetic means than those employed in the case of polished or honed travertine. In extreme cases, a waterjet cleaner may be used, after application of a solution of the alkaline product mentioned above (at a suitable dilution), left to act for a few minutes.
Travertine has had a very wide use as a wall covering. The problems connected to this application are many and various, and they require different solutions according to the intended purpose of the protective treatment.
Travertine walls can have problems with water absorption, with consequent accelerated damage to the surface, also due to acid rain and the presence of aggressive gases in the atmosphere such as sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide, both of which form acids in combination with the humidity in the air and can seriously damage the surface of the calcareous stone. This problem can be prevented with a waterproofing product, of the penetrating type if possible, which will prevent the absorption of the water that forms the aggressive acids and causes other types of damage. At the present time, effective water-based products are also available to provide this kind of protection as well as the traditional solvent-based products.
3.1 Graffiti protection and cleaning
Another problem of great importance is the graffiti, which degrades the urban landscape. In this case, we can use anti-graffiti products which prevent adhesion of the spray paints used to paint graffiti and hence facilitate subsequent cleaning operations. Two kinds of anti-graffiti products are suitable for use with travertine: sacrificial and permanent.
The sacrificial type, which is more suitable for rough surfaces and provides surface protection, is so-called because it sacrifices itself to protect the wall material. When the graffiti is cleaned off, the protective agent onto which the paint has been sprayed comes away, leaving the wall clean. The permanent type, on the other hand, is more suitable for polished surfaces and penetrates into the material, diminishing the adhesion of the graffiti, which can thus be removed more easily.
Removing graffiti requires the combined use of cleaning products and machinery. Surface-specific products must be used and are generally supplied as gels or viscous fluids to ensure better adhesion to the surface. They must be chosen according to the delicacy and type of the surface. In the case of polished travertine, the least aggressive cleaning product must be used in order to avoid damaging the surface, In the case of rough surfaces, no particular precautions need be taken, as long as acidic products are avoided, and hence it is best to use the strongest product possible in order to remove the paint from the surface cavities.
The procedure is to apply the viscous cleaning agent, allow it to act for a few minutes and then use a waterjet cleaner at 100-120 bar to remove the gel together with the paint, which has been lifted away from the surface by the cleaning agent itself.