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 Lancashire

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.

Honed Travertine Kitchen Floor Renovated in Preston

Renovating a Large Stained Travertine Tiled Floor in Preston

This customer in Preston in Lancashire had just moved into a house with a large 60m2 Travertine tiled floor that was installed throughout most of the ground floor. Travertine is a lovely stone but the previous owner had not maintained the sealer on the tiles and as a result it now looked grubby and there was a lot of dirt ingrained in the tiles leaving black staining, especially in the Kitchen.

Honed Unfilled Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Renovation Preston

This is a common problem with all natural stone floors, some are hardier than others but without a protective barrier in place they will attract dirt as the sealer become worn off. The new owner was seriously considering having the tiles ripped up, fortunately however they came across our service and decided to try having them renovated first.

Honed Unfilled Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Renovation Preston

Deep Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Floor

To get the stone clean and bring back the beautiful appearance of the Travertine I used several diamond burnishing pads which are run over the tiles with water for lubrication. The first was a coarse 200-grit pad which is fitted to a rotary floor machine and buffed into the stone in a circular motion. This process generates a lot of slurry which is then rinsed off afterwards and extracted with a wet vacuum.

Honed Unfilled Travertine Kitchen Floor During Renovation Preston

This process was then repeated using finer burnishing pads and continued with a 400-grit, 800-grit and finally a 1500-grit, again each pad was run over the tiles several times and then the slurry extracted as before. It’s a completely abrasive process with no other products needed and the result is a sealer and dirt-free tile.

Honed Unfilled Travertine Kitchen Floor During Renovation Preston

At this point I inspected the floor to see if the pads had been able to clean up the grout as well as the tile. Pads can struggle to reach down into the recess so I often find more work is needed on the grout. As suspected the Travertine had responded well to the treatment however it was clear the grout would need more work and was still stained black in places.

Normally use a grout cleaning product called Tile Doctor Pro-Clean for the grout but on this occasion, I felt something stronger would be needed. So, on this occasion I applied undiluted Tile Doctor Remove and Go along the grout lines and left it to soak in for ten minutes. It was then scrubbed in by hand, rinsed off and the soil remove with the wet vacuum. The grout cleaning had worked a treat and happy with the condition of the floor it was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

The next morning time was spent filling in holes (aka pitting) in the Travertine with colour matching grout before running over the whole floor with a very fine 3000-grit polishing pad to further bring up the appearance of the stone. This is done using a little water sprayed onto the tile a process we call a spray burnish.

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.

Honed Unfilled Travertine Kitchen Floor After Renovation Preston

Before leaving I took time to discuss aftercare cleaning and how important it is to avoid the use of strong cleaning products (especially bleach) on Travertine, not only will it degrade the sealer but can also harm the stone. For the regular cleaning of sealed Travertine, I recommend using Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is a gentle but effective cleaner that also helps maintain the patina.

Honed Unfilled Travertine Kitchen Floor After Renovation Preston


Professional Renovation of a Travertine Floor Tiles in Lancashire

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Travertine Table Top After Restoration Preston

Travertine Table Top Restoration In Preston

Here’s a quick job I did at a house in the town of Preston, located on the north bank of the River Ribble. My customer had a Travertine table top that had become dull and lost its shine however being a polished stone I knew it should be possible to burnish the shine back.

Travertine is very popular for both commercial and residential use, as it is a natural material with unique features and characters that distinguish it from other types of stone. It can be used for floor tile, kitchen flooring, bathroom wall tile, patios and, in like in this case, table tops.

Travertine Table Top Before Restoration Preston

Burnishing a Travertine table top

My first main task was to restore a nice polished finish to the table top. I did this using a system of four small six inch Tile Doctor Diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The pads come in different grits and attached to a small hand held buffing machine are used in turn with a little water starting with a Coarse grit before moving on to pads with Medium, Fine and Very Fine grits. Despite being quite a physical task, the impact the process of burnishing can have on a dull surface in a short space of time is incredible (as the photos show).

Travertine Table Top During Restoration Preston

Sealing a Travertine table top

After completing the burnishing, the second half of the job centred on sealing the newly polished table top. This was done using one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, which is a solvent-based, penetrating sealer specially designed to provide maximum protection against dirt and stains.

Ultra-Seal is particularly useful for sealing table tops in kitchens upon which food is prepared and served. It also accentuates the natural look of the Travertine while allowing the stone to breathe moisture. The product is suitable for use on most types of natural stone, including Marble, Granite, Slate, Travertine, Limestone, and more.

Travertine Table Top After Restoration Preston

Putting the shine back on a Travertine stone table top in Lancashire

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Honed Travertine Lancaster After

Resolving Honed Travertine Tiled Floor Installation Problems in Lancashire

This honed Travertine tiled floor was newly laid by a professional tiler in South Lancaster, unfortunately however the tiler mistook some white lines in the stone as resin post installation and tried very hard to remove them damaging the finish of the stone (it’s quite common for new stone to have this issue). The white marks turned out be in the stone itself and not on the surface, to complicate things further the Travertine had been laid onto electric under floor heating so it would have been tricky to lift and replace the tiles without compromising the expensive heating matts placed underneath the stone.

The customer was left in a dilemma as the suppliers of the stone were blaming the tiler and the tiler the supplier, the only option was to call out Tile Doctor. On inspection and after conducting two cleaning tests we managed to get a result with our burnishing system with no white lines showing after the Travertine had dried out.

Honed Travertine Lancaster Before

Stripping and Re-Polishing Travertine

To get the Travertine looking new again we had to strip back the surface of the tile using a set of Diamond Encrusted burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a coarse stripper pad with water to strip back the surface and then move onto the finer pads to polish the floor. We also use some grinding discs to remove scratches left behind by the kitchen fitters who were clumsy when fitting the kitchen.

Once I was happy that all the problems had been resolved with the Travertine tile we resealed it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow to get a nice overall finish for the floor. Colour grow is a great sealer to use on natural stone as now only will it offer good stain protection it brings out the colours in the stone.

Honed Travertine Lancaster After

Honed Travertine Tiled Floor Problems resolved in Lancaster

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Travertine Tile Restoration

Southport Travertine Tiled Floor Restoration

This Travertine tiled floor was laid in the kitchen, utility and hallway of a residence in Southport. The floor was in need of a clean and seal and there was an added complication that the customer had dropped a heavy Iron on the Travertine tile which had cracked and in turn had become loose causing it to catch under the door. To add to the complication the floor was fitted with electric under floor heating throughout. Normally I’m a big fan of under heated floors as it can speed up the drying process no end however I was concerned there was a chance that we might damage the cable. Given the situation the customer agreed to sign a waiver in case we damaged the wires whilst trying to replace the damaged stone.

Cracked Dirty Travertine Tile

Replacing the Cracked Travertine Tile

Normally to replace a tile it’s necessary to use an Angle Grinder or similar to remove the grout and then chip gingerly away at the tile until you have removed all the pieces, in this case however the Iron had done a good job of smashing the tile so it was just a case of carefully removing the pieces and then cleaning up the grouted edges. Naturally we had to take extra care due to avoid damaging the cable however once this was done we were soon onto re-applying tile adhesive, fitting a replacement tile and re-grouting. Whilst the tile adhesive was setting we were able to get on with the job of cleaning the remainder of the Travertine tiled floor.

Travertine Tile Removed

Stripping and Re-Polishing Travertine

To strip any remaining sealer from the floor and get it back to its original condition we used a set of diamond encrusted Burnishing Pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a Red stripper pad with water to remove the sealer and the move onto the White, Yellow and Green pads which polish the floor. Once the surface was restored we applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is a natural-look penetrating sealer that is recommended for food preparation areas such as a kitchen.

Travertine Tile Restoration
No damage was done to the under floor heating and the customer was once again happy to show off her floor, as it turns out we were the only company that was willing to take the problem on.

Travertine Tiled Floor Restoration in Southport

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Lancashire Tile Doctor

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