Polishing Dull Travertine Floor Tiles in Swansea

This customer from Swansea was unhappy with the look of her Travertine floor tiles and so decided to call in tile doctor after she had seen pictures of other travertine floor tiles on one of our websites and wanted hers to look the same. The natural brown shades of her own Travertine tiles had become very dark and were looking dull and lifeless in comparison.

It was clear to me that the Sealer was wearing thin with use and dirt had now penetrated the pores of the stone making it difficult to clean effectively. This is a common problem with stone floors and this is why Tile Doctor offer a maintenance service where we pop round once a year to top-up the sealer on your floor.

Travertine Floor Swansea Before Cleaning Travertine Floor Swansea Before Cleaning

Stripping and Re-Polishing Travertine

To restore the polished appearance of the floor the stone would need to be stripped of any remaining sealer and dirt, re-polished and then sealed; we find the best way to achieve that is through the application of a set of Diamond encrusted burnishing pads.

I started the burnishing process by fitting a coarse 400 grit no.1 burnishing pad to a floor buffer and running at a slow speed ran the pad across the whole floor. This coarse pad is designed to strip off old sealers and dirt from the tile. You use a little water to help lubricate and once complete it’s necessary to rinse the area with water to remove the soil that is generated. The next step is to start building back the polish with the 800 and then 1500 grit pads which are applied in the same manner.

The floor was then rinsed again with water and I turned my attention to the grout which was scrubbed by hand using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and a stiff brush. The floor was given another rinse and then inspected to ensure I hadn’t missed anything. Before leaving for the day I used the wet vacuum to extract as much moisture from the floor as possible.

Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles

On the second day I finished the banishing process with the application of the final of the four pads which is a very fine 3000 grit pad which adds a final polish to the surface leaving it looking shiny. This last pad is applied with a small amount of water spayed onto the tile in a process we call a spray burnish. The use of water is so small the floor remains dry enabling us to apply a sealer shortly afterwards.

There are some beautiful brown shades in Travertine and so to really make them standout I sealed the floor using a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone protecting it from within. The sealer will also make ongoing cleaning and maintenance easier for the customer.

Travertine Floor Swansea After Cleaning

The customer was very pleased with the result and commented on how clean and deep the shine had come out using the Diamond pad system.

Travertine Floor Swansea After Cleaning

Before leaving I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Stone Soap as an aftercare cleaner, this produce is specially designed for cleaning polished stone, not only does it helps build patina, but it won’t prematurely erode the sealer like many acidic cleaners you find in the supermarket which should really only be used on ceramics and Vinyl tiles.
 
 
Source: Travertine Tile Cleaning and Polishing Service in Swansea

Removing Lippage from a Polished Travertine Floor

The customer, who lives in Swansea, the second largest city in Wales after Cardiff, had been searching for a company to rectify the problems with his Travertine tiled floor for a few months with no luck. Fortunately, he discovered Tile Doctor online and as their local agent I was asked to assess the problems first hand.

Uneven Travertine Floor Before Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

Upon my inspection, I was quite astounded by the way the Travertine floor had been installed. It covered an around 60 square metres and suffering severe lipping of 2-3 mm in some areas between tiles. Lipping occurs when you have variation in the height of adjoining tiles, and it can be quite a trip hazard.

Uneven Travertine Floor Before Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

The floor was laid in September 2016 on a new screed, so I knew there would be no damp issues. I checked the spare tiles the customer had in surplus and determined they were 13mm thick so the solution I proposed was to grind down the tiles by 2-3mm using coarse diamond encrusted milling pads and then restore the polish with a set of fine burnishing pads. You can only do this with natural stone and given the tiles were 13mm thick it shouldn’t present a problem.

Levelling an Uneven Travertine Tiled Floor

I used a set of Tile Doctor milling pads, starting with the 50 grit Extra Coarse pad to remove the lippage throughout the whole floor. It was a large area and with 2-3mm to grind off the tile it took four days nearly three pads to complete.

Uneven Travertine Floor During Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

I then used the 100-grit coarse pad to further smooth the surface the 50-grit pad had etched, followed by the 200-grit pad to refine the finish even further. After every pad application, I rinsed and vacuumed and the area to remove the slurry.

Uneven Travertine Floor During Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

Restoring the Polish on a Travertine Tiled Floor

After removing the tile lippage, I knew that the floor would be a lot easier to polish using our set of four Tile Doctor burnishing pads, which would do the job of restoring the desired polish. I started with the Coarse 400 grit pad and worked my way through the system of burnishing pads using a little water to help lubricate and rinsing away the slurry between each pad. The pads were applied in sequence from Medium, Fine and then Very Fine pads to achieve a fantastic polished finish.

Next, I needed to fill a lot of cavities remaining in the stone. I did this filling after the burnishing to avoid the filler coming loose during the work in progress.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

The final step in the restoration process was to seal the floor using our impregnating sealer, known as Tile Doctor Colour Grow. I highly recommend this product for stone as it not only does add durable protection by occupying the pores in the stone it also enhances it’s natural colours.

Finally, I removed any surplus sealer with a cloth and left the floor to dry for another hour, before using the Very Fine pad to refine the polish and ensure that no smears were present.

Uneven Travertine Floor After Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

The work took eight days to complete and both myself and the customer were delighted with the results of the restoration of the floor which was a total disaster to look at when I first inspected it. The customer thought it was beyond repair – until he found Tile Doctor.

Uneven Travertine Floor After Levelling and Polishing in Swansea

 
 
Source: Travertine Tile and Cleaning and Sealing Service in SE Wales