Polished stone floors such as Travertine need to be regularly maintained correctly or will lose their sheen over time, additionally grout lines can fill with dirt and light scratches can quickly dull down Travertine and attract yet more soil. This was the case with this Travertine tiled floor in Northampton which had been left too long between deep cleans and now the protective sealer had worn off and were badly scratched and soiled.
Burnishing Polished Travertine Tiles
To get the surface back to a condition where it can be polished again it’s necessary to burnish the Travertine using a set of diamond encrusted floor pads. The pads come in a set of four and you start with the coarse pad which together with a little water cuts through and removes grime and sealers from the tile. This take a bit of time to get around the whole floor and then you rinse it down to remove any slurry and start again with the medium pad which is of a higher grade and is the first step in the polishing process. Again the floor is rinsed before moving on to the third pad which is a fine grade and is the second step in bringing the polish back.
By this time it was getting late so the floor was given another rinse and I came back the next day to apply the final pad in the set of four which is a super fine pad that is run over the floor and puts the final shine on the polished Travertine. The floor was given another rinse and left to dry so it could be sealed later that afternoon.
Sealing Polished Travertine Tiles
There are a number of sealers that you can use on Travertine and in this case I chose Tile Doctor Colour Grow which in an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone to prevent contaminates lodging there and also does well to bring out the natural colours in the stone.
All in the job took two days and I’m happy to report the customer was very happy with the results.
Details below of another Travertine tiled floor that we re-furbished recently in the kitchen of a house in Lutterworth which is a market town located in southern Leicestershire. The floor was looking dull and flat and the colours had become washed out, it now needed burnishing to strip off the dirt and bring back the polish; another problem were the natural holes which you find in Travertine had not been filled and were now trapping dirt and proving difficult to clean.
Filling Holes in Travertine
To deal with the ingrained dirt and to remove any surface coatings the floor was cleaned with a dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go, this is quite a strong product normally reserved from stripping sealers and other coatings but it’s also an effective cleaning product so to save time I decided to use this first giving the floor a thorough wash down and rinse afterwards. The grout was also given a thorough scrub during this activity and once that was done the soiled waster extracted the floor was inspected and the holes in the travertine filled using a special Travertine filler product.
Burnishing Travertine Tiles
The next step was to burnishing the entire floor using a set of burnishing pads which strip back any surface dirt from the stone using a coarse diamond encrusted burnishing pad and then building up the finish with a medium, fine and super fine pad until you have restored the polish and appearance. This process blends the Travertine filler added earlier into the stone so it’s impossible to tell the holes had been filled; I should mention you need to use little water which is used to lubricate the process and in-between each pad the resultant slurry is rinsed away. Once this is done the floor is given a thorough rinse which is then extracted and then left to dry overnight.
Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles
On our return the floor was checked to ensure it had dried out using a damp meter in a few different spots. The floor was dry so it was sealed using a tow coats to Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that gets into the pores of the stone to prevent dirt from becoming ingrained there; Colour Grow also enhances the colours in the stone and this works well on Travertine as it brings out the brown colours.
This property in Telford had been purchased six months earlier with a view to refurbishing it and had recently started to get it back in shape. The history of the Travertine tiled floor was unknown but there was evidence of the wrong kind of maintenance as the legs of the kitchen cabinet was blown by excess moisture. The new owner did mention that the previous owner had three teenage children and I suspect keeping the floor maintained properly was probably not a priority.
Cleaning Travertine Tiles
The first step was to give the floor a general wash to remove any grit and the grout clean so we started by applying a mild dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was spread over the floor with particular attention paid to getting the solution into the grout lines. The solution was left to dwell for 10 minutes in order for it to soak in and eat through any dirt and existing sealer; we then used a stiff grout brush to scrub each and every grout line. Next we removed any trace of product by using a wet vacuum and rinsing thoroughly with clean water.
The next step was to use our diamond encrusted burnishing pads which attach to a rotary machine and burnish the floor with four different grits from coarse to super fine. First using course pad number 1 we put some clean water on the floor and using our rotary machine slowly burnished the area making sure that we passed over each tile 4 times, this coarse pad cuts into the surface grime of the floor and also removes sealers. The resultant soiled water is rinsed away with clean water which in turn is removed using a wet vacuum. This process is then repeated with the remaining pads, rinsing between each pad until a nice polish is built up on the tile. The floor is then given a final rinse and once we were satisfied that all the slurry had been removed we left the floor to dry overnight.
Cleaning Travertine and Limestone Tiles
When I returned the floor was tested using a damp meter to make sure the Travertine had dried sufficiently for sealing. It had so I started to seal it using a single coat of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that will occupy the pores in the stone to prevent other contaminates getting in there, Colour Grow also brings out the colours in the stone.
It’s tricky to capture all of this with photographs although you should be able to see the shine now the polish has been restored, the main thing is the customer was very happy with the results and was kind enough to leave the following message.
“We moved into a house with very unloved travertine tiles in the kitchen, bathroom and WC. We were really impressed with Jozsef. He was friendly, knowledgeable and conscientious. He was up front with us about what could be achieved with the tiles and we are very pleased with the results. He worked efficiently, was tidy, prompt and mindful of our very young children. We would definitely recommend Jozsef.”
Incredibly this Travertine tiled floor had been laid just two weeks prior and unfortunately the tiler had not cleaned the floor prior to sealing thus trapping in dirt and dust that were present on the floor and now the tiles looked dull and dirty. Sealing floors can be a minefield and it’s possible the dirt was not that obvious and by sealing the floor it magnified the issue literally; whatever the reason the only solution would be to strip the floor of its sealer, clean the floor and then reseal.
Maintaining Travertine Tiles
To strip the floor of the sealer and clean it requires the application of a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pads which are fitted to a rotary machine in a set sequence and run over the floor lubricated with a little water. There are four pads in the set, you start with a coarse pad which will remove ingrained dirt and sealers before moving on to the medium, fine and very fine polishing pads which are a much finer grit and restore the polished finish of the stone. The floor needs to be rinsed down between each pad application to remove the soil that is produced and then given a final wash at the end to make sure the floor is clean before sealing.
Polishing and Sealing Travertine Tile
The floor must be dry before sealing so it was left to dry overnight and I came back the next day to seal it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that occupies the pores in the stone so dirt cannot become ingrained there and in the process it also enhances the natural colours in the stone. Once the sealer was dry it was buffed using a white buffing pad to make sure that I hadn’t left any residues from the seal.
The customer was very happy with work and they now have the floor that they wanted.
The pictures below are from a Travertine tiled en-suite bathroom at a house in the town of Horsham. A black mould had become ingrained in the pores of the shower tiles and the owner wanted it cleaned up before she rented the property out. The client had tried various well known supermarket products to remove the mould and grime from the tile, grout and sealing strip but without success so we got a call.
Cleaning Travertine Shower Tile
After explaining the cleaning process to the owner I set about the task by first cleaning the tiles and grout with a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was decanted into a spray bottle and sprayed onto the tile where it was allowed to soak in before being scrubbed in with a stiff brush. The wall was washed down with fresh water and stubborn areas re-treated. This worked well and removed all the discolouration and grime leaving the tiles and grout looking almost new.
Sealing Travertine Shower Tile
Travertine is a natural stone and to prevent grime penetrating into the pores of the tile making it difficult to clean it needs to be sealed so the next step was to let the tile and grout dry out followed by some assistance with a heat gun. Once they were dry we were able to seal them using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that also enhances the natural colour in the stone.
To finish the job we cleaned up the shower head and taps removing any calcium deposits and cleaned the shower screen. The old silicone sealer was discoloured and the only effective way to refresh it was to completely remove and replace it with new mould resistant silicone.
Once all the remedial work was complete the client came to have a look and was very pleased with the outcome as was I.
I recently carried out a clean and diamond polish of a Travertine tiled floor in Surbiton for a customer who had been fed up with the floor since she and her husband had moved in 2 years ago. The floor was the last job on their list of things to be done and they wanted to make sure that it was done properly as unfortunately in the past they have fallen prey to unscrupulous tradesmen who had not lived up to expectations.
When I was asked to quote I explained what I would do and showed pictures of previous work, and also my Trustmark Accreditation. They had also researched my work through my website and through the work history where there are lots of examples of Travertine tiles I have worked on in the past. I received the work order the next day and booked the job in for three weeks after.
Stripping and Polishing Travertine Tiles
I arrived at the agreed date and time and was pleasantly surprised to see that they had put sheeting around all of their kitchen units and skirting so all I had to protect was the wooden flooring next to the travertine.
My first job was to scrub the floors Using Tile Doctor Pro Clean to get rid of any ingrained dirt and clean the grout, the soiled cleaning solution was then removed using a wet vacuum and we moved onto burnishing the stone. This is done using a rotary scrubbing machine fitted with a coarse diamond encrusted burnishing pad and a little water began to strip off the old dirt and seal from the floor, the resulting slurry was then removed using a wet vacuum. The burnishing pads come in a set of four so once we were done with the coarse pad we moved on to the Medium pad which is the first step in the polishing process.
At this point I could see more work was required to improve the grout which was done using a combination of pressurised steam, more Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and a stiff brush. Once I had removed all the dirt and old seal from the grout I went on to the next stage of polishing and used the fine pad finally moving on to the extra fine pad to give the floor that extra deep shine.
Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles
Once the floor was dry we set about sealing it using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer designed to provide maximum stain protection on natural stone floors whilst bringing out the colour in the stone. After the second coat was applied I waited 10 minutes before buffing any excess residue with a white buffing pad.
I offered the customer the option of creating a higher shine by applying Tile Doctor Shine Powder to give it a mirror polish but she declined as she was more than happy with the finish. Overall the floor came out really well and I found it quite a humbling experience as she was constantly saying thank you due to the fact that she had been messed about by previous contractors so was quite relieved to find someone who could actually do the job properly.
Occasionally I get a call to pop down to Sandbanks on the Dorset Coast which is well known for containing the most expensive property in the UK outside of London. This particular residence had a Travertine tiled hallway which was badly in need of renovation, it had become very soiled and dirt had become trapped in holes that has opened up in the stone over time and now needed cleaning and filling.
Cleaning and Filling a Travertine Tiled Floor
I began by applying a dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to soak into the floor for ten minutes before being worked into the tile and grout using a Numatic buffing machine fitted with a medium brush. I then dried the floor using a hot air gun and filled the holes with Harbro Stone Filler which is an epoxy filler as hard as the stone itself. I carefully scraped off the excess filler before leaving it to set overnight.
Burnishing Travertine Tiles
The next day I used 17″ wet and dry paper to remove the excess filler and to cut out some of the deep scratches in the travertine. This I followed by honing and polishing the floor using Tile Doctor burnishing pads which are diamond encrusted and come in a setup of four pads which are applied one after the other from Coarse, Medium, Fine and then Super Fine to restore the surface polish.
Sealing Travertine Tiles
On the third day I returned to seal the Travertine tiles using Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnating sealer that soaks into the pores of the stone occupying them and in doing so preventing dirt and soil from becoming ingrained into the stone. Colour Grow is also a colour enhancing product that brings out the colour in the stone
Unfortunately I didn’t remember to take a photo of the floor until after the initial clean but the effect of the filling and burnishing pad treatment should be visible.
These Travertine tiles were laid five years ago at a residential property in Ashton Clinton and our client had never been entirely happy with the tillers finish from sealing which was marked with smears and also had the tillers bare footed prints embedded within the seal. The sealer was now wearing off and polish fading so it was due to be re-done and we were given the call.
Burnishing a Travertine Tiled Floor
The owner had maintained the floor well so we set to work removing the old sealer using rotary machine fitted with a coarse number One diamond encrusted burnishing pad and a little water. The resultant slurry was rinsed off and removed using a powerful wet vacuum the grout lines were given a good scrub by hand using a stiff brush and Tile Doctor Grout clean–up. With the same method we cleaned and polished the tiles with the number Two and Three burnishing pads followed by a final clean and rinse and then left to dry overnight.
Sealing and Polishing Travertine Tile
The next day the tiles had completely dried we used the final number Four burnishing pad which is a very fine pad to polish and add shine to the travertine floor. The last stage was to seal the Travertine which we did with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour intensifying sealer that brings out the colours in natural stone and provide lasting protection.