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What You Need to Know About Travertine Tile

There is no denying the beauty and richness that travertine adds to an environment but if you do not properly care for it and know how to maintain it, it can become a nightmare. It’s really not something that you should lose sleep over but it does come with some special requirements. 

Travertine Tile Types and Placement

When travertine is used in homes and offices, it is either polished or honed. Polished travertine may have a high shine that makes it look like glass, or a medium shine that resembles a lightly waxed floor.

Honed travertine has a matte finish, little to no reflection. Technically, honed stone is actually a polishing process. Waxes or sealers should not be used to get a polish stone look. Sealers with gloss built in them will need to be stripped as they start to flake and wear in 1 year or so.

Suggested areas of use for various types of travertine polishing and sealing

  • High shine polishing and sealing is best used in areas where there is high traffic or places that are exposed to moisture, such as floors, bathroom and shower walls and on countertops
  • Medium shine is best used on walls, not constantly exposed to moisture-- such as in entryways or on patio walls
  • Honed travertine is used in shower stalls on the flooring, to prevent slipping and on table tops or walls not exposed to direct sunlight or moisture

Highly polished stone not only looks like glass but becomes slippery like glass when it gets wet.  So, in spite of the fact that it would be better protected from the elements, it should never be used outside or near pools.

Regardless of the type of polishing you prefer, all travertine needs to be sealed to protect it from damage. 

Daily Care of Travertine Tile Floors

In spite of being referred to as “marble”, Travertine is not marble: it needs to be handled in a slightly different way. The following are tips that can be used on all types of travertine. 

Tips on Daily Care of Travertine Floors:

  • Do Not Use a Mop and Bucket for cleaning.
  • Use a microfiber dry dust mop or a product like Swiffer dry duster daily – if you can, dry-dust your floors at least twice a day, in the morning and evening.
  • Use soft  brooms and a vacuum attachment with soft brushes for cleaning the dry soil.  Sweepers with stiff bristle brushes, or vacuums can grind, scratch the dust and dirt into your stone and damage it over time

Washing Travertine Floors

  • Use Spring Water NOT tap water – with a stone safe cleaning agent such as an organic, biodegradable to wash floors, counters, bathroom tiles – any interior travertine
  • Dry with a microfiber mop, a Swiffer like dry duster product and BLOT – not rub or drag - the gathered water
  • Do not walk on your ‘damp’ floors or put rugs back down, until the floor is completely dry
  • If you own a steam cleaner that uses soft cloth pads – no brushes! – then clean your floors with plain bottled water , rinse or replace the soft pads  frequently , usually every 100 sq ft.

The reason for using bottled spring water instead of tap water is because all tap water contains minerals and chemicals that can damage the stone. Bottled water is just cleaner; no soap or other chemicals are needed to clean with the addition of the steam. 

Never, under any circumstances, use any type of wax on a travertine floor. Wax does not seal stone: it will actually seep into the small crevices and glues dirt to your travertine. Removing the wax must be done by a professional with the proper diamond grinder; the stone will require different processing, similar to sanding a wood floor. 

Exterior Travertine Care

If you have travertine on the patio or other outside areas, you will need to clean it at least once a week with a pressure hose. Use no chemical cleaners or bleach to clean your pavers and leave deep cleaning to the professionals.

For Professional Maintenance

Every area of the country has its own idiosyncrasies that affect Travertine and other stone applications in different ways.

In the San Diego area, the air contains microscopic elements of salt and sand that gets carried on the winds--- into your home. 

  • Travertine requires Professional Cleaning at least every 12 -24 months in the San Diego area
  • Quality Stone Sealers can last up to 4 to 6  years with proper maintenance practices and safe travertine cleaning agents.
  • If your travertine becomes stained, do not attempt to remove the stains on your own. 
  • Using a poultice mixture on your expensive stone can create additional crevices and make the stone weaker in those areas. Once the stone is weakened, it is more likely to crack and chip. 

Travertine installations last for decades, as long as it is properly maintained. Hiring professionals that are experienced and knowledgeable about the proper methods of cleaning, polishing and sealing will save you money and frustration.

Carpet and Tile Cleaning by Silver Olas has years of experience and can clean, polish, seal and maintain your Travertine.  Let’s hear from you. Give us a call today at (760-753-0969) and we’ll take it from there. We always provide a free estimate.

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Customer Reviews

"Great work and overall experience with cleaning travertine floors."

-Joe G, Customer Lobby


"My travertine is repaired, sealed and shined."

-Marilyn G, Yelp