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 Cambridge

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.

Travertine Shower Tile Renovation Molesworth Huntingdon

Travertine Tiled Shower Refresh in Molesworth Cambridge

I was contacted by a building contractor with a request to resolve an issue for a client in Molesworth (near Huntingdon) who had discoloured travertine tile and grout in their Travertine tiled shower cubicle. I offer a bathroom tile refresh service which includes cleaning up the tile and grout and replacing grubby silicone sealant and the firm was keen to try it out.

Travertine Shower Before Refresh Molesworth Huntingdon

On arrival I could see the tiles had become heavily soiled around the bottom of shower with the usual problems including discolouration from the dyes in shampoos, soap scum and mould build up. I gave the contractor a price for the work, and he was happy to go ahead. As this was a small job, I was able to get started straight away.

Deep Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Shower

I began by spraying the tile and grout with Tile Doctor Duo Clean which is an effective double action cleaning product which cleans up grout and can remove mould and blackspot from grout and silicone. Then the Travertine was burnished with a set of six-inch burnishing pads fitted to a hand buffer. The pads come in different grades and are applied in sequence to the tiles starting with coarse and finishing with very fine. Water is applied to help lubricate the burnishing process and I rinsed off the soiling in-between each pad. Normally I would use a wet vacuum at this point to remove the soiling but working in a contained shower cubicle makes this easier as you can simply rinse the soiling away.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Shower

Once the area had dried, I was able to apply Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal to the Travertine to protect it and make further staining easy to remove in the future. Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which is an almost invisible product that doesn’t change the natural appearance of the stone and works by penetrating the stone, occupying the pores in the stone, and thereby protecting it from within. Ultra-Seal is also excellent for sealing the grout too and will make the water run off the wall and straight into the shower tray.

After sealing the old silicone sealant around the edges of the shower was stripped out and then replaced with a new mould resistant product. Once done the shower looked like a new installation.

Travertine Shower After Refresh Molesworth Huntingdon

The client was thrilled with their refreshed bathroom and later I received the following message from them:

“Just to say thank you so much for your amazing results today on our shower room. We are totally thrilled”

I also got a 5 star review from the building contractor.

” “Our customer was very happy with the end result.”

For regular aftercare cleaning I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Aqua Pro which will help to keep the shower tile and grout in good condition. This is a pH neutral cleaner which is mild enough to use after every shower and won’t impact the sealer which can be the problem with stronger products you find in supermarkets.


Professional Restoration of a Travertine Tiled Shower in Huntingdon

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Travertine Tiled Patio Floor Restoration in Stonely

Renovating a Large Travertine Patio in Stonely

Earlier in the year I paid a visit to a property in the small and sleepy hamlet of Stonely on the outskirts of St Neots to survey a large Travertine patio which needed renovating. As you can see from the photos the patio was looking tired and needed some work.

Travertine Patio Before Cleaning Stonely

After an inspection I could see that the stone patio had three main problems:

  • First it needed a deep clean to remove a build-up of dirt and algae making them slippery.
  • Second there was areas of loose grout which had become dislodge over time and now needed raking out replacing.
  • Third some of the Travertine tiles had become loose over the years and needed lifting, cleaning up and relaying.

We always try and do a site visit where possible as photos don’t always give us the true picture and we always want to give the client an accurate quote as possible. The client was happy to go ahead with the remedial work and keen to have the Patio in full working order so they could make use of the space whilst the weather was good.

Travertine Patio Before Cleaning Stonely

Deep Cleaning and Repairing a Travertine Patio

My first task was to give the patio a deep clean using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Remove and Go which was left to soak into the patio. After ten minutes it was scrubbed in with a medium 1500-grit burnishing pad fitted to a rotary machine. This action lifted the ingrained dirt out of the stone and cleaned up the surface.

Tile Doctor Remove and Go is a multi-purpose coatings remover formulated to remove old sealers and other coverings. This product also draws out ingrained stains and can remove heavy grease build-up, so it was perfect for this job. I then used a truck mounted hot water extraction machine to remove the dirt and slurry which is extracted to grey water tank on the van. It was a large patio, so the cleaning process took up most of day one.

I came back the following day to carry out the necessary repairs which consisted of filling in holes, cracks and raking out and replacing loose grout. In addition, one whole length of tiles on the step had to be removed, cleaned then relayed as all of them had become loose over the years. Once all repairs where complete I arranged to return the following day to complete the renovation with the application of a sealer.

Sealing a Travertine Patio

I returned on day three to seal the entire Travertine Patio, fortunately we had picked a good week to do the work and the weather remained dry. For the sealer I chose Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that is externally rated and should cope well with the UK weather. This gave the patio a lovely finish and will give the stone protection from staining and make it much easier to keep clean, in fact a rinse with a hose should do the job.

Travertine Patio After Cleaning Stonely

The client was very happy with the outcome and is now able to finally get the garden furniture out and start using the outside space without fear of slipping or tripping on the loose stone. I was even asked to come back again to clean and seal another stone patio at the rear of the garden, which I will now doubt follow up later with a separate article.

The client left the following Five Star feedback, for which we are always very grateful as so much of our work comes from recommendations.

“A very professional attitude, and a job well done and on time”

Travertine Patio After Cleaning Stonely

Professional Travertine Patio Maintenance in Cambridgeshire

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Travertine Floor After Cleaning Cambridge

Lustre Restored to Large Area of Travertine Tiles in Cambridge

Travertine is a type of Limestone which exists in several variations, including white, tan, and cream-colored. It has distinct colourings and patterns that no other stone can offer and as such it is a very popular choice for tiled floors amongst home owners.

However, Travertine tiles are not the easiest to keep looking at their best. A high-quality polished finish can be difficult to maintain, especially as sealers wear away and all manner of dirt becomes ingrained in the pores of the stone.

The pictures below were taken at a house in Cambridge where the owner had this exact same problem and requested my help to get them looking their best again. The Travertine tiles had been installed across most of the entire ground floor of the house, including the kitchen, dining room, living room, office and utility room.

The owner was not happy with the current appearance of the floor because the shine and reflectivity that had once existed had gradually worn away. The floor was also littered with many pitted holes (caused by natural erosion) and a few cracks which would need to be filled.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cambridge Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cambridge

Cleaning and Burnishing Travertine Tiles

My first step in restoring the tiles was to remove the kick boards from around the kitchen and utility room, before masking up all walls and wooden units with protective décor film. This was done to prevent these areas from encountering any cleaning product.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Cambridge
Next, I began the cleaning process by applying Tile Doctor Pro Clean across the entire area and worked it into the stone using a scrubbing brush fitted to my rotary machine. This high alkaline cleaner broke down any old sealer while also relieving the stone and grout lines of any ingrained dirt.

After the initial clean, I used the Tile Doctor system of four diamond encrusted burnishing pads on the tiles. Burnishing is a form of polishing that involves gradually honing the surface of the stone, first by applying a Coarse grit pad, followed by a Medium, Fine, and finally a Very Fine grit pad to achieve a high quality polished finish. The system uses a little water for lubrication and the floor is rinsed between each pad to remove the soil so it can take some time to complete especially on a floor this size.

Once I was done I filled in the pitted holes and cracks with an appropriate resin filler before applying the Very Fine pad.

Travertine Floor Tile After Crack Repair Cambridge

Sealing Travertine Tiles

To finish the restoration, the tiles needed to be sealed. I did this firstly by applying Tile Doctor Shine Powder, which is natural sealer in a crystallising powder form. I applied it using a white pad and polished the tiles to provide the very high shine and tough durable finish the client had requested.

Following this I applied one coat of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal, which is an impregnating sealer, to add further protection. To add the finishing touches, I quick buffed the floor with Tile Doctor Stone Patina Spray, a cleaner that is designed to enhance the natural beauty and lustre of polished stone as it cleans. Regular use of this product helps to maintain the polished effect.

Travertine Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Cambridge Travertine Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Cambridge

The customer absolutely loved her new floor. She even remarked that it looked as good as new and better than ever before.

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Travertine floor after polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge

Travertine Tiled Floor Stripped and Polished in Great Wilbraham

If you want a polished stone floor to keep its appearance, then it will need a regular maintenance plan in place, without it the stone will lose its polish and start to look dull and un-inviting which was the story with this Travertine tiled floor installed throughout much of the grout floor of this house in the village of Great Wilbraham near Cambridge.

Travertine floor before polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge
I was able to find out from the owner that the floor was last treated six years ago with Lithofin Stain Stop which is a solvent based impregnating sealer which like all sealers will wear off after a few years. Naturally this depends on the amount of wear the floor receives and what tends to happen is this process occurs more rapidly in the high traffic areas leading to an uneven appearance.

Travertine floor before polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge
The best course of action now would be to remove what was left of the sealer and re-polish and seal the floor.

Filling Holes in Travertine

During my inspection of the floor I had noticed a number of irregular holes in one of the Travertine tiles which needed filling with a colour matching filler; this worked out quite well and as you can see from the photographs below the result looked entirely natural.

Travertine floor before filling in Great Wilbraham Cambridge Travertine floor after filling in Great Wilbraham Cambridge

Stripping the Sealer from Travertine Floor Tiles

After protecting the clients skirting boards with protective film we proceeded to burnish the floor through with a set of Tile Doctor Diamond encrusted honing pads.

Travertine floor before polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge
During the application of the first coarse pad we also added a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean combined with NanoTech Ultra-Clean to aid the removal of sealer residues from the pores of the Travertine. The floor was then rinsed and the soiled solution extracted using a wet vacuum.

Travertine floor during polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge
With the sealer remove we were now able to concentrate on building up the polish on the stone by applying the remaining pads from Medium, Fine through to Very Fine, each lubricated with a little water and ensuring to rinse in-between the application of each pad.

Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles

With the floor now clean and the polish restored the last step was to protect it so it would keep its appearance for as long as possible. There are a number of solutions for this but for a long durable shine I opted to work Tile Doctor Shine Powder into the Travertine.

The powder is applied liberally to the floor and then ground in using a slow speed floor rotary machine fitted with a white or tan buffing pad lubricated with water.

Travertine floor during polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge
The shine on the floor has now been restored and the client has a
beautiful and durable finish to their Travertine tiles.

Travertine floor after polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge Travertine floor after polishing in Great Wilbraham Cambridge


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