Travertine is a type of limestone and personally, one of my favourite floors...
However, it is a high maintenance stone. It contains calcites which are acid sensitive and also has a lot of natural holes that continue to appear over time which collect dirt.
This floor was no exception. The home owners ran a tight ship and the place was spick and span!
However, they were losing a fighting battle and they finally had to concede defeat and call in the professionals!
As well as being very dirty, the floor had many acid based stains which can be caused from (but not limited to): wine, vinegar, domestic floor cleaning products, acidic fruit & juices, tea, coffee, soap, washing up liquid...
First of all, the wide grout lines needed some serious attention. Normally, this would be hands and knees work but given the breadth of the grout lines we were able to use a specially adapted silicone carbide brush on the big buffer used in conjunction with a powerful alkaline cleaner.
The resultant dirty water was vacuumed up before it could dry back in.
We then went through a set of 4 diamond pads starting with very coarse which lifted all the dirt in the tiles. The slurry was vax'd up as we went.
This pad opens up all the pores in the tiles making the stone dull to look at and also more absorbent.
The next 3 pads used were successively finer in diamond particles which started to close the pores and put the natural sheen back in the stone.
This process, known as 'honing' or 'burnishing' is imperative for this type of stone.
Once this process was completed (with the slurry vacuumed up at each stage), the floor was left to dry overnight.
The next morning we returned and checked the floor for moisture content.
A spray burnish was then performed with the final, and finest, 5th diamond pad. This involves a fine spray of water that allows the pad to put the sheen back into the floor.
Now to seal! I almost always use a natural look, solvent-based, impregnator sealer on travertine. It seeps into the stone and protects from the inside-out.
Once it has dried, you would not know that a sealer has been applied allowing the stone to look its natural best.
Two coats were applied with a 30 minute gap in-between to allow the solvent to separate and the sealer to dry.
The floor was then tested to ensure it was sufficiently protected.
Travertine is a satisfying stone to work with as the before and after conditions are so start.