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 Oxfordshire

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 Patio Renovation Henley-on-Thames

Large Pitted Travertine Patio Renovated in Henley-on-Thames

This client in Henley-on-Thames had a large and no doubt expensive Travertine patio installed at the rear of his property. The patio was now looking rather grubby with the usual staining and dirt you would expect with an outside patio that had not been professionally cleaned for several years. Additionally, many holes had formed in the stone which in turn had filled with dirt making effective cleaning difficult.

Travertine Patio Before Renovation Henley-on-Thames

I went over to survey the stone and work out what would need to be done to renovate its appearance. The patio measured 150m2 and I recommended cleaning the patio, filling the holes and then honing the stone with a set of burnishing pads to brink back its appearance, a process which would take three days due to its large size.

Happy with my quote a date was set for the work to start with the proviso that it may need to be re-arranged if the weather was bad.

Deep Cleaning a Travertine Patio

Work started up with an application of Tile Doctor Patio & Driveway Cleaner which was left to dwell so it could breakdown the soils. The patio was then scrubbed with a Carbide Brush fitted to a rotary floor scrubber whilst spraying water onto the stone from the tank fitted to the machine. This hard-wearing brush gets right into the holes in the stone ensuring a very effective clean.

After scrubbing the whole area, the patio was inspected and any stubborn stains spot-treated using the same process. Once I was happy the patio was rinsed thoroughly with water and left it to dry off.

On the second day my attention turned to the holes in the stone which were filled by floating an epoxy grout filler into the holes and grout tiles. Again, it was a very large area to cover so this work took up the whole day.

Travertine Patio During Renovation Henley-on-Thames

On day three I quickly went over the patio again with the carbide brush to remove any detritus that had appeared overnight and then replaced the brush with the first burnishing pad in the set of four to being the honing process.

Applied with water for lubrication the first pad is 400-grit which opens the pores in the stone so the deep-seated dirt can be flushed out. The pad is run over each Travertine tile at least three times and then the soiling that is generated is rinsed off and extracted with a wet vacuum. This process is then repeated with the finer pads which were 800 and 1500 grit, these pads gradually close the pores in the stone and restore its polished honed appearance.

Travertine Patio After Renovation Henley-on-Thames

Once complete the patio was transformed, looked very inviting and was ready for the first of many summer pool parties. I did offer to seal the Travertine when finished but my client decided to do that themselves, it’s a straightforward process, just time consuming. I recommended Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal for this as it won’t alter the natural appearance of the stone and keep it looking very light in colour.


Professional Renovation of a Large Travertine Patio in Oxfordshire

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Travertine Salon Floor Before and After Restoration Kidlington

Pitted Travertine Tiled Floor Restored at Kidlington Hair Salon

The Travertine tiled floor installed at this busy hair salon in the village of Kidlington, had seen a lot of wear of the years and was now looking rather sorry for itself. I suspect the floor hadn’t been professionally maintained and the use of acidic cleaning products had caused holes to form Pitts in the stone which then trapped dirt. Owners of stone floors should be careful what they use to clean their floors with, as many products can dissolve the calcium in the stone over time. If a sealer has been applied, they will strip that off the floor first leaving the stone vulnerable to dirt which becomes ingrained in the stone and is difficult to remove.

Travertine Floor Before Clean Seal Kidlington Hair Salon

The natural colours in this stone which were a mixture of red and green hues which are most unusual for travertine, however due to the accumulation of dirt in the pores of the stone it was difficult to appreciate. I discussed with the client the work needed to renovate the stone and agreed a price for the work. This salon was still closed at this point due to lockdown and the salon owner wanted to have the stone floor renovated as soon as possible in time for re-opening.

Cleaning a Travertine Tiled Hair Salon Floor

First, I gave the floor an initial clean using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which as per usual was left for ten minutes to soak into the pores before being scrubbed in with a black pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. The dirt was then rinsed away with water and extracted with a wet vacuum.

The cleaning process was repeated several times and I then turned my attention to the holes in the Travertine. Holes trap dirt so I spent the rest of the morning carefully filling them with a resin filler in a matching colour.

When the resin was set, I used a set of diamond encrusted buffing pads to hone the stone and blend the filled holes in with the rest of the floor. Lubricating the process with water the first pad to be applied was a very coarse 50-grit milling pad which was followed with a 100 and then 200 grit milling pad. This part of the process opens the pores in the stone so the dirt can be flushed out leaving the stone nice and clean. The next step is to refine the stone using a set of Burnishing pads from 400 up to 1500 grit which closes the pores and rebuilds the polished appearance of the stone. It’s worth mentioning that after each pad I rinsed with more water and the extracted the slurry with a wet vacuum.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Hair Salon Floor

The floor was left to dry off overnight and I returned the next day to finish the polishing and protect the tiles with the application of a fresh seal. The final step of the polishing process is to apply a very fine 3,000-grit pad to the floor which is done with only a little water sprayed onto the tiles. This last pad really brings up the shine on the Travertine and more importantly it leaves the floor dry which is important when applying a sealer.

With the polishing complete I started applying the first of two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is the perfect sealer for Travertine as it soaks into the pores of the stone to protect against ingrained dirt and enhances the natural colours in the stone in the process. Once the sealer had dried a buffed off the excess using a white pad.

Travertine Floor After Clean Seal Kidlington Hair Salon

The floor was transformed, and the salon owner was very happy with the work we had carried out. For aftercare cleaning I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Stone Soap which helps to maintain the patina and keep the floor looking its best. I also discussed our annual maintenance plan, where we return annually for a couple of hours to bring up the polish on the stone and top up the sealer, this is a cost-effective solution to keeping the floor in tip top condition.


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Travertine Tiled Shower Before After Renovation Abingdon

Mouldy Travertine Tiled Shower Deep Cleaned in Abingdon-on-Thames

This shower cubicle at a house in the historic market town of Abingdon on Thames was tiled with Travertine which with use had become grubby and the grout darkened. The properties in the road were of a similar age and many bathrooms had been upgraded in recent years to make them more modern. This one was no different having been fitted a few years prior.

Travertine Tiled Shower Before Cleaning Abingdon

Travertine is a natural stone material that has unique features and colouring that no other stone can offer. The distinctive design and natural patterns found within Travertine make it very popular choice in bathrooms, where it gives a luxury hotel style feel. It does however need to be maintained if you want it keep that luxury appearance and unfortunately due to the English climate and a general lack of adequate ventilation its quite common for them to attract mould and become stained with dyes from soaps and shampoos. The good news is we have a number of tools and products that we can use to restore their appearance, so they look like a new installation.

Deep Cleaning Travertine Shower Tiles

The main problem was the grout which was badly discoloured. To tackle this the Travertine and grout was sprayed with Tile Doctor Duo Clean and then scrubbed in with a hand brush to remove the mould and ground in dirt from the grout, I then rinsed with water. Duo Clean is a fast and effective double action grout cleaner and mould remover. It cleans up grout and can also remove mould and blackspot from the grout and silicone and it is versatile as it suitable for use on plastic and enamel baths and showers and will not cause any damage to them.

To restore the appearance of the stone I set about re-honing the Travertine tiles using six-inch diamond burnishing pads fitted to a hand buffer. The pads are applied in sequence starting with 400-grit, moving onto 800-grit and finishing with 1500-grit. Applied with water which acts as a lubricant, the process deep cleans and tightens the pores in the stone to improve overall appearance. The tiles are rinsed with water after each pad is applied to remove the soil that is generated.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Shower Room

Another issue was the silicone strip between the wall tiles and the shower tray which was looking very mouldy and black. Using a sharp knife this was removed and replaced with fresh white mould resistant silicone.

Once the shower area was dry the Travertine wall tile and grout were then sealed with a couple of coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow. This adds a preventative barrier over the tile and grout allowing water to easily run down the wall, it also improved the appearance of the stone and enhanced the natural brown colours in the Travertine. The customer was very happy with the shower room, it looked much more inviting and they were surprised that I had managed to restore it to the way it looked when it was originally installed.

Travertine Tiled Shower Before Cleaning Abingdon


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Travertine Tiled Floor After Cleaning Henleyon Thames

Grout Haze removed from Travertine Tiles in Henley-on-Thames

The photograph below taken at a house in Henley-on-Thames shows a Travertine tiled floor covered with grout haze smears across the surface of the tile. The tiler should of dealt with this after laying the floor however removing grout smears from natural stone is tricky as normally you would use acid but Travertine is very sensitive to acid so I suspect the tiler decided against it in-case the tiles were ruined.

Travertine Tiled Floor Before Cleaning Henleyon Thames

Refurbishing Travertine Tiles

The first step was to give the floor a general wash to remove any grit and to get 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 where it was scrubbed in with a stiff brush. Next we removed any trace of product by using a wet vacuum and rinsing thoroughly with clean water.

To remove the grout haze and restore the surface polish the floor needed to be burnished which is done using four diamond encrusted burnishing pads applied in the correct sequence of grits from coarse through to super fine. First using coarse 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 around four times. The coarse pad cuts into the surface grime of the floor and also removes sealers and in this case the grout haze. 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 to hone and polish the floor, 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.

Cleaning Travertine and Limestone Tiles

I returned the next day to seal the Travertine Tile for which I used two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that will occupy the pores in the stone preventing contaminates getting in there; Colour Grow also brings out the colours in the stone and in this case has done well to bring out the deep brown colours.

Travertine Tiled Floor After Cleaning Henleyon Thames
The floor now looks 100% better and how it should have looked in the first place.

Travertine Tiled Floor Burnished and Sealed in Shropshire

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Travertine Floor Brightwell Cum Sotwell

Travertine Tiled Floor Maintained in Brightwell-Cum-Sotwell

This Travertine tiled floor had been laid in a house in the picturesque village of Brightwell-Cum-Sotwell in south Oxfordshire and the owner had decided it was time to have it properly cleaned and re-sealed.

Cleaning Travertine Floor Tiles

The floor was given a wash with Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner to remove any surface grit and we then filled the small holes, which are quite a common feature of natural travertine, with a matching coloured grout.

This was then followed by the use of the Tile Doctor burnishing system which involves the use of a set of four Burnishing pads fitted to a rotary machine. There are four pads and you start off with a course stripper pad with a little just water and then carry on with the white pad and then the yellow pad until the floor is thoroughly cleaned and any previous sealer removed. Next step was to use Tile Doctor Pro-Clean along the grout lines with a stiff brush to get the grout cleaner.

To bring up the polish on the Travertine tile you then apply the last of the four burnishing pads with gives a final polish.

Travertine Floor Brightwell Cum Sotwell

Sealing Limestone Floor Tiles

To seal the floor and protect it from staining two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow as applied; Colour Grow is a colour enhancing sealer which enhanced the natural colours in the stone. Once dry the last step was to buff the floor to a nice shine with a rotary machine fitted with a white pad..

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