Cleaning Travertine Do’s & Don’ts | How To Clean Travertine Flooring
Travertine is a natural stone formed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate at the entrance of geothermally heated hot springs and/or limestone caves. It stands distinct from other stones due to its concentric or porous exterior. Travertine is considered to be a popular stone in the refurbishing market because of its availability in a wide variety of colors ranging from creams and whites to beiges and browns and even emeralds and reds. Ivory, beige, walnut, gold and silver are some of the classic travertine hues available in the market. Although travertine can be obtained from many other locations from around the globe, Europe continues to be the most popular spot for travertine quarrying and also its largest importer.
The cut of the travertine stone depends on how it is sawed. Travertine stone can either have a vein-cut in which the stone is sawed against its natural vein line that would result in an evident and well-defined parallel vein, or it can have a cross-cut in which the vein of the stone is avoided altogether to ensure a smooth, consistent and uniform finish.
Travertine is a porous sedimentary rock so in its natural state the stone has lots of pits, holes or gaps in it. However, that is not a problem as the voids in travertine stone can easily be filled with resins or sealed with a help of a sealant, thus the finished product is usually free of any depressions or holes.
Travertine products can have a variety of different finishes in accordance with the taste of the decorator. The stone can either be honed or polished in which the finish is usually smooth and shiny or it can be textured with the brushed, tumbled, chiseled or bush hammered finishes.
A good quality about travertine stone is that it can be used for multiple purposes due to its extremely versatile nature. In the earlier times, travertine stone was a common choice for sculptures, monuments and buildings. Today, it is deemed as one of the best natural stones in the construction market as it can be used almost anywhere to improve the aesthetic of the area in one’s house or office. Travertine stone has a wide range of indoor uses i.e. it can be used for flooring, walls, cabinets, backsplashes, bathrooms, stairs, fireplaces, showers, vanities, countertops, sinks and medallions. However, the use of travertine is not limited to indoors and can also be used for outdoor stairs, patios, swimming pools, pavements, driveways and pool decks.
Even though the uses of travertine stones are endless, the most popular one continues to be its use as a flooring option. Travertine flooring is quite often used as an alternative to marble as it is not only cost effective (marble is more expensive) but the polished or honed finished in travertine flooring can result in floors pretty much similar to marble flooring. Travertine is a stone that can easily add a touch of exquisiteness and elegance and turn even the dullest room into something chic thus making it one of the primary stones to consider while renovating your house. However, that is that not the only reason why travertine is reasoned to be better than its contenders in the construction market.
Travertine tiles are considered as an ideal flooring option by many homeowners, architects and interior decorators due to many different reason. Travertine stone is renowned for its strength and endurance to resist damage, staining and corrosion makes it a suitable flooring option. This is why the durability of travertine is listed as one of its biggest perks. They can be set up both indoors and outdoors and can last a very long time with just minute scratches or chips if they are maintained properly. Travertine tiles are very stylish so they are naturally suitable for people who want to add splendor to their houses without overdoing. The presence of travertine flooring can indeed make a house look more lavish without making a dent in your pocket. The most attractive thing about travertine tiles is that they have unmatched grace and style in their elusive design and tones which give off a very refined vibe.
Another quality of travertine stone that makes it a great option for flooring is that it is an eco-friendly product which can be wholly recycled, thus by choosing travertine tiles for your floor you’d be benefiting both yourself and your planet.
Travertine might be a robust and long-lasting stone but that in no way makes it immune to damage done to it in the long run due to climatic changes, frequent spills and foot-traffic. It is necessary to always keep a few extra tiles of the installed flooring in case a tile is severely damaged or broken.
DO’s and DONT’s of Cleaning Travertine
Although travertine stone is deemed to be very resilient, it is still absolutely imperative that your floors are cleaned regularly and maintained periodically. This will not only allow your tiles to keep their pristine and attractive appearance, but will also add to the life of your travertine flooring. It is very important that the tiles are cleaned properly and thoroughly with products that won’t harm or react with the stone so below are the DO’S and DONT’S of cleaning your travertine flooring:-
DO: The best way to keep your travertine flooring in immaculate condition is by getting the tiles sealed before installation. It is well-known that travertine is a permeable rock with microscopic pores that make it vulnerable to damage, discoloration, staining and encourages the growth of mold so it is mandatory that you get your tiles properly sealed with a good quality sealant as this will indefinitely increase the lifespan of your flooring. It is also important that you use the right kind of sealant for your travertine tiles as anything a low quality sealant could be as detrimental to your tile as no sealant at all. There are two types of sealants that can be used for your floors i.e. the penetrating one and the surface sealer. The former will seep into your tiles holes and obstruct them thus preventing the accumulation of dust or liquid. The latter will create a barrier on top of the tiles which will stop the entrance of moisture or dirt and also lessen the chances of staining or discoloration. The type of sealant you’ll need for your travertine flooring can be best recommended to you by the manufacturers installing your tiles so it is important to consult with them.
DON’T: A sealant is a must when it comes to travertine flooring so do not consider skipping this part.Also, it is advised to not compromise on the quality and type of sealant just to save a few bucks as the damage from a low-quality sealant will be far heftier on your pocket in the long-run. Properly sealing your travertine tiles will add to the endurance strength of your flooring.
DO: Testing is very important when it comes to choosing the right cleaning/sealing/polishing product for your travertine flooring. The market holds a variety of different cleaning products that may or may not be right for your travertine floors. Anything too acidic can be detrimental to the travertine tiles therefore it is important to try the product on a small section to test whether it is compatible or reactive with the tiles. Once you’ve tried and tested on one portion and are fully satisfied with the result of your product, only then should you proceed to clean your travertine floors.
DON’T: Do not directly start cleaning your travertine flooring with a product without testing it first. Staining or discoloration caused from an adverse chemical reaction is impossible to reverse so it is imperative that you do not skip the testing part. Also, do not test on a visible area of the tile as you never know how the product will react. A patch in the corner of your house, or anywhere hidden from plain sight is the ideal place to test your product.
DO: The best and most ideal way to clean your travertine floors and to keep them looking neat and pristine is by mopping them regularly. Mopping can be done with warm, plain water or a cleaning product can be added to the water to enhance the quality of mopping. Frequent mopping of your travertine flooring will ensure that dust or grime never settles into the pores thus keeping it in tip-top shape. However, it should be kept in mind that the mop is never drenched in water as too soaked of a mop could result in a wet environment that would be bad for the travertine floors for there are chances that water could penetrate inside the holes of the tiles and into the grout lines, causing staining of the tiles and the growth of mold. To avoid this, it is suggested to use a either a dry mop or slightly damp one. Cleaning with a dry towel can also be used as an alternative to using a mop.
DON’T: Do not use a completely soaked or drenched mop for the mopping of your travertine floors as that can allow the infiltration of water into the tile therefore resulting in degradation of the tile and growth of mold.
DO: Cleaning of travertine floors is necessary to keep them in good condition. You can clean your travertine tiles by either mopping, sweeping or vacuuming them after every two three days or even on a weekly basis. Doing so will guarantee that no dirt penetration through the pores of the travertine tile thus preventing any harm to your flooring. You can also clean your travertine floors with a good quality cleaning product and a dry cloth. What is important is that you do not lag with cleaning as leaving your travertine flooring dirty for too long will lead to accumulation of dust, grime and moisture into the pits and depressions of the tiles which will result in irreversible damage.
DON’T: Do not avoid the responsibility of cleaning your travertine flooring, as delayed cleaning or no cleaning at all will result in staining and tainting from moisture and grime. While choosing your cleaning product, it should be kept in mind that the cleaning product you choose for your travertine floors is not acidic as such abrasive chemical cleansers will react with the tiles and permanently discolor them.
DO: Time is of the essence when it comes to cleaning travertine flooring as the stone itself is permeable with lots of pits and depressions in its interior. The best way to take care of stains in case of travertine tiles is by preventing the staining in the first place. It is absolutely mandatory that any spills, especially those of acidic solvents such as orange juice, coffee, win, orange juice and vinegar are instantly wiped. Even solvents such as water should be immediately blotted with a tissue paper or dry cloth as the water can seep through the pores in the tiles thus resulting in discoloration. The longer a spill sits, the more likely it is to cause a stain so it is imperative to be vigilant when it comes to spills. In case of staining, there are many popular commercial cleansers that can remove stains from your travertine floors. A popular product for removing stains is a poultice, which is available both commercially and can also be made at home. DIY remedies are also effective in removal of stains but they do not come with a guarantee so it is advised that you use an authentic and effective remedy.
DON’T: Do not let your spills turn into stains in the first place as removing a stain can be quite the difficult task. Also, do not forget to do a test patch for both your commercial cleaners and DIY remedies to ensure that the product you’re using works well with your travertine floors.
DO: If your travertine floors have been stained due to exposure to acidic solvents such as orange juice, vinegar, wine or coffee, then you can use a poultice to remove the stain. For those who don’t know, a poultice is a mixture of different substances used for removal of stains or blemishes. Ready to use or commercial poultice can either be bought from the market or one can create it themselves as making a poultice is very easy and can easily be done at home. The type of poultice needed depends on the nature of the stain itself. For instance, the poultice for removing an oil-based stain would be different than the one used for removal of an organic solvent stain. The application of poultice is easy and the mixture usually takes up to two days to be fully effective. However, sometimes the poultice is unsuccessful in completely eradicating in the stain.
DON’T: Do not experiment with different mixtures to ‘’invent’’ poultices as sometimes two materials mixed together can affect the travertine tiles differently and lead to a chemical reaction that could permanently damage your travertine flooring. If you’re not experienced with poultice or its use then it is strongly advised that you hire a professional instead of experimenting on your travertine flooring.
DO: The last but not least important thing is maintenance. The best way to take care of your travertine tiles is by maintaining them properly and regularly. Regular mopping, quickly wiping away spills, vacuuming, reapplying sealant periodically, cleaning the grout line and polishing etc. are some of the things that can help maintain the spotless and perfect condition of you travertine flooring and keep it looking good as new. For daily maintenance of travertine flooring, sweeping, mopping or dusting is acceptable. Also, make use of door mats, rugs and carpets under heavy furniture to lessen the contact between the flooring and the legs of furniture.
DON’T: Do not get lazy when it comes to maintaining your travertine flooring as it is very important that you take care of your tiles so that no permanent damage is caused. Do not place or slide heavy furniture around on your travertine floor. This will graze the soft surface of the travertine tile and will evidently scratch or chip the tile. Regular care of the travertine tiles will make sure that the sparkling and unspoiled form of your flooring lasts longer and will also minimize the need for a costly floor replacement.
DO: Grout is a mortar or paste of cement, water and sand used for filling the gaps between tiles. The primary reason grout is applied as the safety measure as seasonal expansion and contraction of travertine stone due to temperature variation can result in cracking of the tiles. However, grout lines can also lead the travertine tiles vulnerable to damage as they allow an open space for the buildup of dirt, moisture, and grime, which can seep into the pores of the tiles and lead to discoloration, staining and mold growth. It is important that grout line are not ignored when it comes to cleaning your travertine flooring as they are as significant to the flooring installation as the tile. It is advised to regularly clean your grout lines to prevent accumulation of dust and other particles. This can either be done with a brush and water or a commercial cleanser can be used. If the grout lines re damaged beyond repair then they can also be fully replaced or removed. However, the best way to prevent damaging your grout lines is by getting them sealed. A sealant will both reduce the chances of damage done to your grout lines and will also improve its lifetime.
DON’T: Do not ignore the grout lines surrounding your travertine tiles whilst cleaning your flooring. It is very important that the dirt from the grout lines is properly removed. Do not worry about brushing too hard on the grout lines as they are composed of cement and water can easily withstand pressure.