Travertine tile is a classic addition to many homes, but it must be properly maintained in order to retain its beauty. Whether indoor or outdoor, proper cleaning products and methods are necessary to keep travertine sparkling for many years to come.
Travertine tile can add sophistication and grace to any home, but it most attractive when it receive proper care and attention. Unlike vinyl or acrylic flooring, travertine tile requires specific products to retain its radiance and specific maintenance methods to keep it clean.
Indoor Travertine Maintenance
Most indoor travertine tile can be divided into hone-finished stone and polished-finished stone. Hone-finished travertine has a satin-smooth finish to it and is most commonly found in high-traffic areas of the home, such as on floors in entryways, kitchens and on stair treads. Polished-finished stone, however, has a much higher gloss that makes it idea for household features such as tables, countertops and furniture.
Interior travertine stone is most prone to dust, dirt and debris from everyday living in contrast to outdoor stone that must face the elements of the weather. To clean indoor stone, dry dust mopping is often very effective to simply wipe away surface dirt.
Hone-finished travertine is in the limestone family, so acidic or chemical-based cleaners should never be applied to it. When simply wiping the stone is not enough, a soap-less cleaner that is pH balanced and biodegradable is ideal. This washing solution should be applied in a gentle, sweeping motion across the tile, the water changed frequently to avoid dragging the debris back over the surface. On floors that receive high traffic, it may be necessary to use a wet vacuum filled with this cleaner.
Polished-finished travertine on countertops and furniture is more likely to encounter food, drinks and even cosmetic stains that may scratch or dull the surface of the stone. While it is best that these types of surfaces receive proper sealing, they should also be cleaned of spills as quickly as possible to prevent further damage.
Sealing Indoor Travertine
Many travertine tiles must be properly sealed in order to effectively protect them from stains, water spots and etch marks. Although many tiles are now pre-sealed before installation, others will require in-home sealing. Applying a small amount of water to a sample tile can test the current condition of travertine. If the tile absorbs the water and becomes darker, it requires proper sealing with a water-based sealant.
Frequent use of the sealant will help provide the best barrier to potential staining and etching of travertine tile. In order to maintain the integrity of the seal, this water test should be applied on a regular basis to check for optimal surface protection. When the tiles begin to fail, it is time to repeat the sealing process.
Outdoor Travertine Maintenance
Unlike indoor stone, outdoor travertine tile faces a great deal more adversity in weather and potential damage. Most exterior travertine is used as a facing material on the side of buildings or as a major structural component rather than as a purely decorative element. This typically means that proper maintenance must be given in order to keep it functional as well as attractive.
Regular cleaning should be done at least once a year, if not more often. This can be completed with water mixed in a gentle cleaning solution, much like interior travertine tile. The solution should loosen dirt and other impurities that can then be washed away with the water from the surface. Buildings with older stone may require more scrubbing with brushes or bristled pads, but chemicals should never be used on exterior travertine tile.
Before any cleaning begins, a small section of the stone in an inconspicuous area should be tested for a possible reaction to the cleaning solution. Once the area has dried and no damage or discoloration has occurred, it should be safe to continue with the cleaning process.
Grout Cleaning Travertine Tile
Many indoor and outdoor travertine stones need to have the grout sealed. Applying a small amount of water to the grout to test it should make the need more apparent. If the grout becomes darker with the water application, it needs to be sealed.
Although spills should be wiped up immediately from grout as well as from travertine tiles, it is not always possible to accomplish this quickly before damage is done. Using a pH-balanced and soap-less cleaning solution on travertine grout will loosen dirt and debris trapped between the tiles that could otherwise damage or stain the grout. A soft-bristled brush may also be useful in carefully and gently loosening the debris that has worked its way into the grout.
Once the cleaning solution has been given time to remove the dirt, all tiles and grout should be completely rinsed, dried and polished with travertine-appropriate products for a finished shine.
Travertine tile can be a beautiful addition to the interior or exterior of any home, but it must be properly maintained to preserve it’s quality. By following the appropriate methods and by using gentle products, this stone will retain its classic, elegant appearance for many years.