Travertine tile comes from sedimentary rock filled with tiny pores. These small holes in the stone give travertine its texture as well as its character. Unfortunately, these same holes make cleaning travertine something of a challenge. If left untreated, the maintenance may be quite complex. In most cases, though, special manufacturing processes or aftermarket fillers fill the tiny pores making travertine maintenance much easier.
Travertine tile typically has one of four finishes. Honed finish is the most common and it’s a matt finish. While travertine is never as shiny as granite, polished stone is available. Brushed and tumbled travertine tiles have textured surfaces.
Each of the different types of travertine have their own maintenance issues. Each of these four types may or may not have clear epoxy fillers in the pores to help prevent dirt from accumulating there over time. If the fillers wear out or the travertine doesn’t have special treatment, dirt may be next to impossible to remove from the pores. For that reason, travertine tiles should have an application of fillers as soon as possible after installation.
Travertine tile is extremely susceptible to acids. It’s important to wipe up any fruit juice or wine stains immediately or the tile may have permanent marks. Travertine also scratches easily. To protect entryways, it’s best to place a large rubber-backed floor mat in front of the door to remove as much dirt as possible from shoes. Also, any tool, such as a vacuum cleaner, used to clean the travertine must have soft pads or bristles; otherwise the cleaning tool might scratch the travertine.
A clean, dry dust mop is an ideal cleaning tool for long-term travertine maintenance. It’s important to not let any dirt accumulate, so whether the floor needs daily cleaning is a matter of how much use it gets. A soft, wet mop along with an alkaline-based cleanser will also work to clean the travertine tile. A steam mop is another cleaning option. It’s important to wipe up any excess moisture. Depending on the wear on the floor, it may be necessary to periodically remove the old filler and replace it with a new one. A buffer with diamond abrasives can remove the surface portions of the old filler. The same buffer can apply a new coat of filler and bring the floor to a shine.
In high-traffic rooms with travertine tile, daily cleaning with a dry mop is optimal. The floor needs cleaning with a wet mop at least once a week. Traffic patterns emerging in the tile are a good indication that it’s time to remove the old filler and add a new coat.
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