Travertine Posts

At Tile Doctor, we have a long history of bringing tiles back to life – typically after they have experienced many, many years’ worth of neglect. If fact you can see photos on our many websites, that show the dramatic difference we can make.

Keeping a floor looking good once it’s been restored is the job of the sealer which will protect the tile from dirt becoming ingrained in its pores. However, sealers do wear off with use so in most cases we generally recommend you ask us to pop back every six to twelve months to give the floor a quick clean and top-up the sealer. We call this a Tile Doctor Maintenance Plan and it’s designed to ensure your tiles always look their best.

By way of example the photographs on this page are of a beautiful Travertine tiled floor, at a property in the Northamptonshire town of Orlingbury. The floor was originally laid around ten years ago and we were called in three years ago to perform a full restorative clean which took a couple of days to complete. The customer was amazed with the results achieved by the initial work and wanted to ensure it remained that way, so we worked out a maintenance plan for the customer and we pop back every year to do a maintenance clean and top-up the sealer.

Travertine Tiled Floor Orlingbury Before Maintenance Travertine Tiled Floor Orlingbury Before Maintenance

One of the advantages of the maintenance plan is that it can be paid for over the course of the year with monthly instalments, or as a one-off payment once the work is completed. The customer can choose either option.

The photos below show the same Travertine tiled floor after we had performed a maintenance clean for the third time. You won’t see a dramatic difference, just a floor that has retained its natural beauty all year round. This annual clean is far less disruptive than the original full restoration service and can normally be carried out over the course of a single day.

Maintenance Clean and Seal for Travertine Tiled Floor

The products and methods involved in the maintenance clean vary depending on the type of stone. To begin with, we vacuum the floor to remove any debris and then perform a light clean with a Tile Doctor product. This product is usually either Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner or Stone Soap depending on if the floor is polished stone.

Neutral Tile Cleaner is a pH neutral cleaner that is specially formulated for regular cleaning and ensures your sealed surface remains undamaged. Stone Soap is a similar product for light duty cleaning but with an additive that help build patina.

If we are restoring polished stone, such as Travertine, Marble or Limestone, we proceed to perform a light polish of the tiles using a very fine 3,000 grit Tile Doctor diamond encrusted burnishing pad fitted to a floor polishing machine.

Travertine Tiled Floor Orlingbury After Maintenance Travertine Tiled Floor Orlingbury After Maintenance

To finish, the floor is dried quickly using a series of fans and one coat of a Tile Doctor sealant is applied to top up the sealant that was originally applied during the restoration clean. In this situation, we applied Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating, colour-intensifying sealant that dries with a matte finish.

Again, you won’t see a dramatic difference in the pictures above, the idea is to maintain the original finish which given time will degrade as the sealer wears off.
Source: Travertine Tile Cleaning and Maintenance Service in Orlingbury, Northamptonshire


Close-up photo below of a Travertine tiled floor installed in a house in the former mill town of Blackburn where simply put the polished appearance had worn off and was now looking dull and unappealing.

Travertine Tiled Floor Before Polishing Blackburn

I popped round to the house to take a look and could see that the tiles would need to be burnished to restore the polished appearance. To demonstrate the difference this would make I polished one of the tiles using the Tile Doctor burnishing pad system which consists of the application of four 17 inch diamond encrusted pads applied in sequence from coarse to very fine with a rotary buffer. The customer was amazed at the difference and we agreed a date to come in and complete the whole floor in time for the Christmas holidays.

Stripping and Re-Polishing Travertine

On my return I repeated the burnishing process across the entire floor starting with the 400 Grit Coarse Red No.1 Burnishing Pad which strips off old sealers and dirt from the tile. You use a little water to help lubricate and once complete it’s necessary to rinse the area with water to remove the soil that is generated. The next step is to start building back the polish with the 800 and then 1500 grit pads which are applied in the same manner.

Travertine Tiled Floor During Polishing Blackburn

The floor was then rinsed again with water and I turned my attention to the grout which was scrubbed by hand using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and a stiff brush. The floor was given another rinse and then inspected to ensure I hadn’t missed anything. Before leaving for the day I used the wet vacuum to extract as much moisture from the floor as possible.

At this point the customer commented that the floor looked amazing and that the floor never looked this good, even after it was first installed.

Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles

On the second days we used the 4th burnishing pad which is a 3000 grit pad to burnish and polish the surface until it came up looking gorgeous and glossy. With this pad you simply spray a little water on the floor during the polishing process, something we call a spray burnish.

The last step was to seal the tiles using a single coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal which was applied and then buffed in with a white pad to remove any excess. Ultra-Seal is a premium, no-sheen, natural-look, penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection.

Travertine Tiled Floor After Polishing Blackburn

The customer was really pleased with the difference we had made to the floor and before leaving we advised the customer of the best way to maintain the floor using neutral PH cleaners and to avoid strong cleaning products which can erode the life of the sealer prematurely.
Source: Travertine Tile Cleaning and Polishing Service in South Lancashire

Travertine is a lovely beige and brown stone that looks fantastic when it’s first laid but needs work to maintain the appearance. This was exactly the problem my customer who lives near the historic Cathedral City of Lincoln had experienced. The sealer on their Travertine Kitchen floor was becoming worn in the more commonly used parts of the floor letting dirt become ingrained into the pores of the stone and the grout was also becoming darker where it was getting dirty. They also had pets that spent a lot of time in the Kitchen which didn’t help and there were also small holes in the Travertine that were trapping dirt and would need filling.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Lincoln

Cleaning and Burnishing a Travertine Tiled Floor

To deep clean the stone and grout I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, left it to soak in for ten minutes and then worked it into the floor using a scrubbing pad fitted to a rotary floor machine. Pro-Clean is a strong reliable alkaline product which is safe to use on stone and grout including Travertine and Limestone.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Lincoln

I also ran a stiff grout brush along the edges of the floor and especially along the grout lines to get the grout as clean as possible; the scrubbing pad struggles to reach into the recesses of the grout so it’s best to do this by hand. The now dirty cleaning solution was extracted from the floor using a wet vacuum and rinsed with water to ensure the tile and grout was now clean and any stubborn stains spot treated.

Travertine Kitchen Floor During Cleaning Lincoln

After the deep clean we filled the holes as required using flexible filler which gives a really smooth look to the flooring. We then left our turbo dryer system on overnight to thoroughly dry out the floor before returning to seal the tiles on day two.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

The next day I returned to the property and proceeded to seal the Travertine tiles using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow sealer to protect the tiles and also really enhance the natural colours in the stone. As an impregnating sealer, Colour Grow penetrates into the stone and fills its pores to safeguard it against ingrained dirt and stains from within.

Travertine Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Lincoln

As you can see from the photographs, the combination of a deep clean, high quality polish and fresh seal really transformed the appearance of the floor from dull and lifeless to a really asset to the kitchen. The customer was so happy with the results she has booked us in to carry out the same work to other flooring in the property.

Travertine Kitchen Floor After Cleaning and Sealing Lincoln
Source: Travertine Floor Cleaning and Sealing Service in Lincolnshire

The photos below show a beautiful Bullnose Travertine tiled kitchen floor at a property in Pateley Bridge which needed professional attention as a consequence of being protected by a cheap and ineffectual sealer.

The problem was that sealer that had been applied did not provide resistance to UV rays, and the exposure to the sunlight had turned the Travertine tiles an unnatural yellow colour. Over time the sealer had gradually worn away in the busiest areas, so it was less noticeable but of course without the protection of the sealer the stone then became exposed to ingrained dirt and stains.

Bullnose Travertine Before Cleaning Patley Bridge Bullnose Travertine Before Cleaning Patley Bridge

I took some pictures however they don’t really show the problems that well but needless to say, the property owner was very keen to have the situation rectified – which of course is where I came in. I travelled to Pateley Bridge, a small market town in Nidderdale in the Borough of Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

What is a ‘Bullnose’ tile, you say? Well, it simply refers to the trim of the tile. While traditional tiles will have a straight edge, a Bullnose tile will have a slightly rounded or curved edge.

Cleaning Yellow Stained Travertine Tiles

To begin the restoration, I deep cleaned the tiles mechanically using Tile Doctor diamond burnishing pads starting with a coarse grit. These pads served the purpose of grinding away the very top damaged layer of the stone, effectively removing the yellow staining, grease marks and any old sealer. You use a little water to help lubricate the process and this soon becomes soiled and needs to be rinsed away and removed after each pad is applied.

Next, I cleaned all of the stained grout lines by hand. I did this using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, which is a reliable, alkaline-based cleaner for use on both natural stone tiles and grout. I mixed the Pro Clean into a solution of one part cleaner to three parts fresh water and worked it in by hand using a stiff brush along the grout lines. Once done the now dirty cleaning solution was rinsed off the floor and extracted leaving the grout fresh and clean.

Bullnose Travertine During Cleaning Patley Bridge

To finish the cleaning process, I polished the floor with a 3000 grit (very fine) burnishing pad to leave the tiles with a silky satin finish. This pad is applied mechanically with a little water in a technique we often call a spray burnish.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Once the floor was dry it needed protecting to ensure that dirt could no longer penetrate the pores of the stone. So to guarantee that this wonderful satin finish would last, I sealed the tiles with two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal.

Ultra-Seal is Tile Doctor’s premium impregnating sealer which is formulated to provide maximum stain protection, especially in food preparation and serving areas such as the kitchen.

Bullnose Travertine After Cleaning Patley Bridge Bullnose Travertine After Cleaning Patley Bridge

The photos above show the outcome of the restoration, I appreciate my photograph skills are not the best but hopefully you can notice how much healthier the stone looks now, compared to the yellow, sickly appearance of the stone before.
Source: Travertine Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in North Yorkshire

Details below of an unusual Travertine tiled kitchen floor in Greet, Gloucestershire where we were asked to restore the appearance of the tiles and leave a natural as opposed to shiny finish. Greet is a lovely little village at the edge of the Cotsworlds and famous for being a short walk to Winchcombe station on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway which is run by volunteers and often has steam trains running on its line.

Travertine Kitchen Floor in Greet Before Cleaning Travertine Kitchen Floor in Greet Before Cleaning

Burnishing a Travertine Tiled Floor

Travertine responds well to burnishing which is an abrasive cleaning method as opposed to chemical. Basically, it involves the application of several different grades of diamond encrusted pad to the stone lubricated with a small amount of water. You run the pad over each tile and then give the floor a quick rinse before moving on to the next pad, I started with the first of the four burnishing pads which is a coarse 400 grit pad that designed to grind away the dirt and old sealer on the surface of the floor.

After applying the first pad, I moved my way through the medium 800 and fine 1500 grit pads to gradually restore the appearance of the Travertine. Normally I would of also applied the fourth pad in the series but if you recall the customer did not wanted a polished appearance so I stopped after the 1500 grit pad.

Travertine Kitchen Floor in Greet During Cleaning

The pads work well on tile but struggle to reach recessed grout so to clean that I applied a medium dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean and scrubbed it into the grout lines manually using a stiff grout brush. Once I was happy with the appearance of the grout the soiled cleaning solution was rinsed away with water and extracted using a wet vacuum leaving the floor to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

The next day I returned to finish the floor and first task was to run a Tan buffing pad over the floor to ensure the floor was clean and any residue from the diamond pad burnishing had been removed.

Travertine Kitchen Floor in Greet After Cleaning Before Sealing

Once I was happy with the tiles I proceeded to apply two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer that protects from within by occupying the pores in the stone so dirt can penetrate and lifts the natural colours in the stone in the process.
I should mention that normally only one coat of Colour Grow is usually required to seal Travertine however on this occasion the stone was quite porous.

Travertine Kitchen Floor in Greet After Cleaning and Sealing Travertine Kitchen Floor in Greet After Cleaning and Sealing

The colours in the Travertine were so much more vibrant after the job was completed and the customer was happy with the result, although personally I would have preferred to have applied the fourth pad to build up the shine however I delivered what the customer had asked for so I was happy with that.
Source: Travertine Floor Tile Cleaning and Maintenance in Gloucestershire

This customer in Newton Heath, just outside of Manchester, used to have a beautiful polished travertine floor on most of the ground floor and bathroom but over time it was getting duller and duller as the polish became worn down, not helped I might add by their choice of cleaning products which were not appropriate for this type of floor. Additionally, numerous cracks and holes had appeared in their floor and worried it was going to get worse they decided to call in some professional help and get the whole floor fully restored.

Travertine Tiled Floor Before Cleaning and Sealing Newton Heath

When I got the call I went over to the house to take a in-depth look at the problem and recommended that the floor was burnished using diamond pads of different grades. They also asked if I could apply the same treatment to the travertine bathroom floor and shower cubicle as well, which I was very happy to do so we agreed a price and scheduled a date to do the work.

Travertine Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning and Sealing Newton Heath

Dull Travertine Floor Cleaning/Polishing

To start the burnishing process, I applied the Coarse 400 grit burnishing pad to the floor using rotary machine and water as lubrication to break down and remove any old sealer from the stone. When finished with first burnishing pad I removed all the soiled water left on floor with a wet vacuum. This removal process of soiled residue was repeated after each use of a burnishing pad.

Next, I moved on to the Medium 800 grit pad which is less coarse, but still rough enough to break down layers of ingrained dirt. I followed this up with the application of a Fine 1500 grit pad, which started to smooth down the rough areas of the surface to prepare the floor for a final polish with 3000 grit. However before moving straight on to the final of the four pads, I took the time to carefully fill in the all the small cracks and holes in the stone, before leaving the floor to dry until the next day.

Sealing Travertine Floor

The next morning, I returned to the property to finish off the floor restoration. As soon as I arrived I used a damp tester to make sure the floor was completely dry.

All was well so I went over the floor with the final Very Fine 3000 grit burnishing pad, this time without any water lubricant, to finally achieve a high quality polished finish.

For polished floors, we recommend the use an impregnating sealer that penetrates the pores of the stone rather than sitting on the surface of the floor, as this ensures the quality of the polish isn’t damaged. With this in mind I applied Tile Doctor Colour Grow to seal the tiles. This is a colour enhancing sealer that provides durable surface protection and allows the surface to breathe whilst enhancing the natural colours in the stone. At this point it’s important that any sealer that doesn’t penetrate the stone is removed by polishing it off with a cloth.

Travertine Tiled Floor After Cleaning and sealing Newton Heath

After this I went on to repeat the cleaning, polishing and sealing process on their Travertine Tiled shower cubicle but I’ll detail that in a separate post.

Needless to say, the customer was very happy with the work carried out on the floor and shower cubicle and recommended me to his neighbour straight away.

Travertine Bathroom Floor After Cleaning and sealing Newton Heath
Source: Travertine Tile Cleaning and Restoration Service in Greater Manchester

Quite often our customers will be new property owners who have inherited fantastic tiled floors that are in need of smartening up. Typically the previous owners struggled to maintain the floor which is not unusual when it comes to high quality natural stone such as Travertine and this was the case with this Travertine tiled floor that I recently restored at a property near Woodhall Spa, on the southern edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Travertine Tiled Floor Near Woodhall Spa Before Cleaning Travertine Tiled Floor Near Woodhall Spa Before Cleaning

The customer not only needed a deep clean for the tiles and grout which had become dirty and discoloured over time, but also needed for many of the small holes caused by the natural process of pitting to be filled to give the Travertine tiles a smooth and polished finish. Finally, the floor would need a fresh seal to protect it and make it easier to cleangoing forward.

Travertine Tiled Floor Near Woodhall Spa Before Cleaning

Cleaning and Repairing a Pitted Travertine Tiled Floor

To begin the restoration, I applied Tile Doctor Pro-Clean to the floor, which is our reliable high alkaline cleaner designed for use on stone floors, left it to soak in and break down the dirt and then used our hot pressure Rotovaccleaning system to clean the tiles. The Rotovac is an expensive machine but makes light work of the job by deep cleaning and scrubbing the stone whilst rinsing and extracting away all of the soiled cleaning residue at the same time. It allows us to get deep into the pores of the tile and grout to eradicate ingrained dirt and stains.

I then worked through our four-stage diamond encrusted burnishing pad system which hones and polishes the surface of the tiles with excellent results. Each of the four pads is applied in turn, moving from a coarse grit all the way to a Very Fine grit.

Once I was happy with the condition of the floor it was time to deal with the holes in the Travertine by applying a two-part colour matched resin to fill the small and large holes mentioned earlier.After completing the cleaning and filling was completed I left the tiles to dry off completely overnight aided with air movers to speed up the drying process.

Travertine Tiled Floor Near Woodhall Spa After Cleaning

Ensuring the floor is bone dry before sealing is important as I needed to seal the tiles the next day, and a small amount of excess moisture can cloud the sealer and damage its performance.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

When I came back the next day I tested the floor for moisture to confirm it was dry before applying two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is an impregnating sealer that intensifies and enhances the natural shades in the Travertine while also providing it with protection against dirt and stains.

With the restoration complete I left the customer with a bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner for regular future maintenance, along with an aftercare leaflet. We recommend this product for the regular cleaning of sealed tiles as the neutral pH will help to maximise the life of the sealer and not erode it like many acid cleaning products.

Travertine Tiled Floor Near Woodhall Spa After Cleaning

I think you will agree the floor now looks much better, certainly the customer was very happy with the work and left the following feedback:

“Phil and his colleague worked their magic to transform our tired looking, grimy Travertine floors into bright, shiny new look floors. Thank you so much.”
Source: Travertine Tile Cleaning and Polishing Service in Lincolnshire