travertine tile cleaning

A member of the limestone family, a travertine floor tile is reputed to be a durable and aesthetic flooring option. Grouting of travertine tiles is usually sealed during the installation process to ensure their durability and protect them from getting dirty. This makes the grout lines very resilient. This is why removing old grout from travertine tiles is a bit tricky. Commercial grout-removal chemical solutions might help to cleanse the grout and loosen it but they cannot displace the hardened, old grout, i.e. they are more suited for removing recently-laid grout. These chemical solutions can also cause discoloration of the tiles. Further, these solvents contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment. An eco-friendly and more effective way of removing old grout is explained below.

What you’ll need

  • Water
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Drill bit (with diamond-edged drilling disk)
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Grout scraper
  • Grout saw
  • Rotary tool
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Dremel tool
  • Razor blade
  • Steel wool

Step 1 – Preparing Travertine Tile Surface
Start by cleaning the travertine tiles. Thorough cleaning with warm water helps to moisten and soften the old grout to some extent. You can also use a soft-bristled brush for rubbing the very thin grout lines. This is critical since the blades of the drill cannot access the very small crevices. The scrubbing ensures better grout removal in such a scenario.

Step 2 – Weakening Old Grout
Using a grout saw or a rotary tool, chisel a thin groove within the old grout line. It is better to start chiseling immediately after the cleaning, since moistened grout is easier-to-penetrate. Once a thin line has been established along the grout, expand it using the grout scraper. The scraper is very useful for scooping-out small sections of the old grout. If any section of the old grout seems impervious to this method, you can use the conventional combination of a hammer and chisel to tap and loosen the old grout.

Step 3 – Drilling Out Old Grout
You can use a Dremel tool or a power drill for this step. However, a power drill ensures better results since its blades offer deeper incision into old grout lines. Load the drill with the diamond-edged disk. Position the disk’s edge within the weakened groove of the old grout and turn-on the drill. The spinning blade effectively digs-out the old grout. Slowly, move the drill ahead, i.e. towards the opposite end of the tile. You need to be very careful while using the drill since lowering it too much can harm the edges of the travertine tiles. You can repeat the drilling until most of the grout lines are comprehensively removed.

Step 4 – Finishing Drilled Grout Lines
You need to remove the loose debris and grout dust from the drilled grout line. This is best done with a handheld vacuum. Please note that among very old travertine tile surfaces, miniscule deposits of grout might still be visible. You can use a razor blade to scrape-away these grout bits. To ensure that the travertine tiles are properly prepared for re-grouting, clean the emptied grout lines with steel wool.




This client got in touch about cleaning their Travertine Tiled floor which they were struggling to get clean. They had been using all the usual household floor cleaners, but nothing was having the desired effect. The property was in the lovely village of Sunbury On Thames within the borough of Spelthorne. I’m based in nearby Shepperton and so it wasn’t long before I was able to pop over and take a look at the problematic floor. It turns out the Travertine floor which was installed throughout

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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. 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

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This Travertine tiled floor was installed in the Kitchen, Hallway and downstairs WC at a property in the Telford suburb of Priorslee. It has been some time since it was last sealed and the sealer had now worn-down allowing dirt to become ingrained in the stone, as a result the floor now looked flat and un-interesting. The floor also had several holes that were trapping dirt and needed filling. I surveyed the floor and recommended a process called burnishing which uses a series of abrasive

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I was asked to call into a property in the Sheffield suburb of Totley to renovate a troublesome Travertine tiled shower enclosure. The customer simply couldn’t keep the shower clean and the travertine was just getting dirtier and dirtier. I could see from the pictures that the stone tiles were becoming stained with the use of shampoo and soaps, also there was evidence of mould build-up which had led to some of the grout turning black. Once I was on site, I could see that any sealant that may

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This customer lives in the small yet sought after village of Mottram St Andrew near Alderley Edge in East Cheshire. I was asked to do something about the Travertine tiled floors which had become an eye sore due to many black holes and pits that where appearing. This is not an unusual problem for Travertine, it’s a very porous and Acid Sensitive stone so it’s not a good idea to use powerful acidic cleaning products which are quite common in supermarkets. They reduce the life of the sealer

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