Travertine Tile Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Travertine tiles carried out in Berkshire

Cleaning and Polishing Travertine tiles

Travertine is a natural material that has unique features and colouring that no other stone can offer. The distinctive look of Travertine creates some of the most distinguished floor tiles and has proved very popular with commercial and residential use. It can be used for floor tile, kitchen flooring, bathroom walls and floors, and it is often used externally. There are many varieties such as Tumbled and Polished and like all natural stone it needs to be sealed to prevent dirt becoming trapped in the pores. Unlike other stones however Travertine does suffer from pitting however these holes can be filled.

One of the main issues with polished Travertine is the polish starts to wear down with use and eventually becomes dull. Another issue we see is acid etching where strong unsuitable cleaning products used on the stone etch the surface and ruin its appearance. To resolve both these problems the stone needs to be re-polished with diamond encrusted burnishing pads of different grits to hone the stone and bring back that deep shine. If this sounds familiar you should talk to us about our annual maintenance program where we visit you once a year to clean, polish and seal your floor thus keeping it in top condition.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Travertine Table Repair and Renovation Swallowfield Reading

Repairing a Stone Table for Repeat Client in Swallowfield Reading

I received a rather fraught text message followed by a bunch of pictures from a client in Swallowfield regarding a broken stone table. My client lets out properties in the Thames Valley and Berkshire areas so over time we have built a nice relationship as maintenance work is constantly needed within these properties.

Damaged Stone Table Before Repair Reading Damaged Stone Table Before Repair Reading

Unfortunately, my client and his son dropped the large stone table while preparing the property for new tenants causing significant damage to one corner. Time was of the essence as the new tenants were due to move in the following weekend.

Having reviewed the pictures and discussed the damage in detail over the phone I was confident I could significantly improve the damage, so we booked in a date that was mutually convenience. Fortunately, they had the good sense to collect the pieces of broken table which would make the task easier.

Repairing and Cleaning a Travertine Stone Table

My first job was to reconstruct the puzzle of broken pieces to ensure the table would all fix together again. Happy I had all the parts I began the reconstruction using a two-part epoxy resin that binds rock hard in about 15-30 minutes, clamping each part in place while the resin hardened.

Once I was happy with the repair, I gave the table a deep clean using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean, this product is a strong alkaline cleaner that breaks down dirt, grease, and contaminations. After scrubbing in a strong dilution by hand it was then rinsed off with water and the table was left to dry.

Sealing a Travertine Stone Table

I returned later that day and happy it was thoroughly dry I applied two coats of Tile Doctor Ultra Seal which is an impregnating sealer that works by occupying the pores in the stone thereby preventing dirt from taking up residence there. This ensures contaminates remain on the surface where they can easily be wiped away. This product is almost invisible and so doesn’t change the appearance of the stone, so it keeps its natural appearance.

They were impressed with the repair work and as you can see from the pictures there is very little evidence of the previous damage. They were also relieved that it could be repaired as a piece like this is expensive to replace. More importantly the property was also ready for the new tenant to move in.

Damaged Stone Table After Repair Reading Damaged Stone Table After Repair Reading

We have already carried out lots of work for this client previously, maintaining the various tiled floors that they have in the various properties, floors you wouldn’t want to trust with a standard cleaning service.


Professional Repair and Renovation of a Stone Table in Berkshire

Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor Cleaning Sealing Spencers Wood Reading

Dirty Silver Travertine Kitchen floor in Spencer’s Wood, Reading

This client in Spencer’s Wood, a small civil parish village located south of Reading within Berkshire, had a spectacular Silver Travertine tiled floor that had become grimy, stained and generally dull from use. Unhappy with how it now looked I was asked to quote for renovating it.

I called in to survey the floor and I could see how the grout had become badly stained and the natural pits in the travertine had trapped a lot of dirt which had accumulated over time. Kitchen floors are generally the busiest in any house and with a build-up of dirt, grease and other soils ingrained into the pores of the travertine.

Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Spencers Wood Reading

It was clear any sealer that had once protected the stone was no longer effective. Though the kitchen was the worse effected area the client wanted the whole tiled area cleaned which included the hallway and cloakroom. I worked out a quote for doing the work, which was accepted and a date was booked in.

Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Spencers Wood Reading Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor Before Cleaning Spencers Wood Reading

Cleaning a Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

On arrival I applied a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell for ten minutes so it could soak into the pores and break down the dirt, grease, and any remaining sealer. For best results I then went over the floor with a rotary buffing machine fitted with a nylon scrubbing brush. Personally, I find nylon brushing perfect for cleaning grout and pitted travertine as the brush gets into the depressions releasing the contaminations. The resulting slurry was then vacuumed off the floor using a wet vacuum, the floor was then rinsed with water and vacuumed again.

To improve the appearance of the Travertine and remove any potential imperfections caused by wear and tear, it was given a light burnish using a 400-grit then 800-grit burnishing pads this left the floor with a gentle satin sheen. We could then improve the shine further by adding a 1500-grit followed by 3000-grit however, it was the client’s request that they didn’t want the floor to look “too shiny”.

The burnishing pads are attached to the rotary machine and then run over each tile several times using only water for lubrication. After another rinse and extraction to remove the slurry, the floor was left to dry off overnight.

Sealing a Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor

Returning the next day, the floor had dried out and looked stunning. I damp meter was used to test the floor for moisture and after confirming it was dry, I proceeded to seal the Travertine using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow.

Tile Doctor Colour Grow is an impregnating sealer that enhances and improves the colour and texture of natural travertine whilst providing durable protection.

Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Spencers Wood Reading

The client was thrilled with the outcome of the floor and was glad to have it back to how they remembered it. Before leaving I took time to discuss aftercare and recommended the client to use Tile Doctor Stone Soap as a maintenance cleaner.

Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Spencers Wood Reading Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen Floor After Cleaning Spencers Wood Reading


Professional Restoration of a Silver Travertine Tiled Kitchen in Berkshire

Douai School Travertine Floor Tile Renovation Upper Woolhampton

Communal Travertine Floor Renovated at Douai School – Upper Woolhampton

This enquiry came from Douai School in Upper Woolhampton which is a listed building near Bucklebury that dates back to 1830. The building was converted in 2003 into a range of extremely individual and stylish apartments. Also nearby is Douai Abbey which is a monastery occupied by Benedictine Monks who used to run the school until it closed.

Douai School Upper Woolhampton

I was called in inspect the impressive entrance and foyer area and main building itself. During the refurbishment in 2003 the whole area was installed with Travertine tiles with small slate inserts. Once an impressive floor it had deteriorated over the past eighteen years and had never been professionally cleaned since installation. Not only had the floor collected years’ worth of dirt in the pores of the stone the natural holes that were filled in during manufacture had started to pop out leaving an unsightly appearance.

Douai School Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Upper Woolhampton

After surveying the Travertine floor, I carried out a test clean on a small inconspicuous area to demonstrate what would be involved and to verify which method and products would be the most efficient choice. From this I was able to provide an accurate quote, which was accepted, and a date was soon booked to carry out the work.

Douai School Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor Before Cleaning Upper Woolhampton

Cleaning and Polishing a Large Travertine Tiled Floor

Due to the size of the area, I allowed 7 working days it complete the floor, working in sections at a time. This allowed me to cordon off a safe working environment for myself without impacting the residents too much.

I started the cleaning process with the application of a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is an alkaline based tile cleaner that breaks down heavy soils and old sealers. It was important to ensure as much dirt was removed from the pores, pockets, and holes in the Travertine as possible. I left it to soak in and get to work breaking down the dirt for roughly ten minutes before scrubbing it in with a rotary floor scrubbing machine. The soil released during this process is then rinsed off with water and extracted with a wet vacuum. The section of flooring is then inspected, and the process repeated if needed, stubborn stains were be dealt with by spot treating. Once cleaned air driers where left in place to help speed up the drying process.

Douai School Travertine Floor During Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor During Filling Upper Woolhampton

The next task was to focus on filling the holes in the Travertine, I did this using an epoxy resin filler specifically designed to fill in stone. I used a combination of straw and light straw colours to compliment the different tones in the tiles. Once applied the product dries pretty fast however I like to leave a good hour before progressing onto the next stage of the refurbishment process.

Polishing Travertine Tiled Flooring

Now the area had been cleaned and filled my next task was to repolish the Travertine tiles that had lost its lustre over the years. Usually on sedimentary stone I would start with a 400-grit pad and work my way through the 4-stage burnishing system finishing on a 3000-grit. However, filling the holes leaves a residue on the tile which meant I needed to smooth back the surface first with a coarser 50, 100 and then 200-grit soft milling pads. This process generates a bit of soil which needs to be rinsed and extracted between each pad.

I continued with the restoration of the floor by moving onto the burnishing process using a further set of finer pads starting with 400-grit. The pads are applied to the floor as before with a heavy floor buffing machine using water to lubricate the process. The pad is run over each tile around three times and the fine slurry this process generates is rinsed off afterwards with water and then extracted with a wet vacuum. You then move onto the 800-grit and then 1500-grit slowly building back the appearance of the stone.

Sealing Travertine Tiled Flooring

As I worked in sections at a time, I was able to allow a full day drying prior to sealing. Happy with the appearance of the floor I opted to seal the floor with one thin coat of colour grow. I had a range of sealers to use however I felt the stone would benefit from the colour enhancement properties colour grow sealer provides.

Douai School Travertine Floor After Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor After Cleaning Upper Woolhampton

Because this was a communal space it was necessary to tape the area I was sealing off to ensure there was no foot traffic whilst it was drying. This process was repeated throughout the job and at any one time I would have several areas sectioned for cleaning, drying, polishing, or sealing.

Douai School Travertine Floor After Cleaning Upper Woolhampton Douai School Travertine Floor After Cleaning Upper Woolhampton

The staff, chairman and residents where over the moon with difference I was able to make. In fact, I have since been invited back to deep clean the chairman’s kitchen and do other jobs for three other residents as they were all installed with the same material. I should mention that for aftercare I leave a bottle of Tile Doctor Stone Soap for maintenance cleaning.


Professional Renovation of a Polished Travertine Flooring in Berkshire

Travertine Floor Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

Red Wine Stains Removed from Travertine Floor in Swallowfield

Earlier this year I was contacted by a homeowner from the village of Swallowfield near Reading about the removal of Red Wine staining from their Travertine tiled floor. Normally these requests are related to a few slashes of wine following a party however in this case the problem was much bigger.

Travertine Floor Before Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

It turns out that their cottage was undergoing some renovations and had a variety of different trades working on various things throughout. After returning to the property following a weekend away it became apparent that an expensive wine rack had fallen over, and two bottles of red wine had been smashed in the process. Consequently, a litre and a half of red wine had spilt onto the Travertine tile and grout and rather than mopping up the spill the contractors threw over some kitchen roll and then left for the weekend.

If you have a Travertine floor you will appreciate that its best to clean up a mess like immediately, leaving it any longer increases the chance the stain will breach the sealer and stain the stone and grout. In this case it had been left far too long and the red wine had penetrated the tile darkening its appearance, understandably my Customer was not happy.

Travertine Floor Before Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading Travertine Floor Before Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

One of the advantages of being part of a group like Tile Doctor is they have developed numerous products and techniques for dealing with all types of situations related to the cleaning of stone, tile, and grout. Whilst the most popular work we do relates to the cleaning and sealing of floors sometimes we get asked to resolve more unusual issues such as this. Long story short I was able to arrange a visit to the property where I completed a successful cleaning demonstration, happy with the result from the demo the work was booked in.

Removing Red Wine Staining from Travertine

The first task was to clean the tiles to remove any remaining residue wine, I did this using Tile Doctor Neutral Tile Cleaner rinsing with plenty of water and extracting the soil with a wet vacuum. Though this did improve the stain slightly it was obvious the wine had penetrated deep into the stone. At this time, the customer was quite concerned that it wasn’t going to budge however I reassured him this was only the first stage of the process and trick up my sleeve.

I mentioned earlier Tile Doctor have developed numerous products and techniques and this includes Tile Doctor Reduxa which is a specialised stain remover that’s sole purpose is to remove acidic stains from stone.

Travertine Floor During Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading Travertine Floor During Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

Working in small sections Reduxa is sprayed onto the stain tile, left to soak in and the dried out using a heat gun. Each time the treated area is dried in this manner the heat causes the product to evaporate taking the stain with it. It sounds simple but the process needed to be repeated six to eight times until the stain was invisible to the eye.

Following the removal of the stain I needed to restore the finish of the stone in the affected area by applying a series of Burnishing Pads from 400 to 3000 grit. These pads remove old sealers and then re-build the finish on the Travertine. It’s necessary to lubricate with water and then rinse the floor and extract afterwards as the coarser grit pads do generates some soil.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

I returned the next day to reseal the stone however the floor needs to be dry before applying the sealer, so I checked the moisture levels first with a damp meter. Happily, the floor was dry, so I was able to move straight on to sealing by applying two good coats of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal.

Travertine Floor After Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading Travertine Floor After Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

Ultra-Seal is a no-sheen, natural-look penetrating sealer that provides maximum stain protection without darkening or changing the appearance of the stone. It’s also an excellent grout sealer.

Travertine Floor After Red Wine Stain Removal Swallowfield Reading

By the time I had finished the floor looked much fresher and any sign of the wine stain was now long gone, my customer was delighted and much relieved.


Professional Removal of Wine Stains from Travertine in Berkshire

Scratched Travertine Tiled Floor Repaired in Hunt Final

Dirty and Scratched Travertine Tiles Burnished in Hunt

Travertine, a form of Limestone, is a highly coveted stone that had been in use as a building and flooring material for hundreds of years. In fact, the Romans used Travertine to build the famous Colosseum, the largest building in the world that was built primarily from the material.

It is understandable, then, that anyone who owns a Travertine tiled floor would want to ensure its regular cleaning and maintenance, especially given that Travertine is a relatively soft stone in comparison with other stone, is easily damaged and is naturally pitted. This customer, who lives in the town of Hunt in Berkshire, was keen to have her Travertine tiles deep cleaned, several deep scratched removed and for the pitted holes to be filled.

Scratched travertine tiled floor before cleaning in Hunt

Burnishing and Cleaning a Scratched Travertine Tiled Floor

To clean the Travertine floor, I firstly used a hot clean and capture system, which essentially involves the application of hot water to the floor under high pressure. The system then captures the dirty water and transports it back to a tank on our van. It’s a highly efficient method for cleaning large areas in a short space of time, with great results.

Next, I treated the pitted holes in the Travertine were filled with a coloured matched resin. Pitting is a form of corrosion that occurs naturally in this type of stone, and can be quite unsightly if not treated. Additionally, it’s not unusual for pitting to be made worse by the constant use of weak acid cleaning products which can actually erode the calcium in the stone.

As mentioned, the tiles also suffered from deep scratches in parts, and these were removed using a process we call burnishing, which involves the application of diamond encrusted pads to polish the stone. The scratches were polished out using Coarse 100 and 200 grit diamond pads.

Scratched travertine tiled floor repaired in Hunt
The whole floor was then burnished using the four pad Tile Doctor burnishing system, starting with a Coarse pad and working through Medium, Fine and Extra Fine pads, with rinsing in between each pad and a final rinse at the end of the process.

I left the floor to dry off fully and retuned later to enhance the polish further using Tile Doctor Shine Powder, a crystallising powder product which provides a very durable and deep shine on the Travertine.

Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor

Having successfully dealt with all the problems affecting the Travertine, my last job was to seal the whole floor using Tile Doctor Colour Grow. Colour Grow is an impregnating, colour enhancing sealer that we recommend highly on quality stone such as Travertine, Limestone, and Marble due to the fact that it provides excellent protection and emphasises the wonderful natural shades in the stone.

Scratched travertine tiled floor after restoration in Hunt
The customer was extremely happy with the results and sent over the following feedback for Dennis who worked on the floor:

“Dennis was brilliant – very professional and conscientious – he worked so hard and in 30+ degree temperatures! He has rejuvenated our Travertine flooring to a beautiful, almost mirror like effect – it is now more amazing than it was when it was first laid down.”

Scratched travertine tiled floor after restoration in Hunt

Professional Restoration of a Pitted, Scratched and Dirty Travertine Floor in Berkshire

Travertine Floor Completed

Travertine Tiles Replaced and Polished in Ascot

The owner of this home in Ascot had 75m2 of travertine tiles installed on the ground floor and around 10 tiles were damaged and needed replacement; this can be difficult as like most things tiles are created in batches and it can be tricky to find an exact match. Fortunately we managed to source a very close match and set about installing them.

Travertine Floor Laid

Cleaning Travertine Tiles and Grout

To get the match as close as possible we then set about giving the whole floor a general clean using Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which is a multi-purpose cleaner, it was equally important to concentrate on the grout of the existing floor which needed to be clean to match the new grout of the new floor. Cleaning the floor also ensures any grit is removed from the tile surface prior to the next step which was to polish the floor using a set of Burnishing pads, this is important as grit could get trapped in the burnishing pads and scratch the floor. We washed the floor down with clean water using a wet vacuum to remove the water from the floor before moving onto the next step.

Travertine Floor Before Burnishing

Polishing and Sealing Travertine Floor Tiles

We polished the floor using a set of 17” Burnishing pads fitted to our weighted polishing machine; the pads are diamond encrusted and you start with the coarser Red pad designed to remove sealers before moving on to the White, Yellow and finally Green polishing pad to achieve a high shine finish.

The last step was to seal the floor which we did using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is colour intensifying sealer that enhancing the natural colours in the Travertine tile as well as providing on-going durable surface protection.

Travertine Floor Completed
We polished and sealed the entire floor to ensure a consistent look; the customer was certainly happy and left the following comment.

“Overall a good job well done. Thank you.
Mr. Wilkinson, Ascot”


Travertine Tiles Replaced and Polished in Ascot

Travertine Tile Replaced and Polished

Replacing Damaged Travertine floor tiles and Polish in Ascot

This job involved removing and replacing five damaged Travertine floor tiles which can be tricky if you have under floor heating. The travertine floor was laid in the kitchen of a house in the town of Ascot which is famous for horse racing.

Removing the Damaged Travertine floor tiles

As you can see from the photograph below we set about marking up the damaged tiles and then proceeded to cut along the lines with an angle grinder which was fitted with a dust free extraction system. Once the bulk of the travertine was removed we used a hammer and chisel to carefully chop out the remaining edges, grout and tile adhesive. This left large holes to take the replacement tiles which were still available and were secured in place with tile adhesive and matching grout, we left the floor at this point to allow the adhesive and grout to dry.

Damaged Travertine Tile

Cleaning and Polishing Travertine Tiles

The next step was to strip and polish the entire floor using a set of diamond encrusted Burnishing Pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a Red stripper pad with water to remove any sealers, moving onto the White, Yellow and finally Green pad which polishes the floor to a high shine. The last step was to seal the floor using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which brings out the colour in natural stone as well as providing durable stain protection.

The re-polishing and sealing really helped to let the new Travertine tiles blend into the floor, take a look at the finished result in the photograph below and see if you can spot the replaced tiles.

Travertine Tile Replaced and Polished

Broken Travertine Tile Replacement in Berkshire

Travertine Floor before and after Repolishing

Travertine Floor Re-polish in Hook

Photographs below of a Travertine tiled floor we were asked to re-polish in the kitchen of a house in the village of Hook in Hampshire. The main problem was the floor had been sealed very badly and made worse when the tiler tried to rectify the problem leaving a dull and stained floor.

Travertine Floor Before Repolishing

Stripping and Re-Polishing Travertine

To strip the sealer from the floor and get it back to the original condition we used a set of diamond encrusted Burnishing Pads fitted to a rotary machine. You start with a Red stripper pad with water to remove the sealer, moving onto the White, Yellow and Green pads which polish the floor. Once the surface was restored we applied two coats of Tile Doctor Pro-Seal which is a premium, no-sheen, natural look, water based, penetrating sealer formulated to provide maximum stain protection to the Travertine and the Grout.

The customer was over the moon at the finish and I’m sure the tiler breathed a big sigh of relief as well.

Travertine Floor After Repolishing

Re-Polishing a Travertine tiled kitchen floor in Hook, Hampshire


Berkshire Tile Doctor

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