Located in Burgh Castle West of Great Yarmouth, this Travertine stone floor was a classic example of an incomplete installation. By incomplete I mean the tiler had done a fine job of laying and grouting the tiles but had left it at that and not sealed the stone. Natural stone like Travertine is porous and needs a sealer to stop dirt becoming ingrained in its pores, a sealer will also improve its appearance.
Without a sealer this floor now looked very dull, pale, rather damaged with pitting and heavily soiled with ingrained dirt. Pitting in stone like this is a natural feature of Travertine however it can be exacerbated with the use of acid cleaning products. This was a floor in urgent need of a face lift, and I was confident it could be transformed into a very beautiful floor.
I think it is true to say that most tilers will skilfully lay a floor for you but usually don’t have the knowledge, experience or equipment to finish the surface properly and when it comes to sealing many will recommend a product and suggest you take care of it yourself. Naturally if your find yourself in that position don’t insist the tiler does it, better to give us a call and have it done properly.
Filling Pitted Travertine Tiles
Our first job was to backfill the larger pits in the stone which as I mentioned are a natural feature of travertine material, but they can trap dirt and so its best if they are plugged with a suitably rigid filler. Also, if left alone the larger holes can quickly become larger as their edges crumble and break up leading to the entire tile becoming unstable. Replacing a tile in a floor like this is possible however its an extremely awkward job to do and it can be difficult to find an exact match for replacement.
Filling was done using a two-part, neutral cream-coloured polyester compound which gels in about fifteen minutes after addition of the catalyst. After this initial period, the excess product is trimmed off level with the surface of the tile before it sets harder than the stone itself in around sixty minutes. The fully cured compound can then be cut and machined as though it were part of the stone structure.
Cleaning and Removing Scratches from a Travertine Floor Tiles
Our second job was to remove deep scratches caused by the unprotected feet of workmen’s ladders. This was done using Tile Doctor 50-grit and 100-grit diamond hand burnishing pads with a little water as a cutting medium. Shallower scratching present across the rest of the floor was removed using a Tile Doctor 200-grit soft milling pad driven by our Klindex 17″ rotary machine.
This abrasive action produces a fine slurry which was then rinsed with water and extracted using our 400psi Ninja machine in preparation for the next stage of the refinishing process. These machines were an expensive investment for our business however they are very robust and effective producing a good result that saves time.
Next task was to restore the polished appearance of the Travertine which was done using the application of a set of Tile Doctor burnishing pads. The process starts by applying a coarse 400-grit diamond pad, again fitted to the Klindex rotary machine. This cleans the tile and improves the matt finish left by the milling pad; again, the slurry was rinse-extracted before moving on to the next pad in the set. Next came the finer diamond polishing stages of 800 grit and 1500 grit, slurry being removed as before between the grades. By this time, all the scratches had been removed and the Travertine floor had visually pleasing even sheen across the whole surface. The last pad in the set is applied dry with a little water sprayed onto the tile so we left the area to dry out thoroughly overnight with the assistance of our large capacity dehumidifier.
Sealing a Travertine Kitchen Floor in Burgh Castle
Returning the following morning, we found that the floor had dried out perfectly and was ready to be vacuumed and spray burnished with the last pad in the set which is a 3000-grit very fine pad applied using a small amount of water sprayed from a trigger bottle resulting in a deep, rich shine across the floor surface.
Last step in the face lift was to seal the floor with a generous coat of Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal, a premium grade penetrating sealer recommended for use in Kitchens and food preparation areas. Having left the floor to soak up as much of the Tile Doctor Ultra-Seal as it could, the excess product was removed and the whole area allowed to dry completely with the assistance of our industrial air moving fan. Finally, the floor was spray buffed to a deep shine using a white maintenance pad.
The client was extremely pleased with our results and was amazed at the variation of colours within the stone which had never been visible previously.