Travertine Polishing is done to remove surface imperfections or damage done to installed travertine tiles or pavers. Travertine is decorative natural stone, a form of limestone which is formed near caves or hot springs. At first glance, some people think that travertine is similar to marble – a common natural stone used for buildings. Actually, it is not. Marble is metamorphic rock, formed with extreme heat and pressure. It is also more structurally solid than travertine. Carbon dioxide escapes from the stone during the formation of travertine and this leaves holes throughout the stone, giving it a somewhat fibrous appearance. The commercial value of travertine is determined by the presence of these holes left behind by the carbon dioxide evasion. The more solid-looking stones with less holes are more expensive than the ones with more holes.
To appear solid and to have a smooth surface, travertine is treated with fillers to cover the visible holes. The travertine is usually polished after filling resulting to the much-desired filled and polished finish. Other finishes like honed, chiselled and tumbled travertine are chosen depending on their application and the desired texture of the stone. The natural surface is often desired as a decorative touch on walls while the solid and shiny polished travertine is for interior floors or counters. Now, travertine is a soft natural stone in comparison to granite or marble and it is easily damaged by impact, hard contact from wood or metal items, and general pedestrian traffic when installed as flooring. Travertine polishing renews the shiny surface on the filled and polished travertine.
Travertine is often used for applications that the stone is not recommended for. Even with constant travertine polishing, travertine has characteristics intrinsic to natural stone. For instance, people insist on using travertine on kitchen counters as these look good on brochures. When filled and polished, the travertine surface looks really pretty and everyone thinks that stone is “hard”. Think again. Travertine is easily damaged by acid which can come from anything like coffee, juice, alcohol or even the cleaning agent you normally use on commercial bathroom or kitchen tiles. Used on travertine, acidic cleaners will rapidly etch the surface or make it dull. This vulnerability to damage via chemicals means you have to take extra care to use coasters and other covers when you put various liquids over travertine table tops.
Apart from the vulnerability to chemicals, travertine is a soft stone – softer than marble. This means you will easily damage travertine with knives and other kitchenware. Be ready with placemats and pads if your dining table is finished with travertine tiles. Any spilled liquid should be immediately wiped especially if it is on a travertine surface with a matte finish. Travertine will easily stain if the protective treatment on the surface or the sealer has been worn away and you would have to do some travertine polishing. Travertine floors should be regularly cleaned with a dry dust mop. Accumulated grime and sand is abrasive and this will damage travertine. Doormats with non-slip surfaces are desirable to protect your travertine floors, preventing people from carrying potentially damaging dirt with their footsteps throughout your flooring.
Travertine polishing is your option to restore dulled surfaces. It would actually be better if you take time to monitor your travertine and apply sealant as needed. Fluids can easily seep in unprotected stone surfaces and cause staining. If you do have to do some polishing, you can have a professional do it for you or you can do a DIY project if the surface is not too large. Start with a rough grit such as 100-grit buffing pad and work your way to a finer grit. Try to polish evenly throughout the surface and do not linger on a single spot to avoid swirls in the stone. Level any areas where the travertine has been repaired or if any part has been replaced with new tiles or pavers. Travertine is evenly coloured throughout so there is no worry about discoloration. Apply sealant after getting the desired sheen as this will be the new surface’s protection against accumulated grime and new stains.