Travertine naturally has a lot of holes
Travertine is a clastic sedimentary rock formed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate. Travertine’s colours include white, cream, tan, brown and even red. For its textures and adaptability, travertine is used for a range of purposes including wall cladding, interior and exterior floor tiles as well as paving for pool surrounds.
Typical Uses of Travertine:
Floors: Travertine is a popular choice for indoor tiles in bathrooms and kitchens for its unique patterns textures and colours. This surface is quite porous, meaning it is more vulnerable to staining. The decision to use travertine for floor tiles may be based on design rather than practicality.
Kitchen countertops: Travertine countertops are often used in homes for their aesthetic qualities. The variety of colors and patterns available is appealing to homeowners as each countertop will one of a kind.
- Polished: The surface has a mirror gloss with sharp reflections, a common finish for kitchen countertops and floors.
- Honed: The surface has a smooth finish with little gloss. This type of finish is popular with bathrooms.
Patios and other outdoor areas: Travertine’s unique textures and ability to be cut into a range of sizes and shapes makes it a popular choice for outdoor paving. This includes courtyards, patios and pool surrounds.
- Smooth: The surface is even and flat with no bumps or roughness. This finish is ideal for pool surrounds for its soft feel and appearance.
- Sawn: This finish can vary from a smooth to a rough texture depending on the type of saw blade used. Along with smooth finishes, sawn travertine is commonly used for patios as well as paving around pools.
Common Problems of Travertine
Travertine that is located outdoors can be susceptible to a condition known as efflorescence. It is caused by water moving through the substrate of a material collecting and carrying minerals and salts found in the mortar bed, grout, soil or the stone itself. When the impure water reaches the surface of a material and evaporates, the minerals and salts will be left behind. Through a reaction with carbon dioxide in the air, these form those white marks commonly seen on unprotected porous surfaces.
If detected early, efflorescence can be removed using a stiff bristle brush. Although wetting the affected area will temporarily remove the white substance, the cycle will just continue as more minerals are left on the surface when the water evaporates. Time is essential, the longer efflorescence is left to cure the more difficult it will be to remove. However, the best treatment for efflorescence is prevention. Dry-Treat’s STAIN-PROOF Original provides permanent water and oil repellency. The sealer deeply penetrates into the pores of a material, permanently bonding through a chemical reaction. This creates a water-repelling barrier which stops water ingress. The pores of the material are not blocked so moisture trapped in the substrate can escape as vapour, preventing the salts and minerals reaching the surface.
Although different types of travertine may range in porosity any stain left on the surface will eventually be absorbed into the material. The type of finish on a travertine surface can also impact on the level of staining. Unfilled travertine is more susceptible to staining than polished or honed. This is because the pits and holes in the surface provide an easier path for liquids to enter the material
Dry-Treat™ has a number of products that can protect against staining and remove those difficult deep stains.
- STAIN-PROOF™ Original provides superior water and oil repellency, which will help prevent staining from food and liquid spills on all granite surfaces. The invisible, impregnating sealer permanently bonds to the pores of granite through a chemical reaction. This means a treated surface will not be affected by traffic, exposure to UV radiation or commercial cleaning processes.
- Oxy-Klenza™, part of Dry-Treat’s HANAFINN range is perfectly suited for removing stubborn stains. The powerful, oxygen based cleaner can be made into a closed poultice which can remove stains that have had time to sink into dense stones such as granite. Refer to our maintenance guide for how to apply a closed poultice to a stain.
Travertine, like all porous materials has millions of interconnected pores which absorb water and dissolved salts and minerals. However, because travertine is a very soft, porous stone it is more likely to incur spalling. When water evaporates it leaves salt crystals behind below the surface. When these crystals grow close enough to the surface they break off microscopic pieces of the material. This allows more water ingress which accelerates the spalling over time until the travertine is visibly damaged.
Unsealed travertine saltwater pool coping after 5 months.
In cold climates, water that has been absorbed into the pores of travertine can freeze. Frozen water can expand by up to 9 per cent. When this happens close to the surface microscopic pieces of travertine can break off. As with salt spalling, over time this can cause visibly deep damage.
To protect against salt and freeze-thaw spalling DRY-TREAT 40SK can be used. The invisible, impregnating sealer is specially designed for soft, porous materials in freeze thaw climates and salt water environments. Travertine treated with DRY-TREAT 40SK will have permanent water repellence. The protective barrier will significantly reduce water ingress and subsequent freeze-thaw and salt spalling.
There are thousands of species of fungi that can be classified as mold. Molds are highly resilient organisms which can survive in almost any environment but warm, damp or humid areas are where it thrives. This means that mold can be grow on your natural stone indoors and outdoors. The fungi can not only ruin a Travertine surface but it also has health risks. The effects of exposure can range from mild eye and skin irritation to severe lung infections.
Although mold can live in a range of climates, it cannot survive without water. Applying an impregnating sealer like STAIN-PROOF Original to your travertine surface can significantly reduce the amount of water absorbed, inhibiting the growth of mold, moss, mildew and other biofilms.
Calcareous stones such as travertine are vulnerable to damage known as acid-etching. When anything acidic such as lemon, cola, coffee or wine comes into contact with an acid-sensitive material it will dissolve the calcium inside the stone. This results in a permanent, rough, dull physical mark. No impregnating sealer will prevent acid-etching. This is because they do not physically stop a substance from touching the surface. The only way to prevent this damage is to apply a coating.
For bathrooms tiled in travertine, soaps that contain citrus additives should be avoided as they are acidic and will damage the stone. Travertine that is used outdoors may also be subject to acid-etching. Rain and bird droppings can be acidic which will discolour and damage travertine surfaces.
Protecting your travertine surfaces
For protection against stains, efflorescence and the enhancement of travertine surfaces:
STAIN-PROOF™ Plus - 2 coats
To protect natural stone countertop we recommend using STAIN-PROOF PLUS™. The impregnating sealer is specially designed for dense stone countertops. The superior depth of penetration means your surface will have permanent water and oil repellence.
Note: Dry-Treat’s impregnating sealers will not prevent acid etching because they do not physically prevent an acidic substance from touching the travertine surface. For protection against acids Dry-Treat’s Vitremela, the thin, 100% acid-proof, heat and scratch resistant coating can be applied to travertine countertops.
For natural look:
STAIN-PROOF™ Original - 2 coats
For protection against water and oil-based stains and efflorescence we recommend using STAIN-PROOF™ Original. The sealer’s deep penetration into the pores of your material will provide superior water and oil repellency. This will stop food and liquid spills from causing permanent staining and significantly reduce the formation of efflorescence. STAIN-PROOF™ Original creates a chemical bond inside the pores, permanently becoming part of your material.
META-CRÈME™ - 1 coat
For indoor applications, we recommend using META CRÈME™ for protection against water and oil-based stains and efflorescence. The ultra-low VOC sealer chemically bonds to the lining of a material’s pore structure, providing permanent protection. META CRÈME™ deeply penetrates into the pores which creates an excellent water and oil repelling barrier. This sealer is easier to apply, requiring only 1 coat, and is suitable for smooth surfaces.
For enhanced look
INTENSIFIA™ - 2 coats
For superior color enhancement of a surface whilst providing protection against water and oil-based stains, we recommend using INTENSIFIA™.
For surfaces in saltwater environment:
DRY-TREAT 40SK™ - Dip Seal
We recommend using DRY-TREAT 40SK™ for softer more porous stones in freeze-thaw climates and salt-water environments such as swimming pools or near the coast. This type of material is more vulnerable to water and salt ingress. DRY-TREAT 40SK™ is a permanent water repellent and consolidator. The invisible, impregnating sealer provides superior water repellency whilst strengthening your stone.
Maintaining your travertine surfaces
For everyday and heavy-duty cleaning of your travertine surfaces:
Maintenance is an important part of owning a natural stone or other hard porous surface. Being diligent about the condition of your surface can minimize the need for regular, heavy-duty cleaning. There are a few simple actions that can be taken such as:
- Wiping up spills as soon as possible.
- Regularly washing down areas such as pool surrounds with fresh water after use.
- Frequently removing leaves, branches and other plant matter from patios. If left for long enough, some leaves will bleed tannins, staining the surface.
- Using walk on/walk off mats and vacuuming can reduce the amount of grit on a surface
- Avoid spilling acidic substances such as lemon, cola, tomato sauce, or even using cleaners that contain acid as it can leave a permanent etch on the travertine surface
For outdoor cleaning:
For regular outdoor cleaning of organic stains such as grease, motor oil, mold, plant and animal waste Oxy-Klenza™ can be used. Oxy-Klenza™ is a powerful triple action outdoor cleaner and stain remover for natural stone and other hard porous surfaces. The oxygen, alkaline and detergent based cleaner breaks down organic stains and soiling.
For indoor cleaning:
For regular indoor cleaning of organic stains such as oil, mold and food grime Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ can be used. The powerful active enzyme cleaner concentrate is specially designed for natural stone and other hard surfaces.
For countertop cleaning:
Rejuvenata™ for countertops
Countertops are a key feature of any kitchen. It can be a space for food preparation, dining and even acting as a second table. For this reason porous natural stone countertops usually need to be cleaned daily.
Rejuvenata™ spray for countertops is a pH neutral cleaner specially designed for natural stone countertops. The everyday cleaner is food safe and contains a tiny amount of invisible sealer to increase protection from staining. Rejuvenata™ spray’s mild, natural citrus scent provides a refreshing aroma.
For cleaning efflorescence, limescale, rust marks, and grout haze on acid sensitive surfaces
Note on not using acid
Eff-Erayza and other acid cleaners are not suitable for acid-sensitive surfaces such as travertine. If used on these materials the cleaner will leave a permanent etch mark on the surface.
Make your surface self-cleaning!
For a hands-free, hassle-free cleaning solution Sola-Kleena™ should be used. The innovative light-activated cleaner breaks down organic dirt, grime and other pollutants. Sola-Kleena™ absorbs sunlight and uses it to continually clean hard, porous surfaces for months.