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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. 

Unfilled travertine

Travertine naturally has a lot of holes

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.  Travertine bathroom


  • 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

Efflorescence: ­­

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 metal brush. 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. STAIN-PROOF® Premium Impregnating Sealer, formerly known as STAIN-PROOF Original™, provides premium 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.


STAIN-PROOF has a number of products that can protect against staining and remove those difficult deep stains. 

  • Premium Impregnating Sealer 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.   
  • STAIN-PROOF Alkaline Cleaner, formerly known as OXY-KLENSA™, 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.


Salt Spalling:

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. 

Damage on unsealed travertine after 5 months

Unsealed travertine saltwater pool coping after 5 months.

Freeze-thaw Spalling: 

In cold climates, water that has been absorbed into the pores of travertine can freeze. Frozen water can expand by up to 9 percent. 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 STAIN-PROOF 40SK Consolidator & Water Repellent, formerly known as 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 40SK Consolidator & Water Repellent will have permanent water repellence. The protective barrier will significantly reduce water ingress and subsequent freeze-thaw and salt spalling.


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, 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:

For countertops:

Dense Stone Impregnating Sealer - 2 coats

To protect natural stone countertop we recommend using STAIN-PROOF Dense Stone Impregnating Sealer, formerly known as 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: STAIN-PROOF’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 STAIN-PROOF's Vitremela, the thin, 100% acid-proof, heat and scratch resistant coating can be applied to travertine countertops. 

For natural look:

Premium Impregnating Sealer - 2 coats

For protection against water and oil-based stains and efflorescence we recommend using STAIN-PROOF Premium Impregnating Sealer, formerly known as 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. Premium Impregnating Sealer creates a chemical bond inside the pores, permanently becoming part of your material. 


Waterborne Dense Stone Sealer - 1 coat

For indoor applications, we recommend using STAIN-PROOF Waterborne Dense Stone Sealer, formerly known as META CREME™, 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. Waterborne Dense Stone Sealer 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:

Paver Enhancing Sealer - 1 or 2 coats

For color enhancement of man-made surfaces, we recommend Paver Enhancing Sealer.Paver Enhancing Sealer offers both rich color enhancement and water and liquid protection through a patented combination of silicone technology.


For surfaces in saltwater environment:

40SK Consolidator & Water Repellent - Dip Seal

We recommend using STAIN-PROOF 40SK Consolidator & Water Repellent, formerly known as 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. 40SK Consolidator & Water Repellent 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:

Alkaline Cleaner

For regular outdoor cleaning of organic stains such as grease, motor oil, mold stains, plant stains and stains from animal waste STAIN-PROOF Alkaline Cleaner, formerly known as OXY-KLENSA™ can be used. Alkaline Cleaner 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:

Daily Floor Cleaner

For regular indoor cleaning of organic stains such as oil, mold stains and food grime STAIN-PROOF Daily Floor Cleaner can be used. The powerful active enzyme cleaner concentrate is specially designed for natural stone and other hard surfaces.

For countertop cleaning:

Daily Countertop Cleaner

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.

STAIN-PROOF Daily Countertop Cleaner 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. Daily Countertop Cleaner 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

STAIN-PROOF Acidic Cleaner, formerly known as 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.   

Other Surfaces :

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