How Do I Get Good Travertine Polishing Results?

Travertine Polishing is done to renew the surface of the stone which has been damaged. Travertine is a natural stone popularly used for decorative purposes. This stone has actually been used in building architecture since time immemorial for its accessibility and beauty. Travertine is increasingly seeing more use in modern architecture and this is where the problem arises. Travertine deposits form in hot springs and limestone caves, with bubbles permeating the stone due to the escape of carbon dioxide during its formation. The spaces left by the escaping gases leave some forms of travertine almost like a sponge while less degrees of bubbles make a more solid rock. This makes travertine softer than marble or granite. Travertine is also more susceptible to damage by acids and to staining by fluids.

Now, travertine is increasingly being used for applications that expose it to the things that the rock is most susceptible to: water, acids, and sharp objects. Travertine is good as a decorative finishing for walls and maybe as paving for walkways and driveways. But travertine is also used for table tops, kitchen counters, pools and the like. Travertine is available in various finishes, and among these finishes polished travertine is most resistant to staining and water damage because the spaces in the stone have been filled and the surface polished to a shiny finish. Still, even polished travertine is not a good idea for a kitchen counter. The stone will sooner or later get splashed by vinegar or coffee when the surface has been worn and you will be left to deal with a stained surface. In this case, travertine polishing is done to refresh the stone’s surface.

Travertine is easily etched by acids such as spilled soft drinks, coffee, and juice. This should be avoided by using coasters when putting filled glasses on travertine surfaces. For travertine floors, the abrasive nature of grit and grime can easily dull the formerly shiny surface. To restore the shine, travertine polishing is done. Travertine polishing is similar to what you do to other natural stone surfaces such as marble. To begin, it is best to start by cleaning the surface. Clean the travertine using non-abrasive cleaners such as household detergent and water. Do not use brushes with metal bristles as this will definitely mar the surface and create a bigger problem. Choice of cleaning agents should be limited to non-acidic chemicals and alkaline cleaners not intended for natural stone. It is preferably to use combination cleaners and restorers specifically formulated for travertine.

Prior to travertine polishing, it is best to try to remove stains from the surface. Some people have found success with poultices that draw out or absorb stains. Deep stains will be more difficult to deal with and may need the reapplication of the poultice. Do not use metal cleaners as this will ruin the stone. Vinegar should not be used as it is an acid. As much as possible immediately wipe spilled juice or alcohol before they seep into the stone. Polished or shiny travertine is most resistant to stains because its holes have been filled before the polishing. You don’t find this resilience from the other finishes such as tumbled or chiselled travertine. It is best to avoid damage to these surfaces by exercising due care.

Travertine polishing is done when a surface is already dulled or during installation. The process is pretty straightforward. Once the surface is already clean, you begin with a coarse polishing grit, say, a 100-grit polishing pad and progress to 800-grit compound. Direct the polisher to where you have applied filling to create an even surface but do not linger or you will create a swirling pattern on the surface. A few passes on the entirety of the surface should suffice. Polishing powder is not generally used as they can accumulate in the holes and will need to be cleaned out. Remember that travertine will never approach the surface shine of other stone surfaces such as marble or granite so don’t overdo the buffing process. You will need to apply sealant to the surface to make the travertine resistant to fluid absorption and staining. Reapplication of sealant is usually a personal preference and you should be on guard if the travertine should need it again in the future.