Travertine is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot spring or in a limestone cave. The appearance of travertine may resemble Swiss Emmental cheese where the springs have gradually eroded away the softer material, leaving holes. These holes can be filled at the factory before the tiles are polished. Over time these factory fillers may fall out of the tile, revealing a hole that is susceptible to collecting dirt which is very difficult to clean out.
At Tile Cleaning Agents we often encounter travertine tiles with holes that require filling. After stripping the floor clean from old sealant, which has accumulated dirt over the years, we use a high power vacuum that rinses out the dirt from the holes.
Once the holes and cracks are dry we key the surface gently to provide a rough surface to which the new resin can be applied. The 2-part epoxy resin that we use consists of the Filler and the Hardener. It’s important to get the ratio of these two products correct otherwise it could harden too quickly or too slowly. Too fast, and we wouldn’t have enough time to blend the material into the stone; and too slowly means we’d need to return the following day to complete the process once the resin has hardened.
Once the resin is dry we sand it to the same finish, of matt or gloss, as the surrounding stone floor (or counter top). This could be done with hand tools but for a higher quality of concealment we prefer to complete the honing process with the 17” rotary machine that we use for the rest of the floor.
The entire floor can be sealed with a topical wax coating, or invisible impregnating sealers that help to prevent spillages soaking into the stone.