How to Polish Travertine Tile

How to Polish Travertine Tile

A close-up of the texture of travertine tile.

Knowing how to polish travertine tile will allow you to enjoy your floor's brilliant luster. There is no need to hire a professional because you can easily take care of the problem yourself. All you need is the right information and tools in order to quickly and easily return your floor to the brilliance you expect.

Step 1 - Strip Excessive Material

The main cause of many dull-looking tile floors is wax build-up on the surface of the tile. In order to eliminate it, you will need to buy a stripper that is specifically designed for travertine tile. You can find one at most major home improvement stores. Simply apply the stripper to your floor and then use a clean mop to spread it. Wipe the floor several times with clean water to make sure all stripper and dirt have been removed.

Step 2 - Steam Clean Your Floor

A good way to power through dirt and grime is to use a steam cleaner with a hard floor attachment. The heat from the steam cleaner will easily remove excess dirt from the floor to reveal the brilliant floor which has been resting underneath. Floorcare of this nature will surprise many people, as it will remove scrapes and stains that have been there for years.

Step 3 - Fill Large Cracks, Chips, or Holes

If you have any large blemishes on the surface of your tile, mix some filler compound to smooth out the surface. The preferred filler for travertine is epoxy, which easily matches the natural color of tile. You can also use sanded grout for a cheaper and easier solution, but this compound won’t match the texture of the tile.

Whichever you choose to use, follow the manufacturer’s directions for how you’ll need to mix it. Then, pack the compound tightly in cracks and holes, leaving a little excess extending above the surface to be buffed out later. Allow this compound to cure as instructed.

Step 4 - Tape Plastic Sheeting Around Edges

Before you can proceed to polishing, you’ll need to protect the walls, cabinets, and baseboards in your room from coming into contact with the buffer or the slurry polishing will produce. To do so, you’ll want to use some waterproof tape to secure plastic sheeting around anything you can’t move from the room.

Step 5 - Polish

To bring the tile to a glossy polish, you will first be going over the surface of your tile with low-grit diamond pads on a weighted buffing machine. This will serve to first hone the surface of the stone, removing any minor scratches or etching and leveling out the patching compound from earlier.

Continue up to higher grits of polishing pads to produce a shinier finish. These pads mean for polishing range from 800 to 8500, and the higher the grit, the shinier the floor will be.

You can also choose to use a polishing powder to achieve the finish you want. Just sprinkle it liberally over the tile and sand it with the same weighted floor buffer. What grit of pad you need on your buffer will be determined by the type of powder you use, so study the instructions on yours to find the right number. Add more powder as needed until the finish you want is achieved.

Step 6 - Clean Up

Clean up and remove all remaining debris. Use clean water to mop the floor, and then follow up with a shop vacuum to clear away the water. Let the floor dry completely and then use a sealer of your choice to ensure that your floor stays clean and polished for as long as possible.

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