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rwith 03-17-2009 12:44 AM

To seal travertine or not
We have new travertine in the kitchen where it will get a moderate level of use. The installer advises not sealing it because it is not a complete protection, needs re-sealing from time to time and sealing makes it harder to re-do the grout and buff the tiles later on if needed. He thinks we should leave it unsealed and simply have someone re-buff the tiles after some years of use as needed. Does this make sense? We always thought sealing Travertine is a must, but if re-buffing and re-grouting is straightforward then maybe not.

Bob Mariani 03-17-2009 05:18 AM

it should be sealed. His reasons make no sense.

ccarlisle 03-17-2009 07:08 AM

Oh boy...where to start? First, there are no strict rules about "sealing stone" - in fact, it's much like the fashion world - where there are few rules and everybody has on opinion. So saying 'travertine must be sealed' is really over-simplifying a question that has as many answers as it has questions. It may be an easy "yes" but not a slam-dunk in my mind...:no:

Second, know that with what we have from you so far, we can't give you an answer from 'here' - because we are not 'there' - we can't see what you've got and you haven't told us.

I can't even say for sure you're talking about your floor...? are you? I guess you are - but I've seen travertine countertops so the question is valid...then what finish do you already have on it? is it highly polished (like a mirror), or honed, like a satin pillow? can you see all the little holes in the stone, from pinhead sized to about the size of a pencil eraser? are they filled with something or not? See, I can make an assumption here but you know what they say about assumptions, don't you?

Most likely it is 'filled' (it wouldn't be sanitary in a kitchen unfilled)...and 'honed'. But then again, I am assuming your supplier was either a local tile store, or a big box store and that you live in an average house, not a $3 you paid around $4-6 per sq ft?

OK once we've established what you have, we then ask what you want to do. You say you want to "seal it"...from what exactly? water? from dirt? from red wine stains? from scratches made by the dog? are you thinking a natural look or a topical sealer...something like putting a wax down on a wood floor? You mention "moderate traffic"... what? 2-adults-in-slippers or four-teenagers-and-two-dogs traffic? I'll assume a bit of both.

Your guy should have tested your travertine for absorption of liquids first and then given you his thoughts on sealing it. He is right in saying it is not complete sealing and that it will need to be resealed from time to time, but he is specifically referring to a topical sealer when he mentions grout and re-buffing. Perhaps he is unsure about what type of sealer you want? does he suggest an impregnator-sealer? which one? water-based or solvent-based? How many coats? how long between coats, if more than does it work and what is it going to give you - and what is his liability in all that, if something happens...will he have to solve the problems? Is he capable?

So perhaps there was some "fluff" there, when harder answers should have been given. Maybe he's a tile setter and not a stone restoration expert, so he doesn't know...not his fault entirely. So maybe he wasn't the guy to ask...

But to leave travertine as is and re-hone it every couple of years is possible - but not as easy as buffing a waxed floor with a low-speed buffer. Guys that re-hone have specialized equipment and it's a process very similar to sanding a piece of rough wood to get a table-top.

I don't want to go on, already enough to think about as it is - but these are some of the areas that need addressing if we are to answer to your satisfaction the question you raise. If nothing else, I hope you see the size of the question. But, if I assume you have filled, honed, absorbent travertine on a kitchen floor, with a moderate family and that you are looking for peace of mind and having told you that re-honing is something you might have to look at every few years, then I'd say seal it.

Now that process may take you a few days, depending on the stone and the sealer... :whistling2:

rwith 03-17-2009 12:51 PM

Toseal travertine or not
Carlisle: I appreciate your feed back.

1. It is on the floor only of a 13 x 14ft kitchen. Usage is by two adults, no pets, open to dirt from the back door plus my wife cooks a lot. It is also used as a casual social area (eating and sitting with friends around the kitchen table). We will have mats in front of the sink and stove. Modest house - no mansion here!

2. Your assumption is correct - the travertine is honed and filled. It is from Turkey and cost us $2.50 but would be $5 in the local stores.

3. The sealer I had in mind is Stonetech professional (a Dupont product) and is water based. It states "advanced microbond protection", cures in 24 hours (8 for light foot traffic) and that is about it. We prefer the natural look so if this is a topical sealer, it doesn't sound right from your comments. My natural inkling would be to apply 2 coats the first time round.

4. I will take your suggestion and do a liquids test on a spare tile as I am not in a hurry to seal it. Tea, dirt and food are the most prevalent issues.

Let me know if you have anything to add given the additional information,

Thanks again, Roger

ccarlisle 03-17-2009 03:41 PM

That's what I thought...good!

Stonetech has some very good products and I would not hestiate to use them, but no matter what sealer you put down you are going to have to be careful about dirt and sand brought in through the door (use mats inside and/or outside) and acid etching.

Orange juice, coffee, coke, any acidic product - even wine or water - will leave an etch mark on the travertine if not cleaned up right away. No product will save you from etching although some will mitigate it.
Furthermore, you should only use stone-specifc cleaners to clean the floor with not just any old cleaner. A neutral stone cleaner is all you should have under the kitchen sink.

Every few years you may need someone to come in and re-hone it; stone professionals do this regularly. Costs about as much as the tile does... FYI

mikediablo 12-06-2012 02:21 PM

Renewing an old thread.. :whistling2:

I am having a heck of a time finding a sealer that does what I want, is available in Canada, doesn't need a re-application avery 6 months and fits my budget.

I have a new tumbled travertine installation in my bathub/shower area as well as in the bathroom floor. This is the main bathroom; 2 adults, 3 kids, only bare feet or socks, no pets.

Could someone provide me with some professional insight into a good sealer?

I am looking for a natural look enhancer / sealer. Here are a couple of buzz-names I have come accross on the internet:

- Aqua Mix Enrich 'N' Seal
- Stonetech Bulletproof (would prefer the Professional Enhancer Pro Sealer, I think)
- Saniten Color Enhancer Sealer - NANOTECH

Please help! :thumbup:

JazMan 12-09-2012 12:56 PM


If you want a natural look, (in other words the way it looks out of the box), be sure to use a penetrating sealer, not an enhancer. Don't buy a cheapo one and apply several thin coats.

Keep an eye on the shower's lower walls and floor especially well. Your tile selection requires lots of maintenance. I've yet to see one that looks great after a few years.


joecaption 12-09-2012 01:05 PM

Very soft and poris, poor choise for a bathroom.

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