Travertine Cleaning and Sealing
Many types of tiles, especially travertine, are extremely porous. So unless you seal them after installation and reseal them every few years, they’re going to become stained. You can test a tile yourself by simply dripping a little water onto it. If tile darkens, it is porous and needs sealing. If water beads up on the surface, no sealer is needed. Unless you use a high-tech epoxy travertine, the travertine should always be sealed too. This is the first step to cleaning and sealing travertine.
Some sealers work by creating a surface layer on top of the tile rather than being absorbed into the pores. If you use a surface sealer on your tile, any obstructions should be removed before you reseal the surface. Otherwise, a sealer won’t bond properly and the built-up sealant might yellow the grout. Test the sealer by placing masking tape over a tile and then ripping the tape up. If you see sealer on the tape, you need to strip the tile. Purchase a sealer stripper from a tile sealer after explaining what kind of tile you have, especially if you’re using travertine. Mop the stripper on the floor and remove using a rag, sponge, or wet-dry vacuum, following the package instructions.
Clean the Surface
Whether or not you stripped the old sealer, you next need to get the floor or counter perfectly clean. Vacuum it thoroughly with a high-quality vacuum to pick up dust and debris, damp mop it, then go over every square inch of the surface looking for dirt and stains. Use a pot-scrubbing brush to remove any caked-on debris and follow the stain-removal and spot-cleaning techniques recommended by experts.
Apply the Sealer
The application process for an impregnating sealer depends on whether you’re treating the entire surface or just the grout. If you’re sealing both the grout and the tiles, you can simply mop the sealant on the surface. A new, clean sponge mop works well on floors, while a tiling sponge works well on other surfaces.