How to use Travertine Tile outdoors for DIY’ers

Travertine is a natural stone product created inside of hot springs. The escaping water vapor from the cooling stone creates numerous holes, pits and channels within the stone that give it a naturally rustic look. Travertine tiles are perfect for outdoor use in many applications around the home and garden. The warm-colored tiles can complement many areas of the home’s exterior in a variety of settings.

Use the Tiles as Pavers

Travertine tiles come in a variety of thicknesses, depending on the size of the tile and the manufacturer. You can use those measuring 1/2 inch or thicker in place of pavers to create walkways, driveways and patios. The tiles come in a variety of sizes and shades; create patterns by using one size and color of travertine on a walkway, and a second size, shape or color on a patio to delineate the two areas and create visual interest. Take care if using travertine tiles in this way not to use tiles measuring 3/8-inch thickness or thinner. Thinner tiles will need a mortar bed for proper installation and may crack outdoors.

Create a Pool Deck

Travertine tiles reflect heat on hot days, remaining cool to the touch, unlike brick or bluestone. Travertine does not discolor or become chalky after installation, either, which makes it the perfect material to surround pool decks. The texture of travertine ensures that the stone remains slip resistant for wet feet, while its cool feel prevents burns. Use large tiles to surround the entire pool deck, as well as the walkway or path leading to the pool from the house or patio to give the area a cohesive look.

Reface the Retaining Wall

You can reface or reclad retaining walls made of brick or stone in travertine tiles. While travertine stone does have some natural variation in color from piece to piece, it typically remains within one color palette. This can appeal to homeowners looking for a warm, natural-colored retaining wall without the grays, blues and reds so often found in fieldstone or slate. Depending on the type of travertine tile used, sleek, contemporary walls or rustic and weathered walls can be created. Select a honed and filled travertine tile for a more contemporary look or a tumbled tile for a more rustic finish.

Refacing Stair Treads

Complete the look of your patio, pool deck or travertine retaining wall by refacing the fronts of stair treads with travertine tiles. Travertine is freeze/thaw resistant, making it an ideal tile to use on steps or stairs outdoors. Travertine is also available in decorative, engraved and stained tiles, which can lend a decorative element to the steps leading up to the home or garden. Select a shade and finish of travertine that matches the stones used elsewhere outdoors. If covering the tread of the steps as well, consider using a more rustic finish to help give a better grip under foot when the stairs are wet.

Always remember to call us, your Phoenix Tile Cleaning & Sealing Travertine experts, for any of your Travertine needs!

Phoenix Travertine Tile Care Tips

Travertine tile is limestone with personality. The stone features pitted holes where mineral water has seeped through the limestone. Some installers will fill the holes with grout, and others prefer the natural look, leaving the holes unfilled. The unfilled travertine, of course, works better on floors than on countertops. The travertine is polished for a smooth, shiny look. The stone comes in a wide-range of colors from reds to grays.

Sealing Travertine Tiles

Once travertine tile is installed and grouted on a floor or counter top, it should be sealed to protect the stone and keep it looking new. You can test your travertine to determine if it has been pre-sealed by pouring a little water on the stone. If the stone turns dark and absorbs the water, it needs to be sealed. Check if the stone manufacturer recommends water based or oil based sealant.

Cleaning Travertine Tiles

Acid will etch travertine tiles so spills of wine, vinegar, coffee, soda, and tomato products should be wiped up immediately. For routine cleaning, a soft sponge and a cleaner that is recommended for stone should do the trick. Some professionals recommend that travertine be treated the same as hardwood furniture and coasters always be used to prevent drops from acidic drinks marring the surface. For floors, a regular dust mopping with a soft untreated mop will keep the tiles beautiful and remove sand and grit that could scratch the sealant. If you’re in Phoenix Tile Cleaning & Sealing, remember that we’re always available to handle all of your Travertine cleaning for you!

Repairing Travertine Tiles

Travertine repair kits are readily available to refill holes that have lost their filling or to repair cracks that have appeared from settling or use. Epoxy grout can also be used for filling holes or crack repair in travertine tiles. It is available in a variety of colors.

Replacing Travertine Tiles

If a travertine tile is beyond repair, it can be removed and replaced. Use an angle grinder to cut through the tile diagonally and close to the edge of the tile. Carefully use a hammer to bust up the tile and remove as much as you can. Hammer and chisel the remaining tile, grout, and adhesive. Once you are down to the subfloor, you can replace the tiles that you removed. It is a good idea to have a few extra tiles from your original batch on hand, so that the replaced tiles will match those that were originally installed. If no original tiles are available, try to match the replacement tiles as closely as possible. Do not forget to seal the new tiles once they have been installed.

Travertine tile is a beautiful, natural stone for your home. With proper installation, sealing and cleaning, it will add to the enjoyment and value of your home for a lifetime.

How to Repair Cracked Travertine Tiles from your Phoenix Travertine Expert

Natural stone tile flooring.

Natural stone tiles are durable, natural tiles used as surface materials for floors, walls, and countertops, but they may still crack due to accidents or natural wear and tear. Fortunately for homeowners, these cracks, thick or hairline, may be remedied with the use of non-sanded caulk. Although using epoxy is also an option and may provide better results, its use is reserved to Phoenix Tile Cleaning & Sealing DIYer’s experienced in handling polymers.

Step 1 – Clean the Surface

Prepare the mild detergent solution by mixing water with detergent or dish washing liquid. Dip the sponge in the soapy water and clean the surface of the tiles that have cracks. Rinse with water. If your tiles are used in moist areas like the bathroom or kitchen sink, you have to clean it with oxygen bleach to remove molds, algae and other organisms that might be attached to the surface. Mix oxygen bleach with water in a 50:50 ratio and wipe it on the surface of the tiles. Rinse with water. For kitchen floors, apply degreaser on the tile to remove oil on the surface. Apply and rinse using the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the surface dry completely.

Step 2 – Prep the Crack and the Tile

Dry the surface thoroughly with the help of a hair blower if you plan to fill the crack immediately. You may skip this if you allowed the surface to dry overnight.

Strip the old sealer off the surface of the tile. Apply stripper on the surface with a paintbrush. Rub the surface with a cloth or scouring pad to mechanically shed off the old sealer. Prep the cracks next.

For hairline cracks, insert the single edge razor blade on the crack. Move the blade up and down, as though you are sawing the crack. Blow on the inside of the crack to remove debris and remaining dirt, or use a vacuum cleaner. Use a nail file for thicker and larger cracks. This is to create an even, yet rough surface for the caulk.

Step 3 – Fill the Crack 

Purchase a nonsanded caulk in a color that matches your tile and that comes with a gun. Prepare the caulk using the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are a novice Phoenix Tile Cleaning & Sealing DIYer, you may purchase a pre-mixed caulk.

Squeeze the caulk gun and fill the crack with caulk. Use a toothpick to push the compound into the bottom of the crack. Let the caulk overflow on the surface to allow the caulk to fill all the spaces. To scrape it off flat, get the one-sided razor blade again, and scrape the sharp edge perpendicular to the line of crack. Wipe the surrounding areas with a wet cloth or sponge to remove excess caulk. Let it dry overnight.

Step 4 – Apply Sealer

Apply sealer on the surface using a paintbrush. This is to protect the surface of the tiles, as well as the newly repaired cracks from moisture, oil and chemicals.

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