Travertine polishing is not something you would want to do every week. For starters, it can get pretty messy if you have to constantly move furniture around to be able to gain access to damaged areas. Also, moving around heavy equipment increases the chances of further damaging your stone surfaces. You have to understand what travertine is and to understand its limitations. Indeed, it has been used throughout history as a building material. Like marble, granite and other natural stones, travertine exudes a timeless classic appeal. In its lighter shades, travertine can brighten a room or make it seem bigger. It can even be prepared to resemble marble, which makes some people think that it can perform as well as marble as a building material.
Before you try to get a master’s degree in travertine polishing, let us look at the characteristics of the stone first. Travertine begins its life with the rapid accumulation of calcium carbonate, usually near hot springs or caves. Yes, because it is a precipitate it means it is not a metamorphic rock like marble. In its unprepared form travertine is dotted with holes throughout its structure. These holes are pockets vacated by carbon dioxide during the precipitation process, creating a stone which looks somewhat like a sponge. Travertine can come with a lot of holes or less, and the lesser holed kinds are more valued as building materials. They are commonly called A-grade travertine and the kind with more holes is known as commercial travertine and is more selected as a paving material outdoors.
As it is an attractive natural stone, travertine is a common choice for various architectural projects. Travertine is extensively used for bathrooms, table tops and counters, walls, floors and outdoor walkways. Travertine polishing is commonly done on travertine installed indoors which is usually in polished form, somewhat resembling marble. The holes are treated with filling to make it resist seepage of fluids into the stone as well as to resist dirt. Travertine prepared in this polished form is very attractive and you might be led to think that the stone will resist wear and tear as well as any kind of synthetic surface. It is, after all, stone. And stone is supposed to be hard.
Although it makes the surface shiny, travertine polishing only alters the outer appearance of the stone. Travertine is calcium carbonate. When heated, it will yield lime. It is a sedimentary rock. This means that travertine is not as hardy as marble or granite. Even marble – already a metamorphic rock, its chemical makeup formed using tremendous heat and pressure – is still vulnerable to damage by chemicals such as acids. Travertine is even more vulnerable. You should take care that travertine is not spilled with coffee, alcoholic beverages like wine, and fruit juices. If splashes are unavoidable, be sure to wipe them off immediately or you increase the risk of etching the stone. Travertine will also stain pretty easily so it is best to keep those paper towels handy in case of any spills.
Travertine polishing will be unavoidable because of the various applications of this natural stone. Due to the characteristics of travertine, it is not ideal for kitchens and bathrooms. This doesn’t mean that travertine is not being used for kitchen counters and even sinks, and it does look impressive when new. Unfortunately, acidic substances are unavoidable in kitchens, not to mention cooking utensils which are either sharp, heated, or heavy. These things can easily scratch, etch or crack travertine tiles if the equipment are dropped on the surface. Like kitchens, cleaning agents for bathrooms are more often acidic in nature and most general purpose cleansers are abrasive in nature. These are to be avoided to make sure your natural stone surfaces stay pristine.