If you spent your weekend installing travertine tiles in the shower of the bathroom you are remodeling, then it is important that you know how to care for them. Caring for your new travertine tiles requires that you keep them clean and sealed at all times. Regularly cleaning and sealing of travertine tiles is especially important in areas of the country with hard water. Hard-water scale can get into the pores of the natural stone and will make it look dull and unattractive if the scale is not removed in a timely manner.
Follow these tips to keep your shower's new travertine tiles clean and protected.
Tip: Apply a Sealant as Soon as the Shower's Grout Is Dry
Once the grout lines have had time to dry around your new travertine tiles, you need to seal the tiles with a travertine tile sealant. Since marble and travertine are similar in composition, you can use a marble sealant on travertine without any issues.
Most sealants are simply wiped onto the tiled walls and then wiped off with a clean cloth. Once the sealant has had time to dry, it provides a thin, impermeable layer of protection for the tile from dirt, mold, and water damage. You should seal the tiles before you use the new shower for the first time to ensure that there is no hard-water scale attached to the new tiles or grout you are sealing. This will help the sealant adhere to the surface without any weak areas from underlying water scale.
Tip: Use a Soft Sponge for Weekly Cleanings
One day each week, you should take a few minutes to clean off the travertine tiles in your shower with a soft sponge and a mild stone cleaner. After washing the tiles and rinsing them off with clean water, then you should dry the tile and grout well with a soft cotton cloth. When you notice areas that are developing scale or mold, then it is time to strip off the old sealant and re-seal the tiles. You can purchase a cleaner to safely remove the tile sealant at any hardware or home-improvement store in your area. Once you have the shower's tiles stripped, then reapply the sealant as you did previously.
Tip: Never Use Harsh Cleaners or Cleaning Tools on Natural Tiles
Finally, it is important to note that natural stone tiles can be damaged by wire brushes, acidic cleaners, and even household vinegar. You should only use a cleaner and sealant designed for stone tiles, and you should only use soft cotton cloths or sponges on their surface to protect them from damage.
Consult a professional such as All American Stone & Tile Care Inc. for more information.