What is done to fill holes in Travertine?

Holes and small pits are sometimes filled at the factory with an epoxy and sold and installed as a “filled” stone. The other choice is an “unfilled” Travertine which is sold and installed with open holes and pits. The installer can fill the holes after installation with grout. Over time, new pits/holes will develop in the stone or existing fill will crumble. We can clean out and re-fill these pits using either sanded or non-sanded grout within the color family of your stone.

Some of my tiles sit higher up than others, creating high edges. What can be done to fix it?

This is called “lippage” in the industry and installers are allowed wiggle room up to the height of a credit card. A very good installation should not have any lippage over the allowed amount. Grinding down high edges with highest-impact abrasives is one option to even edges.

Because Travertine is so full of air pockets as mentioned above, this can be a tricky solution. The grinding will open up new holes that weren’t seen before and also permanently round edges and create a grainy texture. New pits can be re-filled but the weathered look created by grinding is permanent. Replacement is the best choice when possible.

I was told that I should get my stone floor honed. What is honing?

There is much confusion about honing within the industry. We have actually devoted an entire page to the subject.

What about cracks in the stone itself? What are my choices for repair?

The best choice is to fill the cracks with either a grout or caulk and color match to the stone to help stabilize and allow some movement and to better blend the crack to look more like the natural veining in Travertine. Replacing cracked stones that stem from the foundation is not always the best option because the cracks will usually re-appear.

Do my stone baseboards need to be sealed?

No. Stone baseboards are not exposed to foot traffic and rarely to any type of spills. Being vertical and low to the ground, baseboards do not reflect light the way the floor does. Honing or polishing stone baseboards to match the floor finish is not needed.

Do stone wall tiles/backsplashes need to be sealed?

Wall tiles are common in bathrooms and kitchens as backsplashes and also as decorative wall tiles usually installed from the ground to about 3-4 feet up the wall. Any areas that will have regular water exposure should be sealed. For larger areas with wall tile, we can do a hand finish to match the flooring if desired.

What do I need to do to prepare my home to have the stone floors finished?

We ask that the homeowner move all decorative items, valuables and small furniture to a safe, out of the way area. Our crew will be able to move the larger furniture such as sofas, large chairs and tables. Items we will work around are: large appliances, pianos, grandfather clocks, entertainment centers, pool tables, full bookcases and hutches, excessively heavy furniture. All toys, laundry, books, etc need to be cleared from the floor. All cables for electronics and long drapes need to be pulled up off the floor. We do have a $250 charge if our crew has to move all items necessary to do the job properly. Pets should be secured since our crew will have a door propped open to run equipment inside.

What about dry time? How long does a stone floor need to dry before I can walk on it?

It depends on the sealer we use. With a penetrating sealer, dry time is 15-30 minutes. Furniture can be moved back and it can be walked on almost right away. No need to worry about footprints from you or your pet.

With a topcoat sealer, there will be some dry time involved before heavy furniture can be put back. This is usually only overnight. There is usually little wait time for normal foot traffic, but we do recommend you wear socks or bare feet for the first night on a freshly coated floor. Try and keep pets (nails) off the floor the first night if possible.

How often do I need to have my stone floor professionally serviced?

That is a tough question because it depends largely on what type of stone flooring, if installed inside or outside, the type of sealer applied, the chosen finish, how well you take care of it, and how much traffic in your home.

Here are a few general guidelines:

For stone sealed with a topcoat sealer: Saltillo, Flagstone, Slate—we recommend keeping the coating in good condition. This could be anywhere between 1-3 years. When it starts showing signs of thinning or wearing, it would be a good time to get a clean and re-coat. Waiting until the coating has worn through in traffic areas will usually require some stripping and re-coating will not look as smooth. There is also more expense involved in stripping and restoring damaged coating and stone.

For stone with a penetrating sealer: Travertine, Marble, Flagstone, Slate, Limestone—we use a high grade penetrating sealer that is designed, if properly maintained, to last up to 5 years inside. About 1-2 years outside in direct sunlight. Traffic patterns will begin to show depending on the factors mentioned above. Every 5 years for the interior is a general recommendation. For polished finishes, 1-2 years is a common time to get touch ups done for high traffic areas.