We can help to protect your investment as well as teach you the truth about an industry that is full of misinformation and deceptive sealing practices.
If we get to seal the patio with our groundbreaking custom sealing processes, we will take over the warranty from the installer or contractor. We have developed patio sealing and finishing systems that are far superior to any that our competitors use. We have proved it with millions of square feet of patios in our Arizona market. We offer a lifetime guarantee the sealer will never cause a problem.
Did the tile shop, installer, or guy in an orange apron tell you not to seal your travertine patio? Or worse use a topcoat sealer? That it doesn’t need any real maintenance, Webster says that Hone or Honing is "the process of sharpening something", such as a tool or skills. In the stone finishing industry, honing has as many different meanings as there are stone finishers honing stone. The finisher may refer to it as a procedure, the tile retailer may refer to it as a look or shine of the stone. The term has become too diluted and over-used to provide and accurate description. We don’t like the term and believe our ” Custom Abrasive Process” is far more descriptive as a procedure for stone. Our different finishes offered have their own categories to aptly describe the resulting shine of the stone.... More or polishing? That it will last forever?
If they did, they are wrong… and you are now in the best place to get the right information. Think of your travertine patio pavers like teeth. Going to the dentist for regular cleanings will help prevent tooth decay, cavities, and worse…right? Skip the dentist for too long, and painful problems will come, it’s just a matter of time.
The same goes for your travertine and all stone patios. Our safe and effective A substance used to sand, scour, scrub, smooth or polish by removal of the original material. The amount of material removed is determined by the size of the abrasive particles used (ie: grit) Sandpaper, scouring powders & steel wool are examples of abrasives./sanding processes and proper use of penetrating sealers will go a long long way in protecting your travertine and other stone patios from erosion and early breakdown; especially in our harsh and hot climate.
When your travertine is new and healthy (just like teeth…) is the optimal time to protect your investment for years of use, although it’s never too late! Arizonians love their outdoor living. Let us take the guesswork out of properly caring for your travertine patio—so you can sit back and live it up in your outdoor oasis.
The Science Behind It
Travertine patios are becoming more and more popular. It is essential they be maintained properly to prevent the travertine, which is calcium carbonate, from breaking down into simple lime.
The calcium carbonate chemical formula is CaCO3. Comprised of one calcium atom, one carbon atom, and three oxygen atoms. When something, even water, breaks the bond between atoms, it releases the carbon and two oxygen atoms as carbon dioxide, leaving calcium oxide, or simple lime behind.
This simple lime can be very corrosive when it gets wet (rain, pool water, sprinklers, fountains, dripper pots, etc) and is very destructive to the travertine, forming holes and breaking down into powder.
Simple lime can come from several sources. It is common to see it as efflorescence, a chalky white powder that builds up after water has evaporated. The efflorescence in a travertine patio can come from sources such as grass contacting the patio, planter boxes, etc.
Every stone is unique in its chemical composition and the amount of lime already present before is installed. Some stones have almost zero lime and are less likely to breakdown especially if they are polished and sealed effectively, but some stones have a high content of lime from the beginning and they will break down rapidly. These stones are what would be referred to as the “bad apple.” They should be replaced whenever they are identified.
If these stones are able to stay in the patio they will break down and transfer lime to solid stones around them and start the negative chemical reaction.
Our Process: Fine Tuned Through Extensive Experience
With our system, we can do one of two finishes which is an all abrasive process.
- Option 1: Satin Finish
- Option 2: Light Polish
The abrasives we have designed specifically to smooth the surface of the stone and not cause damage. Over-sanding or honing is common with inexperienced stone finishers and will damage your stone.
Sometimes the term “honing” is used in this industry. This term is improperly used and we do not “hone,” what we do is much better and safer. The grit level of abrasives we will use vary depending on the stone and its density. Abrasives are very important part of the process of protecting the patio and must be used properly.
SCIENCE NOTE… If you imagine the surface of the stone under a microscope it looks like a lot of the little trees. The larger amount of this crystalline tree, the more water has the ability into get to them, break them down and cause the lime reaction to start. Also, porosity can be increased by the surface area of the stone. When we safely remove the surface texture, we are removing surface area. The less surface area, the less porous it is, which is a good thing!
Our second finish is polishing. We definitely recommend considering polishing. One important consideration is the stone will more slippery when shiny. All Travertine patios can be slippery when wet, regardless of shine level, depending on several factors. Generally, there’s not much more slip when polished. This is something each customer needs to address on their specific patio and proximity to water.
Polishing is the best way to protect the stone. Main factors are the quality of the travertine and who is using the patio around water. Small children and people who cannot risk a fall need to be considered. Polish may not be the best choice for their situation. We recommend doing a slip test with bare feet so the customer can see for themselves how their stones perform and make a choice. We cannot and do not accept any liability once we have worked on the patio for slip level or any falls that may occur.
Our custom polishing system is the best way to protect the patio because we are able to reduce the porosity as much as possible. The smoother the travertine surface, the shinier it gets. The shinier it gets, the fewer pores it has on the service for water to soak in and cause the breakdown and lime to occur.
The chemical benefit is also an important factor to consider we are actually able to rearrange the molecules in the surface of the stone to be more in line and to protect themselves. Calcium carbonate is a compound that has shape. If you imagine a pile of spoons each one is the calcium carbonate molecule. In a pile, their handles are exposed and you could reach in and break one.
During the polishing process, we’re able to change the structure to where it’s not like a scattered pile of spoons but rather a neat stack of spoons. Aligned in a stack, they protect themselves. The density is increased because they’re occupying less space when they are stacked together. This is why a pearl has natural chemical resistance. Pearls shine because the calcium carbonate molecules are packed together so tightly in the shape of the molecule protect each other. Our unique polishing compound we have developed has a natural resin in it that combines with the molecules to help them protect themselves.
Sealing: Travertine Patio Pavers & Decking
Sealers are often a big scam – there are two families of sealers:
- Topcoat sealers: These sit on top of the stone, form a film or coating on the surface, do not penetrate, create a temporary shine.
- Penetrating / Impregnating sealers: These soak into the stone, helping to slow absorption by filling up microscopic pores. Invisible with no shine.
Topcoat or film forming sealers:
It’s important to know how topcoat sealers work and which one, if any, are best for your tile. There are local companies that guarantee the performance of their topcoat sealers. From one to five years, and some up to 20 years. This isn’t possible. Any coating on the surface of the travertine cannot perform because water will get in it one way or another. When it does the water is trapped underneath the coating causing damage as a liquid. Then it evaporates inside of the stone causing hydrostatic pressure and spalling.
Secondly, these “shiny” topcoat sealers stay shiny for a few months in our Arizona sun before fading and turning a milky white or gray, then the flaking and peeling begins. More often, the travertine patio looks much worse than before it was coated. Coatings are difficult and expensive to remove.
If a stone finisher suggests a topcoat sealer for your patio, you should ask the important question, “Is this right for my travertine patio?” The short answer is no. By suggesting a topcoat sealer for a travertine patio, the stone finisher may be demonstrating a lack of knowledge of what works in this climate and how to treat travertine patios properly with the use of safe abrasive techniques and penetrating sealers.
The other family of sealers are known as penetrating sealers. They’re completely different then topcoat film former sealers. They have penetrants in them designed to penetrate as deep as possible carrying water repellent. They help fill up micro pores to slow absorption. They are not water proof or etch proof.
Penetrating sealers are useful and can’t cause any harm to the travertine like topcoat sealers. They do not provide any shine or alter the appearance of the stone. Many people think our service is all about the sealing. While penetrating sealers should only be used for patios of any kind, they have limited capabilities.
Our safe abrasive/sanding steps do much more for the appearance and health of the travertine than a penetrating sealer alone could ever do. Used along with our important abrasive steps, penetrating sealers are useful for more porous types of travertine and do offer some added protection.
Travertine patios will often need cracks and holes filled. Some of these repairs are due to uneven foundation, improper installation or low quality stone. Very often, it is water exposure from pools, fountains, sprinklers that hurry along erosion causing holes and that chewed up appearance. We can do a lot to fill cracks and holes to help the travertine patio be stronger and limit excess water from getting in furthering the erosion.
For travertine pavers, these are fairly easy to remove and replace if needed, since they are not mortared down. Getting rid of those “bad apples.” Proper repairs along with our process described above can restore a travertine patio to good shape for years of use.
Our travertine and fine stone service is family owned & run since 1987. We are the biggest stone finishing small family business in the Valley. Millions of square feet of stone restored and beautified. Call us today for a repair estimate!