What is travertine?
Travertine is a sedimentary rock that's formed from calcium carbonate deposits around streams and hot springs. Pure travertine is white, but impurities give it sought after colors of beige, buff, brown and tan. Beautiful travertine has been used in building for thousands of years. Even now, it is used for backsplashes, vanities, counter tops, flooring and wall tiles. It is surprisingly durable and in fact tough enough to use for walkways and paths in places where there are no hard freezes in the winter.
Does travertine need to be sealed?
One of the attributes that makes travertine attractive is that it has tiny pores in it that give it a pleasing look and texture. However, because of these pores, travertine needs to be sealed whether it is part of a counter or on the floor. Spills can soak into the pores and stain the travertine. Unsealed pores are also good breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.
Homeowners need to use two kinds of sealants for their travertine. One penetrates deeply into the stone, and the other one protects it with a clear barrier on the surface. Sealing also has the added effect of adding depth and richness to the stone's color. Always seal travertine according to manufacturer's directions.
How is travertine cleaned?
A travertine floor should be broom swept or vacuumed at the end of the day, and a counter should be wiped down with a damp, clean cloth. Travertine, like other porous stones, should be cleaned with lukewarm water and a neutral cleaner, which means a cleaner whose pH is 7.0. The mop or cloth should be nearly dry and never sopping wet. Even if the stone is sealed, a very wet cloth or mop can cause water to seep past the sealant and cause damage.