Removing Ugly Grout Haze From Travertine Tiles

Removing Ugly Grout Haze From Travertine Tiles

Hello this is Abbey Floor Care and we are in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire restoring a honed travertine tile floor.

The main issues with the floor

After the floor was laid, the grout was never fully removed from the surface, leaving a thick layer of grout haze.

The tiles were not sealed, leaving them susceptible to etch marks and spills

The grout was quite dirty

Over the years the surface of the tiles had worn owing to foot traffic, making the surface on some tiles dull and a number of holes had appeared.

In areas the tiles were quite uneven, referred to as lippage.

The kitchen had recently been refurbished and areas of new tiles had been laid.

The client wanted the old tiles resurfaced to match the new tiles as much as possible.

We started by installing protective sheeting to the walls and adjoining floors to protect them from splashes from the work area.

Grout Haze Removal

There are acid based grout removers that remove grout by dissolving it in the acid. Acid treatment could not be used on this job for two reasons

The travertine tiles had a honed sheen finish and acids will dissolve the surface of the tiles removing the sheen and making the tiles dull and porous.

Most modern grouts are made with a rubber like polymer and these polymers are resistant to acids.

So the two preferred options are a solvent based treatment to soften the polymer in the grout haze leaving it ready for removal. This treatment will not damage the finish on the travertine tiles.

And secondly, mechanically remove the grout haze by honing with diamond tooling. This process will change the finish on the travertine tiles, however using the appropriate grit size will recreate the original sheen finish.

Travertine tiles have a honeycombe structure, so care must be taken not to be too agressive, otherwise the process will expose even more natural holes below the current surface.

We decided to use a combination of chemical treatment, hard honing ad soft honing.

We applied the non acidic treatment to the tiles and left it for a couple of hours to soften the grout haze.

We then used a rotary cleaning machine and 800 grit honing powder to remove the grout haze and clean the dirty grout lines.

Honing Treatment

After the floor was rinsed and dried, we used hard honing pads to resurface the stone. Starting at 200 grit we worked our way up to 800 grit to achieve an light sheen smooth finish. The process finished using 1500 grit soft honing pads to give an even finish accross the old and new tiles.

Repair holes and voids

Once the floor had dried, we filled the holes with super fine colour matched grout.

Travertine Tile Sealing

We finished the job by applying two coats of colour enhancing impregnating sealer.

The colour transformation is significant. There is little if any difference between the new and the old tiles.

The Importance Of Correct Cleaning

We carefully explained the importance of looking after the floor properly. It is important to use the correct stone floor cleaning chemicals, as standard floor cleaners will strip away the sealer, leaving the tiles porous and difficult to keep clean.

Using the correct cleaners will enhance and extend the life of the finish, leaving the floor beautiful for years to come.

If you would like your travertine tile floor or any other kind of stone floor restoring to a beautiful finish call Abbey on 0800 695 0180 or complete our simple contact form.