I was contacted regarding a Travertine tiled floor which had been installed throughout a bungalow in the old Worcestershire village of Ombersley near Droitwich. The owner was unhappy that the tiles had not been laid completely flat and as such many were so uneven they presented a trip hazard. They were very disappointed with the floor and not sure if anything could be done about it.
I went over to the property to survey the floor and discuss potential solutions with the client. Having seen the problem for myself I was able to confirm this issue is know in the trade as “Lippage”. Had the tiles been made of Ceramic or Porcelain then the whole floor would have had to have been re-laid. Fortunately, being Travertine its possible to grind down the stone using a process Tile Doctor has devised we call Milling. Not only will this rectify lippage problem, but it will also restore the appearance of the stone.
The quote I provided was excepted and dates were arranged to complete the work.
Levelling a Travertine Tiled Floor
On the first day I started by adding protection to any vulnerable surfaces. This included adding a silicone bead to the bottom of the fixed kitchen units to avoid water damaging the wood and to shrink wrap any exposed kitchen appliances and white goods. Preparation is always vital as we do not want to damage anything during the renovation process.
I then started the process of lippage removal. This is done with a weighted rotary buffer machine fitted with a series of large diamond pads of increasingly higher grits. The first a very coarse 50-grit pad that is segmented. The pad is worked over the area and each section is timed, water is used to lubricate the process and checks are made after the specified time to check the lippage has gone. This pad is run over the whole floor and the floor then rinsed with water and extracted using a wet vacuum to remove the slurry that is created during the process.
On day two I worked through the other pads in the system including the 100 and 200-grit segmented pads to further the resurface the stone. Again, water is used to lubricate the process and there is a lot of rinsing and extracting required. Again, the process is applied over all the Travertine tiles and is very time consuming. No other products are needed at this stage just water and sweat.
Polishing a Travertine Tiled Floor
Once the lippage issue was resolved and the floor level the next step was to further refine the surface of the Travertine to fully restore its polished appearance. This is done using a set of four non-segmented burnishing pads which range from 400 through to 3000 grit. Again, the pads are applied in increasing grits from coarse to very fine rinsing and extracting in-between.
The last 3000 grit pad is applied dry using a small amount of water which is sprayed onto the Travertine using a process we call a ‘Spray Burnish’, this pad really brings out the shine in the stone.
Sealing a Travertine Tiled Floor
The last step in the restoration process was to apply a durable surface protection to the stone so it would keep its appearance for some years to come. For polished stone where you want to bring up the shine, I recommend applying Tile Doctor Shine Powder.
The powder is applied to the floor and worked into the stone using a white buffing pad fitted to a rotary floor buffer. It provides a very high shine and tough durable finish which is exactly what my customer wanted. As you can see from the pictures the result was quite dramatic and I can confirm my client was delighted with the result. Finally, the uneven stone tiles were now polished and level and no longer presented a tripping hazard.
For aftercare I recommended the use of Tile Doctor Stone Soap which is a sealer friendly cleaning product which has been especially formulated for the regular cleaning of sealed polished stone and helps maintain the patina.