Repairing Travertine

Repairing Travertine

Filling Travertine Tiles

Are you among the many natural stone lovers that have opted for using travertine in your home? If so, are you pleased with the appearance of your stone? Some travertine owners find that the stone begins to “open up” over time. When this happens, travertine tiles need to be filled. Why is this the case? What is used for filling travertine tiles? In this post we will explore the answers to these questions.

Openings In Travertine Tiles

When travertine is formed, gases are trapped in the stone. The resulting stone is porous and has many “voids” in it. Geologist Evelyn Mervine puts it this way, “Travertines that form in this manner are naturally sucking up CO2 from the atmosphere and storing this CO2 in solid rock – travertine.” Of course, she explains the formation process in greater detail on her blog in this post. However, you may need to be familiar with chemistry to appreciate her explanation. The main point to take away for our discussion though is this: travertine has holes in it because that is one of the properties that make it “travertine”.

“Travertines that form in this manner are naturally sucking up CO2 from the atmosphere and storing this CO2 in solid rock – travertine.”

– Evelyn Mervine

The holes found in travertine contribute to its rustic look and feel and are one of the reasons for its popularity as a choice material in luxuriant designs. However, travertine needs some TLC to be both durable and beautiful.

Why Travertine Gets Filled

There are a number of factors that play a part in determining why travertine is filled. One reason is that it can make the stone stronger. Another reason that is often given is that it keeps foreign materials from making their way into the stone’s pores. Finally, personal preference is another reason individuals choose to opt for filled travertine over raw – or unfilled – stone. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the best of both worlds?

Factory Filled Travertine

Since many consumers prefer the ease of caring for filled travertine versus the unfilled version, it is often filled during processing. In fact, you can usually see the filler in the stone since a complimentary color of filler is normally used. This photo shows an example of filled travertine:

Results of Filling Travertine Tiles

As you can see in the image, a color that coordinates with the stone’s natural color is all that is needed. Actually, the use of a complimentary color even adds to the visual interest in a lot of cases.

Holes After Travertine Is Installed

Even though the factory fills travertine, that does not mean that it is a maintenance free natural stone. Home owners find that there are occasions where a filler is needed to repair travertine tiles that have already been installed. Of course, the quality of the stone that is installed will affect the frequency this needs done. Higher quality travertine tiles usually have fewer holes in the first place. Additionally, the grade of the filler used to fill the holes (or pockets) will also make a difference in the durability of a filled stone. So, what is used to fill travertine after it has been installed?

Filling Holes in Travertine

There are multiple options when it comes to filling travertine tiles after they are installed. Two of these options are:

  • Grout
  • Semisolid Adhesive

It has been reported that each of these options for filling installed travertine carry benefits. An advantage of using grout is that it is perhaps readily available since the installer will have it. On the other hand, some say that grout is more likely to come out after the filling is complete. This can be considered with your installer; be sure to choose a professional wisely.

The other listed option is the semisolid adhesive. This is a product designed specifically for this purpose and is made by companies that understand stone. You can see an example of one such product sold by Lustro Italiano.

You will notice in the video that this company offers two types of travertine filler including:

  • Transparent
  • Opaque

Watching the demo video at the link above reveals something that we alluded to earlier in this post. Namely, getting the “best of both worlds” when it come to filling travertine and featuring its natural porosity. What you can see is that there is filler that is clear. The demonstration video shows the results of using a transparent filler. You get the benefit of strengthening the stone while at the same time showing off the magnificent structure of the natural stone.

The opaque filler is available from that particular company in three basic colors that compliment popular travertine colors. Additionally, the website states that other colors are available upon request.

How To Fill Holes In Travertine

You will also usually find instructions for product usage via the manufacturer or supplier. In the example cited above, there are step-by-step instructions for filling travertine tiles on the page at the other end of the link above.

In conclusion, travertine is a beautiful, rustic stone that has a very distinct appearance. Its characteristics can be enhanced in a variety of ways by filling its pores, by leaving its pores unfilled, or by using a product that fills its pores but leaves them visible.

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