Why do my travertine tiles have a large number of open pits and pores?


Why do my travertine tiles have a large number of open pits and pores?


ANSWER - Travertine stone naturally has open holes within it as it is a fresh water sedimentary stone where naturally water runs through it. Although sometimes people install this stone without filling those holes if they like that look; particularly on walls in dry areas. This is called unfilled travertine. Most of the time the holes in the stone are filled at the factory with special materials. This is called filled travertine. Generally speaking travertine stones with less holes, whether they are filled or not, are more desirable and more expensive. Sometimes unfilled travertine is installed first, and then they fill the holes with grout. I would not recommend unfilled travertine in showers as it would more readily allow water to get behind it and it would tend to collect debris and could develop mold in those holes.

2 thoughts on “Why do my travertine tiles have a large number of open pits and pores?

  1. Vicky says:

    How do you clean unfilled travertine with black (mold) in the holes . The travertine is in my living room and over time it is turning black over the holes and other areas.

    • Donato Pompo says:

      Normally it is not recommended to install unfilled travertine on floors because the voids will fill with dirt and if it gets wet a lot it will develop microbial growth.

      It would be best to hire a stone restoration company who has the special equipment to deep clean the floor and seal it without getting a lot of water spread around.

      You could add a liquid detergent floor cleaner to your water. Spread the water around and let it sit for 10 minutes or more to loosen up the debris. Then scrub the floor with a scrub brush on an extended handle. Then get a wet vacuum and pick up the dirt water. Hopefully you will suspend the dirt in the voids that will allow it to be vacuumed up. You may have to do this process more than once until it is clean. At the end rinse the floor with clean water and then vacuum that water up. Once the stone and voids are dry you could seal the floor. That won’t keep the dirt from filling in the voids, but the voids should be easier to clean afterwards as long as you clean the floor this way on a regular basis and reseal the floor at least once a year.

      I would suggest after cleaning the floor, before grouting, to fill the voids with a cementitious grout just like you fill the grout joints. It will be much easier to maintain. Keep in mind that depending on what grout color you use, it can substantially change the appearance of the tile. So test it out first before proceeding with the entire floor.

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