Travertine is a beautiful, natural stone that can give any home a luxurious feel.
You can put them in the bathroom, kitchen, or patio, or even use them for pool area projects where durability and easy maintenance are a must.
But like all-natural stone, travertine is porous, meaning it can absorb liquids and spills if not properly sealed.
Because it’s a porous material, it also means it can be susceptible to staining and scratches.
Sealing travertine is, therefore, an important part of maintaining its appearance and preventing damage. But what are the pros and cons of sealing travertine tile flooring?
Let’s address them one by one here in this guide.
Pros of Sealing Travertine Tiles
If you’re considering installing travertine tile in your home, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to see if it’s the right choice for you.
I will start with the benefits first – of sealing the travertine.
1- It Helps to Protect Your Investment
The number one advantage of sealing travertine is that it will help to protect your investment.
Sealing the stone will create an invisible barrier on the surface that will make it more resistant to staining and scratching.
Not only that, but applying the right sealant will also help the surface molds, mildews, and weeds that can, over time, grow and can cause severe damage to the expensive tiles and paver stones.
This, in turn, can also help to extend the life of your tiles and overall property cost in case you ever plan to sell the house.
2- It Makes the Travertine Easier to Clean
It’s important to remember that travertine is a porous material, so it can absorb spills and liquids if not properly sealed.
Particularly if the acidic substances such as beverages, fruit juices, and other liquids are not cleaned up right away, the unsealed travertine rich in calcium salts will absorb them, react with them and leave a permanent mark.
Sealing the tile will help to prevent this from happening and will make it easier to clean up any spills that do occur.
When the tile is properly sealed, dirt and grime will also not be able to penetrate the surface as easily.
This means that you won’t have to spend as much time cleaning the tile, and you won’t have to worry about the tile becoming stained over time.
Just a simple broom and mop will do the trick.
3- It Enhances the Color of the Travertine
Another benefit of sealing travertine is that it will help to enhance the color of the stone.
Travertine is generally a light-colored stone, but it can vary in shades depending on where it was quarried.
When the tile is sealed, the colors will become more vibrant and rich. The sealant will also help to bring out the natural patterns in the stone.
This can give your travertine tile a more luxurious and expensive look.
Plus, the sealer layer on the surface of the travertine also offers it an excellent shiny glossy look with a cleaner appearance without you worrying about getting it faded fast.
4- Sealers Offer Great Weather Protection
In regions with severe winter weather, unsealed travertine pavers are vulnerable to ice and snow damage during the freeze-thaw cycle.
Water may seep into the stone as ice melts. When this water gets mixed with dust and sand in the stone, it forms mud puddles, which can then lead to cracks in the stone very fast.
Sealers, when applied to travertine correctly, will prevent such issues.
5- It’s not a Difficult Process
Lastly, I do recommend sealing travertine in your home because it is not a difficult process, and it can be done by anyone – you don’t need to hire a professional to do it for you.
Just follow the instructions on the sealer bottle, and you should be able to do it yourself with no problems.
Cons of Sealing Travertine Tiles
Now when you know all the advantages of sealing travertine, I guess it’s time to see what are the disadvantages of this process before you decide whether you should do it or not.
Here they are:
1- It’s an Extra Step in the Installation Process
The main disadvantage of sealing travertine is that it’s an extra step in the installation process.
After the tiles are installed, wait for them to cure for at least 24 hours before you apply the sealer.
This can add an extra day or two to the installation process.
2- You will Need to Reseal the Tile Every Few Years
Another downside of sealing travertine is that it’s a temporary solution.
This means you will need to reseal the tile every few years to keep it protected.
How often you will need to reseal the tiles depends on a number of factors, such as the type of sealer you use, the traffic in the area where the tile is installed, and how well the tile is maintained.
3- Involvement of Hazardous Chemicals
The other main disadvantage of sealing travertine is that it involves the use of hazardous chemicals.
Most sealers contain harmful chemicals that can be dangerous if inhaled or ingested.
Especially for kids, pets, and people with allergies, this can be a big concern. You should keep them away.
If you’re planning on DIY sealing travertine in your home, also make sure that you do it in a well-ventilated area while wearing protection such as gloves and a mask.
This will protect you from the strong fumes that may be emitted during the sealer application process.
4- It can Darken the Tile
Another vital thing you should remember is that sealing travertine can darken the tiles.
This is because most sealers are designed to darken the stone to give it a richer and more luxurious look.
So if you’re planning on sealing travertine, be aware that it may change the color of the stone.
5- High Costs
The last disadvantage of sealing travertine is that it can be quite costly.
Depending on the project size, you may need to buy a lot of sealers, which can add up.
In general, for a small project with an area of less than 200 square feet, it would cost you around $100 – $200.
And for a big project with an area of more than 500 square feet, the costs can go up to $1000 – $1500.
Plus, if you’re hiring an expert professional to do it for you, it will also add to the cost.
So if you’re on a budget, sealing travertine may not be the best option for you.
How to Seal Travertine Tiles?
Sealing travertine is not a difficult task, but it’s important to do it correctly to get the best results.
Here are the steps to follow…
Step 1- Clean
Start by sweeping your floor with a broom to remove any dirt or debris.
Then, mop the floor with a good pH-neutral cleaner to remove any remaining dirt.
Once the floor is done cleaning, allow it to dry completely.
Step 2- Sealer application
Next, apply the sealer to the floor using a sponge or brush.
Make sure that you apply the tile sealer evenly and in a thin layer.
Allow the sealing agent to dry for the time recommended by the manufacturer.
Step 3- Apply a second coat of sealer
Once the tile sealer is dry, apply a second coat if necessary in the same way as you have done before.
Allow the second coat of tile sealer to dry completely before walking on the floor.
Once the floor is completely dry, enjoy your newly sealed travertine tile floor!
Should Travertine be Sealed in the First Place?
Whether travertine needs to be sealed or not is a matter of debate.
Some experts say that sealing travertine is a necessary step to protect the stone and make it last longer.
Others say that sealing is not necessary and it can even be detrimental to the stone.
So who is right?
In my opinion, it depends on a few factors.
If you’re planning to use travertine in an area with high traffic, such as the kitchen or bathroom,
I would recommend sealing it.
This is because unsealed travertine is more likely to stain and scratch.
But if you plan to use it in an area with low traffic, such as the living room or bedroom, sealing may not be necessary.
Another factor to consider is the climate.
If you reside in an area with high humidity, such as the tropics or coastal areas, sealing travertine can help to prevent mold and mildew growth.
But if you live in a dry area, sealing may not be necessary – but rather a luxury!
What are the Best Sealers for Travertine Tiles?
Once you plan to seal the tiles, choosing the right sealer is the next step.
Most commonly, there are two types of sealant you can use on travertine: impregnating and topical.
Impregnating sealers are designed to penetrate deeply into the stone to protect it from within.
Impregnating sealers are also more durable and long-lasting, but they can be more difficult to apply.
Topical sealers, on the other hand, will tend to form a protective layer on the surface of the stone and are easier to apply, but they don’t last as long.
There are also penetrating sealers and enhancing sealers which have their own advantages and disadvantages.
So, make sure you choose the right sealer based on your needs.
If you’re not sure which type of sealer to use, consult a professional.
How to Choose the Right Sealers for Travertine Tiles?
Since there are many different types of sealers on the market, so it can be confusing to choose the right one.
Here are a few considerations when choosing a sealer for travertine:
1- The type of travertine
First, you should know what type of travertine you have.
There are different types of travertine: honed, tumbled, and polished.
Honed travertine has a smooth surface, while tumbled travertine has a more textured surface.
And polished travertine has a shiny and mirror-like surface.
There are also different grades of travertine which includes premium (or first grade), standard, and commercial.
The type of travertine will affect the type of sealer you need to use.
2- The porosity of the travertine
The porosity of the travertine is another important factor to consider.
The more porous the travertine, the more likely it is to absorb liquids and stains.
So, if you have high-porosity travertine, you may need to use a sealer that can protect the stone from within.
3- The weather conditions
As I have mentioned before, the weather conditions in your area are another important factor to consider as well.
If you live in a humid place, for example, such as the tropics or along the coast, apply a sealer that keeps mold and mildew at bay.
4- The intended use
The intended use is another important factor when picking the sealer.
If you’re planning to install travertine on a high-traffic area, such as the kitchen or bathroom, you’ll need to use a more long-lasting sealer.
However, for low-traffic areas, such as the living room or bedroom, you can use a less durable sealer.
5- The budget
And lastly, the budget is also an important consideration.
There are many different types of sealers on the market, and they come in various price ranges.
So, make sure you choose the right sealer based on your budget.
The Bottom Line
Travertine is a beautiful and luxurious stone that can add a touch of luxury to any home.
But before you install travertine tiles, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of sealing this natural stone.
Sealing travertine can help to protect the stone from stains and other damage, but it’s not always necessary.
However, if you choose to – you can prevent damage that would otherwise occur by creating a tough barrier on the tile surface.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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