Travertine tiles are a naturally forming tile the consistency of a hard sandstone, but not quite the strength and smoothness of marble stone. Because it is a sandstone type stone it's necessary to seal to keep fluids from being absorbed. Honing and polishing travertine can be done by the do-it-yourself homeowner. Allot several hours to this project to ensure that you have enough time to complete all the steps before walking on the floor.
Step 1: Creating a Flat Surface for Honing
Attach the 120-grit diamond resin bond to the floor machine. Do not start at the edge of the floor but leave ¼ inch from the wall. Keep the floor wet. Slide the floor machine from the side to side. Keep your movements in parallel to the wall. Make sure that the surface stays wet, so reapply water as necessary. Water is the medium that keeps friction down. Also, note that if you leave the floor machine in one place it will pit the surface of the floor tiles.
Step 2: Fine Grit Final Hone
Remove the 120-grit pad from the machine and put on the 115-grit pad. Make sure you re-wet the floor and follow the same path you used when you first passed over the floor tiles. The grit is much finer on this pad and will help to smooth out the rough surface made by the first pad.
Step 3: Begin Polishing
Begin polishing by replacing the 115-grit pad with the 220-grit pad. Again, wet the tiles. You will have to make sure that you wet the travertine tiles often because the finish is gone and the tiles are very porous, and they will absorb the water quickly. Repeat the same parallel pattern using the 220-grit polishing pad.
Step 4: Smoothing the Surface of the Travertine
Put the 400-grit pad onto the floor machine. Pass the floor machine from the wall outward, again making sure the floor is wet. Also continue on the same parallel path that has been created in the previous steps. Don’t forget to keep the machine moving to ensure you don’t create any pits or valleys in the surface of your travertine tiles.
Step 5: Complete the Polish
Finally, use the last floor machine pad, the 800-grit pad. Repeat the same path and the same steps that you have been doing. Remember to keep the floor wet and the floor machine moving. After you have finished this step you will see a nice polished finish on your travertine tiles.
Step 6: Finishing
Use a soft mop and thoroughly clean the floor, mopping with a soap solution and then using a clean mop as many times as it takes to remove the soap from the floor. Apply a tile sealant to the travertine tile surface using a damp sponge mop and let it completely dry. Put a wet floor sign up and barricade the area for at least 24 hours.