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Travertine Tile Repair: How to Fix Cracked Floor Tiles
Cracked travertine tile floors are unsightly and, depending on the severity of the crack, can be very dangerous to walk on. Luckily, they're easily repairable, and you won't need to call in a pro to fix them up. With just a few tools you probably already have lying around your house, you can get your travertine tile floor looking as good as new in just one afternoon.
Step 1 - Assess the Damage
Before you can even consider repairing a cracked travertine tile, you need first to assess if it's worth it. Look at whether or not there is an exposed area below and/or around the crack that could cause a trip hazard or look unsightly. Also, see if there are any stress cracks nearby that could worsen over time and spread out into other areas of your floor. If so, contact a professional right away because you might need to replace part of your floor instead of just one broken tile.
Step 2 - Removal of Seams
You'll want to sand both sides of the seam with a sander (you can get by with just one side if it is a small crack). You'll want to use a very fine grit and plenty of water on your diamond blade. Move slowly, and don't push down too hard on your sander. Depending on how deep your crack goes into all four quadrants, you might need more than one pass. Use long, even strokes and focus on removing material away from where you are repairing. Your goal is not only to remove material from both sides of where you are repairing but also from directly behind it, as well as creating high spots in all four quadrants that will need further attention later.
Step 3 - Clean Surface Before Applying Resin
Before applying any crack filler, it's important to remove all foreign debris from your travertine flooring. Use a gentle scrubbing sponge or soft-bristled brush and warm water. Avoid steel wool, which will dull your finish, and be careful when working around grout lines, as they can become filled with dirt over time. When you have finished cleaning up your surface, it's time to apply adhesive for your crack filler.
Step 4 - Putty the Seams and Apply Resin
If you've done everything right up until now, you shouldn't have a gap between your tiles that isn't already hidden by grout. There will, however, be small gaps along your cut edges from where you sliced through floor tile with a wet saw. If these gaps are wide enough for resin to leak out when you're finished curing it and walking on it, it won't last long enough for your project's warranty period. To fix these seams (they can be virtually invisible), mix a small amount of silicone caulk with an equal amount of resin; smear some of that mixture onto each seam with your finger and use a sanding sponge or something similar to smooth it over so that there's no visible line between sections of tile anymore.
Step 5 - Curing Time
The most important part of your travertine repair is curing time. This ensures that your travertine repair will stand up against moisture and normal day-to-day use. Your tile should be cured for at least 24 hours before reusing it in a shower or other wet area. For all stone tile, including travertine, allow at least 48 hours of curing time before using it again.
Step 6 - Removing Solvent
Using a clean, dry rag, wipe any residual solvent from the tile and grout. If you can smell solvent from them, they're still too wet. Leave them alone until they are completely dry. Make sure that your rag doesn't have any lint on it—if it does, get a new one and wipe down your tile, so there is no lint residue left on it. Solvent leaves permanent marks that won't come off when you clean them again later with water.
Step 7 - Grinding, Polishing, Sealing, Done!
The hardest part of any project is finishing it. Once you've got your broken tiles out and have picked up new ones, make sure that you go over your floor with a grinder or sander to grind down any sharp edges and remove any discoloration or scratches in your floor. After grinding or sanding, it's time for sealing. If you are planning on having a professional repair your floor tiles, they will be able to give you advice on what sealer is best for restoring your travertine tile floors to its original luster; however, if you're planning on doing it yourself, find an all-natural oil-based sealer that can help bring back life into your floor without destroying it.
If your travertine floor tiles are cracked, you don't need to replace them—with a few easy repairs, you can get your tiled floors looking good as new.