A finely aged cheddar or swiss?

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One of the most common questions that comes up when dealing with travertine that has been installed for a while revolves around fill. I have been asked on numerous occasions the follow question (or one very similar) “I have had travertine in my kitchen (hallway, bathroom, entry way etc.) for about a year now and recently holes started to appear like the fill was falling out. My floor is starting to look like a swiss cheese tile, did I get ripped off?”

The short answer is no. You didn’t get bad travertine. The holes that occur after some time are a pretty common occurance. Travertine is a stone that, during its creation, has gasses that are trying to escape, trapped within the stone.  What this does is leave holes throughout the tile.  Most commonly the surfaces of travertine are filled, but over time any voids slightly below the surface cannot be filled. These are left with a thin veneer of stone over the hole that can wear away, or pop through from a variety of sources, animal claws and spiked heels being the most common in a residential setting.

So your travertine has “popped” some holes, now what? Filling in the holes is a pretty easy. Find an unsanded grout that closely matches the color of your tile and simply fill in the holes.

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Marc McPherson