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Unread 07-05-2010, 09:03 AM   #1
mako69
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How to remove or seal over a water-based 'enhancer sealer' on new travertine?

Hi There,

I've just installed 800 sq.feet of chiseled-edge, honed walnut travertine and used Mapei's Harvest grout. My dilemma is that I used 'Stone Specific' Enhancer+Sealer product from Home Depot to initially seal and enhance the Travertine pre-grouting. I now realize that if I re-seal the stone with the same product, my grout will darken. I've tried it in a sample area and hate the resulting grout color!

Is there a way to seal over this 'enhancer-sealer' product with another type of breathable, water-based impregnating sealant that won't darken the grout? Or, should I try to use an alkaline-based stripper (e.g. TileLabs Heavy Duty Cleaner+Stripper) to remove the enhancer on the stone's surface, then re-seal with another product from TileLabs or StoneSpecific? I've cleaned the surface post-grouting but still need to do another cleaning-up to remove some minor grout sand and haze anyway.

If I do need to use some kind of stripper, could I go the other direction and use a 1:10 or 1:20 solution of muriatic acid and water as opposed to the alkaline cleaner. I know this is harsh on travertine but if its put on and quickly removed/mopped with clean water, could it be more effective (or a total disaster)?

I've read that once the enhancer is used, you can't remove it or cover with another product, but don't want to use it post-grouting as it will kill the look I've achieved and which I really like. I'm not worried about the stone color, and am happy to leave it as is, but worry that any other product may cloud the stone's surface, not adhere or breathe properly.

I've also read that an 'impregnating' sealer allows "moisture vapor transfer" like this enhancer product claims to do. So, if I choose a water-based impregnator that allows MVT as well, would that work?

The goal is to keep the grout color unchanged and be compatible with the current product used.

It seems like my options are: a) try and strip the enhancer and start over with another non-darkening impregnating sealer; b) leave the grout unsealed (the travertine was sealed prior to grouting).

Any help would be welcome! (and sorry for the long post!)

Thanks,
Rob
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Unread 07-05-2010, 11:52 AM   #2
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Just purchase the same product that is a sealer and NOT an enhancer. If you used water based before then use water based for this application. You could do a test on a piece of Travertine first to see what if any kind of reaction you will get but there shouldn't be any.

TEST: Take a piece of Travertine and seal it 2x with your original product. wait 24 hours minimum and apply NON enhancing sealer. Wait another 24 hours for results (minimum).

If it were me though, I would be half tempted to just seal the grout with the other sealer. Reason being, is if I ever wanted to reseal with enhancer the grout would be sealed with NON enhancer and the Travertine would accept more enhancer. Chances are, unless that enhancer/sealer is of a real high quality and however you decide to maintain the floor, that enhanced look is not going to last forever.

The other way you could go and you would have to do a test first would be to apply a product called 'Stain Proof' from a company called 'Dry Treat' to the grout joints only and do it very carefully to not get any on your travertine. Reason being again, if you ever decide to enhance your Travertine again, you will want it to take the enhancer in. Do two coats of 'Stain Proof' (maybe 3) and you will be able to come back at anytime and go over the floor with enhancer. The grout shouldn't take any enhancer in once the 'Stain Proof' is applied. Then it is just a simple scrub with diluted product like 'Simple Green' and mop after 24 to 48 hours to 'pick-up' any enhancer that settled onto the the sealed grout which was treated with 'Dry Treat'.

You might have to read this post a few times to understand what I am saying because one time isn't going to do it for ya.

Look at it this way as well. Enhancing grout usually never works anyway. The grout tends to get blotchy and starts to stain. I still have not figured out the best method for this type of install. Do I set the stone, grout, seal the grout, then enhance the stone? I still have not figured out the best order of how to do things to be honest. This really wouldn't be a problem if I didn't mind enhancing grout but I won't do it. It simply doesn't work with any product I have ever used. The grout always turns out crappy with enhancer on it. At least that has been my experience. The DuPont guys on here also are not big fans of enhancing grout either. There has to be a better system..........
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Unread 07-06-2010, 09:05 AM   #3
mako69
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Sealing over enhancer, not darkening grout...

Thanks Ben,

I think I'll take your first suggestion and find a water-based sealer by Stone Specific (same company) then try a small area. If it dries with no clouding, blotching or other problems, I'll use it to seal the entire floor, 2 coats.

The problem with just sealing the grout is that I may go insane in the process - its all going against me: french pattern (i.e. tons of lines), chiseled edge (i.e. no straight lines), and grout also fills areas of the travertine (i.e. lots of holes/grooves in the actual tile).

I'm OK with the enhancer eventually wearing off in some areas since this tile is honed but almost polished in many areas. I found that the rougher areas take the enhancer and darken/deepen while the polished areas do not change much. I doubt it will look much different in hindsight as the enhancer worn off over time and so re-sealing it will likely be just fine.

Thanks for the suggestion!
Rob
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Unread 07-06-2010, 09:29 AM   #4
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Ben hit the nail on the head. If you used a water-based product before, then you should have no problem with a water-based product again. Had you used a solvent-based sealer, the water-base probably wouldn't be able to penetrate it.

Just test a small piece and see where it takes you. I doubt you will run into problems.
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Unread 07-06-2010, 10:29 AM   #5
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Yes that pattern and type of stone would drive anyone crazy to just try and seal the grout coupled with the fact the grout is in parts of the material.

With that being said, don't be afraid during your application of new sealer to get the grout joints saturated fairly well. A painters pad either on a pole or in your hand works well and you can manipulate the sealer at the grout joints like I said fairly easy.

Just follow the directions on the bottle where I believe it will say not to let the sealer sit and dry on the surface. You want it to sit for only so long then take clean towels to buff off and dry it up. Wait however long the directions say and do it again. You should be good with 2 coats. If you had to do 3, the 3rd coat would be really thin only sealing some areas that the 2 coats just might not have been good enough for.

Keep us posted on the outcome and how it worked for you. The painter's pad and a paint holder pan will save you some back stress if you would like to stand up and use the pole attached to the pad. Remember, it doesn't hurt to try a small area just for a test like a closet just to make sure.
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Unread 07-06-2010, 11:13 AM   #6
mako69
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Ben - Thanks for the guidance! This saves me the stress of having to figure out how to prep the floor or strip the enhancer. Basically, as you suggest, I'll do nothing but clean off any remaining grout residue, then apply a water-based sealer over the enhancer.

If I can find it, I'll try the "StoneSpecificâ„¢ Tumbled/Honed Marble, Travertine, Limestone + Slate Sealer" which is water-based, penetrating and from the same company. I can try it in the area under where my bar cabinetry will be installed to be sure.

If you want, I can post photos of the job in the various stages (unenhanced, enhanced, grouted, sealed).

Thanks!
Rob
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Unread 07-06-2010, 11:28 AM   #7
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You can always post pictures if you like. It is just nice to hear that everything went as planned and we can get it documented (if you will) here so that others will know the outcome.
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Unread 07-06-2010, 12:37 PM   #8
mako69
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Thanks Ben. Will post a few pictures when done. I can say that the StoneSpecific Enhancer was easy to use and low odor. I rolled it on with a 5mm foam roller (9") and 2 quarts applied liberally covered 800 sq.ft. It wiped off easily as well. No comment on how it holds up, especially since I'll be covering it with their sealer next. It was not cheap but not the most expensive product out there (about $50/quart at Home Depot).
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