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Refinish or Replace Travertine with Hardwood Flooring

February 7, 2019

Buying a home that has Brazilian Cherry Wood Floor throughout. They all need to be sanded down, and we are going to restain them a brown color.

The Foyer/Kitchen has a 1/2" thick 18"x18" white travertine flooring with radiant heat under it. If it didnt have radiant heat under it, I would def say it had to go, cause we hate, hate hate, cold tile floors.

so we were thinking of keeping it. a Floor refinishing guy, said he could hone it down, sand it to a like new finish, then polish them up. he would fill any cracks and it would be good to go. it costs 1700 bucks.

Replacing the flooring with brazilian cherry hardwood to match the rest of the house would probably cost me 7500.

another benefit of replacing would be there is a 1-1/2" step down off the kitchen floor into the other rooms.

cant decide what to do, hate to get rid of a valuable floor, i dont know how we would like living with it, we have only ever had hardwood floors in our house.

We are likely remodeling the kitchen a bit, new counters, new appliances, backsplash. maybe refinishing the cabinets. if we are going to address the floor this is the time.

Comments (25)

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    You need a cohesive plan for either keeping the stone or ditching it. If you want to keep it, it will determine the warmth or coolness of your color scheme.mif you want cooler, grayer color, ditch the stone. If you are good,with warmer colors, keep it. The decision must b stakeholders with all other choices, like cabinets, trim and wall color in mind.

  • Fori

    If you're going to remodel the kitchen in the future, don't redo the floors NOW. Do it THEN. Does the travertine actually need refinishing?

  • moneymm

    yes only changing the floors if remodeling the kitchen now.

    yes it desperately needs refinishing.

  • Bruce in Northern Virginia

    Are you sure you understand how Travertine is supposed to look? All the honing, sealing and finishing will never make it have the shiny look of ceramic tile. It is a natural stone, so it will always look like stone (not shiny; relatively rough surface with pores). Once you get used to it you may learn to like the Travertine more.

    I would pay to have Travertine floors cleaned, especially if the grout lines are getting too dark, but having it refinished seems like a futile effort. It will be back to its normal stone look 3-6 months after you get it refinished.


  • mark_rachel

    I would rip the tile out. I don't like the look of them at all, but that's just my personal opinion.

  • moneymm

    I know it wont shine, i wouldnt want it to. i have travertine my bathrooms now. although it is beige instead of white.

    the floors above look like they were never cleaned in 10 years. many have cracks and need to be epoxied, i had two stone guys in and they both said the same process, 6 or 7 passes over (honing it), then 2 to 3 coats of sealer

  • rantontoo

    How much stone dust is that going to create to get in every nook and cranny?

  • moneymm

    goign to be a ton of work going on in the house, they said they should be the last step, after painter and everything. they use a ton of water on the floors they said.

  • PRO
    Johnson Flooring Co Inc

    If you're going to refinish the wood floors before moving in and you're considering adding the kitchen, you'd likely want to have it flow seamlessly through the kitchen. This means that you MUST replace the kitchen floor before the wood refinishing. Even though I'm a wood floor dealer I don't like it in kitchens. Then again I loathe having such a tall transition at a highly trafficked doorway.

    Do your kitchen plans include lightening the cabinets? If not, I'd hesitate to have a darker floor.

    When weighing decisions like this, I picture a set of scales, and visualize putting pros and cons on each side. In your case it's about even for me. Tough call, but my frugal nature would probably win out in favor of keeping the stone floor.

    moneymm thanked Johnson Flooring Co Inc
  • moneymm
    Right now the stone floors are in kitchen, foyer, hallway, and mud room. If replacing with hardwood, should I just do in all these rooms so they are the same level? Or is it okay to step down from mud room?
  • SJ McCarthy

    It sounds like you want it gone. So go ahead and do it. I'm fairly sure the tiles were put in after the wood. How? Because the wood is going to have 1/2" - 3/4" of height. A finished stone tile will have a height of around 1". The in-floor heating system will add another 1/2" or so. If these two are done at the same time, then the floor height difference should only be 1/2" or so.

    If you have a height difference of 1 1/2" AFTER the wood is installed it means the stone might just be sitting on TOP OF the original floor.

    Go ahead and remove this floor. The transition it has created is very, very, very, very high. I would remove it before someone brakes a toe.

    Please make sure you can source the same TYPE of Jatoba (same thickness, same cut, same width) before you make your decisions.

  • moneymm

    thanks. the building plans call show the tile, so i think that was the plan from day one, i would assume the tiles are on the plywood subfloor, plus 1-1/2" 1-3/4 of mud or so.

  • PRO
    Oak & Broad

    Being able to refinish those floors is one of the biggest advantages of real wood flooring. And it sounds like the previous owner paid for you to have that ability :-) I would see about leaving the stain off the floor. It may be too dark. Natural would be very pretty.

  • SJ McCarthy

    If this is on a wood-joist subfloor then the extra height (of the tiles) MIGHT be coming from the extra layer of plywood underlayment. This is common when a tile/stone is laid. These HEAVY floors need extra reinforcing (deflection rating is based on the distance between joists AND the total thickness of the subfloor).

    To do this properly, the extra layer of subfloor material would have been added to the entire space...not just the tile. That way the wood floor would be sitting at the same height as the stone...but something tells me they probably missed that step....because there is a 1.5 inch STEP down to the hardwood.

    Anyway you slice it, removing the stone AND the heating system and putting in hardwood will remove that 1.5" height difference. And that is a HUGE plus.

  • moneymm

    I feel like noone would remove this beatiful (when cleaned up) and expensive stone and put down hardwood. i mean thats the first thing i wanted to do when i walked in the door. now i am coming around to keeping it.

    i dont know what to do.

  • moneymm

    how much will removal of tile and mud cost me approximately?

  • cat_ky

    If you can afford to do it along with your remodeling plans, I would definitely remove it. That lip going in and out of the kitchen would be the deciding factor to me. That is a tripping hazzard. I would prefer the hardwood, over the tile, and am not fond of travertine anyway, to me, it always looks dirty.

  • ci_lantro

    Seeing where the tile is broken tells me that the floor was not sufficiently rigid to support the travertine. (Broken in the doorway and a long break across multiple tiles in another area.

    I would not waste money on trying to restore it. In the end, you will still have a lot of broken tile and a tripping hazard.

  • SJ McCarthy

    Good catch ci_lantro! I missed those! With a floor that is already starting to fail (those broken pieces in the doorway and then the long crack across multiple tiles in the kitchen) are big indicators that the weight of the stone (and the mud and the heating system, etc) is too much for the wood-joist system below it. You might as well go ahead and jack it out.

    Just remember with Jatoba, the new stuff will look like a VERY different colour when it is raw. Once everything is sanded down and then stained it *should all look the same. Relax. The old wood has darkened (because that's what Jatoba does...it gets DARKER in sunlight/light). It will look light once again when it has been sanded to bare wood.

  • moneymm
    Do you think any Jatoba will be the same? It’s 5” -3/4”. Is there a difference from one seller to the next?
  • SJ McCarthy

    No way to tell until it has been installed and then allowed to darken. A 5" solid Jabota will have the same appearance but you won't know what colour range you will get until it is too late.

  • moneymm

    sorry, I meant in terms of quality. Is all of it basically the same, and the guy selling it for 5 per square foot vs 10 or 15 are all selling the same stuff?

  • Justin A. Murican

    Spend the 60K and replace it all. Jatoba is RED. It will always be RED. The travertine will always be cracked and full of holes. They clash and always will. No point in keeping any of it. Stimulate the faltering economy and replace it all!

  • moneymm
    Pretty sure when stained brown it will be brown and not red.

    Also I could just replace the travertine with a different type of wood flooring. Not sure how good that would flow....
  • Justin A. Murican

    Brazilian cherry aka jatoba reddens and darkens with light exposure. It will always end up red, no matter what you try to stain it. The RED will always win. Youre wasting money to try.

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