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Travertine Waterline Tile Ruined

We have a saltwater pool with a travertine waterline tile. It seemed to be doing fine, but due to the pebble finish leaching a calcium precipitant the water ph was lower to below 6 and the alkalinity was reduced to zero. This took care of the plaster problem, but the travertine is disolving like it is made of chalk. We are getting a range of opinions from it is ruined and should be replace by a better waterline tile to it just needs to be cleaned properly and will be ok. Right now it is pitted and dissolving. It you rub it with your finger, it seems like you could rub off the entire tile. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated?

Dear Robert:

If the water pH went below 6 it's getting pretty acidic.

Acid dissolve Calcium Carbonate and travertine is made mostly of calcium carbonate. Hence… :-(

“Alkalinity was reduced to z ero”???... It doesn't make sense: there can't be any alkalinity once you go to 7 and/or below on the pH scale. A pH active substance can only be either pH neutral (7), or alkaline (between 7 and 14), or acidic (between 7 and 1). It can't be both.

Generally speaking, travertine is a very good stone for wet installation; but the pH of the water must be kept to 7 or above that – never below.

If you have no sure way to control the Ph activity of your water, changing stone with something more suitable (flamed granite, for example), may represent the best option.


May I ask you now to please read and e-sign our Statement of Purpose at: http://www.marblecleaning.org/purpose.htm?   :-)

Ciao and good luck,

Mauri z io Bertoli
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