A question that sometimes pops up among our customers is why natural stone tiles, such as travertine or marble, are often delivered moist or literally wet. Well, there’s no reason to be alarmed. Water plays a major role in the making of these pieces and can even make the installation process far easier.
After the large block of stone is quarried from the side of a mountain, it must undergo cutting processes, using huge discs or special saws, until the tiles are obtained with the desired sizes. It’s then when water becomes a key ally as it acts as a lubricant and prevents the blades from overheating. Equally important is the last manufacturing stage -honing- in which tiles are sprayed with abundant liquid while the polishing machine gives the surface the finishing touch.
Naturally, during all these processes the stone tiles -they are porous to a greater or lesser extent- absorb a considerable amount of water and wind up packed in boxes with barely any time enough to dry. Soft limestones and almost all travertines, for instance, suck in a good amount inside. Whereas, moisture content in granite and marble, which are less porous, is practically imperceptible.
The presence of water does not interfere or compromise whatsoever the final quality of the products. The only observation to bear in mind is that, as they lose moisture, certain materials, such as travertine, tend to become even lighter over time. Note also that when wet, the pieces will appear darker than they do when they get completely dry.
These are important little details to understand that what we choose for our residential or commercial settings won’t look like the samples instantly since they will require several months of exposure to air. Then, we recommend removing the wet tiles from the boxes and taking them to their destination before undertaking the work. This will allow them to "breathe" and begin their slow drying process.
However, it should be noted that working with travertine or limestone surfaces that are still wet is not a drawback but a solution, since humidity prevents the adhesive from drying too quickly. Keep in mind that materials that are very porous and too dry can draw out the water present in the glue before it has had time to dry properly, thus affecting its adhesion and the finish work.