How to install travertine depends on whether you are using travertine pavers or tile. Each should be installed differently.
Pavers should be dry laid.
Tile should be set in concrete.
Please take a look at my page on building a patio for some drawings that show you exactly what the construction layers should look like for both types(pavers and tile) and how to install travertine with pictures.
Both installation methods require that you begin with the ground being undisturbed. This is so that soil movement will not occur, or occur minimally. If your soil has been disturbed, all is not lost. You can use the soil that is there (or add new soil), but it must be tamped in 12" lifts to compact it. You can also replace the soil with compacted stone.
Above the soil should be a layer of stone. This should be 6" of aggregate and should be compacted to help eliminate air pockets. Above this layer you should put a 2" to 4" sand setting bed. Compact this also. Finally, the travertine pavers should be laid on top of the sand. Tamp them slightly and make sure they are level. You can use a level to determine any high or low spots.
Travertine tile is thinner than travertine pavers and should be set in concrete. The layer above the soil should be 6" of compacted aggregate. On top of this there should be a 4" to 6" concrete slab. Depending on the size of the patio, it might have to be reinforced with various products. Construction joints should be placed periodically to help prevent any cracking.
As you can see, this type of installation is best left to a professional mason.
A 1" to 2" mortar setting bed goes on top of the concrete slab. The travertine tiles are placed on this concrete. The joints are filled with concrete also. Joints can be 1/4" (or even less) to 1/2" wide.
I prefer travertine pavers due to the fact that they can be dry laid. This type of installation is less expensive than using concrete. In addition, repairs can be easily made.
Travertine Sealers - should you seal travertine and if so, what to use?
Types of Travertine - honed, filled, tumbled explained (and my buying guide!)
Travertine Paver Costs - costs and pictures
Travertine Pictures - photos and more information
Travertine Q&A - lots of great tips and interesting stuff
"Susan, what a pleasure it was to work with you. You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly! Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant. You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes. Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
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