Travetine Pavers and Installation - Sand, Polymeric Sand, Concrete

by Barbara
(NJ)

How should travertine pavers be installed and are they a good choice around a pool area? Should the joints be sand, polymeric sand or concrete?


I have just put in an inground pool.I am confused on what to put around the pool. I live in New Jersey (South). I was thinking about using Travetine would this be good for this location for frost and heat? Also do you grout or sand inbetween the travetine. My house is white with black shutters, the pool is blue, with brown and beige. Need major advise on what to use and how to put them down with sand or grout on bullnose. Can't you help me with a place to purchase this type of material.

Thank you,
Barbara Torres

ANSWER

Hi Barbara,
Travertine pavers are a wonderful paving material to use around a pool. (Not travertine tile in NJ). It is one of the few hardscape choices that do no get hot, so this is particularly advantageous when walking around on pool decking in bare feet.

Travertine pavers should be dry laid. When laid correctly (as in any paving material) there should be no problems with freeze/thaw conditions. For your information, here are two pages showing how they should be laid.

Building a Patio - see the top image. The others show other types of applications, but the first one would be appropriate for travertine pavers.

Paver Installation - another informative page. The paver restraint is optional.

And, of course, take a look at my page on Travertine Pavers

The nice thing about dry laying travertine pavers is that if anything were to occur, they can easily be lifted up and replaced. Do not use a concrete grout for the joints. You should use either sand
or polymeric sand to fill the joints with.

Here are my opinions on sand and polymeric sand.

Sand For Paver Joints
This is easily applied. It is swept into the joints. It might have to be replenished periodically, but often not. It's an easy way to go. Water can percolate down to the ground, which is a good thing.

Polymeric Sand
This is a type of sand that is applied the same way. However, once it is applied, you wet it down with a hose and it hardens. The advantage of this is that it helps to prevent weed growth in the joints (although this is really minimal anyway...it depends on your tolerance level!).

Since it becomes a hard joint material, water does not percolate down. Any surface water (rain, pool water, etc.) must drain off the patio by way of the proper grade/pitch. The pool decking should slope at a minimum of 1/4" per foot away from the pool itself, whether you use sand or polymeric sand in the joints.

The disadvantage of using polymeric sand is that if it is not dry weather when it is being applied, it can crack in areas. In addition, if you ever have to lift up the travertine pavers for any reason, it's just a bit more difficult since now you have to remove a hardened material.

I have a brick patio which is dry laid. The joints are filled with sand, not polymeric sand. I had the choice and decided to go with regular sand. As you know, this past NJ winter was a nightmare with the snow, ice, freezing, thawing, warm weather, etc. My patio heaved, but is now almost back to normal.

I wonder what would have happened if I used polymeric sand. Would the joints (which as mentioned become hard) have cracked? If any of the bricks have to be adjusted, the contractor would have to dig out the polymeric sand in those areas, which is not terrible, bur certainly more time consuming than just lifting the bricks and replacing them and then sweeping in some additional sand.

If you have any further questions just let me know. Btw, another option is concrete pavers. The lighter colors are cooler on the feet and the construction method and joint filler material is the same as for travertine pavers.

If you do go with the travertine, you might be interested in my page on Travertine Sealers.

I think you will be extremely happy with the travertine...it's absolutely beautiful.



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