Slippery Travertine Pool Deck

by Wade
(Tampa, Florida)

Here's a question regarding slippery travertine on a pool deck.

My wife and I recently remodeled our pool deck. We had river rock for a patio deck and were tired of the pebbles coming up. So we decided to have thin pavers installed over the existing deck. With the thin pavers came a limited selection of options. We narrowed it down to a style of brick pavers that we liked but were not in love with. The contractor we hired suggested travertine, but we knew that it would be slippery when people walked on it when it was wet. He suggested adding H&C Sharks Grip to a sealer which would alleviate the slippery issue, and seal the pavers to keep them safe and colorful.
The first sealing was done about 4 weeks ago. After the initial sealing, we attempted to roll on the second coat with the sharks grip mixed into the sealer as per the manufacturer's recommendation. Now, the sealer we are using is a local company called "Seal and Lock." It's a water based urethane than has a wet appearance, while providing a very good protective coating.
The first problem we discovered was that when we rolled the sealer with the H&C Sharks Grip on for the second coat, the roller became bunched up with the sharks grip. The roller became very heavy and the material would not spread onto the deck.
I contacted the H&C rep and he is not familiar with the Seal and Lock product enough to understand why it was bunching up on the roller. I contacted the owner of Seal and Lock and he said it should roll out easily and not do what it was doing.
So, a week later out of desperation, I tried
taking a fine flour sifter and manually applied a thin even coat of Sharks grip over the known problematic areas and then misted a thin coat of Seal and Lock over the deck.
After all the trial and errors and money invested into this final step of my remodeling project, there are still slippery areas, the sealer has a greasy residue that has not gone away, and the areas where I had a heavy hand of dusting the surface with sharks grip are hazy.
At this point I am trying to salvage the time and money I have put into this sealing, but if I have to strip it and start over with a better product, I'll bite the bullet and do it. We have 3 kids and a bunch of nephews and nieces that get rowdy when they swim. The last thing I want is for someone to slip and get hurt. Please help with any advice.

Hi Wade,
It sounds like it is such a mess that if it were my project, I would strip the sealer. I am sure you invested a lot of money and want it to be right.

The thing I don't understand, however, is that travertine is known for NOT BEING SLIPPERY. Actually this is referring to travertine pavers, and I am not sure if that is what you used or travertine tile. If you used travertine tile and it was polished, then it can be slippery. If a sealer is used, which is optional, it is to enhance the color and provide some protection against stains.

I came across this site which sells a product for slippery travertine.

You might call them to get some specifics before using another product that does not work.

Comments for Slippery Travertine Pool Deck

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Slippery travertine
by: Chuck

wade...I just read ur post in depth again and just realized u also used the water base urethane...that is the problem and no matter what anti slip I use it did not work. I even tried the stepcote that the guy that answered u suggested and it didn't work...but either way stripping with what what I used and allowing it to be free for some time will bring it back to normal state. Then seal with the right stuff!! I will test the best ones and let you know. I do not know how many days it will take for me to be back to normal but I know it should be less than 30 days for what was left in the stone to evaporate . I will update.

Slippery travertine pool deck
by: Chuck

in regards to what type of travertine...tumbled travertine is what should be used around pool decks versus Chiseled or polished. In regards to slipperiness and sealers...travertine naturally has a coefficient of friction(.08) if I am not mistaken.. that is very high and makes it NOT SLIPPERY. Again tumbled travertine is what should be used and what I am talking about. The issue arises when the sealing process is underway. Travertine is usually sealed for 2 main enhance the color of the stone and or to protect it. travertine is very porous by nature and will absorb easily that the pollen from my oak tree(I even have a screen lanai) stained the ivory coping from the time it was laid to sealed(3weeks). I had to use muriatic acid to remove the stains prior to sealing. . .so back to one of the main points here.."to seal or not to seal" installer did an absolutely marvelous job...and I mean above and beyond anything I could of imagined..,he even turned a boring column into a column wrapped in split face travertine AND a functioning ledge for drinks and such!! He used the Floor stone as the ledge and even bullnoses the edges on his own!!! His one mistake...the sealer he used was a water based urethane which has created a slippery situation. The stuff used was isealer And is very high also enhanced the color and looked beautiful. ...issue is its main use is for concrete...not travertine. I let my guard down when he did such a great job I figured no way he wouldn't know the best sealer to use. One tiny mistake such as this one has created a nightmare for me...but I learned an immense amount from the whole situation which is priceless and at the end of the day no one could have taught me all the different lessons I learned. Keep in mind this is still a water based( not oil) Impregnaating sealer which is a good thing.....but it is a water based "urethane" sealer which changes the dynamics as this sealer was 2 parts(thus the urethane) that were mixed together versus a purely water based sealer which is typically one solution no mixing required and from what I have seen when applied appears white on the stone surface and then dries clear. The key is one stone is installed to test a piece of left over stone with the water based Impregnating sealer and test the slipperiness BEFORE sealing anymore. Also they say it is best to wait about 7-10 days before sealing to allow the stone to acclimate. Keep in mind that even the right sealant applied to thickly can create a slippery conditions so it is crucial to be consistent with your test amounts. Now in my situation I tried applying non slip additives as well as use stepcote level 03 but to no avail. Still slippery. So I realized I must strip this down for 2 reasons the 3 layers of sealant(2 with non-slip additive) have created a glossy ugly layer ontop that I hate. It feels like a beautiful lady with ugly makeup on...and nothing else seemed to work. The daunting task of stripping sealant was upon me… And by daunting I've come to that conclusion from my research on how to strip the sealant everybody said it was a disaster. I came in contact with a local travertine installer and sealer thru my research and he found the best stripper imaginable. It is Eco Friendly super safe and within 3 hrs top hideous coats of sealer were gone and the natural stone was back...BUT in my slip tests of the stripped pieces..I noticed the color was still enchaned and it was still slippery( how awful right),.....well after even more research of being utterly confused as I was under the impression after you have stripped the stone is now back to natural state… it turns out it takes time after stripping for the urethane to evaporate from the actual stone which it can now do since the sealer layer up top has been stripped and the stones pores can now allow sun and nature in general to take its course and To return it back to its 100% natural state. I am on day 2 of post strippage. I am curious as to how long it will take and if the currently vibrant color would change back to the duller natural finish as it was the day it was installed. I am putting all my money on it that will occur. I will try to update as this progresses.

Chuck t

Honed Travertine Tile is Slippery!
by: Nick

I have a beautfiful pool deck with honed travertine. It is extremely slippery when wet, and I am wondering what my options are for addressing this. I have found slip-resistant solutions online, and on their website, they recommend etching the stone (since mine has not been sealed). Does anyone have experience with their product, or any other product?

Here is the link to their website page:

Is Brick Slippery?
by: Susan

Brick is typically not slippery at all. However, if they are in the shade, they can develop mold and mildew and this CAN make them slippery. It is also as constant struggle to keep them free of these problems. I am talking about actual brick, not pavers that look like brick.

You can read more about this here.


Brick pavers
by: Anonymous

we are thinking of putting down brick pavers at the end of our porch are they slippery when wet or ice is on them because I am handicapped

Which kind of travertine?
by: RJN

There's confusion when the KIND of travertine is not mentioned. Honed, polished, what? We,too, also mistakenly used the polished travertine around the pool. It's beautiful but slick when wet. If anyone has personal experience eliminating the slickness on polished travertine, please post it. So far, it sounds like etching it is the only solution. Thanks.

Anti Slip Protection
by: Chris Kalinowski
◾Swimming Pool – how to prevent slippery ceramic tile, end slippery swimming pool decks?

by: Anonymous

I have put a river rock pathway outside my door! it is way too slick! any ideas? is there anything I can put on them to prevent this?

Travertine sealer
by: Anonymous


I think u should not use the seal and lock sealer.
Seal and lock is good for brick pavers. U need to apply a sealer that is designed for travertine. Do it in small amounts and do not apply too much. Wipe it of before t dries completely. Less is the better. Dupont sells good stuff and its available at Lowes. Not cheap. 1gal is around $90.
And dont put any anti slip stuff in the sealer. Its just gonna be a mess later on.

honed travertine - is it slippy around pool deck
by: Anonymous

We are considering putting honed travertine around our pool deck. We have kids and a dog who love the pool. We are a little worried about slipping. Any help out there or experience with this is appreciated. Chris in NC.

If you use travertine pavers, you will be fine. I've used them on a couple of projects. They are not slippery and they are absolutely beautiful. As mentioned above, they are actually known for not being slippery. Here is a page on travertine pavers with links to additional pages and information.

If for any reason you decide not to use them, here is a page on paving costs comparing different materials.

Slippery Travertine
by: Jon Chapman

Don't blame the Seal N Lock. I am a contractor in the Tampa Bay area that uses Seal N Lock and have for 4-5 years now. I have used it on Travertine with great success and in fact the owner and I have become good friends. If applied right, Seal N Lock is not slippery at all! I have never used the shark grip in Seal N Lock for that reason. I have a feeling that the slippery areas are a result of over applying and the addition of shark grip has caused the hazy areas. That being said, travertine pavers are very hard to work with, and I see messes that other contractors have made, not just homeowners. You probably will have to strip it off and start over. Paver sealers are VERY hard to remove. I can be reached at if you would like some advice or help on this.
Jon Chapman
Pro Pressure Clean and Seal

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