Travertine Pool Deck Installation on Concrete and Sealing
This homeowner has problems with her travertine installation on concrete decking and questions on sealing the stone.
We had a complete pool remodel and chose travertine for the pool deck. We already had a concrete deck so the travertine was laid right over the concrete. When it rains the stones loosen and after it dries the stones for the most part tighten up but we find uneven edges. We currently have two or three loose stones in different spots too. The contractor was back twice to fix uneven areas but now says he won't come back anymore because we can never be satisfied. I don't think the stones should be loose or uneven, am I wrong about this?
I watched the whole project and I am pretty sure the stone was laid over the deck dry, no sand base over the existing concrete. What is your opinion on the loose and uneven stones?ANSWER
I am assuming you used travertine tile, not travertine pavers, although it would be the same for each type. I am not a mason although I know the general procedures for hardscape installations whether it be wet laid (set in concrete) or dry laid. It sounds as if the travertine was not installed properly, unless your existing concrete decking was not in good condition. If there were any cracks or settling in the concrete patio/decking, then this would not have been an appropriate base for the travertine.
Some other possibilities I can think of that are creating your problems:
1. The concrete used to adhere the travertine was not the right mixture. This might explain why the stone loosens and tightens up after a rain.
2. The concrete mixture was not the correct thickness...ie., too thin.
3. The travertine was not levelled correctly upon installation.
Here is a page showing a picture of correct patio installation methods. Hardscape Installations
These are just logical assumptions on my part. Unfortunately, since the travertine tiles or pavers are set in concrete, there is no easy fix, other than re-doing it all over again which would be a huge expense. I am sorry I can't provide an answer for you to rectify things.Next question:
We did not use coping but laid the stone to the pool edge and someone came
and bull nosed the edge which looks very nice. When the skimmer cover was installed a yellow mustard colored stain appeared around the skimmer cover and bled into the surrounding stone. The contractor first tried using muriatic acid to remove it but it did not disappear. Then we had the guy who bull nosed the edges come back and sand the area. At first it looked like the stain was gone but it came back after 24 hours. What is your opinion about the stain?ANSWER
This is a mystery! Can you send me a photo of this area? A cover usually just sets on top of the skimmer and the top of the cover is flush with the paving. Typically no other material such as concrete is added since the cover just rest there for easy removal. Was by any chance another material (concrete, silicone, etc.) added further down?One more thing (unfortunately):
The deck was sealed with a water based sealer. This was done by the guy who did the bull nose. He said the sealer wouldn't interfere with repairing the loose or uneven stones. He said he was using a water based sealer. He mixed a product called Shark with the sealer but the deck is much more slippery than we thought it would be when it's wet. Is there a way to help that? And would an oil based sealer have brought out the colors even more? It looks nice but I still think the color looks the best when the tiles are wet and that is what I thought it would look like when sealed.ANSWER
Travertine should not be slippery. Some sealers have a high shine, some a low/medium shine, and some no shine at all, so it depends on the sealer that was used. When you seal it again, you might use a different one to produce more of a shine and bring out the color more, if this is the look you are going for. Here is a page I wrote on sealers. Enhancer Pro is solvent based and probably the one you want (or a similar one). As with any product, try it on a small area first.Travertine Sealers
And here are lots of other Q&A on travertine sealers and installation.Travertines Questions and Answers