Travertine Tile or Pavers Over Concrete

by Mike

Last year a vendor put down a thin layer of concrete and etched lines to look like big stones. A complete disaster as efflorescense caused grayish areas throughout. Could not get rid of it.

We would like to put travertine over this and bull nosing around the pool. We have four small dogs and they pee on the patio (we try to keep them off). We must take this into consideration when putting down the travertine. By rough estimate it's 500 sf. What would you recommend we use and why and ballpark cost so I have something to hang my hat on. Appreciate your efforts and thanks so much in advance. Mike


Hi Mike,
A few things....
First of all, I don't know what the dogs' urine will do to any paving material. (I have a dog too.) Gravel would work, but I am sure you don't want that. So you'll have to either take your chances, get more info on that, or try to keep the dogs off of it.

That being said, the next thing I am wondering about is your grades and heights. If you add travertine onto existing concrete, it will raise the grade. I don't know your situation, but this is something to think
about. You have to take that into consideration.You always have the option of removing the concrete.

Moving along, the concrete has to be in excellent condition for you to lay the travertine (or anything else for that matter) on top of it. If
it's in good condition, meaning no settling, cracks, etc. you
can do it. You can actually dry lay it if you like. The bullnose cannot be dry laid and must be mortared in place. By the way, are you talking about travertine tile or travertine pavers? If it is tile, I am not sure
about the dry lay method, as I am only familiar with laying travertine tiles in concrete. I am not saying it cannot be done, I just don't know.

If you want my recommendation, I would go with the travertine pavers. If the grades work, I would dry lay it over the concrete (assuming the concrete is OK).

If you want to use travertine tiles, I would lay them in concrete, either on your existing concrete (if it's stable) or starting from scratch.

Either way, travertine is one of my favorite materials. I love the fact that it is natural stone. The patterns can be beautiful, particularly if you get quality travertine.

I am not sure about the cost of the tile. 500 sf of quality travertine pavers should run you about $20,000, installed + the cost of the bullnose which can run into quite a bit. I am sure you can get it for less, but the pavers I am referring to have very few holes in them and are great quality.

If you need any recommendations as to where to get them, whether it be travertine tiles or travertine pavers, let me know.

Hope I've answered your questions.


Comments for Travertine Tile or Pavers Over Concrete

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Sep 25, 2009
Travertine and Concrete
by: Susan

Hi Mike,
That's great. When you say "set the pavers and
extend it to the pool edge where they will be set in mud", do you mean the outer edge or to the bullnose?

If you lay the travertine pavers with mortar joints, you always have the chance of some joints cracking.

If you lay it in sand, think about where
the water will go. It will percolate down to the concrete. Ideally this will drain away following the slope of the paving, but please ask the
contractor to make sure.

Your other option is to dry lay it and fill the
joints with polymeric sand, which hardens.

The pricing sounds good. Bullnose must be mortared (just want to make sure we are on the same page).

Regarding the outer perimeter of tile, if you were referring to that outer border being mortared, I don't think I would like that look adjacent to the travertine pavers laid in sand. Perhaps they can use an edging like pave-tech. They often use that for pavers. I'm not an installer, so I am not sure how this would work with a concrete base, but you can ask.


Sep 25, 2009
Travertine On Top Of Concrete Pool Decking
by: Mike

Hi, Susan:

I'm back again, armed with a little more knowledge about travertine on top of concrete, etc.

We've gotten to the point where we're going to redo the pool also, so we've got a pool contractor to do all the project. We're talking travertine pavers in a French pattern, using bigger pieces, like 24" and smaller.

We can get it mortared/grouted in for the deck. We can get bullnose and a new color for
the pool. We also have a choice to bring the pavers to the pool edge in lieu of bullnose. They will redo the pool, the whole bit, including new waterline tiles.

However, they also suggested we sand set the pavers and extend it to the pool edge where they will be set in mud. Because of this they need to raise the "beam" two inches, which is an additional cost. They do not seal. I'll have to get someone to do this.

They will replace 50lf of deco drain also. Several measurements have gone anywhere from 700sf to 850. Using an 800sf average the total cost for laying in mud, including the cost for sealant will be $16,500. The cost for sand set pavers, coping or bullnose will be $14,500.

What's your take on the whole thing?
Incidentally, the pavers are heavy, one-inch thick pieces. Look beautiful.

We're going down to the showroom this weekend to look at different tiles, etc. Looking forward to hearing from you and any suggestions you may have.

Again, many thanks.

Aug 23, 2009
Travertine Stone Installation and Costs
by: Susan

Hi Mike,
First of all I want to correct the estimate I gave you in my original response. I was just reading everything over and 500 SF of paver should
cost around $10,000, not $20,000. Travertine pavers run around $20 per sf, installed.

I'm not a mason, but I tend to agree with your wife. I believe they can remove the existing bullnose (same as coping) and replace it. The issue that comes to mind is where it meets the pool tile. This would have to be addressed carefully so that the tile is not disturbed. It might have to be repaired or partially replaced. I am assuming you have a concrete pool. If you have a vinyl liner pool, that's a different story and let me know. Sounds like a much cleaner job to me.

On the other hand, you could always ask the mason for the names of the the people where he did the method he is recommending and give them a
call to see how it is holding up. You can also call in a qualified pool contractor and get his opinion.

What is this mason charging you?

You mentioned that the grade would not work with travertine pavers. You can remove the existing concrete. EeeK!! No, it might be less money to remove everything and start over with travertine pavers, dry laid. You can get an estimate.


Aug 23, 2009
Travertine Coping Removal
by: Mike

Susan, thanks for the info. Had an installer come out to look at the patio.

First off, the sealant and stain must be scarified(not sure of spelling) and the travertine tile can be put down over thinset. No problem with grades and heights. When we got to the coping around the pool he suggested putting
an 8x8 tile down, then setting a 3" piece underneath the tile and attaching it to the existing bullnose. In other words, not taking out the existing bullnose but merely disguising it so to speak. He mentioned he has done this on other pools without a problem.

My wife thinks this is a half-assed
way to do it. What other method is there? Do they cut off the edge right up against the pool and then lay new coping over it? Take up the old
coping? I'm using coping and bullnose interchangeably. Are they different? Any suggestions? I'm sure his way will save me quite a bit of dollars but will I pay for it down the line? Thanks for your input.

Incidentally, we don't have the height for pavers.

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