Travertine pavers on Texas clay gumbo?

hotwater9August 5, 2007

We are building a pool South of Houston and have selected some nice 6"X12"X1.5" travertine pavers for the ~900ft^2 of decking around the pool. We have gumbo clay (dirt) that does not drain well and is known for expanding/contracting. Our PB is wanting to put a concrete sub-deck down and then lay the pavers on top of the concrete. We are concerned that water will get trapped between the pavers and concrete. How would you recommend the decking be done? The way the plumbing was done, there is way less than 12" of clearance in some areas between the top of the deck surface and the plumbing so I do not know if the traditional method of using coarse compacted gravel and sand would work.

Any and all suggestions/comments are welcome, especially from people with travertine and gumbo soil experience.


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Also, if you know of a good paver contractor in the Houston area please let me know.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 8:14PM
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We are in Fl and my travertine pavers were laid on top of our existing concrete deck. Our pool project was a remodel. They spread a thin layer of coarse sand on top of the concrete, installed the pavers and finished the joints with fine it can be done over a concrete pad, we had to since it was a remodel, we werent ripping out the existing surface, but I am surprised in a new build they would want to install a concrete pad....sounds awfully expensive!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 11:26PM
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Gk5040 do you have drains flush with the old decking or flush with the top of the pavers?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 8:02AM
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We have clay soil too and every contractor we spoke to wanted to lay travertine pavers over a concrete sub-deck. Quotes were VERY expensive, so we ended up with stamped concrete.

The travertine will be gorgeous with your pool!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 4:47PM
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In addition to the additional expense of using concrete, I am concerned with drainage between the pavers and the sub-base, access to the plumbing below, and the concrete shifting or cracking. Should I really be worried about these things or is using a concrete base really the only way to go in this part of the country?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 6:41PM
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Check my post "Pool remodel project is done", last post I think was Aug 2nd. It might show the deck drains...not sure. Obviously our old deck had drains, they were the one piece non removeable type. They cut the tops of the old drains to allow the water to flow easier and added a new removeable drain on top of the old drain. The pavers were slightly higher and he had to put a wedge under each area where they were attached together. One piece needs to be redone, I just havent been home to have him come back. The pool we saw that inspired us was at a model home. The drains were a 3 or 4 inch square...not tracks. I am sure that deck was not done on concrete but this was in FL not TX, no clay here!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 11:16PM
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Today we go an e-mail from our PB that they want an extra $3,500 in addition to the sizable amount in our contract to cover unexpected cost associated with the travertine paver patio install that we selected. The PB also informed us that they did not secure the 6X12" pavers we selected and fell in love with (even though on multiple occasions they said the material had been secured). The supplier no longer has sufficient stock to complete our job so we are going to have to select a different (12X12") paver from a different company.

We were presented with the following options:
1) Install pavers on a standard sand bed base with no poly (NOT RECOMMENDED)
2) Install the Travertine pavers on an enhanced cement-stabilized sand bed base with a polymetric screed additive. +$3,275.00
3) Install the Travertine pavers on a concrete subbase. +$3,700.00
4) Remove decking from our contract and refund deck allowances altogether.

What would you do? I am not willing to pay the requested amounts and feel the PB should complete the job specified in our contract (it does not specify type of sub base).

    Bookmark   August 13, 2007 at 6:57PM
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