travertine paver and pebble tile help please

ionltd

Member
Aug 8, 2011
8
The pool build at my home outside St Louis started 8 months ago and isn’t finished. There are some issues with the travertine paver and pebble tile installation that I would very much appreciate your comments and advice on.

The contractor suggested polished pebble tiles for the stools and the tanning ledge. When I agreed he said I should search online to pick out what I liked. I picked sliced pebbles because they would be easier to stand on and showed them to the contractor. He suggested I get the polished rounded ones instead so I did. We discussed the issues I’d seen online with laying pebble tiles especially how they can easily show lines between individual sheets. He assured me he knew how to install them to avoid that by moving stones on the edges when laying them. I also explained my concern of grouting too deeply and covering too much of the pebbles. He said he understood

I have attached photos

There were many problems with the travertine pavers. First, I was given incorrect numbers to order. Next I quickly discovered the inexperienced young new crew were, well, young and inexperienced. The contractor put down a small amount of gravel left from filling the edge of the pool then dumped sand around where the pavers were to be laid. The crew spent over a day with a large broom and shovel moving the sand around. The contractor wasn’t present. The next afternoon after sweeping again in the morning, they began “laying” the 1.25” pavers by building up sand with their hands then patting it down, eyeballing the placement to adjacent pavers, then adding or removing sand. They repeated this until they thought it looked correct. After 4-5 days and my mentioning it to the contractor they tore up what little had been laid. Pavers were completely removed 2 more times. At one point I noticed 16” of regular sand as the base of the pavers in one area and pointed it out to the contractor and was told that it wasn’t an issue because sand compacts harder and more securely than anything out there. After 3 weeks and the crew either quitting or walking out, the contractor hired “professionals” to lay the pavers. They were only told to lay pavers and not that the base was different levels and mostly sand, but they did notice that the shallow side sloped upwards to 2 inches higher than the adjoining side and attempted to fix it after re-negotiating the job cost with the contractor.

The biggest issue with the pavers now is the 1+ inch space between the coping and the pavers. The contractor told me that all installations in freeze thaw areas had to have an expansion joint and the sponge-like strips came in 1” width. I found that difficult to believe since all the photos I’ve seen of travertine laid anywhere in the US didn’t have a big mastic filled space between the coping and the pavers. So, I did some research and talked to the Florida travertine company I bought the travertine from. I found out that the problem was that the pavers were laid before the coping was installed so when the coping was put down it left a gradually larger space when it met the rest of the travertine because it wasn’t laid out squarely beforehand. He even had the only crew member left use an angle grinder to make the space larger to be able to insert the 1” stuff.

I have attached photos.

This morning I saw a new problem with the stools (see photos). I talked to the contractor about the stools and the pebble issue and he blamed the pebble tiles I bought and not the installation. The problems were my imagination/impossible or caused by me.

Please give me any comments, opinions and expertise even if I’m expecting too much. I’ve already spent $70,000 on this and I need help. Thanks
 

Attachments

ionltd

Member
Aug 8, 2011
8
Thanks so much for responding. I hope more will view the photos and let me know what they think
I know that's a lot and the work is bad
THX again
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
574
MA
. The contractor told me that all installations in freeze thaw areas had to have an expansion joint and the sponge-like strips came in 1” width.
"One Inch". Is he expecting the pavers to slide left to right as well as heave with the frost :scratch: . Where are you located? It gets pretty frosty up here in mass and my installer used a 1/2" thick X 4" wide foam strip. It has a detachable 1/4" top that is removed after installation. This obviously needs to be installed before the pavers are installed. The frozen ground can tear off your coping if it heaves which is why the foam is 4" wide. Cutting in a expansion joint after the pavers are installed does not make much sense to me. IMG_20190905_201319.jpg
 

ionltd

Member
Aug 8, 2011
8
"One Inch". Is he expecting the pavers to slide left to right as well as heave with the frost :scratch: . Where are you located? It gets pretty frosty up here in mass and my installer used a 1/2" thick X 4" wide foam strip. It has a detachable 1/4" top that is removed after installation. This obviously needs to be installed before the pavers are installed. The frozen ground can tear off your coping if it heaves which is why the foam is 4" wide. Cutting in a expansion joint after the pavers are installed does not make much sense to me. View attachment 117725
Thank you so much. Most of what this guy did doesn't make sense

When I saw the large angle grinder cutting into the travertine and was pretty sure it wasn't normal I was told "stop complaining and let me do my job" by the contractor's one remaining employee.
I'm in Missouri. He tried to tell me that Missouri building code says there has to be a 1" expansion joint with sand set travertine. He even tried to tell me he showed me the code and I read it which is one more fantasy he used to save this fiasco and the last straw for me.

NOW he's expecting me to pay for dirt to back fill the rock "waterfall" area and fix the surrounding area that they tore up with equipment. It's a mess
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
396
Prosper, TX (DFW)
We just finished our travertine last week and they did cut an expansion joint between the coping and pavers after the travertine was done, but it was nowhere near an inch.

Now that it is filled, I dont think it is noticeable.

Good luck. It sounds like your choices may be a bit exotic for your current pool builder and his subs.
 

Attachments

ionltd

Member
Aug 8, 2011
8
Thanks for your response.
We just finished our travertine last week and they did cut an expansion joint between the coping and pavers after the travertine was done, but it was nowhere near an inch.

Now that it is filled, I dont think it is noticeable.

Good luck. It sounds like your choices may be a bit exotic for your current pool builder and his subs.
Wow your pavers and installation look great! I don't see any expansion joint between the pavers and the copingI see you're from TX. Do you have to worry about freezing and thawing?

The contractor actually suggested marble pavers initially, but the cost through his supplier was way too high

I've learned that pool building is too exotic for my pool builder. He claimed he was experienced which I have since found out isn't true.

The only subs were the guy with the excavator and an electrician one day to hook up the equipment in the months since Dec 2018 that I paid my deposit. The contractor temporarily replaced a breaker in my breaker box so he could hook up his sprayer to blow in the walls. Two weeks later fuses started blowing in the kitchen, garage, basement. Forgive me if I'm not using the correct wording but I'm not an electrician. Turns out the the main ground for the breaker box was disconnected and I had to have it repaired.
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
396
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Wow your pavers and installation look great! I don't see any expansion joint between the pavers and the copingI see you're from TX. Do you have to worry about freezing and thawing?
Thanks, and we dont really have to worry about freezing and thawing. We are in Dallas, so much more of a winter than most of the state, but our winters are pretty mild compared to most of the US. We freeze quite a bit in the winter, but rarely stay a full day below freezing or anything crazy like that. If we do get any precipitation it is usually the nasty freezing rain and if we are lucky some sleet or snow on top of that. As I understand it, the only "winterizing" we have to do to our pools is to keep the pump running when it is close to freezing.

Good luck with your build, it sounds like you are really struggling with your PB. I would try to cut ties and go a different route if you can.
 

ionltd

Member
Aug 8, 2011
8
Thanks My only resort now, besides holding 25% of the payment left, is suing him. There are so many things done incorrectly and unfinished that he won't admit to
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
574
MA
We just finished our travertine last week and they did cut an expansion joint between the coping and pavers after the travertine was done, but it was nowhere near an inch.

Now that it is filled, I dont think it is noticeable.

Good luck. It sounds like your choices may be a bit exotic for your current pool builder and his subs.
Not sure why they would go that route instead of just using a piece of expansion foam in between on the install. Perhaps they can get a cleaner line with the saw. It looks like they did a great job on it so I am just curious...
Did they pour a slab first or is the Travertine just set on a crush r run?
Was your coping over hanging the pool beam on the outside?
What did they put in the expansion joint?
Could you post a closer pic of the expansion joint?

Thanks, Rich.
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
574
MA
So, I did some research and talked to the Florida travertine company I bought the travertine from. I found out that the problem was that the pavers were laid before the coping was installed so when the coping was put down it left a gradually larger space when it met the rest of the travertine because it wasn’t laid out squarely beforehand. He even had the only crew member left use an angle grinder to make the space larger to be able to insert the 1” stuff
Curios who gave you that information? It certainly sounds like the real reason why they needed a 1" gap. No one in there right mind would ever start laying the patio without the coping installed first. I would imagine they did not have the coping material and just wanted to keep the job going or they were just that inexperienced to not know better. Did the "professionals" ask why the coping had not been set yet?



They were only told to lay pavers and not that the base was different levels and mostly sand, but they did notice that the shallow side sloped upwards to 2 inches higher than the adjoining side and attempted to fix it after re-negotiating the job cost with the contractor.
Could you clarify this part?


As far as the pebbles go. I assume they are still going to acid wash them. I do not think in any ones world those stones that are sticking up would be acceptable and the grout is clearly different for some reason (most likely the stopped the installation at the point for whatever reason).

I hate to say it but any PB that tried to pass off this kind of unacceptable installations (both pebble and travertine ) should not be in the pool building business. It would be different if he admitted the mistakes and was trying to negotiate proper fixes. Personally I would definitely be heading to court if he is unwilling to fix both the pebble and the travertine. By fixing the travertine I mean removing the entire subgrade and installing the correct subgrade materials with the proper compaction.
 

Neto

Well-known member
Jun 10, 2019
203
Urbana, MD
that pebble job looks bad man, and the plaster looks weird too... I am not sure why the pool has plaster and they are still working on the deck and coping, plaster should be the last thing and pool should be filled with water after the job. There are many installations for travertine, the best is over a concrete base to prevent shifting... If he didnt build a base with gravel or stone dust and only used sand to set these, they will get out of place in less than a year.
 

JJ_Tex

Bronze Supporter
Jul 17, 2019
396
Prosper, TX (DFW)
Not sure why they would go that route instead of just using a piece of expansion foam in between on the install. Perhaps they can get a cleaner line with the saw. It looks like they did a great job on it so I am just curious...
Did they pour a slab first or is the Travertine just set on a crush r run?
Was your coping over hanging the pool beam on the outside?
What did they put in the expansion joint?
Could you post a closer pic of the expansion joint?

Thanks, Rich.
Here is a closer picture. I honestly would not have known they cut it if I had not seen them doing it. I believe they just filled it with the polymeric sand, but I'm not positive.

For the base they used several layers of aggregate, compacting each time and getting the base layer even with my existing patio. That took 2 full days. Then they added a layer of sand, compacted, screeded it and then started laying the pavers. From what I could tell there was a group of 5 but 2 of them were the "artists". One would lay down the pavers using a level and mallet on each one while the other would do the cuts.

IMG_6126.jpg
 

kimkats

Mod Squad
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 10, 2012
41,316
Tallahassee, FL
From now on only do any communications with the PB in writing! Email or text will work. If he insists on talking then write a follow up letter saying "During our meeting on ???? date we talked about and agreed to xyz" to have as a back up.

Please tell me he does not think he is done with the stools and floor! It looks bad :(
 

Rich D

Bronze Supporter
Aug 3, 2018
574
MA
Here is a closer picture. I honestly would not have known they cut it if I had not seen them doing it. I believe they just filled it with the polymeric sand, but I'm not positive.

For the base they used several layers of aggregate, compacting each time and getting the base layer even with my existing patio. That took 2 full days. Then they added a layer of sand, compacted, screeded it and then started laying the pavers. From what I could tell there was a group of 5 but 2 of them were the "artists". One would lay down the pavers using a level and mallet on each one while the other would do the cuts.

View attachment 119201
Thanks for posting the additional info. Looks like they did a very professional job. Something anyone would expect when Hiring a professional. Unfortunately for the OP It looks like the installers were more amateur than professional...