Will Travertine hold up with SWG

Trish454

Member
Mar 14, 2021
9
Houston, TX
Hello. I am new to this group but have been perusing the forum for several days now, since deciding to remodel our pool built in 2008. We currently have SWG and flagstone coping on our pool, fire pit and spa, and a moss rock waterfall. The flagstone has deteriorated badly in several areas and also the rock waterfall is showing wear. So far, we have interviewed 4 contractors who each are encouraging us to convert our SWG to regular chlorine. We love the way the saltwater feels and you don't get that heavy chlorine smell, so we want to keep it. We are strongly considering travertine for coping on pool, spa and fire pit, as we have heard it is the most durable natural stone. Also replacing the rock waterfall with a stacked stone wall and stacked stone on spa and fire pit. I have researched this so much, I don't know what is what anymore. If we go with the travertine, is there a particular type that is more durable than others? Our home has Oklahoma wister on the outside which is why we are leaning towards natural stone. I am more concerned about the quality than the price as we don't want to do this again in a few years. We are not getting any younger...:rolleyes:
 

Brushman

Bronze Supporter
Jul 24, 2017
28
Katy, Texas
Pool Size
8400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-20
Hey Trish, you're smart to be tuned into that issue. We installed a new pool with travertine and a SWG in late 2013 and early 2014 but back then we didn't realize travertine durability was a potential issue. Although our travertine deck shows a little wear in places 8 years later, it is nothing that needs work. And as a natural stone it doesn't detract from how everything looks. Likewise, the stacked stone at the top center of our pool also shows some wear, but again it looks good and there's no action needed at this time. We do seal all the stone once every year or two. It's also not entirely clear whether the wear we do see is related to the salt water or naturally occurring acidic rain. But again, either way, no problematic travertine deck issues for us at year 8.

I should tell you that the stone that shows the most wear are the scuppers that fill the top chamber of the pool. It's obvious in retrospect, but the constant water flow through them day after day accelerates natural wear. Our scuppers are also cut thinner than the pool deck stone. The scuppers will probably need to be repaired or replaced in the next couple of years. You might consider ways to mitigate scupper wear if you'll have any in your pool -- for example, considering alternative matching materials for use in the scuppers, or a build design that anticipates scupper work being needed after a few years and designing the install in a way that makes any scupper work easier and cheaper when the time comes.

Despite the potential for wear, the travertine is fantastic at staying cool on the feet on even the sunniest, hottest days of the year. Our travertine deck also has a helpful, natural non-slip quality to it. Overall we really like the look and performance and would do it again. On the question of whether one supplier, type or lot of travertine might be more durable than another, that may be a tough one to determine with confidence. I would ask the pool pros you are working with -- and also their stone suppliers -- to see if you can get any insight from their repeat experience with various products and jobs. But even for pros that do the work regularly, I'd guess it's going to be a challenge to accurately forecast long-term durability from one lot of stone to another.

Good luck and keep us posted. ✌️
 
Last edited:

Trish454

Member
Mar 14, 2021
9
Houston, TX
Hey Trish, you're smart to be tuned into that issue. We installed a new pool with travertine and a SWG in late 2013 and early 2014 but back then we didn't realize travertine durability was a potential issue. Although our travertine deck shows a little wear in places 8 years later, it is nothing that needs work. And as a natural stone it doesn't detract from how everything looks. Likewise, the stacked stone at the top center of our pool also shows some wear, but again it looks good and there's no action needed at this time. We do seal all the stone once every year or two. It's also not entirely clear whether the wear we do see is related to the salt water or naturally occurring acidic rain. But again, either way, no problematic travertine deck issues for us at year 8.

I should tell you that the stone that shows the most wear are the scuppers that fill the top chamber of the pool. It's obvious in retrospect, but the constant water flow through them day after day accelerates natural wear. Our scuppers are also cut thinner than the pool deck stone. The scuppers will probably need to be repaired or replaced in the next couple of years. You might consider ways to mitigate scupper wear if you'll have any in your pool -- for example, considering alternative matching materials for use in the scuppers, or a build design that anticipates scupper work being needed after a few years and designing the install in a way that makes any scupper work easier and cheaper when the time comes.

Despite the potential for wear, the travertine is fantastic at staying cool on the feet on even the sunniest, hottest days of the year. Our travertine deck also has a helpful, natural non-slip quality to it. Overall we really like the look and performance and would do it again. On the question of whether one supplier, type or lot of travertine might be more durable than another, that may be a tough one to determine with confidence. I would ask the pool pros you are working with -- and also their stone suppliers -- to see if you can get any insight from their repeat experience with various products and jobs. But even for pros that do the work regularly, I'd guess it's going to be a challenge to accurately forecast long-term durability from one lot of stone to another.

Good luck and keep us posted. ✌️
Thanks. Just looking at some of our flagstone, I can see how the layers would flake over time, saltwater or not. We've looked at some travertine, and can tell that it is a solid, not layered. However, some is more pitted than others, although we've been told that can be filled. Will continue to research and listen to the pool contractors, but ultimately it is our final decision. Just want to make an informed one.
 

Brushman

Bronze Supporter
Jul 24, 2017
28
Katy, Texas
Pool Size
8400
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-20
I would suggest a really high quality limestone.
James could you share a couple of words on the pros and cons of limestone versus travertine?
 

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
24,001
Limestone is denser and more durable than travertine.

Limestone is also more consistent than travertine.

I don't like the holes in travertine. To me they look ugly, but that's a subjective thing.

There is a lot of information about both stone types. So, you have to do some research to really understand the differences.

All stone has a very wide range of quality.

You have to really research the specific stone to find the best, longest lasting, highest quality.

Maybe consult a stone seller or mason to get their recommendations.

Also, buy a substantial amount of extra stone so that you can replace worn, cracked or damaged stone in the future.

Go to the stone yard and carefully select the stone even if the yard is not local.

Make sure that the color and texture are right.

Get a sample that you can test for hardness and strength.

Hardness is the ability to resist scratches. The best stone is difficult to scratch. Cheap stone is easy to scratch.

Strength is the ability to withstand stress. Weak stone cracks and breaks easily.

Look for dense stone.

Your better stone sellers will have data sheets on the stone qualities.