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06-13-2019, 09:53 AM
Hello folks!

Wow these forums have been awesome. This old timer has learned a lot!
So about a month ago I had a local company install roughly 10 by 35 travertine patio in my backyard. Pretty soon I will be putting a covered aluminum roof over it. So I can enjoy having a few cold ones :)
The installers did not seal it. They just laid the travertine and used Sakrete All Natural Play Sand to fill the joints. Brushed in with a broom.

Questions to the group:
• Is the play-sand the correct stuff that should have been used for the joints? The crew claimed this sand was identical to the joint sand Home Depot sells for a quarter of the price?
• If this is not the correct sand I should use for the joints, what does everyone recommended from the big box stores?
• What sealer do you recommend for the “wet” look, the travertine will be under a roof but still exposed to the elements, I’m trying to avoid making it slippery, is this possible with the wet look?

My plan is to seal it myself with my grandson based on everyone's recommendations.

I’m attaching some pictures as well.

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06-13-2019, 12:42 PM
There are some nice enhancing sealants for stone like that, but I don’t know if they’re OK for outdoor use. I’ve used them indoors and pleased with the look.

On the sand, play sand isn’t what I’d want in that application. It will eventually wash and blow out. I have a similar paving on my back area and after years of filling in the sand (I’m sure there’s a pile in China where all the sand disappeared to) I went with a polymeric sand. It’s kind of like a cement, but you don’t mix it up and it stays a bit flexible. You pound it in dry, smooth it out, and gently water it. It sets up to like a firm rubbery gritty consistency.

Metropolitan Ceramics
06-13-2019, 12:49 PM
When I worked for MAPEI, they treated the pavers on the sidewalk coming into our headquarters with this:

It was still going strong 5 years later. It's rated for exterior and does a nice job of enhancing travertine.

Sakrete does list landscaping as a suitable use for this sand. I can't picture anything that would make it the 'wrong' sand but you can always give them a call if you're worried:

06-13-2019, 04:44 PM
Rusty, was thinset used to bond the travertine to the slab? Makes me wonder if they set the travertine on a sand base.:scratch:

06-13-2019, 06:14 PM
See picture attachment. The redline indicates where the thin set was applied. A full footer was poured, so it's future proofed if I ever want to add an enclosed screen in the future. Remember a patio roof is going in very soon.

Thanks for confirming the sand isn't necessarily wrong.

Gozo my research from this forum indicates I want to use an enhancing sealant as you mentioned. I'm not sure if I can do this outdoors either and having a hard time finding a brand...Every stone place I call down here will not recommend a product for me.

Let's say I do go with enhancing sealant and leave the sand. After I apply the sealant can I add more sand down the road? Or does the sealant trap the sand that is currently in the joints?

06-14-2019, 04:46 AM
Rusty, so you're saying the perimeter pieces were bonded with thinset and inside that they are just set dry in sand ? How thick are these travertine? I probably would have used polymeric sand for grout like Jeff mentioned.

06-14-2019, 07:50 AM
That is correct Davy, the perimeters pieces were bonded with thinnest to the continuous footer.
They graded and compacted a sufficient amount of concrete bedding sand for the level base for everything.

It sounds like this weekend I should spray out the 'play sand' and fill it with polymeric sand.
Anyone recommend a brand here from the big box store? Once that is done, then buy enhancing sealant and apply to the stone? Still looking for feedback on which brand I should buy for outdoor south Florida use.
What will happen if I keep the play sand and use enhancing sealant?

Travertine Tile = 6 by 12 by 1 1/4

Metropolitan Ceramics
06-14-2019, 08:16 AM
I guess I should have made my response clearer, MAPEI's offices are in South Florida (Deerfield Beach) which is why the 5 year test of MAPEI Ultracare Enhancing Plus Stone Sealer ( was relevant to your situation. If you can't find it on the shelf at Floor and Decor or Lowes, either of them can order it for you. Likewise if you work through a tile dealer that carries MAPEI. Good luck!

06-14-2019, 08:48 AM
Thank you, Dan, I have been looking at the link you gave me, and will probably go with your suggestion.

06-14-2019, 09:32 AM
Welcome, Rusty. :)

Dan Marvin, until quite recently, was the head of the technical department for MAPEI and is a very knowledgeable source for information about their products.

06-14-2019, 07:35 PM
I can't remember the brand name but about a year ago I used some polymeric sand from Lowes. Seems like they had several different colors in the brown and gray tones. We swept the sand into the joints and misted the whole thing with a water hose. I do remember having to wipe a lot of it with a wet sponge to smooth out the joints.

06-20-2019, 09:56 AM

At the bottom of the link, it mentions it's available for special order at Lowes and Floor and Decor. Welp, after spending 20+ minutes with 3-4 different employees at each establishment. They could not special order this. It seems like this product is nearly impossible to get. There was a 3rd party on Amazon selling it with terrible reviews, and it didn't list the size of the container.

Do you think I will be okay if I go with Mapei UltraCare Enhancing Stone Sealer? There is currently 4 32oz size available from Mapei on Amazon.

06-20-2019, 10:15 AM
When I contacted MAPEI they were surprised there is a store called MAPEI on Amazon. They pointed me to which looks like they are marking up the product quite heavily.

Small world though, Dan Marvin, hired the nice lady I talked to :)