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Unread 09-05-2019, 01:49 PM   #1
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Pool Tile and travertine help

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
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Unread 09-05-2019, 06:21 PM   #2
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Hi Barbara, welcome. It's really hard to tell much by the pictures except for the last one. I've never seen pebbles vary in thickness that much. So, was the mud/concrete under the stones that wavy (high and low) before the installation?

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Unread 09-06-2019, 12:05 PM   #3
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Was this a new pool where there was none before? 70k is pretty cheap for all the work done!

In my experience here in Wisconsin it is not uncommon to see large joints by the coping. A whole inch is pretty big, but I would say 3/4in is pretty normal.

With respect to the amount of sand used, your contractor is full of it. You do not want that much sand. you want jagged gravel (as opposed to round stones) and only a thin top layer of sand to smooth it out.

Have you actually paid the 70k or are you on the hook?

No offense, but the floor pebbles look like a VERY amateur job but then again, it was probably a unique request that they had never done before.

Last edited by speed51133; 09-06-2019 at 12:15 PM.
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Unread 09-09-2019, 02:14 PM   #4
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wonder if Barbara is swimming in her pool yet
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