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Leopro 11-19-2012 03:10 AM

Travertine pavers driveway in cold climate
Can travertine pavers with 1-1/4" thickness be used for driveway in cold climate? The driveway also has a high slope with a rise of 7' over 120' length. Here are my thoughts:

1. Base: 8" compacted gravel and 1" sand. Should deeper base be used?

2. Choice of Travertine Pavers: Brick, cobblestone, granite pavers are no brainer, as they have been used for centuries. I am trying to explore travertine pavers for driveway in cold climate. The travertine pavers seem to be quite strong for the cold climate, but these pavers tend to have small holes, which may break the pavers through the freeze-thaw cycle. Should travertine pavers be considered for this project?

3. Size of Pavers: 6" X 12" with 1-1/4" thickness. This size should withstand the pressure of cars without breaking. Is this size OK?

4. Pavers Type, Tumbled or Chiseled: I am not sure on this. The tumbled pavers seem to be less slippery on the surface, so they will be better in snow and rain. The Chiseled pavers have better traction on the edge, but they are more polished on the surface, so they will be more slippery and will have less traction on the surface. Travertine Mart suggests chiseled pavers for driveway, but I am not sure if their recommendation includes driveways in cold climate. I am also concerned about the high slope. Which type of pavers should be used?

5. Paver Sealers: The tumbled pavers may require sealer so as not to get too dirty over time, but that may make them too slippery. Once again, there is additional concern for the high slope, especially during snow and rain. The sealer should also provide some protection from water, and may prevent or reduce breakage from freeze-thaw cycle. Should sealers be used for the tumbled pavers and/or for the chiseled pavers? What kind of sealers (also which brand) would be the most appropriate?

6. Polymeric sand: I do not think the polymeric sand will add any benefit, as the pavers fit quite tightly. In addition, the water may seep into the ground through the space between the pavers (this may be good and bad). Should polymeric sand be used?

I have lots of questions, but I want to make sure if this project can be done with travertine. I have not heard of any travertine driveway in cold climate. I will appreciate comments from the travertine pros with experience in cold climates. Thanks.

oh'mike 11-19-2012 05:25 AM

Travertine is a soft and very absorbent marble---I would be worried about it's use---The way it soaks up water I think the freeze thaw will lead to a short life.

There are a couple of masons here---let's see----

concretemasonry 11-19-2012 07:25 AM

The 1-1/4" thickness is a problem, especially on compacted base and the 12" length. You could find a lot the 6x12 pavers could end up being 6x6 pavers.

The previous comments on durability are accurate because of the absorption, since that can lead to freeze-thaw damage and deterioration.


Bondo 11-19-2012 05:31 PM


I have not heard of any travertine driveway in cold climate.
Ayuh,... Define cold climate,..... How ya doin' Snow removal,..??

Any frost heave history,..??

concretemasonry 11-19-2012 09:00 PM

From a durability standpoint for the paving materials, it is not necessarily "cold" climate but how much winter/spring/fall moisture and how many daily cycles of freezing and thawing. The cycles when the units are saturated is what does the damage.

Some moderate climates can have a bigger problem than colder climates with less moisture and fewer cycles because the freezing and thawing may not happen daily, so they get fewer cycles per year. Of course, absorption is also a big factor.


Leopro 11-20-2012 02:20 AM

I should have mentioned the location. It is in Chicago. The snow removal will be done by snow truck with a blade with a rubber. It looks like 6" X 6" may be better choice. Should I have any preference for tumbled versus chiseled?

bbo 11-20-2012 06:14 AM

chicago sunds like a bad location for pavers in driveway.

i'd bet the freeze/thaw will have them heaving in a year with freeze/thaw. and you will get a lot of freeze/thaw with the road salt used.

i'd go for as smooth a driveway as possible if using a plow.

have you considered stamped/stained concrete?

Guywithskills 01-04-2013 11:06 PM

Travertine will turn to sand in a few years. Not for drives, as stated, too soft.

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