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ATRIUM Models - whats underneath the ugly tiles? Can I dig?

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Joined: Nov 26 2004

We just purchased an atrium model that has rather unattractive and worn terra cotta style tiles throughout the atrium. We want to update the entire atrium utilizing a contemporary/zen theme (slate, small koi pond, japanese garden theme, etc.).

With that said, can anyone tell me what to expect underneath the existing tiles in most atriums? Are we dealing with thick cement block or something else? Is this easy to work thru or would you not suggest it?

I'm curious since we definetly want to replace the tiles in the atrium and would ideally like to have the small koi pond slightly 'sunk' vs. raised. We obviously don't want to dig in the atrium / remove a lot of concrete IF there are things we need to be worried about.

Can anyone offer advice?

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Joined: Oct 10 2003

We dug up our atrium about this time last year. Or rather had it dug up, we didnt do it ourselves. There was concrete slab under our dated terra cotta tiles. The slab was a few inches thick, but the guys doing the demo didnt seem to be bothered by it so I'm guessing it was not an uncommon thickness. In all they removed roughly 8-10" of depth.

One thing to look out for (and somewhere on this site is an article about this) is that alot of atrium / courtyard eichlers have electrical lines running below the atrium. They're supposed to be buried deep but that's not always the case. A friend of mine landscaped his atrium not long ago and the landscapers hit these conduits. We didnt have any problems hitting conduit with our atrium demo, so its not necessarily a problem, just something to be watchful of.

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