I love slate! This tile is the most beautiful and easy to work with stuff I have ever used. The 12″ tile cost me $2.75 each and the 6″ tile came to .99 cents each. I wanted both sizes but couldn’t justify the extra expense. Then I realized that unlike other tile, slate doesn’t have a beveled edge. This means I could cut my own 6″ tiles out of the 12″ ones. This small step saved us about $100.00 on our project.
Like Huck Finn I told my neighbor lady I would teach her how to lay tile and she jumped at the chance to come lay my bathroom floor for me. It was great! We had such a great time and my knees didn’t even hurt afterwords. Not only did she lay my tile but she bought me a lovely curved shower curtain rod as a gift for teaching her. How cool is that!
Usually when laying tile on the shower wall you measure up the height of a tile plus 1/4″ in; then place a straight edge board on the wall to support your tiles. As they climb they gain in weight. Since I had a cut out shelf area that I had to tile over and would need support ( to hold the middle tiles in place) I started by measuring up from the tub edge the width of the tiles ( plus the grout size) to where it naturally would land. I then made a mark and made a level mark from there all the way around. The tiles need to be level with the eye not with the edge of the tub. The tub rim has a gentle slope to it for draining purposes. So the lowest row of tiles are always cut last and cut individually to tailor the fit. Here my grand kids help hold spacers in place while I get tape to hold the spacers in.Like the bottom tiles, the edge tiles are also cut last to insure individual and perfect fit. Here I placed the same board that supported the tiles earlier upright as a straight edge. This helped me to make sure the tiles all ended at the same mark. Notice the numbers written on the tiles. As I measured each tile for fit I assigned it a number. You just write the number on the tile and on the position on the wall that correlated with said tile. This makes it quicker to go out to the saw and cut multiple tiles at once. The chalk will wash off under the wet saw, so you will need a rag to dry each tile after it is cut and then rewrite the number as each tile is cut.
I recommend that when tiling a shower you find some special tiles that you love to add just a touch of richness and interest. I chose these rectangular cream colored tiles to edge my shelf. These tiles were expensive but I only needed 5 so I thought the pay off was worth the extra money. We get so many complements on this simple yet elegant accent.
Once grout is applied and dried the amount of time the manufacturer suggests it is time to seal the grout and tile. Being a natural stone Slate is very porous. This means you will have to seal it with a special water sealer for natural stone about every 6 months. Not a hard job but it takes several hours. The manufacturer suggests doing this every year, but talking to a professional tile layer friend of mine, he recommends every 6 months to prevent any water penetrating the walls and causing rot. It’s extra work , but I love the elegant look of it!
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