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Putting edges on slate tile

Updated July 18, 2017

Slate is a beautiful, natural covering for any floor or countertop. It is durable, stain resistant, and it comes in many different colours. However, unlike many other coverings, it usually isn't sold with a ready-made, finished edging option. If you use slate, you will need to decide if you want the edges to be a cut and finished version of the same slate material or an entirely different but complementary material. Choose an application that is attractive and yet functional and long-lasting.

Select hardwood trim the same thickness as your slate, or L-shaped bullnose wood trim that will hang over the edges. Set all slate tiles, leaving the appropriate edge width unfinished.

Cut each hardwood edge piece to length. Make diagonal cuts in the hardwood trim for all corners. Sand all pieces of trim repeatedly with increasingly finer grades of sandpaper.

Drill countersunk holes in the wood trim. Screw all trim in place around the slate. Fill screw holes with wood filler. Paint all trim with wood finish, taking care not to get finish on the slate tiles.

Select ceramic tile bullnose edging that complements your slate tiles. Set all slate tiles, leaving the appropriate edge width for the bullnose tile.

Lay out all corner bullnose tile, using no adhesive. Lay out all bullnose edge tiles, leaving spaces for grout joints. Cut bullnose pieces to fill gaps where full tiles do not fit. Remove all bullnose, setting aside in the order in which they will be installed.

Attach all bullnose with ceramic tile adhesive. Allow to dry overnight. Grout all joints with a rubber float and clean with water and rags. Allow to dry overnight.

Set all slate tiles temporarily, laying them all the way to the edges. Cut all edges with a wet saw---square, bevelled or shaped to your specifications. Optionally, texture the edges with rough stone or sandpaper.

Place all slate tiles aside in the order in which they will be installed. Install all slate tiles with tile adhesive. Allow to dry overnight.

Seal all slate with sealant, if desired. Allow to dry according to product specifications. Grout all slate joints and clean with water and rags. Allow to dry overnight.

Tip

If you desire a narrow row of customised slate edges or slate bullnose, do not set the slate all the way to the edges. Leave space for your customised slate edges, which you can cut with a wet saw.

Things You'll Need

  • Hardwood trim
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood screws
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Wood finish
  • Ceramic tile, bullnose edge and corners
  • Wet saw
  • Ceramic tile adhesive
  • Grout
  • Rubber float
  • Rags and water
  • Slate sealant
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About the Author

James Werning has authored books and articles on various websites. His scripts have aired for more than 15 years on radio stations across North America. He is a small business owner and a world traveler with a master's degree in communications from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.