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How to Chamfer Slate Tile

Updated February 21, 2017

Natural stones come in all shapes and sizes to meet the preferences of the individual designing a project. Slate tile does not generally come with a bull-nosed or chamfered edge from the manufacturer. There are certain types of installation which will require custom chamfering in order to give the project the final touch to create the perfect aesthetic. Adding that contoured edge can mean the difference in loving your slate project or simply liking it.

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  1. Use the roughest pad in the polishing kit with a 4-inch hand-held grinder. Start with the roughest pad because the finer pads are reserved for polishing the edge of the slate tile. Contour the edge to your personal taste. A slight chamfer is nothing more than a slightly rounded edge. A more defined chamfer will see the square edge of the stone completely worn down into a smooth arc from the top surface to the bottom edge.

  2. Adjust the speed of the hand-held grinder to a low setting and apply gentle pressure against the edge of the stone. Avoid applying heavy pressure as you could create a dip or too much of an angle in the chamfer. If you want a slight chamfer, simply apply gentle pressure and push the grinder along the entire edge at roughly a 45-degree angle. If you require a more defined edge, rock the pad of the grinder from side to side in a gentle arc as you work your way along the edge, varying from a 25 to 45-degree angle, depending on how much of a curved chamfer you desire. The more pressure you apply and the more passes you make, the more rounded the edge will be. Start with gentle pressure at first and simply one or two passes, then increase if you think you want a more rounded edge.

  3. Polish the chamfered edge using the finer polishing pads in the kit. The softer the surface of the pad, the more sheen the chamfered edge will have. If you want a rugged, natural look you should only use the roughest polishing pads. If you want a polished look, work your way down through the pads from rough to soft. It will take multiple passes with different pads to achieve a polished look.

  4. Tip

    If the area you need to chamfer is fairly small in size, you can use a rubbing stone in conjunction with sandpaper to accomplish the same effect as a polishing kit and 4-inch grinder. All materials and tools can be purchased or rented from your local home improvement store.


    Always use a dust mask, ear plugs and safety glasses when using a 4-inch grinder.

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Things You'll Need

  • 4-inch variable-speed grinder (hand-held)
  • Polishing pad kit
  • Dust mask
  • Ear plugs
  • Safety glasses
  • Rubbing stone (optional)
  • Sandpaper (optional)

About the Author

Tim Anderson has been freelance writing since 2007. His has been published online through GTV Magazine, Home Anatomy, TravBuddy, MMO Hub, Killer Guides and the Delegate2 group. He spent more than 15 years as a third-generation tile and stone contractor before transitioning into freelance writing.

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