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Lay Slate on Steps

Updated:2013-09-29 16:39:25
Plain concrete steps are usually drab and have little to offer aesthetically. With simple preparation and diligent application, slate tile offers a decorative alternative without compromising on durability. Slate tile will endure years of foot traffic with only minor maintenance needed. Slate is comprised of a varied mixture of quartz, mica, chlorite and calcite. This provides a natural look that comes with color variations in each piece, unlike ceramic and porcelain tile.
Instructions as follows:
Firstly, clean concrete steps free of any debris, oils or paint. Measure and mark the center of each riser. Place tile spacers on the ground floor against the first riser (the vertical plane on a step). Measure the height of the riser from the top of the spacers.
Secondly, mark and cut enough slate tile to cover the first riser with a tile wet saw. Use a 5-gallon bucket and a drill with a mixing paddle to mix thinset and enough water to give it the consistency of peanut butter. Use admix to strengthen the thinset according to the manufacturer's instructions for exterior applications.
Thirdly, use a 3/8-inch notched trowel to spread thinset on the back of the slate tile. Firmly set the tile on the riser, starting from the center line and laying to the edge of the staircase. Ensure the natural inconsistencies in the slate tile doesn't cause the slate to sit unevenly. Adjust the tile spacers accordingly. Cover the entire length of the riser. Leave space the width of desired grout lines in between each tile. The end pieces may need to be marked and cut.

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