Tips for grouting slate tile?

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Old 05-03-10, 12:33 PM
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Question Tips for grouting slate tile?

I'm going to be grouting slate tile that I installed over the weekend and was wondering if anyone with experience could provide some tips on grouting, especially in regards to the unevenness of the tile due to different thicknesses and non-smooth finishes of the tile. Additionally, does anything need to be done vis-a-vis sealing the tile before grouting (to prevent staining, etc)? Any other tips/info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
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Old 05-04-10, 06:15 PM
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Most likely it will need sealing. You can test for this by putting a few big drops of water on the slate and see it it soaks in. If it beads up and doesnt absorb into the slate then no need for any sealer. If sealer is needed, try putting it some in a spray bottle then use a paint roller on a long handle to spread it around and get rid of the puddles. I would give it two coats then see if it wants more. Aqua Mix and Miracle are two good brands among others.

As far as grouting, good luck! (j/k) Do small areas, like 5 ft squares. Get a few big sponges, the roughness of the slate will wear them out. Apply the grout, which is mixed to the consistency of peanut butter with a grout float and try to clean out the crevices as you go. This will make the grout stretch a little farther as well as help with the initial cleanup. A big bucket of cool clean water should be replenished often. Get the heavy stuff off with the float as you spread, wait 5 - 10 minutes then start to clean using a swirling motion. It will need another pass when the grout on the surface of the tile starts to haze up. Wring out the sponge tightly, too much water can weaken the grout an wash out the colorant.
 
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Old 05-04-10, 06:34 PM
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Thanks for the response Bob! Sounds like I have a lot of work ahead of me. Can't wait. Haha. The end resukt will be worth it. The water definitely didn't bead up. Should I seal before or after grouting? I'm using an enhancer for sealing.

Chris
 
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Old 05-04-10, 07:13 PM
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before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey tileguybob, what preference do you have for sealing natural stone? Water base or Silicon?
 
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Old 05-04-10, 08:08 PM
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I've never seen raw slate that beaded. Seal before of course. In addition to the sealer or enhancer, some like to use "grout release" on rough stone like slate. It's saved my behind a time or three.

Jaz
 
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Old 05-05-10, 08:56 AM
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Thanks chilly and Jaz!

So I want to grout on Saturday. Based on your responses, I want to do the enhancer tonight. Should I wait until just before grouting to do the release agent, or should that be a day or so in advance? Will the release agent affect the enhancer? Should I finish with a coating of the enhancer after the grout has set? The tile looks amazing and I am worried about ruining the job when grouting (can you tell?)
 
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Old 05-05-10, 03:17 PM
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You can apply the grout release and grout later if you want. The grout release makes it much easier to clean up the grout later on. It will not affect your enhancer, but you could use a spare piece of tile and test it.
 
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Old 05-13-10, 11:11 AM
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Just wanted to pop back in and say thanks to all for the replies in here. The job turned out wonderfully!
 
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Old 05-23-10, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by crk530 View Post
Just wanted to pop back in and say thanks to all for the replies in here. The job turned out wonderfully!
Any chance you could post a picture or two? I'm thinking about ripping out the old 1970's tile in one of my bathrooms and putting down slate. Just thought I might get a better idea of how yours turned out.
 
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Old 05-23-10, 01:06 PM
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Mine was actually a backsplash, but I couldn't find wall tiling under any of the subject forums, so I posted the question here. I did do a slate floor tile about 5 years back in my old house and ran into all of the problems I mentioned in my original post. It looked great from afar (and in the pics), but not so hot up-close. I'll see if I can find pics of the old job...
 
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Old 05-24-10, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by crk530 View Post
Mine was actually a backsplash, but I couldn't find wall tiling under any of the subject forums, so I posted the question here. I did do a slate floor tile about 5 years back in my old house and ran into all of the problems I mentioned in my original post. It looked great from afar (and in the pics), but not so hot up-close. I'll see if I can find pics of the old job...
Thanks! Even pics of the backsplash will suffice.
 
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Old 05-24-10, 12:55 PM
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Backsplash:

Basement floor:

The basement floor wasn't sealed before I grouted (causing many issues while grouting), but if I used a matte sealer, that's how it would look. The colors all seem to have a similar, neutral green-ish hue. The backsplash looked very similar before I sealed it with an enhancer, which really brought out the individual colors. The grout for the backsplash is natural, which I thought was perfect, since it really differentiated the colors. Any darker of a grout would've had too little contrast. Also, disregard the really bright (almost white) tiles in the backsplash. They are stainless steel tiles that I interspersed amongst the slate as a tie-in with other features of my kitchen.
 
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