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Old 09-21-2010, 12:08 PM   #1
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slate tile countertop ?


I'm thinking of using some 4" slate tiles for a countertop in a bar area as well as a Butler's Pantry - will have sink.

1) Do I need to seal these with anything? Obviously the grout needs sealed, but what about the slate? Any food prep/cutting will be done on butcher block.

2) What about adhereing these to the backsplash, I'm guessing it is best to use cement board over the drywall correct? I'm sure I'll use it, just checking. I'll definately be using it on the countertop....

3) Any suggestions for the front edge of the countertops? I haven't found edge tile, maybe it can be special ordered?!? I've looked online for pics, but don't find much in the way of finished tops to view. In the bar, I might use a wood edge, as it would be the same material as the actual bar top will be made out of, so it would tie in nicely, but in the Pantry, not sure it would fit in.....

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Old 09-21-2010, 03:09 PM   #2
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1) Do I need to seal these with anything?
Positively.

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2) What about adhereing these to the backsplash, I'm guessing it is best to use cement board over the drywall correct? I'm sure I'll use it, just checking.
You wouldn't necessarily need cement board on the wall for this. If you do use it, it should normally replace the drywall and not be installed on top of the drywall.

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3) Any suggestions for the front edge of the countertops? I haven't found edge tile, maybe it can be special ordered?!?
Nothing available for slate that I have ever come across. You could use a metal tile edge to make a ninety degree corner on the front edge. This would allow you to also use slate on the face of the counter.

Understand that if you plan to use that cheapo slate from Home Depot or one of those other stores that that slate contains a lot of iron. Any moisture that gets into the stone (and it will) will oxidize and iron oxide (rust) will appear at the surface. Sealing the stone won't stop the process. In fact sealing the stone will only allow any developing oxidation to rise and stay below the sealer coat and you also won't be able to clean it. None of the rust-cleaners can penetrate the sealer.

Think about using porcelain tile that looks like slate.

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Old 09-21-2010, 03:28 PM   #3
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Will seal it thanks!

No easy way to remove the drywall that is there, as this is a remodel on a 95 y/o house. Obviously the drywall isn't original to the house, but it has been there a while. Much easier to just go over it.

I was actually planning on getting it from Lowes, but maybe I'll look elsewhere. Our first thought was granite or marble tile, but all the stuff we looked at said not for countertop use, so our next choice was slate. If the stuff from Lowes has lots of iron, how do I know the stuff from somewhere else doesn't??

I'll look into the Porcelain as well, had that in our last house and loved it, but it didn't look like slate.

FWI...we were/are thinking of doing the larger slate tiles for the kitchen floor depending upon the condition and repairability of the original wood underneath.

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Old 09-21-2010, 05:23 PM   #4
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No easy way to remove the drywall that is there, as this is a remodel on a 95 y/o house. Obviously the drywall isn't original to the house, but it has been there a while. Much easier to just go over it.
That's your call but how will you deal with the edges of the cement board.
Just askin'!

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I was actually planning on getting it from Lowes, but maybe I'll look elsewhere.
I don't know for sure but I see no reason for Lowe's to be any different than Home Depot when it comes to "buy low sell high".

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Our first thought was granite or marble tile, but all the stuff we looked at said not for countertop use,
Humph! I can tell you that marble would be a poor choice but granite is used every day. My God, granite counter tops are the thing these days. Granite tiles wouldn't be much different than granite slabs when it comes to a counter top. Keep in mind however that granite from a big box store in some cases isn't really granite in a geological way. I won't get that argument going again though. The big boxes have all kinds of little rip offs going on all the time.

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If the stuff from Lowes has lots of iron, how do I know the stuff from somewhere else doesn't??
Technically there is really no way for YOU to tell. It's all in "Who Do You Trust". I can assure you slate from a real tile store will be a whole lot more suitable for your purposes than slate from a big box. Tile store slate is of a different quality if you deal with a reputable retailer. They want to stand behind the things they sell - the big boxes couldn't care less.

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I'll look into the Porcelain as well, had that in our last house and loved it, but it didn't look like slate.
If you don't buy it to look like slate then it probably won't look like slate, but slate-looking porcelain is readily available if you don't insist on buying it from a big box.

I'm not really down on big box stores but the thing is they can't be trusted to carry quality products and they don't train their employees, and they don't readily address their thousands of complaints.
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:19 PM   #5
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There is only one edge that might be visible, not sure how I'll address that. Possibly a 1/4" (tile thickness) grout line. Again, this would be in a pantry, that most people will never go in!?

I realize granite is the thing, which makes it hard to do in a house that I'm somewhat trying to keep period certain. I don't mind little things, but I don't want someone to walk into my old house and say, that's obviously new. I want them to think, that's likely been remodeled, but it could have been original to. Hope that makes sense.....

What really makes marble a bad choice? I had a marble, granted it was "recycled marble", coffee table that stood up to all kinds of things and still looked great. Again, it was recycled and had a laquer type coating...

I'm also more about getting a certain "look" and being functional than it being geologically perfect. Again, it's an old house and it's a middle income priced house. I've been going to most open houses in the area to see what they've been doing and so far I'm above par for the upper crest of houses in the area. Not trying to sell, just trying to stay above par and keep my equity high.

I understand what you say about the big box stores. Personally, when I go to buy I try to be as well if not better educated than the person selling to me. I don't care if it's a big box or high end store. So far it hasn't hurt me yet, which is why I'm here asking and greatly appreciate the feedback!!!
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:29 PM   #6
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i'm scratching my head about the granite tiles that say not for counter use? seems odd. the $5 absolute black from home depot and lowes works wonderful for a counter. it's actually so dense no sealer i have tried will even penetrate it. just smears on top. i've personally battle tested this stuff with red kool aid, paint, car parts and every other single guy product you can thing of. it really does not stain.

as for slate. most tiles stores that i have been to, at least in my area all have the india imported slate, either there or china. the only difference is small tile stores always try to charge more. it's hit and miss how many pieces have a lot or iron but i created a porch with the stuff and a couple tiles have the rust that has risen. rain and snow seemed to really bring this out. i also have the same stuff in my kitchen on the floor and so far no rust wash. from my point of view it's no big deal as the rust matches the slate and the stained grout is easy to fix by griding out the few stained places and re grouting them.

if you can swing it and live near a major shipping hub the very best deals are often found near the docs. since i live in portland which is only a few miles in from the pacific ocean there are more than a few direct importers right down by the docs. these guys have the smallest margins and largest selection. i know more than a few also exist in LA and seattle

Last edited by racebum; 09-21-2010 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:57 PM   #7
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There is only one edge that might be visible, not sure how I'll address that. Possibly a 1/4" (tile thickness) grout line.
Well OK if you think that will look good.
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:08 PM   #8
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I realize granite is the thing, which makes it hard to do in a house that I'm somewhat trying to keep period certain. I don't mind little things, but I don't want someone to walk into my old house and say, that's obviously new. I want them to think, that's likely been remodeled, but it could have been original to.
How about Linoleum counter tops?

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What really makes marble a bad choice? I had a marble, granted it was "recycled marble", coffee table that stood up to all kinds of things and still looked great. Again, it was recycled and had a laquer type coating...
Marble is typically soft and not very dense as rocks go. Marble can stain and scratch easily and won't hold up under the stresses of everyday kitchen acids.

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I understand what you say about the big box stores. Personally, when I go to buy I try to be as well if not better educated than the person selling to me.
Good idea! Fortunately that's not all that difficult. Getting a leg-up on those guys is a cake-walk.


Quote:
racebum: "i'm scratching my head about the granite tiles that say not for counter use? seems odd."
Me too! That makes no sense what-so-ever. There is one exception. Not all granites sold at big boxes are really granites as granites go. Some are lessor stones that are cheaper and they can pass off as granite. The general public doesn't know the difference. And we all know the big box stores are totally honest.

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racebum: "the $5 absolute black from home depot and lowes works wonderful for a counter. it's actually so dense no sealer i have tried will even penetrate it."
Absolute Black cannot be sealed. Never requires a sealer. Absolute Black is as good as it gets. By the way...
Absolute Black" is the name of the stone, not only the color. Not all Absolute Black is absolutely black however. Go Figure!
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:26 PM   #9
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Well OK if you think that will look good.
My last house I used porcelain tile on the counter tops and used cement board for a backer over the drywall. Granted I probably used a tile with a bull nose to do the edge, but it wasn't noticeable that the tile was sticking away from the wall on a backer board. Grout lines were consistant all the way around.

Not sure I can do that with slate or granite, but whatever I do, I will make sure it looks good or wont be happy!
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:40 PM   #10
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:47 PM   #11
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How about Linoleum counter tops?
Maybe I just haven't seen it, but I didn't know they used linoleum for counter tops back in 1915. Never seen it as original on any floors, let alone counter tops on any house in my area. So, no that isn't an option.

Basically, my point is I'm not "modernizing" my house to the point it looks like a home built in the last 20-30 years. My cabinets will very likely be quarter sawn oak, not maple, I've replaced 50's-60's era switches with push button switches in all the "public" areas of the house. All floors are back to origianl hard wood. Bathroom tiles are 1" octagon tiles with true bead board wanscotting(sp?). Using wall paper and ceiling paper, not faux painting and popcorn ceiling. Installing half round gutters, not K style gutters, rebuilding original windows and building wood storm windows verses going with vinyl and aluminum storms. With that said, electrical has almost all been upgraded to romex and 3 prong outlets, network cables in every room, appliances are obviously modern - unless I can find me a vintage stove - etc, but those are the little things that need to be modernized and as far as look and feel go will never be questioned only applauded.

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Marble is typically soft and not very dense as rocks go. Marble can stain and scratch easily and won't hold up under the stresses of everyday kitchen acids.
Guess that's true, just figured there was a way to seal it....again, this is why I'm asking. I like the slate idea better than marble as it is much less expensive from what I've seen so far and slate has a timeless look to some extent. I love porcelain tile, so if I can find a slate look in porcelain, better yet!!

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Good idea! Fortunately that's not all that difficult. Getting a leg-up on those guys is a cake-walk.
Not even hard half the time in the higher priced stores. I've actually been shocked at times by some of the people at the big box stores, some actually do know there stuff and I wonder why they are there..........

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Absolute Black cannot be sealed. Never requires a sealer. Absolute Black is as good as it gets. By the way...
Absolute Black" is the name of the stone, not only the color. Not all Absolute Black is absolutely black however. Go Figure!
Maybe I need to look into that as well. It might be a bit more modern, but again, if it flows I don't mind. I just don't want it to stick out.
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:11 PM   #12
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Here ya go, I just did a quick search and turned up this snipet. I'm serious...check it out. You might be surprised how well it fits your period home.


Patented in 1860, linoleum was the most popular kitchen flooring and countertop material in the 1930s and 1940s. By the 1960s, linoleum began to lose its popularity to vinyl. Today, it's making a strong comeback, partially due to its sustainability. Linoleum is made from linseed oil (from flax seed), ground cork or wood flour, and plant resins all renewable resources. This mixture is pressed onto a backing, usually jute or polyglass [fiberglass and polyester fibers].
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Old 09-23-2010, 12:02 PM   #13
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Here ya go, I just did a quick search and turned up this snipet. I'm serious...check it out. You might be surprised how well it fits your period home.


Patented in 1860, linoleum was the most popular kitchen flooring and countertop material in the 1930s and 1940s. By the 1960s, linoleum began to lose its popularity to vinyl. Today, it's making a strong comeback, partially due to its sustainability. Linoleum is made from linseed oil (from flax seed), ground cork or wood flour, and plant resins all renewable resources. This mixture is pressed onto a backing, usually jute or polyglass [fiberglass and polyester fibers].
I will definately look into it, because you have sparked an interest, but to be totally honest.....I sooo dislike linoleum and vinyl floors. Not to mention, I just don't think it will fit with the rest of the house. For the kitchen countertps, I'm trying to get my hands on some slabs of 2" black walnut that I was told I could have. I know some would say not to use it, but not much of the countertop space in the actual kitchen and the work areas will be 3-4" thick maple butcher block, which I already have.

Currently, the floor in the kitchen and pantry, is a linoleum/vinyl, which was put down about 10-15yrs ago and is coming up. I just don't know what is under all of it. I'm hopeful I can patch what is there and stay with wood, but if not, I want a tile of some sort. Slate would look great with my walnut kitchen countertops and quarter sawn oak cabinets, so if I could match the panty countertops to that, it would be great.

With that said, I want whatever I go with in the pantry to be fairly durable as that is where the appliances will be stored/used, it will house the sink with disposal and the dishwasher, so for the most part the pantry is the room that will see the most wear and tear....

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