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Old 06-22-2010, 01:43 PM   #1
Granite Rookie
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How to smooth and chamfer edges on cut granite tiles?

Hello to the group,

I'm installing new granite floor tiles (12" x 12") over a 16 year old P-T concrete slab in our powder bath. Is there a power tool that will create the 1/16" chamfer edge that comes on the factory cut tiles? I have read that you can use a diamond abrasive pad to do this freehand, and also a chamfer stone, but I want to make sure that the edges of the cut granite tiles will exactly match the factory edges to insure the grout lines are uniform.

This floor will have an intricate pattern on it that will feature lots of cut edges, so I'm trying to make sure that all of the edges will be uniform in width. Is there a diamond based router/right angle grinder bit (water or dry) that will make this tiny chamfer/bevel?

The powder bath is about 80sqft in total, but the design will require a few hundred detail cuts including those for the baseboards, clipped edge points for the lighter tiles in the main field, square inlays in the clipped areas, a thin band to separate the darker tiles near the wall from the start of the diamond pattern in the main field and possibly clipped edges on portions of the baseboards.

Most of what I've read says to use a diamond stone on the edges, or a smoothing stone. That might work, but these tools are used freehand, which may introduce imperfections in the amount, width and angle of the chamfer. Seems like using a diamond router bit (water cooled perhaps) would be an easier and faster way to do all of these cut edges, but I have not been able to find something like this at GQ, or GCT as yet. Any help you can offer would be appreciated. Thanks in advance and all the best to you and yours!
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:18 PM   #2
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Welcome Steve,

There are tools for that job - here's a few links to give you some ideas. You may also consider sending them out to a shop and have them run them for you.

If you do a search here for "profiling granite", "bullnose granite" or similar, you'll get lots to read about.

http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...hlight=bulldog

http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...hlight=bulldog

http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/...hlight=bulldog
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:00 AM   #3
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Thanks...

Hello,

Thanks for the links... I thought about sending the cut tiles out, but many of the cut pieces are too small for a pro shop to bother with (some will be as thin as 2.0"), plus there will be over 200 cut edges in this bathroom that need to have the tiny chamfer/bevel applied to them, which would make it cumbersome to send them out and wait, even if someone would agree to work with such small pieces.

So, that leaves me rowing my own boat it seems. I checked the links you provided and most deal with creating a bullnose edge on cut tiles. I plan to do this for the top of the baseboard tiles, but my main concern are the tiles in the main field. Once I cut the tile, there will be a sharp 90 degree transition on the cut edge. If left untreated, this will change the width of the grout line (versus the factory beveled edge on uncut tiles) and it will also leave a sharp edge that can be easily felt if walked across, especially if you are barefooted.

I have looked at diamond router bits (water cooled) that create chamfers, but they all look too large as most seem to be made for countertop slabs. I'm going to go and take a look at them at GQ next week, to see if they might work, but most attach to a RAG, which gives no ability to raise the height to engage only a tiny portion of the chamfer edge like you could do with an ordinary router.

I keep thinking that I'm making mountains out of molehills here, but everywhere I've checked thus far, offers no easy solution. Surely some of the pros here have a sneaky/cleaver/brilliant way to replicate the chamfer/bevel found on factory cut granite tiles to cut edges? If not, then does everyone just leave the sharp edge on a cut tile next to a beveled edge on the floor? If so, how do you keep the grout lines uniform? Maybe I'm not using the correct terminology?

If anyone has a solution, easy or hard, expensive or on-the-cheap, please help this granite tile rookie find the answer to this perplexing challenge. I want to do the best job possible and I'm itching to learn. Thanks in advance and all the best to you and yours!
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:17 AM   #4
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hi Steve,
For quick work, a PVA abrasive pad on an angle grinder does a decent job. If you have the patience, you could buy a 45* profile wheel and set your saw stop to just kiss the edge. I've seen guys use an inverted belt sander too though. Granite is pretty forgiving if you're just trying to break that edge for a micro-bevel
Best of luck,
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:19 PM   #5
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A solution we often use is a wet sand alum oxide paper, and do it by hand. The alum oxide is much harder than the granite and easily breaks it.
Secure a piece of paper to a solid flat surface then pass granite down it to keep edge consistent. You can use a block of wood cut at a 45 degree angle for instance to keep all angles even.


Just be careful to not hit the finished surface or you get to repolish/recut them. The polish on the bevel edge is not noticeable as it is typically very small.

It sounds like your factory edges are micro bevels and fairly easy to match by hand, although it sounds like you have a lot of them. If that leaves too course of a finish wet sand them with finer paper.

Good luck.
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Old 06-26-2010, 09:08 PM   #6
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Smile Thanks!

Thanks so much to everyone for all of the helpful advice and link references...

Shaughnn, I had yet to consider using a profile wheel on my wetsaw... This may be the easiest and simplest way to get the job done. I will definitely look into this on Monday.

Loriduan, Good points. If I can't get a power option sorted, I'm planning to do as you suggest. I would prefer a power option though, just to increase the overall throughput of the job and to give me a plausible excuse to buy another tool...

I already have the jig cut and ready to go and I've got tons of wet-n-dry abrasive in stock, so either way, I'm off to the races. On a side note, I can't wait to use my new Tuscan leveling system and the laser line generators for laying out the floor and walls.
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Old 06-26-2010, 10:06 PM   #7
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Our fair city

Steve,

One of the downsides to working with thinset in the land of humidity is the inability to use a fan to keep yourself cool and dry. The blowing air will cause the thinset to skin over very quickly. You can turn the AC down to 65 however.
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Old 06-27-2010, 07:20 PM   #8
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Talking Thanks for the tip...

Hello Paul,

Good to hear from a local bloke, thanks for the tip! Luckily, I can just turn down the A/C and think about how fast the bloody electric meter dial is spinning, whilst I'm tiling... At least I'll be cool though.

This will be my first use of Ditra over a concrete floor. I read that Schluter said it's ok to use a modified thinset under Ditra, but to use a non-modified on the top of the Ditra. What's the challenge with using a modified over the top of Ditra? Does it somehow prevent the uncoupling aspect of Ditra from occuring?

Do you ever use the Tuscan leveling system on your tile projects? I'm going to be using it for all three of my bathrooms, as well as for the travertine in the rest of the house. It's overkill for one house I guess, but it looks like an easy way to help prevent lippage.

I purchased four books on tiling, including John's, that I will read in the next few days. Hopefully that will answer some of my newbie questions, so the blokes here will not want to string me up on the closest tree for asking too many DIY questions.

When I finish my projects, I'll be ready to buy a round or two at a local pub to say thanks for all of the local blokes who helped me... Nothing like an ice cold one on a hot day in Swelterland, Tx.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:22 PM   #9
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Steve are your tiles gauged? It is very important that for the this version of TLS that the tiles are of the same thickness. If you have any questions,please do not to hesitate to contact me anytime on my cell phone at 319 670 0003.

Thanks.

Mick
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:25 PM   #10
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The modified / unmodified thing is pretty simple. Unmodified thinset needs NO air to set. Once it is introduced to water, it hardens on its own. So that makes it OK for under the ditra. You can also use modified under the ditra, since the bottom side of the ditra has air channels running all over the place to allow the thinset to fully cure.

Above the ditra, the tiles will act as a vapor barrier. The ditra on the other side of the tile will act as a vapor barrier. Modified thinset need air to set. The tiles and the ditra will block all the air. You'll get some around the sides, but the centers will be soft for a long time. Not a good thing. You'll use unmodified on top of the ditra.

I have used and like the TLS system. It does exactly what they say it does. I think its a good tool for DIYers as well as pro's.

Sure its hot and sultry in Houston, but only for 11 1/2 months a year.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:49 PM   #11
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Thanks for the offer Mick...

Hello Mick,

Thanks for the offer of help... I'm not sure if my granite tiles are gauged or not, as I have not measured them as yet. They were all bought at Emser (Absolute Black and Lapidus), so I sure hope they are accurately sized. I will be laying them out and doing a dry fit in a few days, so I will put a caliper on them and check.

I still need to do a wee bit of floor leveling (1/16" off to 1/8" max over 8') before I lay the Ditra, and the Keba Tape. Once that's done, I get to break in my new wet saw and play with layout variables. Then, it's tile time...

BTW, I'm looking forward to working with the TLS...

Note: I'm going to start a new thread going forward titled "Granite Rookies Bathroom Remodel" to avoid confusion with future postings.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:00 PM   #12
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You're as handy as a pocket on a shirt Paul...

Hello Paul,

Thanks for the clarification, I understand it now. Since you're in my neck of the woods, what is your preferred thinset for use under Ditra (post-tension slab, 16 yrs old) and on top for setting Absolute Black and Lapidus granite tiles?

Do you ever use the self-leveling thinsets over concrete slabs? I do not have a lot of variance (1/16" to 1/8" max in any direction over 8'), but I want that puppy flat as glass before I start.

I also have a concrete surfacing grinder with a diamond blade and a Dust Buddie attached to a Dustless Technologies HEPA wet-n-dry vac that makes it easy and dust free to grind more concrete if necessary, instead of using the leveling compound if that sounds easier.

BTW, do you know where I can buy a 150sft roll of Ditra in Houston? I've heard that Homely Despot carries it, but the blokes in the tile department said "Say What" when I asked about it, saying they never heard of it. I looked on the Internet and checked about eight places and everyone was either out of stock, or would not ship to Texas. Boy, Ditra is scarce as hen's teeth it seems... Thanks in advance and stay cool!
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:20 PM   #13
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Last time I checked, homer on the west loop has ditra (post oak), so does the north loop (brinkman), by the 54 sf roll I believe. Most of the clerks have no idea what it is, so instead of asking for ditra, ask for the large orange plastic rolls of the waffle-y stuff. You can also call the store, ask to do "an inventory check with SKU # 702068" The operator will do a computer check for inventory. If that store doesnt have any, the screen will show the operator the neasrest 8 stores that have it. If you get really stuck I can sell you some of my personal inventory.

Under and over ditra you can use Versabond. That voids the schluter warranty if you care about such things. Otherwise its 317 froom laticrete, but you might have a very hard time finding that at retail outlets. I buy it at wholesale only where you have to know the secret handshake.

As far as I know, there are no self leveling thinsets. If there were, we'd all be out of a job. For such tiny variations of the size you listed, they are easily handled when setting the tiles with a bit more thinset and some patience. A lot of experience helps.
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:45 PM   #14
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No self leveling thinset but would Laticrete 84 or 86 work prior to spreading the thinset?

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Old 07-02-2010, 04:15 AM   #15
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Doh!

Hello Paul,

Well, my newbie-ness is showing... I should have said "Self Leveling Compound,", not Self Leveling Thinset... I was referring to the products used for correcting out-of-level floors that self-level and are poured on (as opposed to troweling), not the thinset itself. From what you said though, it sounds like I can just adjust as I lay the tile. I will probably grind down the high spots to achieve a 1/16" maximum variance over the 8' area just for grins.

I will now retire to my studio and clean a few buckets of modified thinset encrusted trowels and epoxy grout covered floats as punishment. Doh!

P.S. I'm not familiar with Versabond... Why does it void the Schulter warranty? What are the advantages of using it instead of the 317 Laticrete?
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