Patio Slate install. Need help please. [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-30-2008, 01:54 PM
I will list what I know that might help.

I live in Geneva, IL

Slate from MS International called "California Gold" or Santa Barbara from Home Depot from which I purchased.

A Slate from China

Colors: Multi Color , Green , Rust
Variations: High
Grain/Texture: Cloudy
Freezing Climate: NO
Available Sizes:
Tile: 12x12, 16x16, 24x24, 3x3, 4x4, 6x6, Random,
Available Finishes:
Gauged, Natural, Tumbled,

For whatever reason Home Depot doesn't list it on-line.
It has a flagstone like pattern but all are the same cut. It has a plastic netting attached and each piece is glued to it. The glue is about 1/4" so it makes the stones very wobbly. It was in Patio section so I'm assuming it can handle the cold. I do believe it says it's from China also. The stones are all pretty much the same thickness, 1/2". I think the space between stones on plastic netting is about 1/4" to 1/2".

I have put down 3"+ of limestone paver base and used a vibration plate on it. It's basically as hard as concrete.

So home depot reccomended I use this quickloc powerloc sand by quickcrete. Thank goodness I only used 1 bag of the 15 they told me to purchase. :sick: This obviously isn't going to work. So I went back and noticed a sign near this stuff that says to use white thin-set mortar. Also grout and a sealer. This is all great but I have now read so many horror stories about different types of mortar.

What is the best kind to get/use? I'm planning on using a darker color grout so can I also use grey instead of white?

How much do I put down?

What size trowel and depth should I lay down?

What size section should I do?

What about the smaller mosaic pieces that have no glue and arean't on the plastic netting?

Do I push them in hard and level them? Should I use a rubber mallet?

How high up should the mortar come up to the top of the stones?

Then the grout and the sealer. What type and when? I probably plan on using a grout that is a bit like the color of the sand because I want a soft contrast, not hard like white mortar would.

Is there sealer that protects them but doesn't change the way they look? I don't want these to be shinny.

If any of you know about picasaweb on google you can find pics at Vdoggie/Patio

Thank you all for your help and support!!


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06-30-2008, 02:19 PM
Mike, you need a thick paver for your patio. Thin pavers and tiles cannot be bonded to a compacted gravel and sand base. Also, you need a material that will withstand freezing conditions; the product info you quoted says not for freezing climate. You need to take the slate back and get a concrete or brick paver.

Pavers set on compacted base do not need any mortar. Instead you set them tight against each other, place a perimeter frame, then sweep in sand to lock the pavers in place. It is a great system in cold climates because it allows for good drainage and ground movement, and can be easily repaired if frost heave gets out of control.

06-30-2008, 02:34 PM

Wow if that is the case I'm going to have to get a district manager involved in this case because they claimed otherwise. I spoke with quite a few different employee's, one of which for the most part sounded like he knew his stuff. This is beyond disapointing and I have no ideas how I'm going to get 120 of these pieces back. I paid for having this stuff delivered also. :cry: I'm actually kind of shocked they would even carry this product if it can't be used outside when it's in the patio section. I guess it's going to have to be the thicker flagstone then.

Rd Tile
06-30-2008, 02:49 PM
HOW thick are they, all their slate is in the tile isle, what exactly have you got there.?

Just reread your post, 1/2"?, forget it.:)

06-30-2008, 02:59 PM
I'm wondering why Home Depot is reccomending this as outdoor use? Not to mention they didn't give me the proper installation material etc.. So there is absolutely no chance this will work?

06-30-2008, 03:27 PM
Would something like this work as a veneer for an outdoor brick fireplace (or even a cbu covered firebox)? I am thinking it is gonna be good for that kinda outdoor use maybe? :idea:

Maybe also it would be good for overlaying a concrete patio slab, if so maybe it will be easier to rent a mixer and pour a slab that if its not too big an area, then put on your veneer (if your climate permits)...but wait for the experts to respond.

I think this may be them?

06-30-2008, 03:51 PM

the PowerLoc sand ( is a correct method for installing pavers, stone, slate, etc.
you cut everythng in, sweep the sand in the joints, blow it off with a blower (low speed) making sure
there is none left on the surface, then mist, it then hardens locking the pavers into place.

from your pictures it looks like you were on the right path but,
1) you didnt cut in all your pieces.
2) you dont have solid edging to hold them in place.

you should call a HD rep to come out and take a look.

now the question is.....are the slate tile you purchased ok to use outdoor. :confused:


06-30-2008, 04:00 PM
ceramictec ,

Does any of that matter if it won't work in freezing temperatures? Can you imagine the slate being all cracked after one season of snow/frost? I have so many reservations about this because HD botched everything they have told me. I specifically asked if this needed to be on concrete versus limestone paver base and they told me limestone would work. I'm now told you can't use mortar on top of it to seal these pieces etc.. Heck they didn't even mention using a sealer or grout.

The bottom line is if this stuff can't hanlde freezing temperatures HD's buyer for this region really messed up. A company shouldn't be selling outdoor patio material that can't handle this areas climated. I'm really in shock about all of this but I'm learning a lot. I really appreciate everyone's input and feedback because you all probably saved me thousands of dollars and a big headache. Heck I'm already worried about trying to explain it to HD to begin with. This could be a struggle in itself.

06-30-2008, 04:06 PM

Yes that is the company. My guess is HD sells this stuff in climates that never freeze. California, Florida etc.... Maybe it's become popular there and they just decided to sell it everywhere else. I remember one guy mentioning this stuff is "new" this year. If HD sells enough of this and it's installed in a lot of places even the most professional way they could have a class action law suit on their hands if this stuff gets destroyed over the winter this year. It's in patio and is absolutely being sold as "outdoor" material. :uhh:

06-30-2008, 04:37 PM

have you called the manufacturer of the slate to confirm this?
or are you going off the assumptions you can't use it outdoors in a freeze/thaw area?

slate can be used outdoors and has been for years. with the sand bed water runs off and shouldn't be a problem freezing under it.

I would definetily get a HD rep involved, have them contact the manuf. and see if you were advised wrongly on the materials used outdoors and the installation method.

06-30-2008, 05:27 PM
I tried and had to leave a voice mail. I'm also going to call HD and see if they can dig this info up.

the problem with the sand is I saw a hanging informational print out near the place where it's sold and it specifically lists using thin-set mortar. I think the mortar is placed on the surface area of where they would be placed as that is what it looked like on this print out. it also then listed grouting it and sealing it. the HD guy didn't mention any of this and also said limestone can be used but another person said you don't or can't use mortar on this surface with along with these pieces of slate.

The sand might potentialy work as I checked it today (been 48 hours) and it's tighter but they still shift because the glue on each piece makes it uneven and they shift pretty easily. With no glue they do lay nice and flat but it takes away from the netting which gives the pieces weight and some uniormity. I'm sure you are not supposed to remove the netting or the glue, hence the use of mortar to even this out. I could be wrong on this though.

06-30-2008, 05:40 PM
they could be set on a slab with thinset and grouted.

I would wait for the word from the MS stone people and then go from there.

06-30-2008, 07:16 PM

So it definitely can't be set with thin-set mortar on top of compacted limestone?

06-30-2008, 09:48 PM
I have never heard of it being done that way, but I learn new things every week.
old mud guys and I do this on small showers. we compact a damp sand & cement mixture and sprinkle dry portland on it, it gets damp from the moisture in the mud, then we set the tile on it and grout in one shot.

I dont think a compacted limestone bed can be used with a wet thinset.

07-01-2008, 06:11 AM
I think we're trying to mix methods, here. Those slate tiles are meant for a thinset application on concrete or plywood/backerboard floors. However, they may be appropriate for a compacted sand bed, provided you can get the sand completely underneath the tile.

This isn't as easy as plopping them down and sweeping sand over the surface. You have to push and wiggle them into the sand, pull them up to check the imprint, add sand as necessary, and repeat until the stones are fully supported.

Oh, look at this, from the PowerLoc Datasheet:
QUIKRETE® PowerLoc™ Jointing Sand is
suitable for sweeping into paving stone joints of
˝” (12mm) or less in width. Once placed and
dampened PowerLoc, hardens to lock pavers in

I think this may not be appropriate for your project, since the joint appear to be wider than 1/2".

07-01-2008, 07:36 AM
good one Bob.
it does look like some of his joints are 3/4" pushing 1".

07-01-2008, 08:20 AM

I actually considered this. I checked them last night and even without a 1/2" of leveled sand below they were considerably tighter though they did still wobble a tad. However this is without a doubt because of the glue on the bottom. I honestly think it could be possible to use this sand if the glue portions were removed. Some of the pieces didn't move at all and still had the glue on it so there is still hope. I'm waiting on HD to get back to me regarding if these stones can even handle freezing temperature. From the manufacturers website I honestly don't think it's for this areas climate. HD probably has done well selling this in areas of the country that don't get freezes and decided to sell it elsewhere. That's my guess because supposedly this stuff is new this year.

Thx again!

07-01-2008, 08:35 AM
It would be a lot more work but maybe I could screed in 1/2" of sand, remove glue and netting and work in one piece at a time keeping them no more than 1/4" within each other. It would be a hell of a lot of work and I would need more pieces but it might be possible. Or is this just not reccomended? My other concern will sealer help from scratching this stuff? It seems fairly easy to scratch but you can lightly rub the surface and it disapears.

07-01-2008, 09:47 AM
3 inches of base is a little thin in my view- around here they use 6-9 with an inch of sand for leveling and then 3" pavers, excavation is basically 12 inches. That 3 inch base will fall apart in a couple years particularly in the midwest I would think. The deeper base will last much longer. Thats a flexible paving system.
If you are using thin materials (1" less) then a rigid base is needed and a 4" concrete slab to support them would be my advice, then thinset to the slab.

From your info the mfr rates NO for freeze thaw cycles so wouldnt be a good choice outdoors anyway.

Some thin slate can be wet set in basically deck mud over gravel base, but anyt time Ive seen it done they were using maybe 6 inches of CR6 and then 3 -4 inches of mortar bed, sometimes with wire.

If you can get HD to haul it away and give you back the money for the materials(probably have to eat the transport) I think I would take that deal.
I would then take some time and head to a real stone supplier and walk around and take a look a their samples, see what they carry and what you like. Pavers, Slate, Limestone all sorts of patio material. As a specialty supplier they most likely will give you much better service and have counter guys who can sell you what you need. Most of them have installation guides for homeowners too, and the prices will probably be cheaper than HD for similar quality.

07-01-2008, 09:52 AM
I have to agree with Steve. You have the wrong method for the materials you are using, or the wrong materials for the method. I hate to see you lose the work you've done, but thick pavers, whether stone, brick or concrete, are the only path forward if you want to save the compacted base. If your heart is set on using these slate tiles, the base has to be replaced with a slab.

07-01-2008, 09:54 AM
That means they are going to have to remove the paver base I put down and refund me that as well? Sounds like a big mess not to mention I rented a vibration plate from them. I'm probably closer to 4" of paver base btw. I'm definitely not going to rip this out myself. They even told me 3"+ which is what I did. Thanks for the advice.

07-01-2008, 09:59 AM
I'm leaning towards having them pick it up and refund me for the slate/sand and delivery charge. Then I will hit a local landscaping company and use the exiting base and just do regular maintenance on it when it shifts etc.. I doubt HD is going to rip it out and and refund me the money on the paver base.

07-01-2008, 01:19 PM
I would go that route you mentioned, sounds like HD or MS stone hasn't got back to you yet with an answer.
your best bet is to do thick pavers on your sand bed, and you can still use the PowerLoc sand you have on them.

07-01-2008, 02:00 PM

No, they haven't. I called the store and of course talked to a different assitant store manager. She is trying to get details even though someone was supposed to call me back this morning. I expect a potential up hill battle with HD even though they clearly put me on the wrong path with this. :uhh:

07-01-2008, 02:26 PM
looks like you are going to have a time on your hands trying to get this figured out.

I called the MS Stone number for the Dept in charge of Home Depot.
they say they don't give installation specs or anything along that line.
they only sell the tile/stone/slate.

they said they recommended getting the advice from a professional installer.
and from there he said it was up to the customer & HD on how they install it. :twitch:


07-01-2008, 02:49 PM
just spoke with the HD store manager. finaly it looks like someone is going to sort this out. so the guy who reccomended me do this claims he called "old castle" rep who sells this stuff to HD and says it's ok to use paver and sand. personaly I think the guy is trying to save his butt. Tommorrow I'm going to do a small area of tile without glue and use a 1" base, set them in, water and sweep more sand in and see. If it doesn't seem like it's going to be solid I will try and take this stuff back.

One quick question, should I use the quikcrete sand base or should I use regular sand? Will the 1" base of this stuff do anything good for me?

07-01-2008, 03:57 PM
so now Oldcastle supplys this stuff to HD not MS Stone?

the slate itself can displace the weight overall in the sand. the wide joints are what would concern me. with tight ran pavers set on sand they lock together and the sand in the joints hold them from moving. with these slate tile being thinner and a wide joint the tile when stepped on one side can lift the other end creating a dip in the sand without being bonded to the substrate. maybe the PowerLoc sand stops this from happening.
I have set 1" Travertine pavers on a sand bed butt joint.

Oldcastle is one of the largest paver manufacturers in the U.S..
I don't think they deal with slate like that, they only make brick pavers.
I have a friend at the North Tampa facility, I just talked to him today about a paver color I'm looking for.

07-02-2008, 07:58 AM

very interesting about the old castle information. the guy from HD said he would come out if it doesn't work and the store manager said they would make sure if it doesn't work out they would get me something that definitely will. at least they are willing to work with me. so tonight I think my plan is to set this stuff on top of a 1/2" to 1" base of this sand (powerloc), lightly water, set them in a pattern off the netting with the glue removed and place them no more than a 1/4" from each other. I really think as long as it's level and it cures this will hold as I mentioned before even some with glue were not shifting at all and that's without any sand base and the glue still attached. I'm also thinking about doing a piece with the glue and netting and see what happens.

another thing I thought that seemed odd was he mentioned I could try sweping in the limestone but you can't use a vibration plate on these because I'm sure they would crack.

can you give me any other tips for my test? I would greatly appreciate it. anything that helps increase my odds of this working would make me very happy! :)

07-09-2008, 10:43 AM
So I got the answer I was looking for and you were all right.

Straight from MS International

"Just to reiterate. Santa Barbara Meshed Flagstone must be installed over concrete using thinset. This product can not be loose laid over sand or crushed rock. Thanks"

So I learned a lot and hopefully will do more research when it comes to a project like this. Now to find out what HD is going to work out with me.

Thanks again all, I appreciate the help!

06-05-2011, 11:47 AM
Hi Mike. I came across your post about the pavers that you bought from Home Depot a couple years back. I am thinking about purchasing the same pavers and wondered how it turned out. Do you have any pictures? Did you end up laying them over cement?


06-05-2011, 12:04 PM
Welcome, Richter. :)

That visitor hasn't been on the site for nearly three years. Not likely you'll get much response.

06-06-2011, 08:32 AM
Hi Mike. I came across your post about the pavers that you bought from Home Depot a couple years back. I am thinking about purchasing the same pavers and wondered how it turned out. Do you have any pictures? Did you end up laying them over cement?


Hi Richter,

I decided to return it to HD. I'm glad I did as I received a ton of multi colored pavers and the manager told me bring what you can back that is good.. needless to say I had a TON of that left over to dress the yards up.. I used it along the edges of all my plant beds, trees and bushes.. it looks spectacular!

Over time I have also noticed these do NOT hold up well over time in this climate. I'm in the chicagoland area.. even if it had been sunk in concrete, this stuff eventually would peel away super thin layers and eventually crack etc.. I have that on some pieces already like that. Needless to say I got extra! :yipee:

I did wind up having someone re do my patio with the pavers etc.. which they did a good job but never sealed it which was supposed to be included.. that was like a $200 portion of the job and I never got anything back from them.

So all in all, I would never recommended 1" outside unless it's something that won't get too weathered and definitely not something to walk on.. if it was 3" that might be another story.. even then, make sure you find out if that also needs to be placed in cement or whatever it's called.

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I did the retaining wall myself... man what a job that was... turned out pretty nice though..

06-06-2011, 09:21 AM
Or maybe you will. :)

06-06-2011, 09:55 AM
Indeed... :D

Gotta love the subscribe to thread with automatic e-mails sent to me!