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Unread 11-11-2021, 01:32 AM   #1
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Not my first rodeo but first time with Slate

So I’ve been tiling myself as DIY in my home with doing mostly flooring and a shower wall (upper part above the preformed shower walls. I just finished remodeling my kitchen and the wife has picked out a 12x12 slate tile glued to mesh for the backsplash. Pictures as shown below. I’ve been told by another contractor to use mastic on the painted walls (new drywall, primed and painted) but have never used this before. What would you recommend to use to set the tile on the wall? Also, I know I want to seal the slate before hanging it as well as after it’s been grouted. Im looking at using Miracle 511 impregnator sealer. My question is how should I apply this? Spray bottle or do I have to roll it on with a paint roller? How long should it dry before hanging? As for grouting, I’ve only ever grouted with Latacretes 3 part epoxy grouts. But I’m concerned about the cleanup with the slate and how rough the stone is. Would you still recommend an epoxy grout for this application or something else? With the epoxy grouting I’ve done in the past I never smear it all over the tile, I just use a small float and push it into the grout lines which has always made cleanup with water and vinegar easy. Just looking for some advice on the best way to tackle this job so it doesn’t turn into a nightmare. Thanks.

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Unread 11-11-2021, 07:13 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jason
So I’ve been tiling myself..
Sounds painful.

Welcome back, Jason,

Mastic could be an option for that slate. The slate is dark enough, with plenty of color variation so even if the mastic did bleed into it a little you'd never notice. But mortar is the safer option, natch.

I've used epoxy grout on two projects in my home, but on tile much smoother than that slate. Given those narrow pieces I don't think you'll be able to get grout into the joints without also getting all over the slate. Even with regular grout the clean up process for that slate is going to be arduous, so I wouldn't use epoxy for your back splash.

You might consider a grout release instead of the sealer. Hang the tile, apply the release per instructions, then grout. Once clean up is finished you could then apply a sealer.
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Unread 11-11-2021, 02:30 PM   #3
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I'd want to put something on the painted wall prior to trying to mount them...something like Mapei's EcoPrimGrip primer would seem to work.

As to sealers...carefully read the instructions...most of them do NOT want you to leave it on the surface for extended times...if it dries on the tile, it can become blotchy. Whatever doesn't get absorbed needs to be buffed off PRIOR to it drying.

Grouting any textured tile is a pain on the cleanup. Epoxy grouts are generally more of a pain to clean up than a cement based one.
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Unread 11-12-2021, 09:08 AM   #4
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Depending on the mesh, realize that mounting tile like that on a vertical surface ramps up the challenge of installing them in a big hurry. Gravity is fighting you. You will spend considerable time hanging and manipulating the sheets/pieces. Ideally, you want to hold the top of the sheets and hang the sheet a little high on the wall (maybe 1/8”), then press it into the setting material lightly, then pull the tile from the bottom row down to ensure to sheet is spread out fully (by using a clean margin trowel in the bottom grout joint) to its final proper location…then embed the sheet to the setting material.

Mastic can cause bleeding/staining problems for all sorts of natural stone. If you want to use mastic, pick one that explicitly states compatibility with natural stone. Realize that mastic does an unintended job of softening some paints up pretty good. I’ve removed a tile held with mastic after 45 minutes and it took the entire layer of paint with it. This softening isn’t horrible…you just need to be aware of it. Once the stuff dries out, the paint hardens back up and everything sticks fine.

For me, I’d pick a good non-sag mortar. It’s plenty sticky and it’s easier to clean if some gets onto the front of that tile.

Using epoxy over that tile is kind of pointless. Why spend all the extra hassle and expense for epoxy grout that takes up a minority of the surface when the majority of the surface remains fairly stainable? Sure, you can seal the tile, but sealing isn’t a process that puts a protective layer on the tile….rather, typical penetrating sealers try to clog the surface pores so that stainable liquids take a little longer before they soak in, giving you a few minutes to clean before they become permanent. And I can tell you that you’re likely to use a lot more epoxy grout than you think $$$$.

I’d be much more apt to use a grout release, use Laticrete Permacolor grout (that dries to the advertised color), then seal everything with a superior sealing like DryTreat.

But before I did anything, I would spend a little money making up a test board and grouting it. You really want to know what that’ll look like before being surprised at the end of a finished job. I can’t stress this enough.

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