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Unread 07-07-2005, 08:44 AM   #1
01yellowvette
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need advice on smoothing out slate shower floor so it drains properly

Help!!

My name is Betty and this is my first time to post on this forum. My husband and I are building a house near Denton, Texas and we installed a 4' x 8' slate shower. We were very careful in putting in a 1" slope to the drain, but less than careful when installing the 4 x 4 tiles. The tiles vary greatly in thicknesses and some of the thicker tiles are trapping water behind them. We know now that we should have placed the thicker tiles at the edges and graduated them to thinner tiles toward the drain. But, that didn't happen, so we need some advice on how we can fix this.

Can you sand slate? We considered going after it with a belt sander.

Then we considered grinding channels in it, but are reluctant to do that for fear it may cause other problems.
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Unread 07-07-2005, 06:09 PM   #2
Scooter
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I wouldn't have picked slate for floor tile, or for that matter any tile in a shower.

I wouldn't have picked 4x4 tiles in sloped shower--they aren't small enough to go across the multiple slopes from all four walls. 2x2 is pretty much the minimum unless you cut the tiles right at the valley slope lines, which is a skill I don't have.

I don't have any advice except to live with it or tear it out.
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Unread 07-07-2005, 10:14 PM   #3
01yellowvette
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Thanks for replying. I've heard that many times now that slate is not a good shower material and I don't understand why, other than it being so porous. I'll probably be finding out why the hard way.

But, we already have it in, so I'm determined to make it work if possible.

Does anybody out there have any experience with sanding or grinding slate?
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Unread 07-07-2005, 10:40 PM   #4
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Well, being that you don't ahve much options, I would try too grind the areas, them sand the area as necessary. Problems you'll have is getting rid of the grinding marks. Also if it's a less exspensive slate the layers may peel on you making it even worse, or if lucky may work out better. Hard to really say. Hopefully others will have a better answer.

Almost forgot, as far as I can see the other option is to float a thin layer of mortar over the slate to make it flat again, with the correct pitch and finding yourself some nice ceramic look-alike slate.
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Unread 07-07-2005, 11:02 PM   #5
01yellowvette
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Thanks for responding. It is the less expensive slate and some of the tiles did have a tendency of chipping off layers when we were installing it in other areas. We have considered using a chisel on the thicker ones. But were really hoping there would be a faster and easier way to tackle this.

Floating a thin layer is an interesting idea, however, we would still want to use the same type slate. Our entire bathroom is done in the same stuff.
Would it be possible to set slate on top of slate? In other words, cover up the thinner ones with another thin tile?

I think I would first rather try grinding or sanding down the ones that are trapping the water.

Thanks for the ideas. Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated!!!!!
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Unread 07-07-2005, 11:09 PM   #6
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That being the case you might as welll try to chisel or grind the floor now. If it doesn't work out for you then skimming with mortar and being more precise with your tile next time would also work.
I'm assuming this slate is smooth on the top. It sure would hurt to get a slice of rock in the ole' foot. Giving it a good sealing will help too. If its real porous slate, i don't imagine it would take to long for all the soapy water to make it look pretty rough.
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Unread 07-07-2005, 11:09 PM   #7
cx
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Welcome, yellow. Give us a first name, please.

If you have some leftover/spare/extra slate, you might just lay some out and give the grinding a try. I know some slates are just gonna come apart, but I don't know that you couldn't grind them some.

Plug the drain and let it stand full of water for a couple hours and you might, unfortunately, find that you can sand it all down with a brick or sanding stone. Some of that slate gets pretty soft when wet.

If you do it over, you might wanna pewt a bit more slope in there, too. You're a bit short of a quarter-inch per foot if you've got only an inch of fall.

My opinion; worth price charged.
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Unread 07-07-2005, 11:14 PM   #8
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Hmmm, Thats a great idea CX. I guess thats another good reason why slate is not the best choice for a shower floor. MAy turn to mush down the road.
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Unread 07-07-2005, 11:18 PM   #9
Shaughnn
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Hello Vette,
Here's an experiment for you to try. Sometimes you can cleave slate along it's natural lines by heating it with a torch (MAPP gas available at hardware and Big Box stores) and using a thin-bladed tool to seperate the layers. If you have some slate laying around, you can test it out for the best resultsbefore commiting to your shower? Applied sparingly, you should be able to remove those high edges and still leave a natural *face* on the stone. Chipping without heat or sanding/grinding will also both remove the high spots but the surface will either have a broken texture or will be too smooth.
Best of luck,
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Unread 07-07-2005, 11:31 PM   #10
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Hi Saughnn, Would the heat affect the liner at all or would it not transer that much?
So does the heat just make the slate expand enough to seperate itself?
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Unread 07-08-2005, 06:43 AM   #11
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Hi Randy,
As there should be about an inch of mortar between the liner and the stone, I don't think this amount of heat would affect it. Don't know exactly *how* it works, it's just a trick that I learned from a customer service stone fellah.
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