I am installing slate tiles on my staircase. I made a "bull-nose" for
each tread out of Ipe' hardwood by joining two pieces together with a
45degree lock miter joint. I then used some 1" wide strips of Ipe'
along both sides of the treads and risers to form a frame. So far so
It is now time to lay the slate tile. Should I put the riser tiles on
first and extend them all the way down to the wood subfloor tread
tread. Or should I put the tread tiles on first all the way back to
the wood subfloor riser and then put the riser tiles on top of the
If I put the riser tile on first my grout line will be on the tread and
vice versa if I put the tread on first the grout line will be on the
riser. It seems like it would be easier to put the riser on first and
let it rest on the wood subfloor tread while it dries and then I would
have more easier horizontal grout lines than more dificults to grout
verticle grout lines.
Anyone been here???
I have not been precicesly where you are but I've used slate tile as a
backsplash in the kitchen. My concern on a staircase would be the grout
line in the corner cracking, and I'd take some more of that Ipe, say a
3/4" square piece, and rout a quarter round cover into one corner and put
that into the corner so there's no grout line there at all. Then you've
simply got Ipe "frames" all the way around the treads and the risers
Free advice and worth every penny. :)
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Thank you for your reply John.
I laid some strips of Ipe' along the back of the stair tread to see
what it would look like and to my eye there was too much wood and to
When I pulled the carpet off of the stairs there was not a single
straight line on the whole staircase. Some idiot carpenter free handed
all the cuts for every tread and riser. The treads were not flat
because they took on the curve of the riser that they were sitting on
top of. I pulled off all of the treads and risers and replaced them
with 3/4" ply. I used top quality construction adhesive on all mating
surfaces and screwed each tread down with 6 screws. I then screwed
through the risers from the back into the tread and like wise I screwed
down from the tread into the lower riser. I am pretty confident I
won't have any squeaks or movement and cracked grout lines. I plan on
using latex mixing agent when I mix the grout.
I think I have decided to put the riser slate tile on first then lay
the tread tile. If a piece is broken by accident some time down the
road it will probabally be a tread piece which will be easier to
replace if it isn't held captive by the riser tile.
Another issue I came across was how many pieces of slate to put for
each riser/tread. My first instinct was to trim each piece to an equal
width and have 3 ~11" wide pieces per surface. But my house is a split
entry and I have already done the middle landing. I decided to go with
four pieces of slate per tread. This way the grout lines match with
the grout lines in the landing and it looks much better than
mis-matched grout lines. I am ending up with a 5" piece on one side
and a 4" piece on the other. On the other half of the stairs going up
from the landing to the main living area there will only be 3 pieces of
slate and the grout lines will match because of the way I laid the
slate out on the landing.
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