I'm tiling my kitchen with 12" square slate floor tiles. They'll also
run through to the hallway. I'm taking off all skirting boards
(baseboards) and replacing them after tiling to cover the expansion
gap. I'm tiling under moveable appliances and have checked clearances.
I have a wet diamond wheel cutter for cutting and it seems to work
One thing I'm concerned about is where the slate tiles meet the bottom
of the kitchen units - I believe it's called the "kickboard". What's
the standard procedure for dealing with this? Do I tile right up
against it? Do I leave a gap and grout it?
I would do as you say - remove the baseboards and tile up to about 1/8
to 2/8 from the wall and cover that gap (expansion gap) with the
baseboard. You will get a more professional looking job with the
baseboard over the tile instead of being locked into it with grout and
have that expansion gap which could prevent tiles from popping up in
the event of movement (such as can be caused by thermal expansion).
Also, if you remove the baseboards, its possible to upgrade them.
Usually builder supplied ones are pretty plain. You can find ones with
a little more height and detail at a molding supply store (the ones at
places like Home Depot are often dented and there isnt much
For you appliances, if you choose not to tile under them, make sure
that you dont lock them into their position so that they cant be
removed to be replaced or serviced. For instance, if you tile right up
to the feet, it might not be possible to screw the feet back up into
the unit to get the clearance to pull it out (ie, for a dishwasher).
I have found the best free tiling advice at the John Bridge forum at
On 19 Sep 2003 09:26:28 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (Alan M) wrote:
Alan, I had to consider what you are doing a couple of years ago. I
have the slate tiles running underneath the kick boards for several cm
and then it's the concrete beyond that. The kickboards were ripped
along the lengths to narrow them and refitted. The floor is
relatively flat, although not perfectly so since the slate is riven
and not sawn on the top surface. Any small gaps of a mm or two are
not really noticable since they are dark.
The same thing was done with skirting boards - the old ones were
removed, the tiling was taken to the wall and they were replaced with
Regarding the thresholds, I think that you could do either. I have
slate in my conservatory, kitchen, cloakroom and hallway and it is
tiled continuously throughout; although the kitchen/conservatory door
is an exterior grade design. This does give continuity throughout.
I have hardwood floors in my lounge and dining room and these are at a
slightly higher level than the slate. There is therefore an oak
threshold strip which is approximately 180mm wide and is planed to
form a slope to match the two levels - i.e. there is a gentle
transition from slate to threshold to main wood floor. This also
blends together well and looks good.
I think you could do a hardwood threshold strip if you wanted to
between two areas of slate floor and it would look fine as well.
I would suggest either making it the same level as the slate all the
way across, or if you do want a higher level in the centre of the
threshold, chamfer each side to slope down to the slate rather than
creating a step. This would a) be a trip hazard and b) get dinged
and start to look beaten up.
I wouldn't have a threshold below the level of the slate. That will
look funny, be a trip hazard and a dirt trap.
The other comment I would make regarding grout is that grey rather
than white is a good idea. First of all it doesn't stand out so much
and secondly it doesn't look grubby. This may be influenced by the
slate colours of course...
If you would like to see an illustration of a hardwood threshold, drop
me an email and I can send you a photo.
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
Grout is not intended to be used between tile and anything else, except
tile. I removed the baseboards, and brought the tile about 3/8" away from
the wall. Baseboards covered the gap. Tile up to the kickpanels. If you
end up with a gap, use shoe moulding. If you have a gap that will be
exposed, keep it minimal & use same-colored caulk.
Utter nonsense. Grout is used for any number of things. Look at the
baseplate on a city light standard sometime for instance. Heavy
machinery is set with grout, etc..
Tile up to the base and leave a grout joint.
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