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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Finishing Up the Marble Floor and Steps

I knew when we were first talking about this bathroom project that there would be some interesting details to think about as we proceeded. Adding a set of winder stairs to a confined place in the bathroom was at the top of the list, especially when I heard that the homeowner wanted to cover them with marble tile.

Though marble is a natural stone and is very heavy and durable, it's also somewhat brittle. For this reason it was very important to protect the tile at the front edge of the steps with a piece of Schluter trim. If we didn't do this, it would surely wear down faster or possibly break and crack because of the foot traffic to the back door.

Schluter trim comes in a wide variety of colors and styles depending upon what your using it for. It's great for making transitions from horizontal to vertical surfaces or corners where the appropriate tile trim piece is unavailable. The trim remains permanently flexible so it's great for corners that might otherwise crack over time with just grout or caulk.

You can see a sample piece of the trim I used in the picture. It's easily cut with a hacksaw and then set into the thinset mortar just before I lay the tile. The grout fills the seams between the trim and the tile and provides a very professional looking installation as well as some protection to our lovely marble steps.

Mitering is a term often used when doing trimwork that refers to cutting the trim at an angle (usually 45 degrees) where the corner pieces intersect. This can be done with tile as well and is most often used where there is an outside corner that is receiving tile. With these stairs, I used quite a few miter joints where the angled pieces came together.

A mitered cut on tile is not difficult provided that you have a tile saw that has this feature. My smallest tile saw is an MK 4" benchtop model and even it will cut miters by raising the cutting platform up to 45 degrees on one side. My larger Felker saw has an attachment that holds the tile at 45 degrees on the sliding tray which makes the cuts fairly simple once you get the hang of it.

The marble floor is grouted and sealed and ready for business. It will be slippery, though, so the homeowner will want to have plenty of rugs for wet feet. :)


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