Step 5: Lay the Tiles

how to lay a stone-tile floor lay the slate tiles
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Spread unmodified thinset over an area about 3 feet by 16 inches, filling the membrane's square dimples. Comb out parallel ridges with the notched trowel. For each tile, smear thinset on its underside, press it firmly in place, and make sure it's flush with its neighbors and that the joints are even. Gently remove excess thinset from the joints with a putty knife, and swab the stones with a damp sponge.
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    Tools List

    • utility knife with hook blade
      Utility knife
    • mixing drill
      Corded drill with mixing paddle to mix thinset and grout
    • small plastic bucket
      Buckets for thinset, grout, and rinse water
    • notched trowel
      ¼-inch notched trowel
    • grout float
      Grout float
    • margin trowel
      Margin trowel to spread thinset on back of stone
    • plastic putty knife
      Putty knife
    • sponge
      Sponge
    • Cheesecloth
      Cheesecloth

    Shopping List

    Uncoupling membrane
    Thinset, modified and unmodified
    Muriatic acid
    Slate tiles
    Penetrating stone sealer
    Sanded grout