How to Edge Marble and Granite Tile Countertops
Marble or granite tile countertops can transform an ordinary kitchen or bathroom into a regal space. Pre-cut tiles of either material are readily available, and provide a convenient, cost-effective solution to renovating countertops. Formica and laminates tend to show their age and look outdated. Granite or marble, on the other hand, has a timeless look to it. Each tile possesses its own individual character, resulting in a completely unique countertop. Tiles are typically sold with 1 edge slightly softened. However, if you make cuts or have an exposed side that hasn't been edged, it's a good idea to do so.
Step 1: Organize Work Space
Stack the granite or marble tiles to be edged in a convenient place. Organize them in such as way so you know which side will be edged. Chances are, you have already laid them out on the countertop in a particular pattern, so it's important to be sure which sides will be polished.
Step 2: Clamp down first Tile
Clamp down the first tile. Place a rag between the clamp and the top of the tile, and be sure not to tighten the clamp too much, or it could damage the tile.
Step 3: Attach Wet Polishing Pad
Wet polishing pads typically come in sets of 8. They feature a grit from 50 to 3000, with 3000 being the finest. They're meant to be used wet, so moisten the pad before use. They're Velcro-backed, so they attach easily to the grinder. Start with the lowest-grit pad, and work your way up. Although they're called polishing pads, they slowly but surely round the edges, as well as smooth sides.
Step 4: Edging Motion
Slowly pass the grinder over the edge to be rounded. Make small circular motions with the pad, while you simultaneously tilt the pad from side to side. Apply even pressure over the tile's edge, as you pass over it. Wear eye protection.
Step 5: Don't Grind too Hard
As you start out with the coarser pads, be careful not to grind into the tiles with too much force. This can cause inconsistencies in the edge. Ultimately, what you want is a smooth exposed side, with an evenly rounded edge.
Step 6: Gradual Progression
As you move to pads with finer grits, you'll notice that the edges of the tile begin to develop a softer, rounded surface. You can detect slight divots along the side before you start. These should all be removed with the polishing pads. You shouldn't spend a lot of time with each pad. Make a dozen or so passes before switching to the next highest grit. Take a clean rag and wipe away excess dust. The coarser the grit, the more dust produced. You can also take a moistened rag to really clean up the edge, and get a better idea what it looks like.
Step 7: Buff the Edge and Side
After you've completed the smoothing and rounding of the edge and side of the tile, attach the Velcro-backed buff, pad to give the granite or marble a polished, finished look. Check that your work meets your requirements, unclamp the tile and move on to the next one.