How to: Tile Risers

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    • 1). Apply strips of low-tack blue painter's masking tape along the stringer and stair treads where they meet the riser.

    • 2). Wrap 120-grit sandpaper around a sanding block or equip an electric palm sander with 220-grit sandpaper. Sand the surface of the stair riser to remove any old paint, stain and sealant.

    • 3). Clean the dust off of the stair treads and risers with a vacuum or wipe the risers and treads with a tack cloth.

    • 4). Measure the stair tread with a tape measure. Note the measurement and add the size of the tile spacer to that measurement. Mark any tiles that require cutting with a marker. Make cuts to the tiles with a wet saw or tile cutter.

    • 5). Cut one arm off of each tile spacer with a utility knife.

    • 6). Spread a 1/4-inch layer of tile adhesive onto the riser with a notched spreader. Pull the spreader through the tile adhesive to leave raised lines in the adhesive.

    • 7). Place the tile up against the riser, starting next to the stringer. Press the tile into the adhesive. Put a tile spacer next to the tile with the cut bottom resting on the stair tread, giving the tiles a uniform space both under the tile and next to it. Place the next tile onto the stair riser, press it in place then set a tile spacer next to the tile. Continue to apply adhesive then raised lines in the adhesive, setting the tiles and using tile spacers until all of the stair risers have a tile covering. Let the tile adhesive dry overnight.

    • 8). Remove the tile spacers. Mix grout and water in a bucket. Spread the grout with a small rubber grout float. Press the grout in between the tiles but not in between the tile and stair tread. Wipe the face of the tile with a damp sponge to remove the grout haze. Let the grout set for 24 hours.

    • 9). Load a caulking gun with flexible silicone caulk. Run a caulk bead into the space between the bottom of the tile and the stair tread. Dip your finger into water and place it on the caulk line. Press your finger down and move it along the caulk line to smooth the caulk.

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