Tag Archives: slate

Slate Tiles and Pink Paint

Lots of pink.

That’s how I’d describe our progress in the basement. Just look around, it’s pretty obvious who picked the wall colors in the bedrooms. It’s also obvious we’re partial to continuing the slate tile theme, bringing it in from the lower level patio. I’m in the midst of tiling bliss this weekend, hoping to wrap up the slate fireplace surround, and grout the tile floors too.

Next up will be installing the railing, trim boards and doors. Then, paint touch ups, some plumbing and electrical odds and ends, followed finally by some carpet made of recycled pop bottles.  It all started one Thursday a long while back when Eric called.

“Are you going to finish your basement?”

“Yes, eventually, I guess,” I said.

“Why don’t we frame it this weekend?”

“This weekend!?”

“Yup. Buy some lumber.”

We measured the walls, I bought some 2×4’s, and we built all the walls in one Saturday. I use the term “we” pretty loosely here. I held a board here and there, and fetched the beer. And so it began. Then, with our news of Baby 4, we put it into warp drive–shooting for a Christmas completion. We might make it, almost.

Here’s a pictorial progression so far:

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Posted by on December 6, 2009 in home and yard


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Patio Completion

There’s finally something sitting on our slate tile patio that makes my wife smile.

Yesterday was our ninth wedding anniversary. We celebrated by ditching the kids (or did they ditch us?) and spending Wednesday and part of Thursday in Sioux Falls. It was a fun date. shortly after we got home yesterday afternoon, a big box arrived (delivered by a very odd, and slightly creepy, man). I had to do a little begging and pleading with the lady at Cross Country Courrier to get it to our house on time, and Jamie (at CCC, not my wife) came through big time for me. Thanks, if you’re out there.

Jaim (my wife this time) doesn’t get her heart set on on “stuff” very much. Thanks to the Dave Ramsey-inspired lifestyle we’ve been living for the past 2.5 years, we just stopped wanting as best we could. But, a patio set has been the one thing she’s been aching for over the past few years. We finished our patio nearly two years ago, and it’s sat empty except for a few occasional lawn chairs. Empty no more.  It only took Hope and me 3.5 hours to set it up. We’re so handy like that. Now, if we only had a shade tree (or an umbrella)…

We still have some work to do around the patio. I have plans for a native flowers and grasses garden that I’ll be planting this fall with plants and advice from Prairie Moon Nursery (the wave petunias are a temporary filler). I’m in the midst of reconstructing the other garden, to the west edge of the patio, too.  We picked up some super bargains at Loila’s Garden yesterday. Loila has a big parking lot tent next door to Jaimie’s office. Yesterday was her last day of business for the season, so we picked up 8 bushes on the cheap. Here’s a little tip for bartblog readers: Loila and her crew will be tearing down the tent on Saturday (7/5), and word is they don’t want to haul all those remaining plants back to Avon, SD. Read: ‘super last minute bargains!’ She didn’t have a whole lot of perennials left, but tons of beautiful baskets and arrangements, and a bunch of individual perennials.

Happy Independence Day.


Posted by on July 4, 2008 in Celebrations, garden


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Does Mother Earth Love My Slate Tile Patio?

the finished product in our back yard
[click to see it big]

So, people out there in the bartblogosphere ‘love them some slate tile.’ I put up a post on our d.i.y. slate tile patio project in October of 2006 (see from hating slate to celebrate). As I was shooting an email response to Cristy’s question about our slate tile this morning, my curiosity about this post from a year and a half ago grabbed me (so did my wife–wondering when I’ll agree to buy some furniture for that patio).

Hating Slate is by far the most popular post on bartblog. It’s number one all time, and is far and away the most visited post every week. Here’s a look at some stats from earlier this morning (‘Top Posts’ and ‘Top Searches’ shows all-time bartblog stats, ‘Today’ shows visits so far today):

Top Posts

from hating slate to celebrate, 1,195 views

Zo = 2, 958 views

Dancin’ with my Baby, 207 views

Today: These posts on your blog got the most traffic.

Title Views
from hating slate to celebrate 26
Zo = 2 3
Dumping Our Debt Dave Ramsey Style 1

Search Engine Terms

Today: These are terms people used to find your blog.

Search Views
slate tile 9
tiled patio 3
slate patio 3
longs peak 3
patio photos 2
basement 2
smile 2
bathroom done with slate 2
little kid blowing candles out 2
slate patios 2

So, on this Earth Day, I’ve been thinking about how earth-friendly that little project was (it was not a little project, now that I mention it). You can dig in a bit if you want to (read this and this and this), but I’ll sum it up simply. My slate patio installation was not very friendly. I poured a concrete base (could have used sand), I bought the tiles new (lots of nasty impact mining them, packaging them and transporting them), I sealed them with a harsh chemical (could have used something better), and slate is NOT a renewable resource. A little good news: the longer my slate patio stays put, the more friendly it becomes compared to other less durable materials.

The Green Bottom line: that stuff is beautiful (made by Mother Earth), but try to find some recycled stuff, and lay it on sand. There are some other options out there made from recycled glass and concrete that are just as gorgeous…


P.S.–I did save a great big wooden spool the electric company left in our yard when they fixed the $3000 wire break under the driveway last spring. It makes a great recycled table for our slate patio. Too bad it was so expensive (and we don’t have any chairs to sit in by it!)…

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Posted by on April 22, 2008 in etc., going green, Mother Earth


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from hating slate to celebrate

It’s done. Yesterday I finished grouting the big slate-tiled patio in our back yard. Just in time for rain, cold and soon enough, snow. It sucked. The patio is ginormous. Way bigger than it needs to be. And slate tiles are such a pain in the ass. Uneven, different sizes, not flat, porous–they pretty much are God’s worst tile creation ever, from a DIY patio installer’s point of view. They break pretty easy too (before they’re laid). And I’m quite sure I’ve put in at least 3 full months of my life on my knees on that patio. We’ve spent way more than  our beans-n-rice budget would allow (but that was spent pre-Dave Ramsey). The worst part? I’m not really done done. Still need to apply a generous coat of slate tile sealer. Yet another lousy and expensive (to the tune of 70 bucks per bottle–I need three of em) part of this natural stone stuff. I hope my bloody finger tips and knuckles heal up soon (along with my aching back)…

[click to see it big]

Take 2: It’s done! We fell in love with slate tile when we saw a patio in some friends’ yard on Spring Creek Golf Course a few years ago. We poured a concrete slab in our backyard, out the basement patio door, last fall (thanks Dave, Brooks, Jon and Nick). We bought the tiles on clearance last fall too, but didn’t get them put on until this summer. I finally finished a rough grouting process yesterday (with a little help from my handy bride), and the patio looks awesome. Those natural stone tiles are beautiful. We love the variety of colors and textures and shapes. It’s a big patio, so we’ll have lots of room to put our grill and some furniture out there next year. Once we get our landscaping around it finished, it’ll be our oasis. Hope you come enjoy it with us sometime soon.

More slate love and hate on bartblog:


Posted by on October 16, 2006 in Celebrations, home and yard, rants


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