How to Edge a Backsplash

Adding a finished edge to your backsplash creates a clean, polished look and helps protect the edges of the tile. Edging backsplash tile also allows you to incorporate a decorative accent material like metal, wood, or stone. With some simple materials and techniques, you can create a beautiful framed edge for your backsplash installation.

Assessing Your Backsplash for Edging

Before deciding on an edging material and installation method, take stock of your existing backsplash situation:

  • Tile type: The edges of ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone tiles can all be finished, but each may require slightly different edging techniques. Mosaic sheets and glass tile have special considerations as well.
  • Tile thickness: Thicker tile over 1/4″ may require a thicker edge strip or extra buildup of thinset mortar to match heights. Thinner mosaic sheets can use basic metal edging.
  • Height above countertop: Backsplashes ending right against the wall cabinets need only edging along the countertop and side edges. Full height backsplashes also need edging along the top against the cabinet.
  • Inside vs. outside corners: Outside corners are relatively straightforward, while inside corners where tile edges meet require miter cutting angled edges for a seamless look.
  • Outlet holes: Edging strips should be cut to fit neatly around any electrical boxes and outlets in the backsplash area.

Once you’ve surveyed your existing backsplash installation, you can determine the best edging materials and techniques for the job.

Materials for Edging Backsplash Tiles

There are several options when choosing materials to edge and frame your backsplash tiles:

Metal Backsplash Edging

  • Aluminum – Affordable and easy to cut and bend for corners. Provides a sleek modern look.
  • Stainless steel – More expensive but matches stainless steel appliances for a unified look. Stainless can show scratches more easily.
  • Copper or brass – Adds warmth and interest. Higher cost but durable and ages well over time.
  • Anodized aluminum – Coated aluminum providing durability and color options like black, bronze, nickel, and more.

Tile Backsplash Edging

  • Bullnose tile – Matches or complements the field tile for a continuous look. Requires careful mortar application.
  • Mosaic tile sheet – Offers intricate details and patterns if you want the edging itself to stand out.
  • Listello strip tile – Simple and clean edged option available in various materials like ceramic, marble, or glass.

Stone and Wood Backsplash Edging

  • Marble, granite, or stone – Provides an upscale built-in look and durability. Must be cut very precisely to fit.
  • Wood – Warms up the kitchen aesthetically. Use water-resistant woods like teak or avoid direct water contact areas.

Backsplash Edging Options by Tile Type

  • Ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone – Bullnose, metal, and tile edging all suitable.
  • Glass tile – Metal edging often easiest installation option. Bullnose glass possible but challenging.
  • Mosaic tile sheets – Narrow metal edging strips work best for thin mosaic.
  • Subway tile – Bullnose subway tile perfect match. Listello strips or metal also common.

Consider the overall look you’re going for, the tile type and thickness, and complexity of required cuts before purchasing edging material. Shopping for edging once tiles are already installed can help fine tune sizes and color matching.

How to Attach Metal Backsplash Edge

Metal strips provide one of the easiest edging options. Here are the key steps for installing a metal backsplash edge:

Step 1: Measure and Cut Metal Strips

Measure all sides of the backsplash area needing edging. For outside corners, measure each side separately from corner to corner. Cut aluminum or stainless steel strips slightly longer than measured lengths. This allows for adjustment. Use metal shears for straight cuts and aviation snips for notches, corners, or curves.

Step 2: Apply Adhesive to Back of Metal

On the back side of the cut metal edging strips, run a bead of liquid adhesive like Liquid Nails. Use enough adhesive to attach securely to the tile edges and wall surface when pressed into place.

Step 3: Press Metal Strip onto Edge

Starting in one corner, press the adhesive-coated metal strip firmly onto the edge of the tile and wall surface. The top edge of the metal strip should align evenly with the top edge of the tile. Use a padded mallet to securely adhere the metal edging along its entire length.

Step 4: Seal Inside and Outside Corners

For outside corners, overlap strips and bend for a clean look. Inside corners can be notched and miter cut for the strips to join properly. Apply silicone caulk to inside and outside corners to seal any gaps and create a watertight edge. Wipe away any excess caulk with a damp cloth before drying.

Step 5: Seal Edges and Finish

Once all strips are securely attached, run a thin bead of caulk along the outside edges where the metal strip meets the wall. This gives a finished look and seals the edge to prevent moisture getting under the tile. Allow caulk to fully cure before using the backsplash. Enjoy your newly edged backsplash!

Installing Bullnose Tile Edging

Bullnose tiles with one rounded finished edge offer a handsome integrated look for edging:

Step 1: Dry Fit the Tiles

Have bullnose tiles on hand that match or complement your existing field tile. Dry fit and arrange the bullnose tiles, mitering inside corners as needed for proper fit. Mark any cuts needed with a tile marker.

Step 2: Cut Bullnose Tiles

Use a wet tile saw fitted with a diamond blade to carefully cut the bullnose tiles to fit around outlets, inside corners, or any other tight spots. Smooth any rough edges with a silicone carbide stone.

Step 3: Apply Thinset Mortar

Trowel a layer of thinset mortar onto the edge of the backsplash area where you’ll attach the bullnose tiles. Use enough to fully embed the rounded edge of the bullnose tile.

Step 4: Press Bullnose Tiles into Thinset

Firmly press the rounded edge of the bullnose tiles into the mortar, aligning them with the field tile edges. Push to embed fully and remove any excess mortar squeezed out.

Step 5: Grout Seams

Once the thinset has cured, mix grout to match existing grout color. Pack it into the seam where the bullnose and field tiles meet, wiping away excess. Seal grout once fully cured.

Bullnose tile edging takes more tile-setting skill but provides an integrated finished look. Take it slow and let mortar cure fully for best results.

How to Install Tile Listello Edging

Listello is a rectangular strip tile designed to edge countertops, backsplashes, showers, and floors. Follow these steps for a clean professional look:

Step 1: Select Listello Size

Measure height of your backsplash area. Choose a listello tile that spans that height, usually ranging from 4 to 6 inches tall. Listello is sold in uniform lengths sold by the foot or meter.

Step 2: Cut Listello Strips

Measure and mark listello strips to required lengths. Cut listello carefully with a wet saw fitted with a diamond blade. Smooth any rough edges with a rubbing stone.

Step 3: Apply Thinset Mortar

Run a layer of thinset mortar along the edge of the backsplash using a notched trowel. Apply mortar to the back of the listello strip as well.

Step 4: Press Listello into Place

Starting at a bottom corner, press the listello strip into the mortar and align it evenly along the backsplash edge. Use tile spacers to leave a uniform gap between listello and field tile.

Step 5: Grout and Seal

Let thinset cure fully, then grout between listello and field tile. Wipe away excess grout and seal grout lines. Softly polish the listello to reveal its surface shine.

Listello tile edging gives a cleaner look than bullnose and is simple to install for beginners. It also comes in many materials like marble, travertine, or glass.

How to Finish Inside Corners of Tiled Backsplashes

The most challenging areas for edging tiled backsplashes are inside corners where two edges meet:

  • Measure precisely from inside corner – Mark and measure each side to edge correctly.
  • Cut miters for proper fit – Cut bullnose or metal strips at a 45 degree angle to join at corners.
  • Notch narrow edging strips – For mosaic sheets, notch 1/8″ off alternating corners.
  • Dry fit and test – Test fit the mitered edging pieces and make adjustments.
  • Seal inside corners – After edging is installed, seal inside corners thoroughly with silicone caulk.

Taking the time to measure, cut, and adjust the edging ensures clean finished results where your backsplash edges join together.

Edging Considerations for Non-Tile Backsplashes

Materials like glass, metal panels, or laminate sheets have some unique edging considerations:

  • For glass backsplashes – use clear silicone caulk to adhere metal edge strips for a near-invisible look.
  • Sheet metal backsplashes – can be professionally welded and soldered for seamed edges.
  • Laminate or plastic – can be edged with laminate counter edging strips or caps attached with adhesive.
  • Wood backsplashes – should have outer edges sealed with waterproof finish and silicone caulk where contacting countertops.
  • Mirror tiles – often come mounted mesh sheets with metal edging. If not, individual mirror tiles can be difficult to edge.

No matter what material your backsplash is made of, take time to assess the edges and corners to pick the best edging solutions. Carefully installed edging gives a perfectly framed finish.

Edging Heights for Partial vs. Full Backsplashes

The height of your existing backsplash affects the materials and installation of the edging:

Partial Backsplash Edging

For backsplashes running only partway up the wall ending at cabinets:

  • Edging needed along countertop and side edges only.
  • Common to use metal strips or matching bullnose tile edging.
  • Edging options like listello or laminate can work but not needed at top edge.

Full Height Backsplash Edging

For backsplashes continuing fully from countertop to bottom of upper cabinets:

  • Edging required along entire perimeter – countertop, sides, and top.
  • Paintable plastic edging caps commonly used along top side.
  • Mirror or metal strips frequently continue edging along top for a finished framed look.
  • Inside corner edging especially important for clean look at transition from lower to upper area.

Plan placement of your edging depending on the overall height of the backsplash installation.

Tips for Cutting Tile or Metal Edging Strips

Cutting materials for edging requires precision. Follow these tips to get clean cuts:

  • Mark all measurements and cuts clearly with a pencil before cutting. Measure twice, cut once.
  • Use a wet saw with a diamond blade for best cuts in tile or stone materials. Take it slow.
  • Cut metal strips with metal shears in straight sections. Use aviation snips for notched corners or curves.
  • Clamp strips down securely on a stable surface before attempting cuts.
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves – materials can shatter or have sharp edges.
  • Smooth cut edges with a silicone carbide rubbing stone for a clean finish.

Careful measurement planning and the right cutting tools will help you achieve the clean fitted edges you need.

How to Edge Backsplashes with Outlets

Edges around electrical outlets in backsplashes require precise cuts for a seamless look:

  • Measure outlet size and mark edging material 1/4″ larger to account for caulk gap.
  • Carefully cut holes or notches in edging material to fit around outlet or switch box.
  • Test fit edging strips to ensure proper hole clearance before final installation.
  • Apply bead of silicone caulk around all edges of outlet after installing edging.
  • Take your time and confirm correct placement before adhering strips permanently.

Planning the edging around outlets during the tile layout can make attachments and cuts easier as well.

Cleaning and Caring for Finished Backsplash Edges

Edging adds an extra dimension to care for when maintaining your backsplash:

  • Use mild non-abrasive cleaners and soft sponges to avoid damaging edges.
  • Re-apply caulk and grout sealers around edges when they show signs of damage or moisture.
  • Ensure edges are fully sealed to prevent water getting behind tiles, leading to cracks or discoloration.
  • Avoid hanging heavy items like hooks or artwork directly on edging strips.
  • Metal edging can show scratches over time but can often be gently buffed out.

Take time when cleaning to wipe down edging strips and corners carefully. Well-sealed and maintained edges keep your backsplash looking framed and finished for years.

FAQs About Edging a Backsplash

What tools do I need to edge a backsplash?

Basic tools include a tape measure, pencil, utility knife, caulk gun, metal snips, wet saw with a diamond blade, tile spacers, mixing buckets, rubber grout float, and grout sealer.

Should I edge my backsplash before or after grouting the tile?

Tile edging is generally easier to install before grouting. Metal strips can be added after grouting onto finished tile edges.

How do I get a smooth cut on bullnose edging tiles?

Mark all cuts clearly, cut slowly with a wet saw, use tile nippers on curves, and smooth cut edges with a rubbing stone.

What’s the easiest backsplash edge for DIY beginners?

Aluminum or stainless steel metal strips offer straightforward installation for first-timers compared to fussier tile edging options.

How do I finish the edge between the backsplash and cabinet?

Use caulk where the tile meets cabinet and adhesive plastic edging caps on the cabinet face for a clean result.

Can I use wood strips to finish my backsplash edges?

Yes, use moisture-resistant hardwoods like redwood or teak, avoid direct water contact on bottom edge, and seal thoroughly.


Adding finished edging to your backsplash brings it to completion, whether you choose sleek metal strips, dimensional bullnose tile, or stone and wood inlays. Pay close attention to details at inside corners and outlet cutouts for a seamless look. Guide tiles into place gently to fit edges flush. Seal surfaces thoroughly. Once all edges are cleanly framed in, step back and admire the polished look your trimmed-out backsplash adds to your kitchen or bathroom.

How to Edge a Backsplash: A Complete Guide

Edging a backsplash creates a clean, finished look and helps protect the tile edges. There are several edging techniques depending on your tile type and desired look.

Assessing Your Backsplash for Edging

Before choosing edging, note tile type, thickness, height, corners, and outlets of your existing backsplash. This helps determine the best materials and approach.

Backsplash Edging Material Options

Popular edging materials include:

  • Metal like aluminum, stainless steel, copper
  • Bullnose, listello or decorative wall tiles
  • Stone or wood strips

Select edging that fits your tile type and overall style.

Installing Metal Backsplash Edging

Metal strips provide an easy edging option:

  1. Measure and cut strips to length.
  2. Apply adhesive to the back.
  3. Press onto tile edges.
  4. Seal inside corners with caulk.

Installing Bullnose Tile Edging

For a built-in look, bullnose has one rounded finished edge:

  1. Dry fit bullnose tiles.
  2. Cut any specialty shapes needed.
  3. Apply thinset mortar.
  4. Press bullnose tiles into mortar.
  5. Grout seams.

Edging Inside Corners

Inside corners require careful mitered cuts:

  • Precisely measure each side.
  • Cut materials at 45 degree angles.
  • Thoroughly seal with caulk.

Partial vs Full Height Backsplashes

Height affects edging placement and materials:

  • Partial backsplashes need edging only along countertop.
  • Full height backsplashes also edge sides and top.

Cutting Tips

Follow these tips for clean cuts:

  • Mark all measurements before cutting.
  • Use a wet saw with diamond blade.
  • Clamp materials securely.
  • Make smooth finished cuts.

Edging Around Outlets

Cut edging neatly around outlets and seal with caulk.

Caring for Finished Edges

Maintain your edges by:

  • Using gentle cleaners and soft sponges
  • Re-applying caulk and sealers
  • Avoiding hanging heavy items on strips


Edging completes your backsplash with a polished framed look. Take time to properly measure, cut, and seal materials for best results.

How to Edge a Backsplash

Adding edge trim is an easy way to give your backsplash a finished, polished look. Here’s a guide to edging tile backsplashes using different materials and techniques.

Planning Your Backsplash Edging

Before starting, assess your existing backsplash:

  • Tile type and thickness
  • Height of backsplash area
  • Inside and outside corners
  • Presence of outlets

This will determine the edging approach.

Popular edging options:

  • Metal trim strips
  • Bullnose tiles
  • Decorative listello tiles
  • L-shaped wall tiles