How to Finish Edge of Backsplash Tile

Installing a beautiful backsplash is a great way to add visual interest and style to your kitchen. However, finishing the edges where the backsplash meets the countertops or walls can be a challenge. With some planning and the right techniques, you can get polished, professional edges that complement your backsplash tile.

Selecting Edge Trim

There are several edging options to give your backsplash tile a clean finish:

Metal Trim

Metal trim, usually aluminum or stainless steel, provides a straight, sleek look. It comes in various widths and finishes to match your backsplash style. Use mitered corners when turning edges to maintain the linear look.

Bullnose Tile

Bullnose tiles have one rounded finished edge. They are the same material as your backsplash tile and come in matching colors and patterns. The rounded edge gives a softer, more integrated transition.

Pencil Tile

Pencil tile is a narrow, rectangular tile that fits between the backsplash and counter or wall. It can be plain or decorative to coordinate with the backsplash. Pencil tile comes in metal, glass, stone, and ceramic materials.

Preparing the Surface

Proper preparation is key to getting trim and edges to properly adhere.

  • Remove any old caulk or grout along the edges to expose the bare surface.
  • Clean the edges thoroughly and let dry completely.
  • Apply painter’s tape along the wall or countertop edges for a straight finishing line.

Applying Adhesive

Use a high-quality tile adhesive designed for your backsplash material. Apply a continuous, even layer of adhesive along the edge surface where the trim or bullnose tile will be placed. Follow the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions for setup time before placing tile.

Option 1: Apply adhesive to the edge surface and press trim into place.

Option 2: For bullnose tile, apply adhesive to the back of the tile and press into place along the edge.

Cutting Edge Tiles

Bullnose and pencil tiles may need to be cut to fit correctly along edges:

  • Measure and mark tile to the needed size.
  • Use a wet saw or tile cutter to cut the tile.
  • File the cut edge smooth so it has a finished look.

Grouting Edges

After edge trim or bullnose tile is set, grout along edges just like the main backsplash.

  • Apply grout along the edges using a grout float or rubber grout tool.
  • Wipe away excess grout and clean the edges well so grout is only within joints.
  • Allow grout to cure fully before sealing or cleaning the edges.

Finishing Touches

Once grout has cured, complete your backsplash edges:

  • Apply a grout sealer to protect grout lines along edges.
  • Use caulk along any edges between tile and the wall or countertop.
  • Remove painter’s tape and clean any adhesive residue.
  • Polish metal trim with a stainless steel cleaner and soft cloth for shine.

With attention to detail on the edges, your beautiful backsplash can have a fully finished, professional look. Crisp trim, coordinating bullnose tile, or subtle pencil tiles complete the design. Proper prep, precision cutting, and meticulous grouting will give you flawless edges. Show off your stunning backsplash and centerpiece of your kitchen by finishing those final edges with care.

Frequently Asked Questions About Finishing Backsplash Edges

How do I get clean edges along my backsplash?

Use painter’s tape to get a straight edge line. Cut bullnose or edge trim tile precisely to fit. Take time to apply grout carefully just along the edges. Remove tape and clean off any haze or residue for crisp, clean edges.

Should I use metal trim or bullnose tile on the edges?

It depends on the look you want. Metal trim gives modern, sleek lines, especially with stone or glass tile. Bullnose tiles integrate more smoothly with ceramic, mosaic, or natural stone backsplashes. Choose trim that best matches your design style.

What kind of adhesive should I use?

Consult your tile supplier for the best adhesive.Tiles need maximum adhesion and longevity in an area of high use and moisture. Choose a polymer-modified thinset adhesive for most applications. Make sure it is compatible with the backsplash material.

How do I cut bullnose tiles cleanly?

Use a wet saw or quality tile cutter and cut slowly and steadily through the tile. A properly cut bullnose will have a straight, even edge. Smooth any rough edges with a rubbing stone. Make precise measurements for tight-fitting corners.

Should I seal the grout along backsplash edges?

Yes, applying a quality grout sealer is highly recommended. The area along the countertop and edges has exposure to grease, moisture and frequent cleaning. Sealing the grout will prevent staining and make grout easier to clean.


Finishing the edges of your backsplash tile gives your kitchen design a polished, professional look. With careful prep work, precise tile cuts, and attending closely to grout lines, you can achieve beautiful results and visually tie your whole backsplash together. Edge trim or coordinating bullnose tiles in mitered corners complete the installation and show off your fabulous style. Enjoy your stunning, fully finished backsplash for years to come.