How to Finish Off Edge of Tile Backsplash

Installing a beautiful tile backsplash can really elevate the look of your kitchen or bathroom. However, one aspect that is often overlooked is how to properly finish off the edges of the tile. Properly finishing the edges of your backsplash will give it a polished, professional look. Here are some tips on how to achieve a clean finish on your tile backsplash edges.

Prepare the Area

Before installing the tile, take time to prepare the area where the backsplash will meet the countertop or wall edges.

  • Remove any old caulk or debris with a utility knife.
  • Sand rough edges to create a smooth surface.
  • Clean thoroughly and let dry completely.

Proper prep work will allow the finishing treatment to adhere properly.

Choose an Edge Finish Option

There are several options for finishing off the edges of a tile backsplash:

Bullnose Tile

Bullnose tiles have one rounded finished edge. Using bullnose tile on the outer edges of the backsplash creates a smooth transition from the tile to the counter or wall. Bullnose tiles come in many styles to match your backsplash tile.

Tile Edging Trim

Trim pieces made specifically for tile come in metal, vinyl, or plastic. Options include corner pieces, end caps, and edge pieces. Tile edging trim creates a clean finish and protects the edges of the tile.

Crackle Glass Tile

For a unique look, use crackled glass mosaic tiles on the outer edges. The irregular edges diffuse the transition from tile to wall. Coordinate the glass tile color with your backsplash.

Metal Trim

Strips of metal, like aluminum or stainless steel, make a modern alternative to bullnose tiles. Metal trim creates a sleek finish and protects the tile edges.

Install the Edge Treatment

Once you’ve selected the edge treatment, it’s time to install it.

Bullnose Tiles

Cut bullnose tiles to fit along the edges using a wet saw. Bullnose tiles should be installed at the same time as the rest of the backsplash tile. Use the same techniques and materials to achieve consistent grout lines.

Trim Pieces

Cut plastic, metal, or vinyl trim to the needed lengths using tin snips or a hacksaw. Attach the trim over the edges of the installed tile with construction adhesive, screws, or tile mortar, depending on the trim material.

Crackle Glass Tiles

Since glass tile has irregular edges, installing it takes some finesse. Use glass tile nippers to shape the tiles to fit. Use a specialty glass tile adhesive to attach the glass edging.

Metal Trim

Measure and cut metal trim to size with tin snips. Use silicone adhesive to attach metal trim over the edges of the installed tile. Secure with finishing nails if needed.

Grout and Seal the Edges

Once the edging is installed, grout the seams. Use a grout sealer to protect the grout lines along the edges from moisture. Caulk where the trim meets the countertop or wall with a flexible sealant.

Finishing off the edges of your backsplash tile gives it a polished, seamless look. With the right materials and techniques, you can get professional looking results. Taking time to properly prep and install the edge treatment will make the finished backsplash look fantastic.

FAQ About Finishing Tile Backsplash Edges

What is the easiest edge finish for tile backsplash?

Bullnose tiles likely create the easiest and most seamless finish. Bullnose tiles don’t require any special cuts or extra installation steps beyond your standard backsplash tile installation.

What is the most modern look for finishing a backsplash edge?

Sleek metal trim in stainless steel, aluminum, or nickel provides the most modern, contemporary look. Metal trim creates clean lines and gives the backsplash an upscale, designer feel.

Should I use caulk or grout between tile backsplash and countertop?

Use caulk between the backsplash and countertop. Unlike grout, caulk has flexibility to prevent cracking if the countertop and tile expand and contract at different rates. Match the caulk color to the grout.

What is the best way to finish inside corners on a backsplash?

Use decorative trim pieces designed specifically for inside corners on tile backsplashes. This will give a clean finish and prevent cracked grout at the corner joints. Bullnose tiles also work well on inside corners.

How do I ensure my backsplash edges are waterproof?

Use a waterproof grout and grout sealer. Apply caulk between the backsplash and countertop instead of grout. If using wood trim, properly seal and paint all edges with moisture protecting paint or sealer.

Can I finish a tile backsplash edge with wood?

Yes, you can give a backsplash an eclectic, rustic look with stained wood trim. Use exterior grade lumber and properly seal and finish the wood edges to protect from moisture damage. Bullnose tiles behind the wood add extra protection.


Finishing off the edges of a tile backsplash with bullnose tiles, trim, or mosaic tiles truly completes the look. Paying attention to properly preparing the area, carefully installing the edges, sealing, and caulking will give you a polished, seamless finish. The finished edges prevent damage to the tile and make cleaning easier. With some planning and effort, you can give any tile backsplash the look of a professionally installed feature.