Installing tile edge trim, also known as bullnose trim, on your backsplash is an easy way to give your tiled backsplash a clean, finished look. The trim pieces cover the edges of the tiles and create a smooth transition from the backsplash to the countertop or wall. With a few simple tools and materials, you can add tile edge trim to your backsplash installation.
Choosing Tile Edge Trim
Tile edge trim, typically made of ceramic, porcelain, or stone, comes in different sizes, colors, and finishes to complement your backsplash tile. Consider the following when selecting trim:
Matching the Tile
Choose trim that is the same thickness and matches or coordinates with the color and style of your backsplash tile. Using the same materials will give a cohesive look.
Bullnose vs. Pencil Trim
Bullnose trim has a rounded finished edge, while pencil trim has a flat narrow edge. Bullnose gives a softer profile that can minimize sharp tile edges.
Get trim lengths that match or exceed the height of your backsplash. Longer trim pieces mean fewer seams. Standard lengths are commonly 4-8 inches.
Matte, polished, or textured trim finishes are available. Finish should complement backsplash tile.
Inside and Outside Corners
Purchase specialty trim pieces to provide clean finishes for inside and outside corners.
Preparing for Installation
Proper preparation is key for a successful trim installation:
- Tile edge trim pieces
- Thinset mortar
- Grout sealer
- Tile spacers
- Tile cutter
- Wet saw (for cutting stone)
Tile and Prep the Wall
Install and grout the field tiles on the backsplash before adding trim. Ensure the wall is clean and dry before applying trim.
Measure and Cut Trim
Measure and cut trim pieces to fit your backsplash layout. Cut miters for corner pieces. Leave a slight gap between trim and countertop.
Do a dry run by placing trim on the backsplash to ensure proper fit before attaching with thinset.
Installing the Tile Edge Trim
Follow these steps for attaching trim:
Spread a layer of thinset mortar on the back of the trim pieces using a notched trowel.
Mount Trim Above Field Tile
Press trim into position above the field tiles, keeping edges aligned. Use spacers to leave slight gaps.
Cut Inside Corner Pieces
Measure and cut inside corner trim pieces to proper length. Miter corners to fit.
Cut Outside Corner Pieces
Measure and cut outside corner trim pieces to proper length. Use a grinder to shape corners.
Clean Up Excess Thinset
Remove any excess thinset with a damp sponge and smooth joints with a finger.
Allow Thinset to Cure
Let thinset fully cure for at least 24 hours before grouting.
Grouting and Finishing the Trim
The final steps complete your backsplash trim installation:
Grout Trim Pieces
Apply grout between trim pieces and wipe away excess. Allow grout to cure per manufacturer instructions.
Once cured, seal grout lines with grout sealer for waterproofing. Apply sealer with brush or sponge.
Caulk Edge Above Countertop
Caulk the gap between the trim and countertop with silicone sealant. Smooth with wet finger.
Polish and Clean
Use a soft cloth to polish off any residual grout. Clean backsplash area with tile cleaner.
Stand Back and Enjoy!
Your finished product will have a clean, sleek look with the added trim.
FAQs About Installing Tile Edge Trim
What types of backsplash tile can you add edge trim to?
Trim can be added to most wall tiles including ceramic, porcelain, glass, and stone. It works well on subway tile, penny tile, mosaic, and even handmade art tile.
Should you use bullnose or pencil trim?
Bullnose trim gives a rounded, softer finish that can protect from sharp tile edges. Pencil trim offers a simple, thin border. Choice comes down to style preference.
How do you cut the tile edge trim?
Use a wet saw with a diamond blade to accurately cut porcelain, ceramic, or stone trim. A tile cutter can also be used for straight cuts. Use a tile grinder for mitered corners.
How do you attach the trim in the corners?
For inside corners, miter cut the adjoining pieces to fit together snugly. For outside corners, use a grinder to shape the rounded edge. Test fit first.
Can you use a contrasting color of trim vs the tile?
Absolutely. Contrasting trim can nicely accent the tile color. Many use white trim on colored subway tile backsplashes. Coordinating works too.
What’s the best way to get clean grout lines where trim meets?
Take care to fully seal the edge where trim meets tile. Apply grout carefully near trim edges and clean promptly before drying.
Installing tile edge trim finishes off a backsplash and gives it a clean, elegant look. With some planning for the trim style and materials, proper preparation, and careful installation, you can add trim yourself to take your backsplash to the next level. Pairing mitered edge trim on inside and outside corners with bullnose or pencil trim along the counter and edges results in a backsplash with a built-in framed look.