Color-body vs through-body porcelain with a routered edge?

dibgarApril 16, 2012

Originally, we were advised to look for tile that comes with matching trim pieces (bullnose, cove, etc.).

More recently, one of the potential contractors we interviewed said that his tile man prefers to router the edges of the field tile. He said that this would be less expensive and also give us a cleaner look than possible with preformed trim pieces.

If we go this route, what kind of porcelain tile do we need to select? I know I don't want to do this with a white-body tile. Should I be looking for "through body" or "color body" or would both work if we want a routered edge?

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The contractor-routered edges can work beautifully with natural stone tiles.

Second-best would be through-body porcelains, but spend some time in a tile store first so you won't be surprised by what you get. A through-body porcelain has a body ceramic that's close to the surface color. CLOSE - not always exact, because sometimes they put on a glaze or surface treatment that changes the appearance. If you router off the edge, the rounded section you see won't be an exact match for the top. Most often, you'll see a similarly-colored subtly-dotted base. Some people are perfectly happy with this look. Some aren't. (I'm in the NOT group.)

Even the ceramics and porcelains that come with 'matching trim pieces' can have this same issue though. Sometimes the surface design or glaze just disappears! They call this matching? I don't! Sometimes they continue the glaze all the way around the edge. THAT matches.

If I want a finished edge, I have learned to closely inspect the trim pieces. I will NOT buy them sight unseen, even if it holds up a job. They're just too important to getting a great look.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 8:21PM
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We did that with our through-body porcelain which happened to be just the same throughout and it's fine, IMO. The only thing I wish were different is that the bottom shows a bit, the ripply edge. It's not enough to scream about -- I actually made the squared off edges myself (NOTE: my permanent nerve damage is proof that you *DON'T* want to do this yourself -- let someone with bigger muscles do it!) rather than use a bullnose, because I like the angular look better--more modern.

I understand some crossville porcelains are through-body just for this purpose.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:01PM
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Lynne Reno

stonepeak makes some nice through body porcelains, our GC talked us into quartzite because he knew we didn't want trim pieces and said the same thing as sweeby, that if you want exposed tile edges, natural stone is the best choice.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:55PM
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I'd buy 1 tile and cut into it before making your decision. I bought the Crossville Americana and IMHO a routed edge would have looked terrible. Crossvile describes the tile like this: "Deep hues go all the way through the tile, making the body an integral part of the overall color", whatever that's supposed to mean.

Since this tile didn't come with a bullnose, I firred the wall out to match the tile surface; both tile and drywall are in the same plane.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 3:11PM
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Permanent? So sorry to hear that Fly! My tile mosaic adventures gave me nasty carpal tunnel episodes, but fortunately, nothing permanent. Of course, they didn't compare to your fabulous works of art.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Completely agree with bill g -- TEST it first to see if you like it.

and yes, really stinks. Carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel and a trigger thumb, all of which date back to that fateful summer of 2006. I teach ESOL so it's lucky that I use the board so much -- I can write on it but writing with a pen sends me into pain in about two lines. typing, too, is a pain -- I have to wait until the pain subsides and then type again or just grit and type through it. Wish someone had even told me to wear shock-absorbing gloves or something. And you're sweet to say that about my fledgling efforts : )

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:42PM
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