Bill V, Mongo - HELP! Tiling around outside corners?

charlikinAugust 28, 2008

I was at the tile store this morning, and the issue came up of how to handle outside corners. I've got a few of those in my bathroom - one on the sink wall where the wall dips back a few inches to form a little "alcove", and a couple around the entrance to my bathtub. (I can post a bathroom floorplan later if it would be helpful...)

The saleswoman told me there were three options for outside corners: (1) using a vinyl strip that covers the edges of the corner tiles, (2) bullnose tile (though she doesn't like that the bullnose that's available for the tile I'm using is only 9" long while the tile is 13"), and (3) mitering the tiles at 45 degrees so they form a sharp corner.

She and my contractor both think (3) is a bad choice because it's too sharp. My contractor says 85% of the jobs he does use the vinyl strips and it looks fine. I can't visualize what this looks like (or rather, all my visualizations look awful!).

Bill V, Mongo, you've both been very generous with your time on this form, and I'd very much appreciate your expert advice on this! Which option do you think is best? Are there any other options??

And everyone else, if you have outside corners yourself, can you show me what yours look like?

Thanks!

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bill_vincent

I've used both the vinyl and the metal bullnose strips, and they don't look bad. I prefer, though, to use bullnose whenever it's available for the tile I'm using. I'd rather not see a foreign material at the corners. I WILL agree, however, about mitering the corners. I'll do it, but I'd rather not.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 6:57PM
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charlikin

Thanks, Bill! I think I'm going to try to use the bullnose, even if it results in some design issues around the corners.

I'd still love to see photos of the vinyl strips, if you or anyone else has any! What company makes these? Maybe they have photos on their web site?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 10:12PM
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duckee

We used jolly trim, which is a rounded strip about 1/2" wide. The rounded part becomes the outside corner, if that makes sense. Basically, it looks like the tile (American Olean Catarina) wraps around the corner.

:)

-Sami

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 12:16AM
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charlikin

Duckee, is the rounded strip made out of tile, or is it plastic or vinyl? Any chance you could post a photo?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 7:47AM
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bill_vincent

I'd still love to see photos of the vinyl strips, if you or anyone else has any! What company makes these? Maybe they have photos on their web site?

Schluter (same company as Kerdi and Ditra) makes them. I don't have pics of the plastic strips, but I DO have pictures of the metal ones. Only difference is the material:

Now, int the pictures, it's used to trim the edge, but the same strips are also used to bullnose outside corners.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 8:00AM
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advertguy2

What about getting the 9" bullnose tiles and cutting them to 6.5" long so that every other joint lines up with the joints in your 13" tile? If you left them at 9" then the joints would never line up. Personally, I don't like the vinyl/metal trim pieces.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 9:37AM
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duckee

Charlikin, the jolly is porcelain tile, exactly the same as the wall tile.

I sent you an email via your GW profile page, re: picture.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 10:23AM
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mongoct

I'm not a big fan of the termination strips unless it's a contemporary style bath.

Mitering works best with natural stone or through-color tiles, and there can be a bit of touch-up work to make the miter disappear so it looks like a solid block of material versus a miter.

Bullnose is best with a glazed subway.

If the material allows it, profiling blades can be used to put a bullnose on any cut edge.

Occasionally adding an additional trim piece to turn the corner makes sense, but it clutters the design and has to be considered along with the rest of the design.

Myriad choices...

Mongo

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 2:24PM
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charlikin

Bill, thank you for the photos! The stainless steel strips actually don't look that bad - I'm not sure it's a style I want, but it's okay. Gotta be better than the vinyl!

Duckee, thanks for your help as well!!

Mongo, thanks for your comments. It is a contemporary style bath, but not super-contemporary (which the SS strips would imply for me). The tile is a porcelain that's supposed to look like natural stone. It's not a color-body porcelain. If I don't like the strips, and mitering isn't a good option, and the right types of bullnose aren't available... uh oh.

The guy in the more upscale Manhattan tile store yesterday actually said the European porcelains were probably not the right option for me if I need to go around a lot of corners. (Of course the European tiles are the ones that look the most like natural stone...)

I guess I'm going to start looking for a stone-looking porcelain that has "jolly" trim available... (Is a "jolly trim" the same thing as a "quarter round"??)

My other option would be to rethink where in the bathroom I'm putting the tile. Maybe I shouldn't be tiling all the walls - I can avoid a lot of the problems that way. Then there's just the issue of terminating the tile at the end of the wall before it bends back into the alcove...

Sigh.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 3:08PM
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bill_vincent

The guy in the more upscale Manhattan tile store yesterday actually said the European porcelains were probably not the right option for me if I need to go around a lot of corners. (Of course the European tiles are the ones that look the most like natural stone...)

If he's talking about unglazed porcelain, the guy in the tile store doesn't know his own product from a hole in the ground!! Additionally, if you go to a company like Graniti Fiandre, or Porcelanosa, they DO make bullnose for most of their glazed lines, as well.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 5:33PM
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charlikin

Um, I'm looking at tile with a rough surface. Is that unglazed? (Sorry to be such an ignoramus!)

I'll look into the brands you mentioned...

Actually, I looked up the manufacturers of the tiles I'm looking at (Keraben, Emil) - they do seem to make corner bullnoses and quarter rounds and all the various things I'd need to navigate my bathroom walls. Not sure if my store had all these things available though - when a distributor imports a foreign tile line, do they import the entire line, or just certain pieces?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 7:56PM
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bill_vincent

Um, I'm looking at tile with a rough surface. Is that unglazed?

Could be either. Does the color on the back match the color on the face? If so, then it's unglazed.

Not sure if my store had all these things available though - when a distributor imports a foreign tile line, do they import the entire line, or just certain pieces?

The entire line.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 10:02PM
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charlikin

The entire line.

Really??? That's excellent news. That means my dealer should be able to get me the quarter rounds and all the other pieces I need!!! I'll call them on Tuesday to check...

Of course, then I've got to decide which color to get...

Bill, you're the best. :-)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 10:26PM
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bill_vincent

It might be special order, but if they can order so much as a sample of field tile, they can order anything in the line.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 10:46PM
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charlikin

Oh... uh oh. I don't know if I have time for special orders. Work is scheduled to start on 9/29.

Argh. I should have started on this tile selection process *months* ago.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 11:05PM
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charlikin

Bill and/or Mongo - just to clarify - when you both said you prefer to use bullnose as a corner option, were you literally meaning bullnose tile, i.e. a tile with one edge rounded off? Or were you using bullnose to refer to all rounded trim pieces including quarter rounds??

I'm trying to figure out if you can corner a half-tiled wall using just bullnose in case I can't get the quarter rounds in time (or can't find a tile with quarter rounds that I like nearly as much as the others). If the rounded edge of the bullnose goes vertically up the wall, how do you finish off the top of it?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 5:32PM
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bill_vincent

I was talking about bullnosed tiles, not quarter rounds.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 6:05PM
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charlikin

Went to a large tile store in Flushing yesterday to look at the American brands that might have quarter rounds available. They thought the quarter rounds might be special order (i.e. take a lot of time) even with the American brands.

He showed me a kitchen backsplash that was finished off on the sides and top with the rounded vinyl strips. It didn't look awful. I came away feeling like it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. But by now, I again feel like I don't want vinyl showing on my not-so-hidden corners, even if it kind of blends in.

It drives me crazy that I'm looking at a picture from the catalog of one of the European tiles I'm considering, and they've got lots of outside corners, and I can't figure out how they did them. There's a tiled vanity that clearly uses the quarter rounds, but the wall corners don't, and they don't seem to be using bullnose vertically (they've got bullnose along the top), and the sides don't look super-sharp like they were mitered. Neither does the bullnose on the top where it meets in the corner.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 1:45PM
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blondelle

Are you talking about the edge of a tiled area, or the edge where two pieces meet at right angles? If it's the later, there is a piece made for some tiles where the edge piece is attached to the field tile. See the piece at the lower left at the link below. They have corner pieces too if you're tiling a vanity top or a partition.

Lots of gorgeous tile too at this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Edging piece

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 4:58PM
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bill_vincent

The piece at the lower left is actually what's called "v-cap", although with this company, it's attached to a piece of tile. That's strictly a countertop trim. The piece for going around corners and so forth is the long thin piece, which is bullnose.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 5:42PM
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charlikin

Blondelle, it's the edge meeting at right angles. I've got a few of those - a couple are on half-tiled walls, so I've got to go around the corner *and* finish off nicely on the top edge (and top corner). Then there are a couple of corners that also transition from half-height to full-height in the tub/shower.

The "cuarto de cana" (quarter round) and "angulo cuarto de cana" (quarter round corner - can't do the tildes!) pieces, along with some bullnose, would solve the problem for me, but I'm not sure I can get those pieces for my preferred tile (and possibly not even for my less-preferred tile) in time for work to start on 9/29.

Bill, I understand how to use bullnose to finish off one side of a corner edge and have the other side butt into it... but how do I finish off the top of the corner when it's a half-tiled wall? Do I just miter the bullnose strips along the top? Can I miter the (possibly glass) border tile beneath the bullnose, and then just use the vertical bullnose/butt technique down the rest of the side? (Hope that made sense... I'm just learning this stuff!)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 5:56PM
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blondelle

Charlikin, did you see their Pietre Travertine there? It's very good looking tile. I had some samples of it. The two lighter colors are very pretty. The Beige is lighter than shown there. It has all the pieces you need too ;-). Also, pretty moldings and mini brick accent pieces. You can do custom glass insert pieces too at hakatai.com with your greens and aquas. They have glass mosaics that look like the Oceanside $35 ones for a lot less!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pietre Travertine

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 6:41PM
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charlikin

That is beautiful tile! I just emailed the northeast distributor asking where it might be found in NYC. Blondelle, the samples you have - does the tile have a rough surface or a smooth one? (I kind of want the rough surface...)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 9:52PM
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blondelle

The tile has a totally matte surface with stone texture. It's definitely not smooth. Those smooth ones that reflect the light defeat the whole purpose. The Bianco one is close to the color of your photo #4. It's a bit of a grayish beige. The Beige color is warmer. The Bianco is not peach at all like the photo shows. The molding and trim pieces are stunning. The company I got the samples from used the Beige as their main showroom display.

See if Heartland Tile will send you samples. Link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heartland Tile

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 11:15PM
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blondelle

You might also like their tile called Andes. It does have a bit more sheen though. The lightest color is quite pretty. You can see how the edging pieces are used here, and see inspiration photos of rooms done in their other tiles. I think most of their tile has these edge pieces.

Here is a link that might be useful: Andes photos

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 11:38PM
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modern life interiors

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    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 11:37PM
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