Ceramic edge tiles, also called trim tiles, are the finishing touches that make a room shine. Their main duty is to conceal edges and corners by curving over them smoothly. However, they also are used to create attractive borders, usually with decorative detail. When you select a field tile for the room, ask about the availability of matching trim tiles as well---not all field tiles come with matching trims. Trim tiles are expensive, so leave space in the budget for them. They'll also have a large impact on the look of the finished room, so include them in your layout sketches.
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In every installation, there are places where field tiles just can't do what you'd like them to do; that is, stylishly conceal the edges. For this reason, manufacturers make a large variety of trim tiles that handle a vast number of situations. Radius bullnose tile, for instance, ends a line of field tiles by curving over the drywall or backerboard, thereby concealing it and creating a neat edge. Other trim tiles include curb tiles, which have two curves (one at each end); beads, or quarter-rounds, which are used to finish corners and edges; and coves, which are used to turn corners (either inward or outward) at a right angle.
Think of a border tile as a framing device. You come to the end of a row of plain field tiles and top it off with a pretty edge--a contrast in colour or shape or design. Border tiles are often longer and narrower than field tiles. They may have a raised design, an imprint or a coloured design. Borders do a lot to accent an otherwise plain installation.
Base tiles finish off a wall installation. With a flared foot on one side, the base tile gracefully transitions to the floor while concealing unfinished edges. A sanitary base tile, which curves up the wall, is used in areas where the floor has been tiled but the wall has not.
Made especially for the edges, or overhangs, of countertops, V-cap is one piece of tile that does the job of two. An upper leg of the tile covers the end of the countertop and the lower leg takes the place of what normally would require a cut tile, wrapping the overhang in seamless ceramic.
If the tile you've chosen doesn't come with matching V-cap, you can substitute a bullnose tile on top with a field tile cut to size below. Or build a wood edge: Install the edge after the tile is set, using finishing nails, screws or plugs to fasten it. Measure the pieces and mitre-cut any corners. A thin bead of caulk should separate the wood from the tiles, as the two materials expand and contract at different rates.
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