Sloppy edges stand out against surrounding tiles; they attract the eye's attention and can ruin the overall look of a tiled surface. The edges of tile surfaces may be finished using special techniques, such as precise cutting, or special products, such as moulded ceramic tiles or metal edging strips. Whatever idea you choose to pursue, correctly edging your tiled surface will contribute to its professional and clean-looking finished appearance.
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Edging from Field Tile
Field tile refers to tiles that occupy the inside, rather than perimeter, of a tiled surface. Tile setters can cut field tile to size and set it around edges--the field tiles come completely to the edge and a small, cut piece of the same tile is set beneath it on a vertical surface. This type of tile edging only works well with tile that features a clean edge, such as stone tiles. Glazed ceramic tiles often have unattractive drips of glaze and imperfections around their edges, so they're best left concealed.
Corner tile, also called edge tile, is specifically manufactured for rounding corners and creating edges. These are your average, mortar-set tiles, but they're not flat--they form angles, such as a countertop edge's 90-degree angle, so that they fold over corners in one continuous piece. Ceramic corner tiles are often moulded and glazed to match ceramic field tiles. Stone tiles can be machined to create corners, as well. The term bullnose and bullnosed also refer to types of rounded tiles.
Metal Edging Strips
Strips of metal edging, also called metal corners are specially manufactured for use around the edges of tiled surfaces. The strips appear as a long, piece of metal angled at 90-degrees and usually attach to the underside of the tiles substrate (plywood, cement board, etc). The exposed portion after installation appears only around the surface's edge, not on its horizontal plane. These metal strips are frequently attached prior to setting field tile so that field tile can be lined up with the edge during installation. Exposed metal edging strips are manufactured from various metals, such as stainless steel, brass and copper. The strips arrive in decorative finishes, such as brushed, polished or antique.
Corner guard, like metal edging strips, are long 90-degree angle strips. Unlike a metal edging strip, these pieces are installed over both the horizontal and vertical edge surfaces and are usually attached to the surface using a glue or adhesive. This installation method results in a corner that is not flush with the field tile's horizontal surface. Corner guard pieces are frequently made of wood and plastic.
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