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How to lay tile trim

Updated February 21, 2017

If you're finishing the edge of a countertop with tile, you need to lay the tile trim correctly to get a fully finished look. Trim for tile comes in a variety of materials, including metal and wood. For a full tile look, you can also install actual tiles to trim the edge of a tile project. The way you install the trim to complete the project depends on the type of trim you choose.

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  1. Measure the width and length of the surface edge where you plan to place the tiles. Cut tiles to fit the space using a wet tile saw.

  2. Mix a small batch of thinset mortar per the manufacturer's instructions. Apply a thin layer of thinset mortar to the edge of the countertop or other surface using a trowel.

  3. Place the cut tiles into the mortar. Press down gently to set the tile in place. Apply masking tape from the countertop down to each tile to hold the tile in place. Use the trowel to scrape away any excess mortar at the joints where the tiles meet, if needed.

  4. Wait at least 24 hours for the mortar to dry and harden. Remove the tape once the mortar is completely dry and hard to the touch.

  5. Measure the width and length of the countertop or other surface edge. Cut your trim or laminate to size using a saw.

  6. Use a mitre saw to cut a groove into the edge of the countertop to match the back of the laminate or trim if your trim features a tongue.

  7. Apply a bead or two of glue to the back of your trim or laminate and the edge. If you created a groove, apply a bead of glue along the groove and one on the tongue.

  8. Fit the trim onto the edge of your countertop or other surface. Make sure both the top and bottom of the trim match and fit flush against the top and bottom of the countertop.

  9. Apply masking tape to hold the trim in place until the glue dries, if necessary.

  10. Tip

    Apply the tiles as soon as you apply the thinset mortar. If you wait too long to apply the tiles, the mortar can begin to harden, making them difficult to place.


    Always use protective gear, such as safety glasses or goggles, when using power tools.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tiles
  • Measuring tape
  • Wet saw
  • Thinset mortar
  • Trowel
  • Masking tape
  • Trim or laminate
  • Mitre saw
  • Glue
  • Safety glasses

About the Author

Sienna Condy began writing professionally in 2001 while attending the University of Cincinnati, and she's been at it ever since. Since graduating, she's written everything from marketing materials to articles on removing stains. Today, she enjoys writing about weddings, legal issues, science, health and parenting.

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