If you have ever installed tile, or had tile installed, you know it's a very personal choice. From colors and textures, to patterns and pictures, the addition of new tile can be a lot to take in, because it lasts a long time. Plus, once it is affixed, removal is back-breaking, time-consuming work.

The introduction of tile trim can add to that chagrin. But it doesn't have to be a daunting experience. All you need is some know-how in the products and styles available, and an eye on your personal creativity, to make your tile and tile trim combination your own work of art, even if it's just going in the bathroom.

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What is tile trim?

Tile typically has a sharp, square edge. It isn't unsightly, but can feel like it's incomplete, like the job isn't quite done. Tile trim is an end cap on a tiled space that gives it an all together finished appearance and adds style. And while it may seem optional, or even unnecessary, once you see a space with it, versus a space without it, the whole picture becomes clear.

What types of tile trim are there?

For a truly individual appearance, many companies have developed a myriad of different tile trim choices to suit every desire or artistic motif. Some are decorative, some more functional, but all, are unique.

Ceramic Bullnose Tile Trim in White
Porcelain Bullnose Tile Trim in Iron Gray
Ceramic Light Color V-Cap Tile Trim
Ceramic Beige V-Cap Tile Trim
Ceramic Chair Rail Tile Trim in Blue
Marble Chair Rail Tile Trim

The big difference between pencil liners and flat liners is the depth the pencil liner brings to the overall picture the tile displays. Also, a pencil liner is pre-glossed, so no need to add gloss when finished tiling the space. One big downside is that because of the depth, pencil liners aren't a good idea for floors. They can present a trip hazard.

Natural Stone Liner Tile Trim
Ceramic Pearl Themed Liner Tile Trim
Porcelain Liner Tile Trim in Grafite
Black Pencil Liner Tile Trim
Glass Pencil Liner Tile Trim
Classic Stone Themed Pencil Liner Tile Trim
White Quarter Round Tile Trim
Black Quarter Round Tile Trim
Matte Metal Edge Glaze Tile Trim
Porcelain Cove Base Tile Trim in Gray
Marble Cove Base Tile Trim
Ceramic Cove Base Tile Trim

How to select the right size tile trim?

This can be tricky, as the tile, its depth, the texture of the surface, and the thickness of your tile mud, all play a part in the answer.

Most informed sources say that at first, it's all about experimenting to figure it out, based on the specific variables of the surface you are tiling. While that is a little vague, it isn't necessarily wrong. However, if you are tiling a wall, or a floor, there are factors that adjust the equation.

Even the smoothest concrete floor will have imperfections or areas that are different after the concrete settles. On the other hand, tiling a sheetrock wall is a smooth canvas for even distribution of tile mud. So, the surface doesn't change.

The best way is to:

Step 1: Measure the edge of the tile you intend to use. Use that as a metric for the absolute thickest trim you can use.

Step 2: Determine how much tile mud will be needed to affix it to the tiled area for the transition in question.

Step 3: Spread a layer of tile mud, less than the mud used on the tile itself, on the tile trim, and push it into place. If it is flush with the face of the tile, then you have used the proper amount. Tile mud doesn't dry quickly enough that if the edges aren't flush the trim can't be removed. A simple pull on the trim will free it from the wall or floor.

Step 4: If needed, add or subtract tile mud to compensate for flush continuity with the tiles around it.

Before you start tiling an area, knowing the thickness of the tiles, and the thickness of the trim, is critical for a smooth, clean look. A thin tile with a thick pencil liner trim will guarantee many toe stubbings in your future.

What materials do tile trims come in?

The options in material are extensive, but they are an offshoot of essentially 5 base concepts. From those five, the sky is the limit in your options for creative and decorative trim choices.

For protecting your tile corners, you can have:

Whereas, RESINTOP resin, is much more versatile. It is perfectly acceptable for indoor and outdoor uses and will retain its endurance and aesthetics for a long time. It is UV resistant, has a high mechanical impact tolerance, and resists fungal and bacterial concentrations.

RESINFLEX retains an elastic quality over time and is perfect for expansion joints. RESiNPRENE is not a resin plastic, but vulcanized rubber, and is a modified version of Neoprene, which is used to make scuba wetsuits. It has an extremely high mechanical performance rating and can withstand temperatures from -40 to 150 degrees.

White Ceramic Liner Tile Trim
Aluminum Matte Edge Glaze Tile Trim
Engineered Stone Bullnose Tile Trim in Gray
Cream Porcelain Cove Base Tile Trim
Glossy Ceramic Quarter Round Tile Trim
Aluminum Simple Metal Edge Glaze Tile Trim

What are the options for cleaning the tile trim?

Tile is most commonly ceramic, which makes it very tough, and the list of safe cleaners is vast. Tile trim, on the other hand, can be all the materials listed above, each with their own cleaning requirements. Before you clean the tile near the trim, make sure the cleaner is safe for the trim.

Caustic substances can weaken the trim, or even destroy it. Trims with a high acid resistance, on the other hand, will work fine with a wide array of cleaning products and solutions. The best rule of thumb is to ask the trim seller what will work best for your trim. If it is installed by a contractor, they should have the information you need.

However, if they say - "just as anything", it is much better to get a second opinion. Once it's installed and the check clears, they don't have to see the installed trim again, but you do. Ask a professional in tile trim sales what the best cleaner is, so you don't inadvertently ruin your beautiful trim work. The tile will last for years. The trim should, too.