The standard decorative for finishing a tile installation is the use of a bullnose tile piece at wall, shampoo niche, window opening, and shower curb edges or the use of the same tile in an offset pattern to provide a contrast to the layout design. You may want to add a much more elevated style to your tile installation by incorporating finish pieces that provide color, texture, or type contrast. These decoratives come in the form of a metal edge trim, baseboard, pencil trim, or chair rail trim, and mosaics. Adding one or multiple decoratives will add your personal style to your tile installation.
Bullnose is a rounded edge tile that is meant to provide a finishing piece to your installation where a row of tile will have an exposed edge or there is a change of plane. Some manufacturers may not offer a bullnose option, for those that do, it will created from a large format piece into a standard size that is ready for installation. Each tile manufacturer will differ as to what type of bullnose is offered for a specific style or line, the most common rounded edges will be a 3/8 or 1/2 inch radius. It is becoming more common for a bullnose tile piece to be a standard size, such as 3 or 4 inches in width, and up to 12 inches in length.
Another consideration is the material of your tile choice, for instance a natural stone is considered a through body tile, where the color and design continues throughout the tile. An example of a non-through body tile would be a porcelain or ceramic product which has a design on the face that does not continue throughout the tile. Since the porcelain or ceramic bullnose tile is produced from a larger format piece, the design is not reproduced over the rounded edge, therefore the color of the body is exposed as the edge design.
A very modern solution to finishing the edge of your tile installation is the use of a stainless steel piece that is installed under the exposed tile and terminates the edge. The finishes will vary, offering several colors that can be used to match your overall style. There are also edge types, such as flat surfaces or rounded edges to give you more choice in how the trim meets the adjoining wall. The advantage to a stainless steel finishing edge is durability and ease of installation, since it only needs to be cut to size and place just under the edge tile is installed.
Another consideration for an edge trim finishing piece would be a natural stone pencil decorative with a rounded edge. The pencil trim has a square base on one end and a rounded face on the other. The sizes will range from 1/2 inch to up 1 to 2 inches in width and are usually a standard length of 12 inches. There are other shapes that are available, such as a square, beveled, or a textured face to suit your style needs. The advantage of a pencil trim is that as you build out your shower walls, the depth of the backer board, thin-set, and tile can protrude past the adjacent non-tiled finishing wall. In this case, a pencil trim in a suitable size can help to fix the viewable offset between the walls.
A very traditional finish to your tile installation is using a baseboard piece where the walls and floor meet. Where outside the shower area, a baseboard is made of wood, inside the shower area and even within the bathroom, you can find them manufactured in natural stone. The designs will range from a flat surface to a varying set of beveled edges that can easily be mixed into your choice of tile installation. You will find that a standard baseboard tile will be a width of 4 to 5 inches and a length of up to 12 inches.
To elevate a traditional tile installation, there is a chair rail tile piece that can be incorporated in many different ways to pull off a very defining style. The chair rail is typical installed across the walls of the tile installation, starting before the shower area, into the shower area, and after the shower area, or limited to a single section. It can be used as a single installation or as a dual installation with a tile design in between both. The versatility offers many different options for use as a design element, but also as a functional tools as well, such as around a shower pony wall to increase the top horizontal area.
A very popular way to add special styling to your tile installation is to incorporate a mosaic of varying tile pieces and sizes. The mosaics are often comprised on a mesh netting with a mixture of natural stone, metals, glass, or sometimes just one. The benefit of a mosaic is to be able to easily install very defining tile pieces to your installation over a large area with very minimal effort.
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