How to Make a Bullnose With Grout on a Backsplash


A professional tile installer uses grout to give the factory-cut edge of a backsplash a bullnose effect. A bullnose edge gives the surface of the backsplash a smooth transition into the wall. When using grout as a bullnose, the tile installer custom-shapes the transition to match the tile's thickness. Without a bullnose edge, moisture and debris gather in the seam between the backsplash and the wall. The moisture eventually deteriorates the drywall behind the backsplash, creating maintenance issues. Grease and dust discolor the wall covering. Making a backsplash bullnose out of grout prevents such problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Bubble level
  • Masking tape
  • Grout
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Margin trowel
  • Grout float
  • Outside corner trowel
  • Sponge
  • Hold the end of a tape measure against a corner of the backsplash and place a pencil mark on the wall 1/4 inch away from the edge of the backsplash. Repeat this procedure every 36 to 48 inches along the edge of the backsplash.

  • Hold the bottom of a bubble level against the pencil marks on the wall. Draw a pencil line between each set of pencil marks, using the bubble level as a straight edge.

  • Cover the wall above the pencil line with masking tape, using the pencil line as a masking tape placement guide. The bullnose edge will cover the 1/4-inch space between the masking tape and backsplash. The masking tape protects the wall from grout stains and gives the finished bullnose a straight edge.

  • Combine grout and water in a bucket, using the grout manufacturer's recommended ratio. Stir the grout mixture with a margin trowel until it has the same consistency as cold butter. A margin trowel has a straight 1 1/2-inch-wide blade with 90-degree corners.

  • Force grout into the seam between the backsplash and the wall, using a grout float to apply the grout. Fill the entire gap between the masking tape and the backsplash. Let the grout dry for 15 minutes before continuing.

  • Shape the bullnose edge with either an outside corner trowel or the margin trowel. The outside corner trowel makes a rounded edge and the margin trowel makes a flat edge. Hold one corner of the appropriate trowel's blade on the edge of the masking tape that touches the pencil line. Rest the side of the trowel's blade on the backsplash. Shave the excess grout from the bullnose, keeping the trowel blade's corner touching the edge of the masking tape and the side of its blade resting on the backsplash. Work the trowel across the entire perimeter of the backsplash.

  • Clean the excess grout from the surface of the backsplash, using a sponge to wipe the backsplash from the bullnose edge toward the center of the backsplash. Use care to avoid removing any grout from the bullnose.

  • Peel the masking tape off the wall.

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