How to Trim a Backsplash

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One of the best ways to trim out a new tile backsplash is with more tile. Use bullnose tiles, which are finished on one edge, to form a border with the surrounding wall. If you install the trim border in conjunction with the installation of the backsplash itself, you can grout and caulk the tiles together all at once, which gives a more consistent look than trying to add the bullnose tile onto a previously finished backsplash.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Thin-set mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Bullnose tiles, including two corner bullnose tiles
  • Tile spacers
  • Tile cutter
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Caulk gun
  • Caulk
  • Install the regular tiles for the backsplash, mortaring them to the wall and getting them properly spaced. Let the mortar set for a day. Don't grout or caulk yet.

  • Measure along the top of the backsplash area at the perimeter of the tiles. Find the middle and mark it.

  • Spread thin-set mortar over the back of a regular bullnose tile, which is finished on one edge. Press the tile against the wall above your tiled backsplash area, with one side of the tile on the center mark. The finished edge of the tile should face up, away from the backsplash. Put spacers between the bottom of the bullnose tile and the top of the backsplash tile.

  • Set additional bullnose tiles alongside the first one, putting spacers between them and lining up their finished ends so they form a border against the wall. Set two-sided corner bullnose tiles at the two top corners. Measure and cut the last piece of one-sided bullnose on a tile cutter as necessary to fit against the corner bullnose tile.

  • Continue along the top and both sides of the backsplash. Let the tiles set overnight.

  • Remove the spacers. Spread grout over whole backsplash, filling the spaces between all the regular tiles and the bullnose tiles. Don't fill the space between the bottom of the backsplash and the countertop. Let the grout set for a day.

  • Load a tube of caulk into your caulk gun. Use a utility knife to cut the end of the tube at an angle. Squeeze the caulk gun's trigger to run a bead of caulk between the bottom of the backsplash and the countertop.

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