Tile trim is not required on all corners or where the tile meets the floor, but the overall look of a tiled shower is quite different depending on the type of tile trim that’s used to finish it. And it really enhances the aesthetic and makes a shower look a MUCH higher quality.
Here are the different types of shower tile trim, including the following:
- Bull nose
- Rounded corner
Trim can also be installed using a combination of a few of these. The best tile trim is dependent on the look you’re going for. Some have a simple design, whereas others are more ornate.
So how do you choose the right type?
In this article, I’ll explain the characteristics of the different tile trim options, and the key considerations to think about when choosing which tile trim to use. Let’s first talk about the various options that are available…
Different Tile Trim Options for a Shower
There are numerous types of tile trims, and there are colors, sizes, and shapes to suit anyone’s design style. Here’s a list of the major types that you can find:
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- Profile trim
- Bull nose trim
- Pencil trim
- Rounded corner trim
- Chair trim
- Combination/mosaic trim
Profile Trim – Flat Edge Often With a Metallic Finish
Profile trim is a curved piece of metal that is an ‘L’ shape, that wraps around the edge of the tile. The bottom of the tile sits on one edge of the ‘L’, and the other edge forms the very end of the tiles.
This type of trim can be used where the tiles end against a wall that is the same height as the tiles. In this case, all you will see is a strip of metal between the tiles and the wall.
Or, it can be used where the tiles stick out compared to the wall or floor where they end. In this type of tile design, the profile trim will be the edge of the tile, and the entire edge of the profile trim will be visible.
Profile trim is typically metallic, and can come in a silver, copper, or bronze color. The look of tile with metal can look particularly professional.
Profile trim comes in a range of different thicknesses. There are also curved metal types too, in a range of different shapes and sizes.
In general, they look best when the profile trim sticks up above the edge tile it’s attached to, or virtually flush with the tiles.
Bull Nose Trim – A Piece of Tile With an Oval-Shaped Edge
Bull nose trim is a piece of tile that has an oval-shaped edge. It looks particularly clean, because it’s made of the same type of tile used for the other tiles you’re planning to use for a showe, (or have already used).
Regular tiles have a square edge, which can look a bit ‘blocky’ and unappealing to some. Whereas others may find they like the look.
It’s quite common for one edge of the tile to be glazed, and have the same finish as the top of the tile. But it can also be unpolished and have a slightly rough edge.
Some can be through body tiles where the entire tile is one color, whereas others have a top that is one color, and the body is a different color. These can also create a very distinctive look.
Bull nose tiles are common in the tiling industry and are great because they are so versatile, and match you tile exactly, but not all tile manufacturers make bull nose tiles for the tiles they sell.
Therefore, in some cases, it won’t be available. It’s also been noted by professional tilers that bull nose trim is often made at a different time to regular tiles. Because of this fact, there’s a chance it’s not exactly the same color.
In this case, you may want to go for a bull-nosed tile that is the same thickness but a different color. This would be a design decision. For example, the bull-nosed tile trim could be a matching color. Or, a neutral color like gray, black, brown, or white.
Pencil Tile Trim
Pencil tile trim is a bit unique because it doesn’t blend in and create a seamless look, unlike the other tile trim options. Pencil tile trim is a thin cylinder-shaped piece of tile that goes along the edge.
Pencil trim comes in a range of different thicknesses. You could either use one that ends up being the same height as the tiles, or one where the pencil tile creates a raised edge above the height of the tiles.
Pencil tile trim also comes in a range of different materials. For example, you could create a ‘luxury’ edge to your tiles by using a marble pencil tile trim.
Rounded Corner – Similar to Pencil Trim
Rounded corner trim is similar to pencil trim, and bull nose trim but instead of being a semi-circle, or complete circle it’s a quarter circle. The square edge of the quarter circle is installed where the tiling surface and the edge of the last tile meet.
Rounded corner tiles create a rounded edge, and creates a smoother transition between the tile and the tiling surface.
Like the other types of tile trims, these also come in a range of colors and materials. They can be made of plastic, metal, and tile. Some manufacturers can make these in the same material as the tile you’re using to tile your shower.
Chair trim is a unique trim used for tiles, and has an ornate design. Its also commonly used for walls, where it can be made from wood. It has an ‘S’ type shape on the top and a square edge where it meets the edge of the tile.
To get an idea of what this type of trim looks like refer to this page on Lowes.com.
Here you can see what it looks like. It may be a bit surprising that this design is also used for tile trim, but it can be. When used for tiles it’s made out of tile material. And with some luck, it’ll be available in the same color and material as the tiles you’re using.
But if not, then you can get chair trim that is an accent color or a neutral color like black, white, gray, or brown.
A Combination of Different Tile Trims
Another option that is less commonly seen is to combine a few different kinds of trim. For example, you can add a certain type of trim to the edge, then add a narrow spacer tile, then add another type of trim.
For example, you can use a profile trim once at the edge of the tiles, put a spacer tile about 2 to 3 inches wide (5 to 7.5 cm), then put a chair trim. This creates a mosaic-type trim, and you may prefer the more intricate and interesting look that it provides.
Deciding on the Right Type of Tile Trim for Your Shower
There are a few factors that can influence what type of tile trim you decide to use. They are:
- Whether a glazed edge tile is available in the tile you’re using
- Whether a bull nose is available in the tile you’re using
- Design considerations e.e. how the colors and shapes will match the rest of your bathroom.
- Your personal design preference e.g. a metal trim or tile trim, minimalist or ornate.
Once you’ve decided on a particular tile type to use, it’s common that manufacturers won’t make a glazed edge tile or bull nose tile for the specific type of tile you’re using. This means it limits the options you have for a trim.
If you’d really much prefer a bull nose trim or glazed tile trim, then you should go back to the drawing board, and choose a shower tile or choose a matching color.
But virtually everything else is a matter of personal preference. Try to use a trim that is going to compliment the look of your bathroom. For example, avoid silver trim with copper or brass faucets. Or, if you have silver-colored faucets, avoid copper/brass trim.
It makes the decor look a bit too busy and distracting. Another thing to think about is what trim you’re using for the other tiles…
Choosing Trim That Keeps the Design of Your Bathroom Consistent
There are various principles of design such as rhythm, and consistency that are worth bearing in mind when choosing design elements for your bathroom.
This is where a design uses a theme. These can apply to the trim you use for your shower, and how it matches your bathroom. But it can also apply to how your bathroom matches your whole house.
To maintain consistency, a bathroom typically looks best if the trim is the same for all tiles. The trim for the tiled floors generally looks best if it matches the trim for the shower.
If you prefer a more minimalist look then you should avoid a combination trim, a chair trim, or pencil trim. Instead choose either a profile, rounded corner, or bull nose trim.
On the other, if you want something more ornate, you should go with a combination/mosaic trim, a chair trim, or a pencil trim.
Can You Install Trim After a Shower Has Been Tiled
Tile trim is installed on the last tile that forms the edge. There are multiple steps involved in installing tiles, and most need to be done before the next step can be completed. So, here’s a rundown of whether trim can be installed after tiles have been installed, and/or the grout is completely hardened.
As a general rule, profile tile trim must be installed when the shower is being tiled. But, all other types of shower tile trim can be installed after shower tiles have already been installed. This includes pencil, chair, bull nose, and rounded edge trim.
This is because the last tile needs to be installed on top of the profile tile trim. It is possible to add another tile to the edge of an existing tiled shower. Doing so would allow a profile trim to be installed. However, this is not always possible depending on the layout of the shower, and other space limitations in a bathroom.