Do I need to use trims for the edge of my tiles?
Each tile installation is different, and so the need for tile trims is different too. The practicalities of the room, coupled with aesthetics and design trend, tend to dictate whether tile trims are utilised for any particular project, whether it be fixing natural stone tiles in a kitchen, or rectified porcelain tiles on bathroom walls and floors.
When floor tiling, the decision is trims or no trims at doorways. Generally, consideration of using trims on kitchen floor projects needs more attention than the use of tile trims for bathroom floor projects. Unless a bathroom is a ‘Jack and Jill’ bathroom, there will be only one entrance, and therefore consideration only needs to be given to one doorway. Whereas, with kitchen floor tile projects a number of doorways are likely. Most likely you’ll enter a kitchen from the hallway, and the kitchen may have a dining room or conservatory leading off it. In addition to internal doorways, kitchens may have external doorways to an external patio area or garden.
One key situation where you would want to use a doorway trim in your kitchen floor tile project is when the difference in height between the tile and the adjoined flooring is so great it becomes a trip hazard. A metal or wood effect trim will cover both the tile and adjoining surface considerably reducing the chances of tripping.
Some trims are screwed in place after the tiles are fixed. If using this type of trim, ensure there is a gap between the two surfaces to allow the trim to be screwed in place, or alternatively, you can use a two-part trim, which will show exposed screw heads. One section screws or glues to the floor, often tucking under the tile, and then after tiling, the top part of the trim pushed neatly into recesses in the bottom section.
If the flooring in adjacent rooms is level, you may still want to use a tile trim if the tile in the doorway has a cut edge. The reason being that a factory cut edge is likely to be smooth enough to not pose an issue, but an installer-cut edge will be sharp and could cause a nasty cut to bare feet. Generally, the only time doorway trim isn’t required is when adjoining rooms are both tiled, in which case a neat grout line will do the trick.
In bathrooms the most common place to use tile trims is around the window. If natural stone tiles are used, and cuts are neat, then there is no need to use a trim as the tile colour is the same all the way through. However, modern porcelain tiles with a digital printed surface, will be clay colour on exposed edges, therefore a plastic or metal trim should be used. The trim serves two purposes, to cover the exposed cut edge of the tile, and to protect skin from the sharp edge of a cut tile.