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Finishing Tile Edges: Metal Strips Versus Bullnose Tiles

What Are Metal Strips?

Metal strips are a type of tile edge transitions used on tile walls, floors, countertops, and steps. They are put around the tile to protect its edges, giving it a more modern, and clean appearance. Most come in the shape of an L or have a rounded edge.  One of the most popular companies when it comes to metal strips is Schluter. Schluter is known for their Schluter Kerdi Waterproofing Membranes.

What Are Bullnose Tiles?

Tile bullnose is the same tile you’re using for the wall or floor with a rounded edge.   Bullnose tile is installed the same way as standard tiles.  For subway tile wainscoting walls we tend to use a chair or shelf rail instead of a bullnose tile.  For marble tiles without a bullnose available we tend to install a pencil trim molding for the shower walls and around the niche.

Things to Know When Selecting Tiles:

Metal Strips

  • It’s important to know the thickness of the tiles you’re choosing. Some metals strips aren’t available in the style or finish depending on the thickness of your tiles.
  • Each metal strips is different in thickness from the other.
  • They come in a variety of finishes.
  • They can be placed below and above an accent.
  • For corners we’ll use the Schluter RONDEC – 90 Degree Outside Corner pieces.

Tile Bullnose

  • For larger tiles they might not be available.
  • Can be used as a base board around the bottom of your bathroom.
  • If you’re doing a shower niche, decide if you’d like to bullnose inside the niche or around the outside.


For smaller bathrooms in Northern VA, we often install smaller subway tile and the bullnose tiles are available and used.  For larger bathrooms in places like Springfield, Fairfax, Vienna, Herndon, Potomac, and Rockville we’ll use larger tiles and the metal strips tend to come into play.

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