Back when we were renovating the bathroom, just as my marble-tub vision was starting to come to life, we hit a snag with the tile that could have been a show stopper. I want to share some information that I wish I’d known then about beveled tile. Perhaps someone out there right now planning your bathroom reno will stumble across this in your planning phase, while you have all your options open. Or maybe you’re right in the middle of dealing with this very issue right now, and this information might help.
Early on when I was placing my tile order, I had to decide between ordering the wall tile from a premium line like Waterworks, which offers dozens of special finishing pieces, or going with simple field tile. I was absolutely willing to splurge on Waterworks if I was going to need special finishing pieces like fancy corners and bullnose pieces, because they have a most beautiful and extensive line. I showed my contractor the simple look I was going for — white beveled field tile topped with a plain bullnose at the top for the walls and charcoal gray subway tile in the shower stall — and he didn’t think special order pieces were going to be necessary. This was great news for my budget. I was already splurging on marble for the aprons and deck and handcrafted floor tiles. I was more than happy not to take a hit on wall tile.
I wasn’t happy for long, and it would turn out to be a teaching moment, as they say. I should have had more confidence in that gut feeling. I had thoroughly researched every aspect of my project and I’d had a vague recall about questions on Houzz related to how to deal with positive corners when using beveled tile. My gut told me the beveled edges were going to need special treatment. And my gut was right. The positive corners turned out to be a problem.
My contractor had experience installing beveled tile as a kitchen backsplash, but he’d never done an entire bathroom with it. He was figuring that he could finish the positive corners the same way he did subway tile, by beveling the back on his cuts, which gives a nice clean point to the convex corners. But it turned out that doesn’t work with beveled tile because where the cut edges meet it goes all wavy gravy.
Now, in the middle of the job, what to do? Henry explained that if I could source some beveled 3x3s it would solve our problem.
In a nutshell, if you’re doing the basic brickwork tile pattern using beveled tiles you want to start at your positive corners, alternating full 3x6s and 3x3s every other row. If you do this, the finished edges will meet elegantly where the tile comes in on the adjacent wall.
When you get to the end of the row on a negative corner, ordinary cuts are just fine. So, the trick is to make sure all your cuts are on the negative (convex) corners.
But I know it’s there.