How to Bullnose Tile (Small, Large, Porcelain)

Bullnose tiles are very popular in most homes because they look really nice as a finish. The best part about the process of bullnose trimming is that it is so easy that virtually anyone can do it.

how to bullnose porcelain tile

So how exactly do you bullnose tiles?

The process of doing this is a bit long but not too hard. As long as you follow the steps from this guide on how to bullnose tiles, you will face no problems. In this guide, we will teach you how to bullnose small, big or tiles made out of porcelain.

Where Bullnose Tiles Are Used?

Before we go on to the steps of bullnose trimming tiles, let’s learn where bullnose tiles are usually used and how they can benefit homeowners.

1. Wall

First of all, you can install bullnose tiles on walls. Using totally square tiles on walls can actually make your walls look rather unfinished. That’s why most homeowners prefer to use bullnose tiles instead because bullnose tiles look better. They have a great finish and can make your walls ooze a more elegant feel.

2. Corner Tiles

Aside from just walls, they can be used as corner tiles as well. Bullnose tiles are used for covering edges in places like your bathtub, your countertop or even your steps. Another benefit of using bullnose tiles is that you won’t get hurt by the edge unlike square tiles that have really sharp edges.

3. Floor Tiles

Finally, they can be used as floor tiles. For flooring, bullnose tiles pretty much have the same function as walls. Bullnose floor tiles give the ground a nicer, more refined look as compared to purely square tiles.

Now that you know some of the ways that bullnose tiles are used, let’s check out the process of bullnosing tiles.

Tools Required

Before anything else though, you need to get the right equipment for the job. Here is a list of things that you’ll need:

  • Wet tile saw
  • Speed grinder
  • Bullnose profile wheel
  • Diamond blade
  • Diamond polishing pads
  • Clamps
  • Painter’s tape

If you have all of those on hand, then we can get started with the tutorial.

How to Bullnose Small Tiles

Since the smaller tiles are easier to do, let’s start with these. Here are the steps you need to take to bullnose small tiles:

  1. Lay the tiles on the ground and decide the length of the bullnose you want them to be.
  2. If you want to reduce the size of the tile, replace the bullnose profile wheel with the diamond blade and cut the tiles.
  3. Draw the mark on the tiles that you want to bullnose.
  4. Get your wet tile saw and attach a bullnose profile wheel to it.
  5. Configure the water nozzles a bit to accommodate the bullnose profile wheel.
  6. Get your tiles and position your blade to start the cutting.
  7. Slowly glide the tile through the blade until the part that you draw out is cut.
  8. Install the tile where you want it to be.
  9. Wait for the mortar to cure.
  10. Put tape on the lining of the curve such as painter’s tape.
  11. Use the speed grinder (RPM Variable speed grinder is suggested) and place it on the curves of the tiles to refine it.
  12. Make sure that the grinder doesn’t reach the part that you taped.
  13. Use a diamond polishing pad to refine the curve by brushing it on the curves in a circular motion.
  14. Use a rougher grit if you notice that there are some uneven edges on some parts.
  15. Use a finer grit if these edges have been evened out already.

As you can see, the whole process is pretty easy as long as you have all the equipment that we’ve listed above with you. The next thing that we will discuss would be how to bullnose the bigger tiles. 

How to Bullnose Large Tiles

If you notice, the whole process is pretty much the same with bullnose trimming the smaller tiles except that you’ll be handling bigger material. That said, the process may take longer and you may have a harder time due to the size of the tiles that you’re going to handle. Nevertheless, it’s still pretty simple to do if you know how. Here are the steps on how to bullnose tiles of this size:

  1. Once again, lay your tiles on the ground and determine the length of your tiles.
  2. Get your wet tile saw out and attach the diamond blade.
  3. Mark the places of your tile that you want to cut out with a marker.
  4. Use the diamond blade to cut the pieces to the size that you want.
  5. Mark the areas of your tiles that you want to bullnose (bigger tiles will need more indicators).
  6. Take out your wet tile saw and replace the diamond blade with the bullnose wheel.
  7. Configure the water nozzle to accommodate the size of the bullnose profile wheel.
  8. Determine the right height of your bullnose profile wheel to your tile.
  9. Use a spacer to prevent your tile tray from getting cut by the saw.
  10. Pick up your tile and slowly push it through the saw until all the parts that you want sawed have been covered.
  11. Install the tile where you want it to be.
  12. Wait for the mortar to cure.
  13. Take out your clamp and clamp the tiles down.
  14. Take out the painter’s tape and tape the lining of the curve to create a polishing guide.
  15. Take out your speed grinder (RPM Variable speed grinder is suggested) and use it on the curves of the tiles to refine it.
  16. Make sure that the grinder doesn’t reach the part that you taped.
  17. Get out your diamond polishing pads and polish the edges in a circular motion.
  18. Use a rougher grit if you notice that there are some uneven edges on some parts.
  19. Use a finer grit if these edges have been evened out already.

As you can see, the steps between the first process and the second process are pretty much the same. The only difference would be the size of the tiles. Bigger tiles would require more time to do and more markings so that the curves will be consistent throughout the whole tile. Also, bigger tiles would usually require clamps in order for you to hold them down while the smaller tiles don’t really require clamps because these tiles are much lighter to carry. 

How to Bullnose Porcelain Tile

What we’ve provided above are the steps on how to bullnose standard tile types. Now, you’ll be learning how to bullnose porcelain tiles. The process is actually the same as the processes that we’ve mentioned above. If you’re going to bullnose a small porcelain tile, use the first method given above. If you’re going to bullnose a large porcelain tile, use the second method we specified.

The only difference would be in the equipment that you’re going to use. For most standard tiles, an RPM variable speed grinder is often used since this type of grinder is usually good for standard ceramic and marble tiles.

However, porcelain is a little different, so we would recommend that you use an angle grinder with a porcelain tile grinding disc instead.

This type of equipment is specially created for handling porcelain and can give you the perfect finish for that material. Aside from that, all the other same equipment can be used and you’ll pretty much follow the same steps.

Anyway, here are the steps on how to bullnose porcelain tile types:

  1. Lay out the tiles on the ground and decide the length you want them to be.
  2. Mark the length that you want to cut out if you want to resize.
  3. Pull out your wet tile saw and attach the diamond blade to the saw.
  4. Cut the porcelain tile to your ideal size.
  5. Mark the areas of your tiles that you want to bullnose (bigger tiles will need more indicators).
  6. Get your wet tile saw and replace the diamond blade with the bullnose wheel.
  7. Configure the water nozzle to accommodate the size of the bullnose profile wheel.
  8. Use a spacer to prevent your tile tray from getting cut by the saw.
  9. Pick up your tile and slowly push it through the saw until all the parts that you want sawed have been covered.
  10. Install the tile where you want it to set.
  11. Take out your clamp and clamp the tiles down.
  12. Take out the painter’s tape and tape the lining of the curve to create a polishing guide.
  13. Take out your angle grinder and attach the porcelain grinder disc.
  14. Turn on the angle grinder and use it on the curves of the tiles to refine it.
  15. Make sure that the grinder doesn’t reach the part that you taped.
  16. Get out your diamond polishing pads and polish the edges in a circular motion.
  17. Use a rougher grit if you notice that are some uneven edges on some parts.
  18. Use a finer grit if these edges have been evened out already.

And there you have your new, well-polished porcelain tile that is ready for you to use.

Conclusion

As you can see from the steps that we’ve provided above, you can do this process easily as long as you have all the materials that you need. The steps aren’t that complicated since they are pretty much the same for all kinds of tiles. So whether you have ceramic tiles, marble tiles, or porcelain tiles, you just have to follow the guidelines we’ve provided above.

Now, you might be asking whether you can use the regular discs of your grinder on porcelain since we suggested above that porcelain grinder discs should be used.

Well, there is no problem if you use regular grinder discs since they actually do work anyway. However, the porcelain grinding discs are specifically made for handling porcelain, so if you use these discs, you’ll end up with a much nicer bullnose and you’ll also have a much easier time with the process.

Also, we highly suggest that you use practice tiles first if you’re a beginner. This kind of work takes a lot of skill which is built through practice. So if you want the whole process to go smoothly, it’s better if you sharpen your skills first so that you can get it right on the first time.

So, are you ready to bullnose your tiles? Just review this guide from time to time and you’ll surely get it right.

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