How to Install Bullnose Countertop with an Undermount Sink

  • 6-15 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 500-1,250
What You'll Need
Sink and mounting hardware
Tile for countertop (natural stone tile such as marble or granite, or porcelain is best)
Tile saw (with both regular blade and bullnose blade)
Silicone caulk
3/8-inch notched trowel
Protective eyewear

A bullnose countertop provides a clean, finished edge to any counter. A bullnose edge is a curved or stylized edge that not only gives the countertop a nice look, but is also avoids sharp edges or points that can be created by the edges of cut tile or stone. Bullnose edging is an option when using a variety of materials, whether it is a slab of granite, marble or other stone, or tile. Installing an under-mount sink is not particularly difficult, but can create a new challenge when working with stone or tile.

If you are installing a slab stone countertop, the company you purchase it from will have to put the bullnose on it. Talk with their design consultants about putting the bullnose around the opening for the sink as well. If you are installing a tile countertop, you will have to create the bullnose yourself. With a little patience and persistence, you can achieve a bullnose finish to not only the edge of the counter, but around the sink as well. Follow the instructions below for successful installation.

Step 1 - Install the Sink

Following the manufacturer's directions, install the under-mount seat. Under-mount sinks use a different kind of fastener to secure them in place, where drop in sinks use gravity (for the most part) to secure them in place. Read and follow the directions for the installation. They are provided with the sink and straightforward.

Step 2 - Prepare the Tile

Do a dry fit of your tile and mark any cuts that need to be made with a wax pencil. Will the bullnose edges, you will need to cut the back end of the tile, not the edge with the existing bullnose. Simply turn the tile so that the bullnose edge is in and mark it. If the sink edges is square, you can purchase prefabricated bullnose tile, just cut it to fit. If the edge is curved, you will have to create your own bullnose corners.

Use the tile saw to make the necessary cuts. Make sure you are wearing eye protection to shield from chips and pieces that fly off. You may also want to cover your clothing with a poncho or just a large trash bag with holes cut for head and arms. To create the bullnose around the edge of the tile, switch the blade to the bullnose, and grind along the curved edge of the tile to get the desired effect. Secure the tile to a stable surface (a C clamp with cardboard to protect the tile works well) and use an angle grinder with a polishing pad to finish off the bullnose.

Step 3 - Lay the Tile

Mix the mortar and apply to the countertop, working in two foot sections. Lay your tile using spacers to lay them evenly. Once that is cured (24 hours), grout the tile. Once that is fully cured (24 to 48 hours), complete your project by sealing the grout.