How to Install Ceramic Bullnose

  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 70-150
What You'll Need
Bullnose tile
Tile spacers
V-notch trowel
Tape measure
Wet saw
Grout trowel

Installing ceramic bullnose around the edge of a tile job can provide you with a nice, finished look. Bullnoses are ideal when you are installing tile on a wall or on a countertop as they create a rounded edge to work with. Properly installing the bullnoses makes a big difference in how the job turns out. Here are the basics of how to install ceramic bullnoses.

Step 1: Measure the Area

The first thing that you will need to do is determine exactly how many bullnose pieces you need. Take your tape measure and measure the linear feet of the space that you intend to cover. Write down the amount of footage that you need.

Step 2: Buy Matching Bullnose

Many tiles also have bullnose made that matches it exactly. They make it in the same batch as they do the regular field tile. Therefore, it is best if you order the bullnose at the same time as you order the tile. This way, it will be out of the same dye lot and will match perfectly. If you did not order the bullnose at the same time as the tile, you can still usually get very close. Most of the time, bullnose will be a special order item unless it is a very common tile.

Step 3: Clean the Area

Once you have the bullnose, you will need to clean the area that it is about to be installed in. Take some sandpaper and sand down any rough spots on the surface where the bullnose will go. Then wipe down the area to remove any dirt or debris.

Step 4: Apply Mastic

Once you have the area cleaned, it is time to apply the adhesive. In most cases, tile mastic will work best, but you could also use thinset. Use a v-notched trowel and apply the adhesive about 5 linear feet at a time. This will prevent the adhesive from drying out too quickly while you are working. Use a 45-degree angle with your trowel for best results.

Step 5: Install the Bullnose

Once the mastic is applied, place a tile spacer up against the last tile in the row. Then press a bullnose up against the spacer and into the mastic firmly. Keep inserting spacers and pressing bullnose into place. When you get to a small opening, you will need to cut the bullnose with the wet saw to make it fit into place.

Step 6: Grout

After you let the mastic dry overnight, you then need to grout the area. Apply the grout to the joints with a grout trowel. Then wipe down the area with a wet sponge. This will remove any excess grout and smooth out the grout joints. Then allow the entire area to dry for at least 24 hours before using the space.