The Truth About Mitres
By Zephyr and Stone
It’s no secret that we love mitres. Like, really LOVE them. Mitres create a minimal profile that allows your tile to take centre stage, without the distraction of a trim. They result in a sleek designer look that speaks of quality and luxury. Mitred edges really are the finishing detail that can take your bathroom to the next level.
So what is a mitred edge?
A mitred edge is one of the options available to you when tiling external corners. A mitred tile has been cut at a 45 degree angle along an edge, essentially removing the ‘biscuit’ or underside of the tile. This allows 2 mitred tiles to meet and form a neat edge at corners. An experienced tiler can achieve a perfect mitred edge, without chipping or damaging the edge of the tile.
Z + S tip: Opting for mitres in your home? Ensure the tiler does not grout within the mitre, as grout will crack on external corners. Mitres must be siliconed, which provides movement, protection and flexibility. Never assume that your tiler knows that you wish to silicone within the mitre. Always communicate this detail with your tiler so there is no confusion or room for error.
So you love mitred joins and have decided they’re the best thing since sliced bread. We’d have to agree. Just be prepared to pay for the service, as mitres are an extra that most tiler’s will charge for. The extra cost is due to the labour required to cut each tile to form the mitre. Expect to pay approximately $45 - $75 per lineal metre for mitres, depending upon your tiler.
Do mitres sound too good to be true? Like everything, there are potential downsides. Let’s take a look.
To mitre a tile you need to angle the cut, creating a point, which essentially results in an edge that is thinner and weaker. This makes the edge more prone to chipping.
If the mitred tiles are laid with a gap in between, the join will not be watertight. This could result in water damage if the silicone is damaged or comes loose in the future.
So what’s the alternative?
Mitred corners not in the budget? Or worried about chips in your tile? There is an alternative that may work for you.
A tile trim is a strip of plastic or aluminium that offers protection to the edge of tiles. Tile strips are more hardwearing and resistant to chipping, compared to a mitred edge.
Tile trims are available in a range of materials, colours, shapes and sizes, so if you opt for a tile trim, ensure you select the one that suits your tiles and the style of your space best. Your tiler may automatically reach for a standard chrome trim - there are alternatives that may blend and work seamlessly with your tile, rather than contrasting and drawing attention. A white slimline trim may hardly be visible when used against white tiles.
Z + S tip: Never leave trim selection up to your tiler, as they may have a different idea to what matches than you do.
Whichever way you decide to go, the most important step is to discuss your options with your tiler. Be clear on your preference for mitres if this is your wish, or ask to see any trims that the tiler is suggesting prior to installation.
The most common complaints we hear are from
People who had assumed their tiler would mitre edges, only to come home to find aluminium trims installed.
Those who want mitred edges, however their tiler either does not mitre or is trying to convince them to install a trim instead.
Some tilers do not miter, or prefer not to, due to the time and skill involved. You may need to find another tiler, or be firm on your desire for this finish. A tiler who is experienced with mitres will be proud to show you images of their past work, and will support you in achieving the result you want for your home.
Z + S tip: It’s a good idea to show your tiler images of your desired result, or clearly discuss the finishing details you are hoping to achieve.
So there you have it. Mitres, in a nutshell. As much as we love them (and true love lasts a lifetime) there is definately a time and place for a tile trim. Tiling a rental property? A trim might not be such a bad idea. Have 7 kids and 4 dogs? Trim everything. But jokes aside, we hope this blog has given you an insight into the options available to you. After all, the best decision you can make is an informed one.