Creating kitchens and baths for finicky customers since 1993

backsplash features inset metal tiles for accent and texture

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

DIY Tile Pic of the Week: Find your tile niche

A custom tile niche evokes classic Roman charm in a bathroom.

custom tile niche When you choose tile for your bathtub or shower makeover, you might want to consider including a classic tile niche. This is not a project for the uninitiated! However, for design harmony and beauty, it's hard to beat.

The project shown used 12" by 12" porcelain tile, 3/8" thick -- not an easy tile to cut or install. Choosing a smaller, thinner ceramic tile reduces the level of difficulty significantly.

Typical "soapdish" accessories are single molded ceramic or "cultured marble" items that you purchase and install. This usually involves cutting two to six field tile (the standard tile used) to fit around the installed fixture. You might have to cut a hole in the wall and use some silicone caulk; but that's usually the extent of it.

As you can see from the image, a tile niche demands far more cutting, fitting, and finish (grouting) finesse. This fixture took the place of four 12 x 12 field tiles; each of these had to be carefully cut (last) to fit around the indented area. All tiles used in the niche follow the grout lines for the containing wall. Notice how critical the placement of the niche within the field tile is, in this case.

Add them up, then: there are 24 distinct cut tiles used in this installation. (That's more than 24 cuts, since some tile pieces required two cuts.) The picture-frame border you see was composed of bull-nosed edging tiles, with the eased edge facing inward. This prompted eight mitered cuts which had to be carefully fitted.

Grouting an inset tile fixture is more difficult than finishing around a protruding soapdish, too. More care has to be taken with the original fit and with the grouting itself, since every joint shows. This is not a place to be "off just a little"!

You might ask, "why bother with all this extra effort?" The answer appears just below the subhead for this post, and is worth a thousand more words.

DIY tile pic for week of Mar 16 2009

copyright 2009 - all rights reserved

See this photos like this featured along with all sorts of other related ceramic tile information and articles on the new DIY Tile Zone at

If you have a DIY tile pic that you'd like to share, please leave a Comment here. If I use your picture, I'll link to your blog or website. ~Jim

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