jeanjeanremodelmachine

Schluter choice: metal trim or white PVC Schluter for our tile?

Mittens Cat
last year
last modified: last year

Metal or PVC sounds like an obvious choice! Metal of course, right?

But the white Porcelanosa tile we're installing on three walls of our master bath is kind of a soft, whitewashed look and my tile seller friend thought the white trim would blend in better than the metal.

My GC thinks the white PVC Schluter will look a little cheap and also worries it might scratch and/or mildew.

Originally I thought the metal (brushed nickel or stainless steel) Schluter would look sharp, but the more I see pictures of installations, the metal edges look a bit dated to me. My husband agrees.

Here's the tile we're doing on three walls, plus shower curb and pony wall between shower and tub: Porcelanosa Madagascar Blanco porcelain tile

Other thought: do the white trim on all the edges up at the ceiling (where it won't be real visible) and do the metal trim on the shower curb (which will be tiled in graphite gray porcelain) and/or the pony wall? We also have a niche and a corner shelf. Geez.

I had a dream that I walked into my bathroom and there was shiny silver trim criss crossing all over, like a gift wrapping project gone berserk. I like a little metal trim here and there, but I'm worried this is going to end up like my dream (nightmare)? FWIW, we're aiming for a contemporary style. I think the metal Schluter looked contemporary 20 years ago, but maybe not so much now?

Comments (34)

  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks @Nancy. Honestly the more I look at Schluter photos, the less I like any of it. Are there any other alternatives? Something that keeps edges looking crisp and modern but not quite so many shiny stripes all over the bathroom?

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  • Ephma
    last year

    We used Schluter in matte white aluminum. Sounds like what you may be looking for. Totally unobtrusive.

    Mittens Cat thanked Ephma
  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last year

    @Ephma, thanks! Any chance you can share some pics? :)

  • wdccruise
    last year

    Emac white, aluminum edging is available in lots of shapes and sizes through Home Depot. Custom Building Products makes an edging labeled "bright white".

    Mittens Cat thanked wdccruise
  • PRO
    myricarchitect
    last year

    See if you can skip the Schluter trim pieces, you may be happier with the monolithic look of “just” tiles that finish themselves. But you have to make sure the tile you picked is the same color throughout and can be made into a bullnose edge & still look good.


    Our wall tile had some coordinating bullnose edge pieces available but instead of using those we had some of the regular “big” tiles finished with a bullnose edge so we didn’t lose the big tile format with little edge strips. It was not expensive and my tile setter did not have to do it - the tile store sent it out to a subcontractor who charged something minimal like $1 or $2 per bullnosed edge for a 12x24 tile.

    Mittens Cat thanked myricarchitect
  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks @myricarchitect and @wdccruise. We are going for a modern look, and the word "bullnose" always spooks me a little as I thought it was more traditionally styled. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

    I was just looking at Butech, which seems much sharper styled, but I am guessing it's $$$$.

  • PRO
    Glo European Windows & Doors
    last year

    Instead of a schluter strip or a bullnose, ask your tile provider for a "quarter round." You may be surprised at how clean and modern their options are.


    **FYI: These are handmade tiles, not a bunk tile job, haha

    Mittens Cat thanked Glo European Windows & Doors
  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Thanks! @Glo European Windows & Doors I prefer that, especially with white tile. Curious though: would an installation (and labor cost) be much different if the tile were large format (33" x 13")? @Glo European Windows & Doors

  • PRO
    myricarchitect
    last year

    Mittens, by “bullnosing” I mean grinding down and softening the factory rectified edge so it isn’t sharp and to help resist chipping & snagging. It doesn’t give much of a rounded off look, we still wanted sharp corners just not treacherous lol.


    Here are some construction pics of the bathroom, all the outside corners (circled in blue) are done from “bullnosing” the large tiles for a smooth edge instead of using trim pieces or schluter strips on outer corners.



    Mittens Cat thanked myricarchitect
  • PRO
    Glo European Windows & Doors
    last year
    last modified: last year

    No problem!

    I'm not sure but I would imagine it wouldn't. Definitely a question for your tile installer.

    Also, here's a shot of quarter round and bullnose in the same shot, which they had to do since it wasn't curbless (way too much $$ for the remodel) and the tiles were super thick.





    Hope this helps and good luck!

    Mittens Cat thanked Glo European Windows & Doors
  • wdccruise
    last year

    I was working with a modern architect who told me he would not -- ok, NEVER! -- recommend bullnose tile (or, I presume, bullnose trim) so I used the Custom Building Products Aluminum L-Shaped Tile Edging which has a square edge (and is also available in white).

    Mittens Cat thanked wdccruise
  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks both! I much prefer that look of slightly rounded rectified edge, but my GC is concerned it'll chip.

    BTW, it just occurred to me that if we now have super durable ceramic knives and ceramic-lined pots and pans, has anyone come up with similar material for tile edging? Seems like it would be better than PVC (and more easily marketed).

  • live_wire_oak
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Schluter comes in white metal. And Bright White. In both Jolly and Rondec. And Dilex, so that you wouldn’t ever need to worry about caulking between planes. This isn’t complicated.


    Porcelain is brittle until installed and backed with thinset, and locked in by grout.. It would shatter immediately and never survive shipping at anything resembling a reasonable price. Metal is resilient.

    Mittens Cat thanked live_wire_oak
  • yeh_yeh
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I have some Porcelanosa tiles in my half bath as backsplash as well. I put in the Bright White Schluter Jolly trim (before I found out there is a matte version, altho the matte version is not readily available in local store which I need to grab quickly so at the end it probably didn't matter if I knew). The bright white didn't look as bad as I thought probably because the wider edge is on the side and only visible if sitting on the toilet. I didn't want to use metal trim but I don't have other solution to end the edge as I didn't want to put the tiles from wall to wall. Also, the tiles were going to be wall to wall on the wall adjacent to the toilet which was where the toilet was. We did a last minute change when our GC opened up the wall and told us we can move the toilet to under the window if we want so I need to figure out how to end the tiles which I didn't have to originally. My other 2 bathrooms use pencil trim pieces, one is done one is not. I have included the powder room picture below, you can barely see the Schluter edge since the front side is very slim. I don't have pic of the other one that use bullnose tiles.

    Mittens Cat thanked yeh_yeh
  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @yeh_yeh, thanks much! any chance you can take/post a close up of the edge for my aging eyes? I can't seem to see it when I enlarge the pic. Looks great from a distance, though! OH, and is that glossy white Porcelanosa or matte white? Looks glossy, thanks.

  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    @live_wire_oak, you are so right! This shouldn't be complicated, LOL! But amazing how this one little detail has spurred such heated debate at our remodel!

    I now have 4-5 pieces of (non-returnable) PVC White Jolly Schluter in my car, plus samples of the bright white, matte white and satin nickel. I was really hoping the matte white would be less bright, but it's nearly the same as the glossy bright white. The dull PVC white is definitely the better color match for my off white matte tile, but DH and GC are cringing at the plastic factor (the irony is, I'm the Lorax of the house and would never approve plastic anything if I could help it, but I'm trusting my tile seller friend, who thinks the PVC version is the right choice).

    Hoping to hear from anyone who's installed the PVC Schluter! Has it lasted? Any issues--yellowing, cracking, mildewing...? Thanks! Oh, and btw, Porcelanosa does not offer trim for this tile. I am going to ask GC to try an experiment of mitering a piece today.

  • yeh_yeh
    last year

    Mittens Cat, the Porcelanosa tiles are matte white, so I was hunting for matte white trim before. At least for my application it didn’t matter much after all since it is only visible from sitting on the toilet. I have attached some close up pics, hope it helps!

    Mittens Cat thanked yeh_yeh
  • PRO
    myricarchitect
    last year
    last modified: last year



    You mentioned experimenting with a mitered corner detail, I had saved this detail on how someone did this from the John Bridge tile forum when looking for a solution for outside corners. But I didn’t want to remove material and weaken the tile right at the corner where it would get the most abuse & need to resist chipping and crumbling. Also the outer edges were tall & the mitered examples I saw it looked wavy & uneven, it’s a lot to ask for perfect mitered corners to the ceiling without some variation. We ended up butting full-thickness tiles together at 90 degrees (with the exposed edge sanded down and polished smooth).

    We DID use two different kinds of stainless steel Schluter strips in 2 places though - one to make the thinnest metal line of a threshhold where the bathroom tile floor meets the bedroom hardwood (no more chunky marble threshold). The other schluter strip was to make a hidden recessed trough for led lighting in the top rear of a niche). I love their edging products, just preferred to not to have them in some places.

    Mittens Cat thanked myricarchitect
  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last year

    thanks @yeh_yeh and @myricarchitect! all those images help a lot.

    p.s. I'm wondering why I'm not getting notifications--they are definitely set to ON.

  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last year

    Thanks @Ephma! Looks great!

    ps I don't suppose any of those were Schluter's PVC white? I'm totally sold on the metal version of white, but hesitant about the PVC version (which is slightly less white than the matte white).

  • Ephma
    last year

    I think they were all powder coated aluminum.

    Mittens Cat thanked Ephma
  • Rachel L
    7 months ago

    Hey @Mittens Cat, I am facing the same exact dilemma - though I haven't had the trim nightmare yet. I'm wondering what you went with and if you could share a photo? The tile I picked doesn't have a finished edge either and actually looks similar to yours. Everyone goes down the Schluter path, but as you, I don't really love it. I'd like a mitered look, but it seems the tiler has to be really good to pull it off. THERE is where I have my nightmares!! You were tossing up a matte white trim option to make it less visually obtrusive, so would love to see what you decided. Many thanks in advance!!

  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    7 months ago

    @Rachel L, I ended up going both ways: a mitered edge for our niche and the off white Schluter PVC for the rest in order to closely match the tile. My GC absolutely hated the idea of using the PVC edge (he worries it might yellow over time), but my tile seller friend insisted it would not and said it was much closer in color to the tile so it would blend far more seamlessly than the Jolly. I finally decided to go with her conclusions and I think it came out nice. I keep a sharp eye on both the PVC and the mitered edges for any indication of issues. We've been in the house 6 months. So far, so good.



    These don't show the trim that well--I'll try to take new pics tomorrow! zzzz!





  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    Jeepers, I tried to post more pics but it wouldn't take. I'll try a couple at a time. @Rachel L FWIW, these were taken in the early morning light.





  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    7 months ago




  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    7 months ago





  • Rachel L
    7 months ago

    @Mittens Cat THANK YOU SOOO MUCH!!


    Your bathroom is AMAZING! You made all the right choices. The niche is marvelously done and the strip you chose blends beautifully. You've given me the confidence I need to move forward. :) Why tile makers can't just offer finished edges and save people this grief is one of those unanswered questions to spend our lives pondering!!


    When you say you keep an eye on the mitered edges, did your GC advise of any cons to the approach, like the edges might chip or tell you that you have to be careful with it?


    Also, where do you live? Next step for me is finding a tiler and yours did a fab job! Maybe I'll get lucky and you're in my region.

  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    7 months ago
    last modified: 7 months ago

    @Rachel L I'm in Southern Calif. but my GC/tile guy is 70 and says he's pretty much done! (We wiped him out with this project, apparently, lol!).

    Re the mitered edges, I'd heard that they were more vulnerable to chipping (as they're unprotected, obviously), so that's one reason we only did them for the niche. I figure plastic shampoo bottles are pretty benign, though I remind my DH to be careful with his metal razor. :)

    I am a little concerned about the wear and tear and possible staining on that exposed grout, though. Being Ms. Natural/anti-chemicals, I was against sealing, especially when my tile supplier told us we didn't need to seal, but my GC's head nearly exploded on that and I relented and let him use sealer---and now of course I am very happy I did. In fact, I am already eager to reseal--not that it needs it but I like the idea of that grout staying white as long as possible. (Grout experts, please weigh in!).

    I am careful not to repeat my mistakes of the past in scrubbing the grout with much force or using harsh chemicals since I guess both those just break down the grout and make it easier for mold/mildew to take hold. Which is the reason I try to pat all the grout with a towel after every shower---mold doesn't typically creep in if you keep stuff dry. I was the laziest housecleaner on Earth before this remodel, so this is all a big comedy for all my friends and family!

    p.s. to @myricarchitect, just went through your comments here and forgot to thank you. Those are some sharp looking edges (sharp in a stylish way!). Curious what you think of my GC's tile work. Feel free to opine?

  • mmc429
    2 months ago

    Would you mind taking a step back and showing the bathroom/ shower from a distance? I’d love to see the total layout. The up close work looks terrific and it’s nice to read how thoughtful you were in all the decisions.

    Mittens Cat thanked mmc429
  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    @mmc429, I still haven't taken any wide angle shots (our bathroom is a bit narrow), so it's hard to show it overall. But here's a few of shower/tub. What looks like a window on the back shower wall is just a reflection of the window in the door to the right.

    Also, the tub is a 60" long x 30" wide Kohler Underscore, despite it looking oddly shrunken here! As far as "how thoughtful" we were in decisions, well...I would have liked the tub to be centered in its space against the wall, and thought I'd communicated to our GC that he needed to build out something against the wall so the tub would be centered and I'd have room to place my arm during soaks, but something got miscommunicated, alas. Oh well. I have a little teak table that I place beside the tub that gives it a more balanced look (removed it from the photo so you could see). Also, since it's a narrow bathroom, I figure the extra space gives us a bit more room if we ever (god help us) need wheelchair access.

    p.s. We are finally getting our bathroom mirror installed next week, (we've been using a $14 mirror from IKEA, still wrapped in plastic, lol!).




    Funny how much this tub looks in this photo. It's a standard 30" wide by 60" long.

  • Jason Lunn
    last month

    Mitered edges on a wall, no problem with chipping esp if it is installed correctly. Meaning no voids in the bond coat and grout underneath. An epoxy grout would be ideal as it would provide excellent support. I installed a mitered curb in my guest bath shower a few years back and the heavy hand sprayer has hit the edge several times and no chipping. No sealing needed for epoxy grout as well as no staining. However, if your having miter work and/or epoxy grout done, except it to be $$$. A pvc profile is fine with the exception of heavy traffic (such as a shower curb) or an exterior application with direct sunlight.

    Mittens Cat thanked Jason Lunn
  • Mittens Cat
    Original Author
    last month

    @Jason Lunn, thanks for that. So far, so good with our mitered and PVC Schluter edges (fingers tightly crossed). But here's a question for you, if you're game:

    I recently contacted our tile store to double check which kind of grout we ended up using and was told it was Laticrete Platinum Permacolor Select, not epoxy. Though we were told it didn't need sealing, my G.C. insisted on sealing with Miracle Sealants 511 Porous Plus. Ten months in, I'm seeing a slight staining (?) of the grout of the mitered edges of the niche. We use almost all clear & free bath products, but maybe this was from a couple shampoos with a "natural" product that was coffee colored. Or maybe it's just everyday dirt. In any case, I've only tried baking soda so far as I'm hesitant to use anything that might degrade the grout. Thoughts?

    Thanks!