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Master The Art: Complete Guide On How To Tile Outside Corners

Master The Art: Complete Guide On How To Tile Outside Corners

Picture of the owner of Birkes BuildersDavid Birkes
Owner | General Contractor & Builder
Birkes Builders
Published On:
August 15, 2023
Last updated:
August 15, 2023
a kitchen with a stove, oven, dishwasher and cabinets

The Art of Angles: Tiling Outside Corners

A Comprehensive Overview

Tiling outside corners is an invigorating facet of home improvement and interior design that combines the functional with the aesthetic. This task not only enhances the visual allure of your space but also offers a practical solution for protecting walls from moisture and damage. Commonly found in areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, or exterior facades, tiling outside corners demands precision, patience, and an understanding of certain technicalities to ensure a seamless finish.

The apparent complexity can be mitigated by following a well-structured process which we will explore throughout this article. In essence, tiling outside corners involves applying tiles along an external corner typically using specialist trim pieces or cutting tiles at a 45-degree angle to create a 'mitred' corner.

The process may vary slightly depending on the type of tile used and personal preference for finish aesthetics. Though seemingly daunting at first glance, with careful planning and execution even novice DIY enthusiasts can achieve professional results.

Why Technique Matters: The Importance & Benefits

The way you approach tiling your outside corners can dramatically impact both the appearance and longevity of your work. Undertaking this task with proper technique ensures that edges are sharp and clean rather than uneven or chipped - creating visual harmony in your space whilst also minimising potential hazards. Moreover, well-executed tiling provides an enhanced level of durability against wear-and-tear.

Corners often encounter more abrasion than flat surfaces due to their exposed position; thus, correctly applied tiles offer robust protection against such risks. Beyond these practical benefits lies another compelling reason for mastering these techniques: value addition to your property.

Aesthetically pleasing tile work not only contributes to creating charming interiors but also adds real estate value by demonstrating meticulous maintenance and high-quality finishes. Regardless if you undertake this project intending to sell or stay put long term, imparting finesse onto every corner can yield substantial benefits aesthetically and financially.

Necessary Tools and Materials

Essential Toolkit for Tiling Outside Corners

In any tiling project, the right tools are indispensable in ensuring seamless execution. Unquestionably, a tile cutter is paramount. This invaluable tool helps in resizing tiles to ensure they fit perfectly around corners.

The type of cutter you choose will largely depend on the tile material; for ceramic tiles, a manual tile cutter proves sufficient whereas hardy materials like porcelain may require a wet saw. A notched trowel also takes precedence in our toolkit.

It's employed in spreading adhesive onto surfaces before tiles are laid on it - the size of the notch depends on your chosen tile size and thickness. A grout float is another must-have tool used to apply grout between tiled spaces, ensuring a uniform filling devoid of air pockets.

Selection of Suitable Tiles and Adhesive Materials

When considering tiles suitable for outside corners, durability should be your watchword. Porcelain tiles prove desirable due to their sturdy nature and resistance to water absorption which makes them perfect against inclement weather conditions.

The adhesive plays an equally crucial role as it binds the tiles securely onto surfaces. Choose one that's specifically designed for exterior use, withstanding adverse climatic conditions without compromising hold strength.

Grout serves to fill spaces between tiles creating visual continuity while spacers maintain consistent spacing between each tile--choose one corresponding to your desired grout line width. In addition, sealant prevents water penetration into grouted areas after drying which could otherwise cause damage or discoloration over time.

Safety Precautions: Equipment You'll Need

As you embark on this tiling venture remember: safety first! To avoid eye injuries from flying debris when cutting or laying tiles, protective goggles are essential. They safeguard against potential hazards keeping your eyes unharmed throughout the project duration.

Gloves also play an important role especially when handling adhesive materials or sharp-edged cut tiles; they not only provide better grip but also protect against cuts and chemical burns. Remember that precautionary measures can never be overstated when handling potentially hazardous tasks--a little safety goes a long way towards successful project completion.

Preparatory Steps: Laying the Groundwork for Perfection

Measuring the Area to be Tiled Accurately

Accuracy is paramount when commencing any tiling project, especially for outside corners. The first quintessential step entails obtaining precise measurements of the area to be tiled.

Start by measuring the height and width of each wall that will receive tiles, multiplying these dimensions together to arrive at the total surface area in square units. Remember, one must account for the extra area that an outside corner may present due to its three-dimensional nature.

In addition, it would be advantageous to add approximately 10% more than your calculated area when purchasing tiles. This extra 'wastage allowance' accounts for breakages or miscalculations and ensures your design vision isn't marred by a lack of materials.

Choosing Tiles & Grout: The Alchemy of Aesthetics and Function

Choosing suitable tiles and grout requires both an aesthetic eye and a practical mindset. The key factor lies not only in selecting a tile design that echoes your personal taste but also choosing a type that withstands external weather conditions with aplomb.

The ideal tile should possess traits such as durability, slip resistance, frost resistance, and ease of maintenance. Porcelain tiles are often used due to their robust nature and vast range of designs available while natural stone offers an opulent appeal yet requires more upkeep.

Parallelly, choosing a grout color that harmonizes with your chosen tile creates cohesion within your design scheme whilst still highlighting individual tiles. Opting for dark grout colors can assist in masking dirt or stains over time.

Preparing the Surface: An Ode to Cleanliness & Smoothness

The final preparatory step ensures our canvas is perfectly primed to receive our artistry - cleaning and effectively smoothing the surface destined for tiling is essential. Cleaning should extend beyond mere visual tidiness; it involves thorough decontamination from dust particles or residues that could hamper adhesion when installing tiles.

Employing a mildly acidic cleaner can be advantageous as it effectively eliminates any greasy deposits without damaging underlying materials. Post-cleaning comes smoothing - take note of any inconsistencies on your measured surface area as these can lead to unsightly bulges or depressions post-tiling.

Irregularities can be remedied with application of a leveling compound; this product creates an even layer upon which you lay your chosen tiles. Remember - patience pays dividends during preparation stages; meticulous attention here paves way for seamless installation process ensuring a result infused with longevity & aesthetics alike.

The Art of Precision: Cutting Tiles to Size

Mastering the Tile Cutter: Safety and Efficiency

Using a tile cutter with finesse and safety is an integral aspect of tiling outside corners. Before you even commence the cutting, ensure that you're donning your protective goggles and gloves. The tile cutter should be placed on a level and secure surface to avoid any unfortunate accidents.

Your tiles should always be handled with deliberate care to prevent chipping or cracking prematurely. When making the cut, place the tile securely against the guide of the tile cutter.

The scorer should be positioned at one end of the line that you want to cut. Apply downward pressure as you push it across the face of your tile, creating a scored line from one end to another.

Following this, utilize the snapping mechanism on your cutter over this scored line then apply pressure until your tile snaps neatly along it. It's paramount that these steps are conducted slowly but surely - haste often leads to waste in tiling projects.

Corner Mastery: Techniques for Cutting Tiles To Fit Around Corners

Tiling outside corners requires not only precision but also creative problem-solving skills as each corner might present its own unique challenges. When faced with an exterior corner, start by taking two measurements for each side of your corner angle using a tape measure; measuring from both ends will provide a more accurate result considering potential minor deviations in wall angles. Next up is ensuring an immaculate fit around corners which is achieved through miter cuts - essentially cutting each edge at an angle so they join together seamlessly in an unbroken line around the corner edge when installed.

A powered wet saw equipped with a diamond blade is typically used for this purpose -- it allows for precise angling and delivers clean-edged cuts ideal for corners. Additionally, dry fitting prior installation can help confirm accuracy before any adhesive graces your surface; this involves simply laying out tiles without adhesive first onto their designated spots checking alignment at every junction point especially where edges meet at corners -- adjustments can easily be made during this stage avoiding future aesthetic disappointments or time-consuming corrections.

Applying Adhesive & Laying Tiles

A Symphony of Stickiness: Mixing and Applying Adhesive

Before any tile can grace your corner, a reliable adhesive must first be prepared. The adhesive, often referred to as thinset mortar, is typically packaged as a dry mix that requires the addition of water.

To prepare it properly, pour the dry mix into a clean bucket, adding water slowly while stirring constantly until you achieve a consistency similar to peanut butter. An electric drill with a paddle attachment can expedite this process.

Application of the adhesive is an art unto itself. Using a notched trowel, apply an even layer of adhesive to the surface you intend to tile.

The notches in the trowel create ridges in the adhesive which help both in adhering the tiles firmly and maintaining even space between them. Ensure that you cover enough area for one or two tiles at a time--any more and your adhesive may begin to dry before you can get all your tiles down.

The Cornerstone: Laying Tiles on an Outside Corner

When it comes to placing your first tile, precision is paramount--you are setting the precedent for all following tiles. Start from the bottom corner working upwards using tile spacers for consistency. Press each tile firmly into place ensuring it embeds into the adhesive by giving it slight twist or wiggle before resting it in its final position.

As you approach installing tiles on actual outside corners, ensure that edge tiles are cut precisely so they come together smoothly at an angle which makes up your exact outside corner angle - usually 90 degrees but this varies depending upon architectural design. Also take care with alignment; misaligned corners are easily noticeable and can detract from overall aesthetic appeal.

Perfect Parallels: Maintaining Consistent Spacing Between Tiles

Ensuring consistent spacing between each tile will greatly enhance overall visual appeal and structural precision of your project. Tile spacers are invaluable tools here; these small cross-shaped pieces should be placed at every corner where four tiles meet to maintain equal distance between each one.

However meticulous attention details should not cease here! Constantly check alignment with spirit level during placement process since gravity may cause sliding especially for vertical settings until adhesive sets sufficiently which could distort your uniform layout adversely affecting both appearance and stability of final product.

The Art of Edge Tiles: Cutting and Fitting Perfection

When tiling outside corners, mastering the art of cutting and fitting edge tiles can make a significant impact on the final aesthetic outcome. Cutting your corner tiles begins with precise measurements.

It is paramount to ensure that the tile fits snugly into place without gaps or overlaps, maintaining an even line along the edges. A tile cutter is your best ally in this task, allowing for clean cuts with minimal risk of cracking or chipping.

Once cut, fitting these tiles takes patience and precision. Apply adhesive to the back of each tile using a notched trowel, spreading it evenly across the entire surface.

Press each tile firmly onto the corner, adjusting its position until it lines up perfectly with its neighbors. The use of tile spacers will ensure an even grout line throughout.

Fine Finishing: Perfecting Your Corner Tiling

Achieving a neat finish at corners requires meticulous attention to detail and a few expert techniques. One such method involves 'back buttering' - applying adhesive directly to the back of each edge tile as well as spreading adhesive on the corner surface itself.

This double-adhesion approach guarantees a solid bond that will withstand time and weather. Furthermore, once all tiles are in place it's crucial to remove any excess adhesive before it dries completely.

A damp sponge works excellently for this task provided you work gently so as not to disturb newly laid tiles. A smooth finish equals professional results; therefore meticulous cleaning should never be neglected.

Peculiar Patterns: Special Considerations for Textured or Patterned Tiles

Textured or patterned tiles can add an extra dimension to your tiling project but also bring unique challenges when used on outside corners. These kinds of tiles often have unique shapes and sizes that may require more complex cuts around edges or might necessitate special placement techniques so as not to disrupt their design continuity.

It's important here once again, measurement becomes pivotal - careful planning can ensure your pattern continues seamlessly across corners which enhances visual appeal immensely. It's also worth mentioning that textured tiles may necessitate more robust adhesives due their irregular surfaces providing less contact area than smooth counterparts do; thus additional research into suitable products for specific types may prove invaluable.

Grouting & Sealing: The Finishing Touches

A Gritty Affair: Applying Grout Between Tiles

Grout, a viscous compound used to fill gaps and secure tiles, is the unsung hero of tiling. Initially, ensure you've selected the appropriate grout for your tiles - sanded grout for wider spaces and non-sanded for thinner ones.

To apply, scoop a liberal amount of grout onto your grout float and spread it across the tile surfaces at a 45-degree angle. This ensures that the grout effectively seeps into all crevices between the tiles.

Repeat this step until all gaps are filled. Remember to periodically clean off any excess grout with a damp sponge before it hardens on your tile surface.

Move in smooth diagonal sweeps to avoid dislodging any freshly applied grout from between the tiles. A meticulous and patient approach reaps rewards in achieving an impeccably tiled corner.

B Waiting Game: Importance of Letting Grout Dry Before Sealing

By now your outdoor corner is taking shape beautifully but haste here may jeopardize your effort thus far. Allowing adequate drying time before sealing is pivotal in ensuring longevity of your tiling work. Each type of grouts has its own drying time which typically ranges from 24-48 hours after application.

Within this phase, refrain from any disturbances such as water contact or walking on freshly laid floor tiles which could impede complete curing or cause color discoloration. Patience during this period will truly cement not only your tiles but also their lasting elegance and durability.

C Weatherproof Wonder: Process Of Applying Sealant

After playing host to patience while letting the grouted corners dry, it's time to seal them against potential adversaries like moisture, dirt or stains; particularly crucial for outdoor corners exposed to various weather conditions. Begin by choosing a quality sealant suitable with your chosen tile and grout type - natural stone calls for specific sealants compared to ceramic or porcelain ones.

Using a foam brush or spray bottle depending upon product directions, apply an even layer over the tiled surface ensuring complete coverage especially over grouted lines. Allow some soaking period as per product guideline followed by wiping off any excess sealant with soft cloth trailing some drying period wherein usage should be limited giving way to finish line of immaculate tiling project.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Effective Strategies for Cleaning Excess Adhesive and Grout

Upon completion of your tiling task, you may notice some residues of adhesive or grout obscuring the pristine beauty of your tiles. Do not despair; removing these can be a straightforward task with the correct approach.

For fresh adhesive spills, a damp cloth will usually suffice to wipe it off. However, hardened adhesive could require a plastic scraper or utility knife for gentle scraping.

Always remember to scrape in a direction away from you to avoid any potential harm. In case of grout haze - a common occurrence after tiling - there are specialty commercial cleaners available that can effectively remove this residue without damaging your tiles or grout lines.

Alternately, you can make use of a homemade solution comprising equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Simply spray this solution onto the affected area and wipe off using a non-abrasive sponge or cloth.

Regular Maintenance Tasks for Lasting Brilliance

The key to sustaining the aesthetic appeal and longevity of your tiled outdoor corners involves diligent regular maintenance tasks. Regular cleaning helps maintain luster and prevent dirt accumulation which may lead to discoloration over time. A simple routine could include sweeping or vacuuming the tiled area once weekly followed by mopping using warm water mixed with mild soap.

In addition, depending on the type of tile used, periodic sealing might be necessary to sustain their weather-resistance property while preserving color vibrancy. For instance, unglazed ceramic tiles might need resealing every one to two years depending on exposure conditions.

Managing Potential Issues Such As Loose Tiles

Despite meticulous installation and maintenance efforts, issues such as loose tiles could emerge over time due to various factors including weather elements exposure and foundational shifts among others. In such instances, immediate action is necessary because one loose tile can quickly escalate into multiple if left unattended.

Identify the loose tile(s), carefully extract them ensuring minimal damage is caused to surrounding tiles then clean out old adhesive from both tile backside(s) and space previously occupied by said tile(s). Reapply fresh adhesive firmly placing back the tile(s) followed by re-grouting once adhesive is dry.


Tiling outside corners poses unique challenges but also offers an opportunity for aesthetic enhancement in our outdoor spaces; it's an endeavor worth pursuing with gusto! With patience and adherence to proper techniques illustrated in this guide - from site preparation all through installation process down to post-installation care - you are set to achieve impressive results that will stand tall against time's test while significantly enhancing your space's visual appeal.

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