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Finishes of a wall tile

The aesthetics of a wall tile depends to a large extent on the quality of the finishes. They are of two kinds: the joints between the tiles and the junction between them and the sanitary or household appliances (sink, worktop). There are many accessories and products available today to get the best results.

Grouting between tiles

Except for certain types of tiles, for example marble or travertine, whose edges are rectified, the jointing installation of tiles is not a good solution, because it does not allow a satisfactory seal. The solution chosen is therefore to leave a small space between the tiles which are then filled with slip.

The slip powder
It's the most economical. It is presented in bags of 1 to 25 kg, based on cement or synthetic binders more resistant to wear and water. The slip powder is especially suitable for large joints (about ten millimeters, for example). Gray or white, the powder can also be colored in the mass (be careful: some colors do not fit in the big light!).


  • moisten the joints (with a spray) 24 to 48 hours after the tiling is completed;
  • spoil the powder in the water, in a clean container, respecting the proportions recommended by the manufacturer; it is necessary to count from 2 to 3 parts of powder to 1 part of water;
  • knead until a smooth and homogeneous paste is obtained (the presence of certain adjuvants in this type of product sometimes makes the wetting of the powder difficult); let the resulting dough rest for a few minutes, then mix again;
  • apply the slip to the raclette or with the spatula, by making it penetrate well into the joints (the time of use of this kind of product is in principle of 1 h);
  • clean the tile surface with a wet sponge when the slip starts to set (after about 30 minutes);
  • polish 1 h later;
  • the complete hardening takes place only after 48 hours (the hardness of the joints is increased by spraying them with water several times during drying).

The slurry paste
The slurry paste is reserved for interior tiles. It comes in the form of a ready-to-use paste, white or colored, in pots of 1 to 5 kg. It is suitable for joints not exceeding 5 mm.
Its use is very simple since it does not require any particular preparation:

  • mix the dough well before application (it is possible to add a dye if the dough is not tinted in the mass);
  • apply the paste with a squeegee or spatula;
  • wipe with a damp sponge as you go, without waiting for the product as with the powder-based slip;
  • complete drying intervenes in 48 hours.

The corner profiles are aesthetic and they have the advantage of better evacuation of water dripping on the tiles.

Internal corner profile

Internal corner profiles
They provide an answer to the problem of the junction and sealing between the tiles at a re-entrant angle where it is difficult to penetrate the slip, whether powder or paste. These are PVC profile elements, which fit into each other, adjustable according to the thickness of the tiles (6, 8 or 10 mm). It will be necessary to pose them at the same time as the tiles themselves. They are an interesting alternative because they are more aesthetic and more effective than traditional silicone seals. There are also soft joints reported.

External corner profiles
They solve the difficulty of grouting at this level; they also guarantee a good protection of these always fragile zones.

Liaison with devices

It is very important to ensure a perfect sealing between wall tile and sanitary fixtures (sink, bath, shower receiver) or household (sink, worktop).

Silicone sealant
It is currently the most used product to achieve the sanitary seal between the tiles and appliances:

  • prefer products containing fungicidal agents which prevents the formation of molds;
  • use a tube for small jobs or a extrudable cartridge for larger sites;
  • clean, wipe and degrease the support before application;
  • drop a regular bead progressing the cannula slowly;
  • smooth the joint fingertips (after soaking in dishwashing liquid to aid smoothing) or with the accessory supplied with the product.

For a joint repair, do not forget to eliminate the old seal with a product to dissolve it or with a suitable tool.

Joint profiles allow an optimal finish between sanitary fixtures (here a bathtub) and wall tiles.

Joint profile

Different PVC profiles make it possible to obtain both a good seal and a satisfactory finish. We distinguish:

  • the profiles (joint cover) to be glued after laying the tiles;
  • the profiles to ask at the same time as the tiles (the latter, stronger, guaranteeing a better result).

Repair of silicone sanitary seals

For a quality repair, it is essential to remove the seal remnants to be replaced. There are suitable products for this.

Dilution of the remains of old sanitary seal

1. To ensure a perfect seal, it is essential to start by removing all traces of the old seal: apply the product of dissolution of the seal, let act 30 min and scratch.

For large joints, it is best to use a cartridge and an extrusion gun.

Application of a silicone sanitary seal

2. There are commercially available products with high adhesion (even on a wet substrate), presented in tubes or extrudable cartridges.

(photos / visuals: © DIY-Prod, except special mention)

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