How to Detail Tile Baseboards

Instead of using MDF or a hardwood baseboard in the wet areas of your home, such as a bathroom, laundry room or mudroom, consider using a tile baseboard. Tile is more water resistant and durable and if detailed correctly, can look really sharp.

First, you need to use the same tile as the floor tile for the baseboard. Ideally, it should be a larger format tile (12 X 12 or larger) and should be a solid color throughout – so either a natural stone or a porcelain (a glazed ceramic will not look very good unless it has a factory edge).

The grout lines from the floor tile should extend and line up with the grout lines of the tile base board. We also recommend tiling the toe kick of any millwork in these wet areas. The tile baseboard height should be matched to the height of the toe kick of any millwork so there is a continuous datum line that runs on the walls and then under any of the millwork – usually this means the tile base will be about 4 inches in height.

Today’s Slides:

  • Terri

    Good discussion. I hope to use your advice in a bathroom reno…some day. I have a question though: what if you’re using slate tiles that are rather thick? Wouldn’t this look too chunky on the wall with a thick top edge? Or, if a glazed ceramic tile is used, do you just paint over the terracotta edge to match the wall colour?

  • Matthew North

    Hi Terri – yes, natural slate may be a bit on the thick and rough side, but I think it would still work. I also think that painting a glazed tile edge would not be ideal – I would try to see if the tile selection had specially made corner pieces with a slightly rounded finished edge or use the factory edge for all the baseboard pieces.

  • Anonymous

    Hello John and Mathew,

    I have been buried on a large hotel addition/renovation in New England.
    I haven’t missed any of the Design Minutes.
    They have been great and informative.
    I did wanted to say to Mathew, did I hear you say “Datum Line”, just as I was getting used to hearing “ordonnance” and occasionally confusing it with “ordnance” as in heavy artillery or “ordinance” as if by law or higher authority. I kept ducking or bowing everytime you used the word.

    Thanks again for the great information,

    Merry Christmas,

    Oscar B. Morales

  • Matthew North

    Hello Oscar…..buried in work and yet you never miss a Design Minute! I really like that! I probably did say “datum line” with respect to setting a continuous baseboard and toe kick height. I like your suggestion of interpreting my use of “ordinance” as being about a law or higher authority…….that suits my personality just fine! I have been known to “bark” out design orders and my so-called “truths” from time to time! Haha! Thanks for your comment – hope you have a great holiday…..I’m off to Florida next week…….I’m really looking forward to it!

  • BradW

    John and Matthew – I really enjoy your discussion on these small details that really make a big difference – I don’t always agree with you two but I am glad to know there are other people out there insane enough to think about these things.

    Merry Christmas

  • Mikefilcor

    do you recommend to adhere the tiles to the toe kick of the vanity?

  • Matthew North

    Hi Mike – we specify the vanity toe kicks to be made out of plywood so the tile setter can install the tiles directly to the toe kicks after the vanities are installed.

  • Libby

    Make your tile baseboards seem seamless and attractive by painstakingly measuring and cutting the tiles to fit, then applying Niuyuan tile trim to create a clean and refined finish, adding a touch of elegance and completing the overall design of your room.