Home Improvement--General/Tile top


Shower Tile Top 1
Shower Tile Top 1  

Shower Tile Top 2
Shower Tile Top 2  
Hello Diane,

The pics attached are from the tiles on the walls of my shower, taken from the top. I don't know what's wrong with these builders now-a-days all they build is garbage. The row of tiles at the top of the wall is unfinished! What should I use to cover the gap between the tiles and the wall?

Thanks in advance,


Hello, Rick.

I'm so sorry that you have this problem to deal with!

It will be challenging, but you can finish off the top edge with quarter round trim tiles. It looks like the wall tile is stone, or porcelain that looks like stone; that's part of the problem. It's hard to find stone or porcelain trim tile. I thought about recommending field tile to go up to the ceiling, but that presents more challenges than adding quarter rounds, especially if the wall above the tiles has been textured. Then there's the additional problem of installing backer board so the end result looks smooth and protects against water damage.

So, here's what you do to finish off the top edge of the tile with quarter rounds. First, you'll have to thoroughly clean off any residue of the material the contractor left, and make sure that the top of the exposed tiles are as clean and flat as possible.Then you'll have to "back-butter" the quarter rounds with thinset to get a good bond. Don't be afraid to push them into place; remove any thinset that oozes out, so you can apply grout after the thinset has set up. Use the same spacers that the contractor used, so it looks like the finish tiles were intentional. You may not be able to find quarter rounds that are the same width as the field tile, so I recommend installing them off-center from the existing vertical grout joints. Hopefully, the contractor didn't create another problem by placing the shower head close to the top of the tile.

I've selected a picture from "Google Images" that shows a quarter round, very similar to the way it would be installed. The bottom edge will be above the wall tiles, and the top edge will touch the wall. Here's a link to the image: http://www.google.com/imgres?num=10&hl=en&tbo=d&biw=1014&bih=669&tbm=isch&tbnid=

In 30 years of practice, hundreds of remodeled (and new) bathrooms, I've had only one or two bathroom remodeling projects where the tile stopped short of the ceiling, like your project. It takes more field tile to go up to the ceiling, but field tile is less expensive than trim tile. It creates a cleaner look, and allows us to place the shower head(s) at any height, without the awkward look of the shower head being just above the top row of tile. This also gives us room for decorative tile inserts. But it requires detailed elevations -- and babysitting contractors, to make sure they do what's intended, rather than doing the job their way.

Hopefully, you'll be able to find some nice quarter rounds to finish off the edge that's bugging you. Good luck with your project!


Diane Plesset, CMKBD, NCIDQ, C.A.P.S.
D. P. Design

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Diane Plesset


I will answer questions about anything to do with bathroom remodeling: design considerations, safety, function, materials (cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures and fittings, lighting/switching, heating and ventilation, tile, stone, concrete, tub and shower enclosures, flooring, etc.), saving water, trends, ROI, and appearance.


25+ years as a bath-kitchen design specialist, hundreds of completed bathroom projects (all styles, all investment ranges). Author of "THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling," co-host of a home improvement program on a local radio station for over three years. Currently hosting "Today's Home" on Lifestyle WebRadio every Sunday afternoon (http://www.todays-home.com).

NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association), NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), PRO (Portland Remodelers' Organization), IDPC (Interior Design Protection Council).

"THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling" (my book, published in 2003), Designers' Illustrated Magazine, Gentry Magazine, Kitchen-Bath Business Magazine, Kitchen-Bath Design News Magazine,Interior Coordinator Magazine (Japan); San Jose Mercury News, San Mateo Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Statesman Journal, Portland Tribune, Oregonian.

Multiple degrees: Bathroom Design, Residential Interior Design, Kitchen Design, and Lighting Design. Regularly attend classes and seminars to maintain current knowledge about codes, trends, sustainability, new products, etc.

Awards and Honors
Awards: Henry Adams Designer of the Year, CoTY, Master Design, Best of the Best, Chrysalis, Excellence (best home in its category), and NABE (best how-to book, 2003). "THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling" received #1 listing in the City of Chicago publication, "Hiring The Pros".

Past/Present Clients
To see photos of completed projects, visit my website: http://www.dp-design.com/portfolio

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