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What are the Different Options for Granite Tile Edging?

By M.J. Casey
Updated May 16, 2024
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The choice of granite tile edging and granite slab edging is a safety, health and aesthetic decision. The sharp edges of countertops and tables pose a serious safety issue, especially to children. Edging decisions should take into account the ability to clean grooves. From a designer’s perspective, edging should reflect the room atmosphere, function and proportion as well as the owner’s personality and personal style. Among the different options for granite tile edging are quarter round edges, bullnose edges, beveled edges, waterfall edges and rough edges.

Homeowners and interior decorators often refer to a group of several igneous rocks suitable for countertops and tiles as granite. Originally, granite countertops were installed as tiles, with special tiles for the edges. Their popularity has increased and costs have decreased, and now countertops typically are installed as slabs. Granite tile edging options for flooring are usually simple T-profiles.

Granite is formed by the crystallization of minerals from molten rock. Granite deposits are ubiquitous. The cost of a granite installation is related more to the cost of labor, transportation and energy than the cost of the raw material. Edge treatments are ground in by shaped diamond blades that are repeatedly passed over the edge. In a newer technique, computer-numerically controlled (CNC) lathes offer the option of more complex cuts at lower costs.

A common treatment of granite tile edging for kitchens and baths is either the quarter round or the bullnose. Both offer a 90-degree or larger radius, resulting in a less “sharp,” rounder edge. The bullnose actually creates a slight lip to the counter, which might help in curbing spills. A full bullnose rounds the top and bottom edges, compared to a half bullnose, which treats only the upper edge. Both shapes are easy to clean.

For the office or retail location, beveled granite tile edge treatments are attractive. A bevel is a slice that cuts off the corner of the edge. This creates a profile that is safe, easy to clean and less casual.

“Waterfall” treatments have two, three or more tiers. These elaborate edgings are most appropriate for settings such as public buildings, corporate headquarters or other facilities requiring a formal presence. The multiple grooves can make cleaning difficult in kitchen environments. As the granite slab gets thinner with each tier, the cross-section begins to present thinner edges and potentially more hazards.

Another interesting granite tile edging option is to utilize the rough edge formed from the original quarrying operation. The shape from the top-down point of view is jagged on one side. Often, the half-circles from where the dynamite was inserted into drilled-out holes in the granite deposit are incorporated into the side. The edge is smoothed with grinding tools to make it suitable for a countertop. Occasionally, granite floor tiles will also incorporate a jagged edge by means of computer-controlled cuts.

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