Month: January 2017

TT Trims present The Tile Association technical advice on tile trims & profiles

TT Trims present The Tile Association technical advice on tile trims & profiles – The Tile Association has helpfully issued a technical note around the selection and installation of tile trims and profiles, well worth a read below- or just click on the following link for a downloadable pdf; tta-advice-tile-trim

TTA Technical advice note 10 – Tile Trim Profiles
© The Tile Association 2013

Technical advice note 10 – Tile Trim Profiles
This paper has been written with the aim of providing advice and guidance for all parties in
the use and installation of tile trim profiles in tiled wall and floor installations. The paper
should be read in conjunction with current and forthcoming British, European and
International Standards, in particular BS 5385 and BS 8000-11.
The development and proliferation of trim profiles has echoed two major shifts in the ceramic
tile industry, including the transition from mortar bed installation to adhesive fixing and the
change in ceramic tile production techniques. Trim profiles are valuable tools for tile
installers, with the benefits ranging from simply improving the aesthetics and design options
to providing durability of tile assemblies.
Despite the fact that ceramic and natural stone tiles are very durable coverings, tiles are hard
rigid material and edges are prone to cracking and chipping when left unprotected. Tiles are
a popular choice for their hygienic and easy maintenance properties, however exposed tile
edges need to be protected.
In general, trim profiles for ceramic and stone tile applications feature two primary elements.
The first is an anchoring leg, which allows the profile to become an integral component of the
tile assembly within the tile adhesive bed. The second primary element of the trim profile is
the “body”, which forms the visible surface of the profile, finishing and protecting the tile edge.
Therefore, it is important when using trim profiles to select products that are specifically
designed for the application of ceramic and natural stone.
Trim profiles are available in a wide variety of materials, finishes and colours to suit various
internal and external tile applications from a design and aesthetic perspective; however it is
also important to consider the expected service conditions, e.g. mechanical stresses,
exposure to cleaners and chemicals, etc.
The following document is a general guide to the use of trim profiles within ceramic tile and
natural stone installations. Whilst there are a number of suppliers of profiles and trims within
the UK tile industry, the information supplied in this document highlights areas that will be
common across all suppliers. For individual applications, or to verify suitability, it is
recommended that the product supplier is consulted for individual project suitability.
The most common profile materials encountered are PVC, aluminium, brass and stainless
steel. Whilst the manufacturer of the profile will determine its use and areas of application,
the following are generic guidelines.

Residential Commercial Industrial
Aluminium Aluminium –
Anodised aluminium Anodised aluminium –
Brass Brass Brass
Stainless steel* Stainless steel* Stainless steel*
* Generally suppliers offer profiles and trims in grade 304 and grade 316 stainless steel
options. The selection of the different grades will depend on the application and exposure to
Material properties:
Stainless steel can sustain high mechanical stresses and is especially suited for applications
requiring resistance against chemicals and acids, e.g. swimming pools, hospitals and food
industry applications. All cleaning agents should be free of hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid.
Stainless steel profiles are offered in various grades providing chemical resistance against
common substances that are encountered in tiled environments. Whilst stainless steel is
resistant to a variety of chemical substances it does not negate the need to employ a cleaning
regime for the profile(s).

Brass can sustain high mechanical stresses and is resistant to some chemical exposure. In
contact with air, solid brass will oxidize and develop a natural patina. This oxidation can be
cleaned with a suitable polishing agent.
Aluminium profiles should be verified for their suitability in the environment they are to be
used. Aluminium is sensitive to alkaline substances, which may result if the formation of
corrosion products (aluminium hydroxide). As cementitious materials in conjunction with
moisture become alkaline it is important to solidly bed the profiles and ensure all adhesive
and grout residue is removed from the profile. Oxidation films can be removed with a
common polishing agent.
PVC profiles should be checked with the manufacturer for suitability and chemical resistance.
Wall profiles
The manufacture of ceramic tiles with glazed edges is not common these days. The
consequence being the body of the tile is visible at external corners or where tile edges are
visible at the edges of skirting or transitions to other coverings.
The basic purpose of wall trim profiles is to provide a decorative edge whilst protecting the tile
edge from damage.
A variety of materials, colours and surface finishes are available offering increased design
flexibility to provide protection to the exposed edges and create beautiful design features for a
durable installation.

Trim profiles are usually available for most applications and include edge protection and
decoration profiles in square and rounded formats, with other options being available from
individual manufacturers.
Square Edge Trim Round Edge Trim Cube Shaped Trim
Installation (generic installation guidelines for profile with anchoring
• Select the profile according to the tile thickness.
• Using an appropriate notched trowel, apply tile adhesive to the area where the
profile is to be placed. If using the profile on an external wall corner, tile one wall
first, then trowel tile adhesive over the corner of the second wall.
• Press the anchoring leg into the fresh adhesive and align.
• Trowel additional tile adhesive over the anchoring leg to ensure full coverage and
support of the tile edges.
• Solidly bed the tiles over the anchoring leg, so that the top of the tile is either
flush with the top of the profile or up to 1 mm lower.
• Set the tile to leave a grout joint of approximately 1.5 – 3 mm.
• Fill the joint completely with grout material and remove any residual from the
visible surfaces of the profile.
To overcome the need to mitre profiles at internal and external corners, a large number of
suppliers provide corner pieces to compliment the trim profile being used. The corner pieces
can enhance the finished application and speed the installation process. Consult individual
suppliers on what is offered.
Floor profiles
Ceramic and stone tiles are inherently brittle by nature; therefore their exposed edges can
chip or crack if left unprotected. Transitions between floor surfaces and at thresholds are
particularly vulnerable to damage. There are a wide variety of profiles and trims available to
provide edge protection and transitions at thresholds and between adjacent surfaces,
resulting in durable, maintenance free tiled coverings.
The profiles can be generally grouped into two categories, transitions between same height
surfaces and transitions between different height surfaces.
Selection of the appropriate transition profile will be determined on individual applications,
taking account of the environment and traffic conditions, etc.
When selecting transition profiles careful consideration should be given to the exposure of the
profile to traffic load and chemical exposure. Where residential and light commercial
environments are encountered the majority of material listed will be suitable, however for
higher traffic loads, brass and stainless steel profiles would be preferable.
Where floors are subjected to frequent wetting or have aggressive cleaning regimes, stainless
steel profiles would be favourable.

Edge Protection Trim Transition Trim
Installation (generic installation guidelines for profile with anchoring
 Select the profile according to the tile thickness.
 When using a ramp profile, it may need to be back filled with tile adhesive under the
transition leg to provide full support.
 Using an appropriate notched trowel, apply cementitious adhesive to the area where
the profile is to be placed.
 Press the anchoring leg into the fresh adhesive and align.
 Trowel additional tile adhesive over the anchoring leg to ensure full coverage and
support of the tile edges.
 Solidly bed the tiles over the anchoring leg, so that the top of the tile is either flush
with the top of the profile or up to 1 mm lower.
 Set the tile to leave a grout joint of approximately 1.5 – 3 mm.
 Fill the joint completely with grout material and remove any residual from the visible
surfaces of the profile.
Stair nosing profiles
Ceramic and stone tiles are hard and rigid materials whose exposed edges are prone to
cracking and chipping when left unprotected. Tiled stair edges that do not utilise appropriate
trim pieces are left vulnerable to chipping and breaking and can create a slip hazard,
especially in exterior applications. Stair nosing profiles protect exposed tile edges and
improve safety on tiled stairways by providing slip resistant wear surfaces and increased
visibility in both residential and commercial applications.
Various options are available to suit internal and external locations in all tiled applications
including residential, commercial and industrial environments. Where compliance to current
building regulations is required, e.g. DDA (The Disability Discrimination Act 1995) or Equality
Act, then profiles are available to meet these needs. The advice provided within Approved
Document M – Access to and use of buildings states “all nosings are made apparent by
means of a permanently contrasting material 55 mm wide on both the tread and riser”.
Materials range from PVC to metal profiles and can allow for the tread area to be replaced on
some options.
Stair Nosing Profile DDA Compliant Profile
Installation (generic installation guidelines for profile with anchoring
 Select the profile according to the tile thickness.
 If appropriate, install the riser tile.
 Apply appropriate tile adhesive to the edge areas above the riser.
 If applicable, fill any cavities on the underside of the profile with appropriate tile
adhesive, to ensure solid bedding.
 Press the profile into the adhesive and align.
 Trowel additional tile adhesive over the anchoring legs and remaining step area.
 Solid bed fix the step tiles so that the top of the profile is flush with the tiles. A joint of
approximately 2-3 mm should be left between the profile and tile.
 Fill joint completely with grout.
Installation (generic installation guidelines for profile without anchoring
 Ensure the step edge is clean and solid.
 Clean and degrease the profile if applicable.
 Adhere or mechanically fix the profile in line with the suppliers’ requirements.
Movement joint profiles:
Tile coverings expand and contract with changes in moisture, temperature and loading,
therefore movement joints are an essential component in any tile assembly. Prefabricated
movement joint profiles are available for intermediate, perimeter and connections to other
building components. The profiles typically provide a durable and maintenance-free tile
assembly giving edge protection to tile edges.
Intermediate – For dividing tiled areas.
Perimeter – For perimeter connections, e.g. floor to wall
Connection – Where tiling abuts other building structures, e.g. steps, door and window
Intermediate Profile Perimeter Profile Connecting Profile
Profiles are available in a wide variety of materials and finishes, which are designed for
certain applications, therefore it is important to select the correct movement joint profile for the
tiled application.
Points to consider:
 Areas of use, e.g. light or heavy duty.
 Exposure to moisture.
 Exposure to chemicals.
 Anticipated movement.
 Fixing method of tile covering.

Typically pre-formed movement joints are available, that can be fitted with a mortar bed or
adhesive fixed tile coverings. The most common is usually the profiles with anchoring legs,
which are used where tiles are fixed with adhesive.
Generally movement joint profiles are manufactured with either PVC or metal anchoring legs,
which should have large closely-spaced punched sections to allow tile adhesive to
mechanically lock the profile and adequately support the tile edges. Metal anchoring legs will
give greater protection to tile edges and should be used in heavy traffic areas.
Anchoring legs without punched cut-out sections are not ideal and should be avoided where
possible. The movement zone of these profile types is usually created with a synthetic
compressible material, which is bonded or clamped to the anchoring legs. Where clamped
systems are used it is usually possible to replace the movement zone.
When selecting a movement joint profile, the type and amount of movement needs to be
considered for each application, e.g. lateral and vertical movement. Where structural joints
are being bridged it is important to use a specifically design joint for these areas. Consult with
individual movement joint suppliers on the type to use in specific conditions, taking account of
the movement capacity of the profile and the environment it is exposed to.
Areas of use:
PVC – Residential and light commercial.
Aluminium – Residential and commercial.
Brass – Residential, commercial and industrial.
Stainless steel – Residential, commercial and industrial.
Generic installation guidelines for movement joint profiles – please consult individual
manufacturers’ recommendations.
Installation: Surface joints with anchoring legs
 Generally the height of the profile is selected to correspond to the thickness of the tile
and adhesive bed.
 Using a notched trowel, apply tile adhesive over the area where the profile is to be
 Press the perforated anchoring leg(s) of the profile into the adhesive and align. The
profile must align with existing movement joints within the substrate.
 Trowel adhesive over the anchoring legs to ensure full coverage.
 Firmly press the adjoining tiles into place and adjust them so that the tiled surface is
flush with the top of the profile. The tiles should be solidly bedded over the anchoring
leg. (Note – where heavy traffic is expected the profile height can be slightly higher
than the tile thickness, so that a solid bed of adhesive can be ensured under and over
the anchoring leg).
 Leave a joint of approximately 2 mm between the tile and profile.
 Fill the joint cavity between the tile and the profile completely with grout.
Installation: Movement joint profiles mortar bed fixed
 Select the profile for the correct depth and application.
 Set the profile flush against the edge of the area already completed, inserting any
anchoring ties, if required.
 Ensure that the profile is solidly bedded laterally.
 Install adjacent surface against the movement joint profile.
 Fill the remaining joint between the tile and profile with grout.
Tile Trim Profiles
Tolerances on finished wall and floor level
In accordance with BS 5385-3, ideally there should be no appreciable difference in level
across joints, however the maximum deviation between tile surfaces either side of a joint,
including movement joints, should be as follows:
1. Joints less than 6 mm wide, 1 mm;
2. Joints 6 mm or more wide, 2 mm.
Site cutting of pre-formed movement joints can be achieved using the appropriate method.
PVC profiles can be cut using a proprietary pair of snips or hacksaw with an appropriate
blade. Metal profiles can be cut using a hacksaw or angle grinder with the appropriate blade
or disc. Specialist band saws and chop saws are available for cutting large quantities of
profile; these can be obtained from various tool suppliers and manufacturers. Stainless steel
products can be tarnished if the wrong cutting blade or disc is chosen, therefore correct
selection is important.
BS 8300: 2001 ‘Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the
needs of disabled people Code of Practice’.
BS 8300: 2001 provides recommendations and guidance that specifically relate to designing
for visually impaired people, however this is not law, nor does it offer a guarantee of
compliance with the law.
Section 9 states:
9.1 Surface finishes Commentary on 9.1. Floor, wall and door and ceiling surfaces can help or
hinder the use of buildings by disabled people. For example, people with sensory
impairments may have difficulty finding their way around spaces if they cannot respond to
visual cues.
The extent to which floor, wall, door and ceiling surfaces enable disabled people to find and
maintain their bearings and maintain their independent use of a building, is influenced by:
a) the colour, light reflectance value (LRV) and texture of the surfaces;
b) the treatment of components and finishing elements, such as doors, architraves, skirtings,
cornices, handrails, etc. which define, or are contained within, these surfaces;
c) the appropriate use of surfaces to clarify location and direction and to identify objects;
BS 8300 and Light Reflectance Values (LRV’s)
Annex G of the British Standard expands upon the importance of good visual contrast to help
visually impaired people differentiate and define surfaces. It equates colour with a light
reflectance value (LRV) and, in principle, states that areas with higher LRV differentials
(ideally upwards of 30 points) are more readily differentiated by the visually impaired. This
means that colours with identifiable LRV’s can be used together to develop design schemes
that meet the recommendations of BS 8300.
PPE Requirements
Tile fixers should ensure their personal safety when cutting profiles by wearing the
appropriate PPE for the task.


Aquacut continues to invest in growth

Following the launch of TT Trims, Aquacut group now comprises three distinct but related divisions;

  1. Aquacut ( is the processing company creating beautiful as well as fuctional building finishes from tiles, stone, metals and other materials.  We offer a wide range of services including waterjet cutting, bullnosing, manufacturing air bricks, step and riser cladding (offering a range of anti-slip features), epoxy bonding and painting, etching, swimming pool features, corporate logos and motifs and house signs.
  2. Tilers Tools ( which is the UK distributor for Raimondi SpA of Italy.  Raimondi design and manufacture high quality equipment, tools and consumables for professional tilers, landscapers and builders.
  3. TT Trims is the most recent division.  TT Trims are the UK distributors for Profilitec SpA.  Profilitec design and manufacture high quality trims, profiles, wet room systems and accessories for the building industry.

Stuart Middleton, Managing Director of Aquacut Limited said; “The three divisions of Aquacut group gives us much wider scope to serve our loyal clients with high quality services and products.  Our customers have welcomed the ability to buy quality products from a trusted supplier, so much so that since launch, Tilers Tools has beaten forecasts.”

Aquacut announces the launch of their new TT Trims division

Stuart Middleton, Managing Director of Aquacut Limited announced that his company has recently launched TT Trims.  Explaining why he did so, Stuart mentioned that Aquacut’s core business is processing tiles and stone, creating attractive and functional finishes for the building industry.  Aquacut developed its relationships with its clients further when it launched its Tilers Tools division in February 2016 to distribute the high quality Raimondi range of equipment, tools and consumables.  That initiative has been extremely well received by the building and landscape sectors, further strengthening the group’s links with clients.

Stuart was so impressed by the quality of the design and manufacture of the Profilitec range of products, he believed they ought to be much more widely known in this country.  TT Trims was appointed exclusive UK and Irish distributor for Profilitec in late 2016.

Stuart stated; “Profilitec is a very successful company.  For some considerable time they have manufactured and sold high quality trims, profiles, drainage systems and accessories targeted at professional tilers and tile supply companies.  Its products are on sale around the world and nowadays trend and innovation makes the United Kingdom a must for Profilitec.  Aquacut’s sales are almost exclusively derived from processing ceramic and porcelain tiles and stone of various types so we have excellent relationships with building professionals throughout the country.

While TT Trims is based in Cheshire, North West England, we distribute Profilitec products throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.