How To Tile Around A Window Without Trim

If your window seems to stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of your home, the problem might be your window trim. Although window trim is a great way to integrate your window into your home, it can sometimes be intrusive and more old-fashioned. While some rooms and homes can benefit from window trims, other windows might look better if they are finished with tile instead.

Windows located in kitchens and bathrooms with existing tile look much better without window tirm. You can use the existing tile shape, spaces, adhesive, and levelers to finish your window without a trim. By finishing your window with tiles, you can preserve the look of your window in the kitchen and bathroom, and seamlessly integrate it into your home.

hand uses silicone adhesive with a glue gun to repair worn windows. includes image of tile level, tile adhesive, and tile samples. How To Tile Around A Window Without Trim

What is Window Trim?

Window trim is just what it sounds like - trim placed around the entirety of a window that gives it a unique look. Window trim that is placed around a window can look quite old-fashioned. In fact, older manuals describing windows readily illustrate window trim in their designs. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Large window in a bathroom near the garden-style large bathtub

Some of the benefits of window trim include:

  • Attracting attention to your window, especially if your window are recessed.
  • They can be used on the interior and exterior of your home.
  • Window trim can fit the look of any home, whether traditional or modern.
  • Window trim is quite easy to install, and usually comes standard with your window installation.
  • Window trims can help integrate the look of your home and your windows.

However, there are also some downsides to window trim. For instance, not all window trims suit the look of your home or kitchen. While some window trims can help attract attention to your window, others can be unsightly and an eye sore. 

In addition, window trim tends to wear away after a while, leaving your window unsightly and unprotected against the elements.

Why Install Tile Instead of a Window Trim?

If you opt to replace your window trim with another product, there are quite a few choices to use. For instance, you can choose to simply replace your old window trim with another type of window trim, such as one made of wood or PVC.

However, tile is becoming more and more popular among homeowners, and for good reason. Around 56% of homeowners say they use tile for their kitchen backsplash materials, more than any other material such as marble, quartz, or granite. 

Chances are, your kitchen uses tile backsplash, or you're considering installing tile backsplash into your kitchen. If this is the case, then putting tile around your window instead of a trim can help seamlessly integrate it into your kitchen.

Your bathroom might also use tile instead. This is because tile is extremely durable and even waterproof. If you have a window in your bathroom, it only makes sense (aesthetically) to place tile around your window inside of your bathroom instead of window trim.

Will Tile Last Around My Window?

Experts say that a proper wall tile job will last roughly 75 years inside of your home. This is quite a long time, and shows just how durable ceramic tile can be when installed properly. Therefore, if you want your window to last you quite a long time without too much maintenance, tile is an excellent choice.

In addition, the Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants also state that ceramic is incredibly durable against changes in extreme temperature conditions. This makes tile a great choice to use inside of your bathrooms or kitchens, which can experience moisture and temperature conditions all at once.

How to Install Tile Around a Window Without Trim

It's fairly easy to install tile around a window without trim with the proper tools. These tools include:

  • Tile adhesive
  • Properly cut tiles, which can be measured to size using your existing tiles
  • Tile cutter, such as the one seen here, which is essential to create smooth edges 
  • Tile trims, which are less discrete than window trim but still serve to give a finished look to your window. They can be found here or in any other hardware store.
  • Adhesive spreading tool to create an even layer on your window
  • Spacers
  • Wood support beams cut to size
  • Grout, which will be added to the lines left behind by your spacers
  • Caulk
  • Safety goggles and gloves

1. Take measurements using the existing tiles on your window. To do this, pretend you're laying the tiles over your window as if it were a regular wall. If you already have tiles, line up the new tiles that will be placed on the recess of your window with these. Use the grout lines as guides. 

These grout lines and measurements will be used to determine how wide each tile will need to be. Then, measure the recessed area, also known as the window sill, to measure the total height of the tile that will be placed on the sill. Make sure to measure each area of the window sill individually, as there might be subtle height differences in each area of the window sill that will affect the size of your tile.

2. Use a tile cutter to cut the tiles to size. Make sure to wear safety goggles and gloves while doing so, since the ceramic is very fine and can easily cause extensive eye damage and cut your hands. A good pair will prevent your eyes from fogging up, such as this one here on Amazon.

3. Measure the inside of your window frame, since you will need to cut support beams to size to keep tiles on the upper side of the window sill in place, as seen here.

Handyman measuring window for cassette roller blinds.

You can make support beams out of sturdy pieces of wood that fit perfectly in place to support tiles on the upper side of your window. Make sure to subtract about 1/4" from each side of the length of the window to account for grout, about 1/2" total, when cutting your beam to size.

4. Once you have all your beams and tiles cut, it's time to place adhesive for tiles onto your window using an adhesive spreader. For windows inside of bathrooms, make sure you're using an adhesive that is designed to be waterproof and withstand moisture. For any window, use an adhesive that is designed for the specific tile you are using, such as this one that is designed for use with ceramic, porcelain, and stone.

5. Spread the adhesive and lay down your tiles, using a leveler to make sure they are placed straight. Place spacers in between the tiles while the adhesive dries out. These spacers are used to create beautiful lines in between the tiles and make room for grout.

6. For tiles on the upper side of the window, place the precut beam to hold them in place so they don't fall off for at least 24 hours.

7. Spread grout using a grout spreader in between the tiles. Make sure to get grout in between the space left by then spacers, and clean off any excess grout with a wet sponge.

8. After all the tiles are placed and grout is added, add caulk around the window to create a water-tight barrier, as seen here. 

male hand holding a blue caulking gun about to caulk a crack between an interior gray aluminum metal window frame

9. Finally, add a small tile trim around the edge of your window. This gives it a classic, elegant finished look and protects the edge of the tile. Make sure to cut it at a 45-degree angle before placing it on your window.

Final Thoughts 

It's quite easy to install a window without traditional trim using tiles. Choose the tile that best suits your personality, your kitchen or bathroom, and have fun installing your new windows with tiles that can withstand the temperature and last years to come.