Can Porcelain Tile Edges Be Polished?

Tiling is a big job and can be difficult to get under your belt. There seems to be a never-ending list of questions when it comes to how to deal with tiling. One such might be if a tile edge can be polished even if it is porcelain.

Porcelain tile edges can be polished and in fact, should be polished after cutting them. Factory tiles come polished on the edges to reduce sharpness and to prevent chipping of the glassy material on top. Tiles are very delicate and need proper care to keep from becoming too worn.

Now that you know that it is possible, you may need to know exactly how to do it, and in addition, learn some other facts about tiling that you may not have known but can be helpful.

Why The Edge Needs To Be Polished

Tile is a delicate man-made material that can be used to beautify a home and give the floor, wall, or even ceiling a nice clean look. With proper care, it is a great option for giving your home the look that you want.

When your tile is first purchased, there will be a nice fine edge that plays a 45-degree angle to protect the edge of the tile itself. Tile can be easily chipped or cracked and this edge keeps that from happening.

At some point in the installation process, the tile will need to be cut, losing its factory polish and possibly creating sharp edges that will be unpleasant to walk on, especially with bare feet.

This is usually an easy fix that can be combatted with a simple polish to the edge that takes that sharp edge off and gives the tile its polished edge once more. It will be protected from cracks or chipping and be much safer for you as the one to interact with it daily.

How To Polish The Edge

The question now comes to exactly how one is to polish the edge in the safest way possible without damaging the tile itself. There are two ways that this can be done. I would suggest doing it with a sander machine, but doing it by hand works as well.


The machine will be easier and more efficient in your efforts. It is a simple process that won’t require too much exertion on your part. Follow this step-by-step guide and you will have a nice polished edge to protect your tile.

  1. Start with a 200-grade polish paper: Tile polishers have a 50 grade to 3000 grade. Anything less than 200 is going to be much too rough for this job. So start with 200 and work your way up.
  2. Form a tilt: As you run it across the surface of the edge at a 45 degree angle, make sure to tilt the polisher so that only one part of the disc is sanding the tile at one time. This will reduce drag and friction. It will create a steadier edge.
  3. Don’t Push: As you are polishing it is important to remember that pushing hard if at all will polish too much and create damage that you were trying to prevent. Instead, just glide the polisher over the edge.
  4. Move up in grades: As you polish the edge you need to move up in polish grades. From what I have gathered it’s alright to skip a lot, jumping from 200 to 800 and ultimately to 1500. This will refine the edge that you polish and basically recreate the factory edge.

These steps are the same if you are using the hand method. Of course, there will be variation in the method, but the idea is the same. Pushing too hard can become problematic, and creating a nice edge is the end goal.

Ceramic Vs. Porcelain Tile

When tiling, it is important to know what type of tile you should be using in different environments. Tile has been around a long time, dating back to the time of the Roman Empire. But over the years there have been improvements and new, more durable materials.

Tile was originally made of ceramic, and still is today, but it is not as durable as porcelain. Porcelain is heated longer and treated finer. This creates a higher resistance to the elements, including cold or hot temperatures and water erosion.

Porcelain is suggested for projects outside because of its higher durability. It is less likely to crack and break in such extremes where ceramic might. That’s not to say that ceramic is useless. It is still a durable material that will work well, especially indoors. Plus, ceramic is cheaper than porcelain is.

Trouble With Polishing

Due to the durability of porcelain, there can be trouble with the polishing process. Some porcelain is extremely resistant and may have trouble will creating the factory edge which it came with.

Also due to its durability, porcelain may not need to be polished in any way. When cut, it may not have created any sharp edges and it may not chip as easily. This is a possibility, but I wouldn’t rely on it too much. It is best to try to polish it the best you can, even if there aren’t great results from it.

Other Options

If you feel like you want to be safe rather than sorry there are some other options when it comes to porcelain. They can vary based on your preference and situation but might be good to hear.

Mitre: The term to mitre simply means to cut a 45-degree angle rather than to polish it on. It is an effort to create that factory edge. Many professional tilers will use this method and can be quite proficient in it. It is riskier than polishing itself, but with durable porcelain, it might be the only option.

Leave it: I mentioned above that it might be fine just to leave the new edge rather than trying to cut it. It does risk the chance of breaking later but is an option.

Try not to cut it: A final method that might be the best way to go is to try not to cut the tile at all. In open areas, this might be possible, but unlikely as at some point it will have to end and an edge will need to be cut.

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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