Many times jobsite conditions require tile installers to employ skills outside of those normally used to set tile.  Take for instance the problem of installing floor tile after the door jambs and trim have been installed.  In this situation, there are only two ways to install the tile; either cut around the jamb and trim or provide room to slide the tile under the jamb which will be hidden. 

Cutting and fitting the tile around the jambs and trim can be time consuming and even the best job possible may still look less than professional.  After this custom cut tile is installed, most are hard grouted.  Grouting between the tile and the jamb creates a problem with movement accommodation as well as vibration.  In the ANSI Specification A108. it states, “Movement joints are required over all construction, control and expansion joints in the backing and where backing materials change or change direction including terminations of tilework where it abuts restraining or dissimilar surfaces.”  The jamb would be considered a restraining surface and would require a soft joint.  This is illustrated in the TCA Handbook Perimeter Joint – EJ171G shown on page 80.

A further problem occurs with the vibration of routinely opening and closing the door.  This, over time, will cause the grout to crack and crumble causing an unsightly condition and most likely, a callback.

The better method requires some carpentry skills to undercut the jamb and trim with either a wood or metal cutting blade.  When the cutting is complete and the excess material removed, the tile can easily be installed under the jamb for a neat and professional looking job. This way of solving a problem is required by ANSI Specification A108. on page 29 which states: “Fit tile closely where edges will be covered by trim, escutcheons or other similar devices.”

Whenever possible, coordinate the installation schedules with the general contractor or carpenter so that the tile work can be done prior to the jamb and trim work.  A little preplanning and prep work will go a long way in making a great tile installation look even better.