METAL EDGING STRIPS These slim “profile edges” create smooth transitions between tile and drywall, saving the effort—and cost—of mitering tile edges or paying for extras like bullnose trim. They can also add a design element, with decorative finishes like the copper shown framing the niche here.
From $5.50 for an 8-foot length; Schluter
PREFAB NICHES Framing out a shower niche in wood, covering it with cement board, then sealing the joints means putting in extra effort to get it tile-ready. With prefab, ABS plastic versions like Redi Niche, all you need to do is hang cement board and seal up the joints before it’s time to tile.
From $46; Tile Redi
SELF-SEALING GROUT Pass on cement-based grout in favor of premixed polymer grout (try Fusion Pro Single-Component Grout), and you can skip mixing and sealing it. One exception: For pebble tile (or other tile with wide or inconsistent joint lines), use an epoxy-based grout (like Laticrete SpectraLOCK Pro Premium Grout). You’ll need to blend its components before you get started, but it won’t need sealing.
Fusion Pro Single-Component Grout, about $50 for 1 gallon; Custom Building Products
Laticrete SpectraLOCK Pro Premium Grout Mini Kit, $43; LATICRETE
Thanks to: James Upton, Tiger Mountain Tile Inc.