V- Caps, cracked trim tile
at kitchen counters and vanity counters

First of all, what are v-caps, also named by their technical part number, A8262’s?  They are the outside edges on counters that your stomach would touch if you leaned up against a tiled counter.  They are pre-formed to bend at a 90 degree angle to cover the edges of the tile deck and floated mortar/mortar board edge and wood edge of the counter.

Cracking is a very common, but preventable problem with kitchen and vanity trim tiles. My counters do not have cracking V-caps.  But, I see cracked v-caps all the time in other people’s installations.  Usually the crack runs along the entire length of the v-cap.  It may look like a long, black hair.  We call these hairline cracks.  Sometimes, they enlarge and get very big and the edges can cut your finger if you rub across them.  Many times, almost all the edge tiles have this crack, leading to hours of repair work.  

What a shame, as it is so easy to prevent this cracking when first installing the tile work. 

Click to enlarge any of the images below

Good look at typical crack

Close up of crack on 3 caps

Before Repair

Damaged Vcaps at Dishwasher - Before

What causes these cracks?  One of the most common job installation mistakes is when the tile setter or do-it-yourselfer sets the kitchen trim tile with the same product they used to set the flat tiles on the counter top. Using the identical product to set the V-caps causes problems as the thin set is not flexible enough to allow for the natural expansion and contraction that occurs when a tile wraps two directions.

Evidence that the wrong material, thin set,
was used

These thin set ridges are not flexible, this material
does not allow for movement or settlement

A V- cap has the top surface attached to the deck
and the side surface attached to the vertical edge of the counter.

Checking-a new v-cap for fit

After the deck surface and sink metal rail is filled with mortar and leveled off, the tile setter spreads thin-set (cement based adhesive) over the deck and sets the flat tiles.  However, when it comes to the edging tiles, they should be set with an entirely different, more flexible product; either a high quality organic adhesive (mastic) or painter’s acrylic white caulk.

We could no longer find the same shaped v-caps so we took off all the v-caps and re-set, using painter’s caulk underneath, using a newer white V-cap.

After replacing-damaged v-caps at dishwasher

Finished dishwasher area. What a difference!

Finished kitchen

Right side of kitchen

Top view of finished dishwasher area

My tiled counters have lasted 30 years without cracking V-caps.  Taking the very simple step of using a different adhesive for setting these trim tiles protects the reputation of tile as a durable and beautiful product for your home.

Click to enlarge any of the images above

Kim Stoddard - owner

(916) 454-2896
Sacramento, CA 95820
Contact me

30 years experience in
tile installation

Licensed and Bonded
References available

License #536338

Past Member: Ceramic Tile
      and Stone Institute

Ceramic Tile in Sacramento

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