Should You Cut Tile Around Door Casing?

Working Tiling Around a Door
Working Tiling Around a Door. gilaxia / Getty Images

At the juncture of door casing (bottom) and tile floor, should you cut the tile around the casing or the casing around the door?

Scenario

Typical of many whole-bathroom remodels, you are installing a door frame or casing and ceramic tile floor. One must go first.  Which one?

In order of preference:

ActionWhat It IsWhy?
Flooring Before Everything ElseInstall the entire ceramic tile in the room first. Then install door casing, leaving a small space between the top of the tile and the bottom of the casing.Ceramic tile is difficult to cut in odd angles, while wood is softer and easier to cut.  This allows you to butt the tile directly against the door frame stud.  When the casing is installed, it disguises tile cut lines.
Door Casing First, Leaving SpaceUse a spare tile as a guide to keep the bottom of the door casing high enough so that tile can later be slipped in underneath. Be generous about your spacing, because you will also have thinset mortar to deal with, as well as subfloor materials;Do this when dealing with a remodel where removing the door casing may create additional problems.  If at all possible, though, try to remove the casing.
Door Casing First, Then Cut SpaceIf the door casing has already been installed before the ceramic tile, cut a space under the bottom of the casing with a handsaw (miter saw works well), using a spare tile as a spacing guide. This is the least desirable option, but acceptable if done cleanly.Essentially this is the same as the previous option, except that the casing is being cut rather than placed with the space intact.

 

Tile Around Casing Not an Option

Under no circumstances, though, will you want to try to cut ceramic tile to fit the odd angles of door casing. Even if you can do it, it will be hard to install and look unusual.  There is no way to effectively cover up the space between the casing and tile.  Caulking that crack will work for awhile, but eventually it will need to be replaced.