10 Cove Base Questions Answered | Fireclay Tile
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10 Cove Base Questions Answered

By Ted Ryan

10 Cove Base Questions Answered

Cove Base is one of the most functional pieces of trim available. While all trim brings an aesthetic appeal that completes a project with a clean edge or refined detail, Cove Base brings utility to a tile project that in some commercial settings is a must. Let’s get into it.

What is Cove Base?

Cove base is a trim piece to be used in the transition between a wall and floor. The trim sits flush against the wall and transitions to the floor on a tight radius at the bottom of the piece. This small radius prevents dirt and debris from getting trapped in the right angle of the transition.

cove base

Tile: Oyster Shell Cove Base

What is the Difference Between Cove Base and Sanitary Cove Base?

The difference between a Cove Base and a Sanitary Cove Base is that the Sanitary Cove Base comes to a bullnose finish at the bottom.

diagram of cove base trim options

Both are available with either a flat or rounded top edge. A flat top edge is used when pairing with a tiled wall while a rounded top edge is used when the wall is not tiled.

Is Coving Necessary?

In a residential setting, coving is a convenience, especially in wet environments as the cove prevents water from pooling on grout at the base of a wall. In a commercial setting, however, cove bases, specifically Sanitary Cove Bases, are required by law to meet health and safety standards.

bathroom with blue herringbone tile and cove base trim

Tile: Slate Blue 2x8, Slate Blue 6" Cove Base // Design: Banner Day // Image: Vivian Johnson Photography

Where is Floor Coving Required?

  • Commercial Kitchens
  • Commercial Food and Beverage Processing Plants
  • Food Service Establishments
  • Commercial Bathrooms
  • Locker Rooms
  • Wet Industrial Environments
  • Commercial Break Rooms

What are the Size Requirements for Cove Base?

Cove base trim must have a minimum radius of ⅜” and extend at least 4” up the wall.

wall tile with cove base trim

Tile: Milky Way 2x8, Raven Cove Base // Design: Architectural Resources Group // Image: Panic Studio LA, Jude Garcia

Fireclay Tile Cove Base Trim features a ¾” radius and two sizes that extend either 4" or 6” up walls.

Types of Cove Base

  • Rubber
  • Vinyl
  • Urethane Cement
  • Porcelain
  • Ceramic

Rubber and vinyl are the most common materials used for cove base. Other options include urethane cement, porcelain and ceramic tile. The material you choose will likely be determined by the material of your flooring and the budget of your project.

restaurant bar interior

Tile: Antique 3x12, Antique 6" Cove Base // Design & Image: Madelynn Furlong

For example, the two most common types of flooring in commercial kitchens are ceramic tile and vinyl so commercial kitchens will be commonly specced with ceramic cove base tile or vinyl cove base.

How do you Cove Base Corners?

Vinyl and rubber cove base is malleable and can be fit into inside and outside corners by cutting a small v-notch into the material with a utility knife (without cutting all the way through the material).

restaurant bathroom with pink tile and cove base trim

Tile: Red Rock & Antique 8x8, Tumbleweed 2x8, Tumbleweed 6" Cove Base, Cove Base Inside Corner // Design & Image: Madelynn Furlong

If using tile, specific inside and outside corner pieces are available. We offer made-to-order inside and outside corners for Cove Base as well as Sanitary Cove Base.

How is Fireclay Cove Base Tile Made?

All of our trim pieces are manufactured using an extrusion and hand molding process. First, basic forms are cut from an extruded ribbon of clay. Then, each piece is meticulously shaped freehand by a skilled artisan.

woman holding tile trim in factory
Ana, our Trim specialist, shapes each piece by hand.

What are the Benefits of Ceramic Cove Base?

While vinyl cove base is affordable and easy to install, it is not long-lasting, nor is it suitable for wet environments like bathrooms, kitchens and food processing environments that are regularly sprayed with water.

restroom entrance with blue tile walls and cove base trim

Tile: Adriatic Sea 3x12, Adriatic Sea 4" Cove Base // Design: Bloc Haus // Image: Mike Schwartz Photo

Ceramic Cove Base and Sanitary Cove Base are suitable for all commercial environments, create a more aesthetically pleasing look, don’t shrink over time and will have a far longer lifespan than vinyl, a point justifying the additional upfront cost for many specifiers factoring depreciation into their budgets.

Fireclay Ceramic Cove Base–and all of our tile–also has the added benefit of contributing to LEED credits.

What Colors is Fireclay Cove Base Available in?

Our Ceramic Cove Base and Sanitary Cove Base are available in all of our 110 standard colors and custom color development is also available, creating virtually limitless choices to match your brand identity or preferred color palette.

Reach out to our Commercial Team for design assistance, samples, and estimates as well as information on LEED credits, HPDs, EPDs, Life Cycle Assessments, and more.

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