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-   -   How To Install Box Caps? (https://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=16252)

W.Malouf 09-28-2004 01:51 AM

Vintage Style "Box" Cap Needed

I have spent many hours reading through the knowledgeable posts on this forum and I am sure that one (or more) of you can help me.

I am tiling my 1924 Bungalow kitchen counter/backsplash in a typical 20s configuration ('white 1" hex countertop' and 'white 3"x6" tiles w/1/4" black ribbon backsplash' with black 1/4 round trim). I have been able to find everything I need to make this look authentic except for a nice flat, black "box" cap for the edge. The current V-Caps all seem to have that more modern curve on one side.
Does anyone make a vintage looking Box Cap, or does it have to be made out of a mud cap?
I can't believe how hard it has been to locate a suitable cap, but as I said, I am optimistic that this forum will have some answers.
Thanks in advance,
Sun Valley, CA

Shaughnn 09-28-2004 06:49 AM

McIntyre Tile out of Healdsburg makes a great line of Arts and Crafts era trims, though their color palate and their 'rustic' feel may not be compatible with the tile you already have?

John Bridge 09-28-2004 06:59 PM

Hi W., :)

I think you might end up having someone custom make the pieces for you. Box cap has not been used in nearly 50 years.

Scooter 09-28-2004 07:12 PM

I hate to correct John, but....... No actually, I love correcting him.

I use two suppliers for this type of installation. Expensive and Really Expensive.

On the expensive side, Mission Tile in South Pasadena will have your Box Cap. It will be a special order. They also have the hex tile without the beveled edges which is historically correct. Alas it is only black and white.

On the really expensive side, Designs in Tile in Mt. Shasta is someone I have worked with in the past. They do superb custom design of the tile from the bisque, to custom glazing and firing. You can get anything you want there.

Good Luck.

W.Malouf 09-28-2004 07:21 PM

Thanks For The Leads!

I am looking for an experienced tile person in the Los Angeles area that is sensitive to accurate restorations.

Scooter, I sent you a message last night. Are you available?

Scooter 09-29-2004 03:31 PM

I am finishing up a house and probably won't take any work until after the 1st of the year. I have been working non-stop for 12 months now, albeit a weekend off now and again, and am just plain pooped. I wanna get this dump finished and sold!

I have a couple guys that do tile jobs for me, and are good, and will send you a message with them later in the week. They are really busy too, so I wouldn't expect much until November.

W.Malouf 09-30-2004 12:33 PM

Thanks Scooter!

I called Mission Tile West and they not only had a "Revival Line" that included my black Box Caps, but they were very friendly and helpful.

As it turned out, the special order Box caps were $8.50 each retail, which for my small quantity worked out OK. They ordered them, and I should have the period correct caps in a week!

Now I just need to find an "old pro" that is familiar with Box Cap installation...

Thanks again!

John Bridge 09-30-2004 06:19 PM

This is one time I don't mind being corrected by the guy who loves to correct me. :D I'm glad the box caps are available. Thanks, Scoooooooter. :)

Scooter 10-01-2004 10:22 AM

The countertop and backsplash with that kind of tile is probably one of the easiest jobs around. Many of the older guys like me will mud the area, but honestly, for countertops I think backerboard is the way to go, and is a perfect DIY job. My recommendation is to read up on the subject and give it a go.

W.Malouf 10-02-2004 03:11 PM


I tiled my bathroom myself 13 years ago, and it looks ok. I was just thinking that for a job as conspicuous as my kitchen, a pro might have some "tricks of the trade" that would give more finesse to the finished look.
Am I wrong?


W.Malouf 10-06-2004 03:13 AM

How To Install Box Caps?

I have been educated on the old style kitchen counter caps, lead to a good source for the same, now...how are they installed?

I have been looking at LOTS of photos of 1920s tile counters, and they all seem to have a piece of trim (wood) along the edge that helps to hold the Box Caps in place. What size was commonly used?

Also, should the wood on the top of the counter be cut (inset) to allow space for the box caps? I would like for the caps to sit almost flush with the hex tile countertop.

Thanks so much,

cx 10-06-2004 06:56 AM

I merged your last thread in here so anyone who might want to help will have the history of your project, WM. Just keep all your questions on one thread for continuity, please. :)

But even with that I'm not sure I understand your question. I understand the part where you want the cap to be flush with the counter top tile, but doesn't it also cover the front edge of the counter? Where does the wood trim go?

Also confused about notching the wood counter top. You're not setting your tiles directly on the plywood top, are you?

Can you post us a picher of what you're afixin' to do? We like pichers. :D

If I've only added to the confusion, just pay heed to my disclaimer: :)

My opinion; worth price charged.

Scooter 10-06-2004 10:07 AM

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Yeah, I need a picture,too because I have a definition and understanding of a "Box Cap" and it doesn't involve wood.

A Box Cap the way I am using the term is a tile cap which is used to terminate an tile installation at the edge of the counterrop. Modern caps are "L" shaped and have a lip which keeps liquids and rolling pins on the counter, as opposed to on the floor. (A 8242)

The Box Caps are flat. There is no horizontal leg, only a verticle one. And the verticle leg is two inches and is installed at the countertop edge vertically, either with a mud base or backerboard. I am not a mud guy (except on floors, Sorry John) so I would double up the edge of the plywood to an inch and a half, then tack on some backerboard carefully. The countertop backerboard goes over the verticle backerboard.

In my typical retro installation, I install one inch hex mosiacs to the edge of the countertop; then the Box Cap on the verticle member, either grouting or caulking between that joint, probably just grout.

I actually like to terminate the hex about an inch or two before the edge of the countertop and use a 1x6 or 2x6 trim piece before going verticle. Those half piece hexs (4 or 5 point) are a pain especially at the edge of an installation.

I have also seen Box Cap used on horizontal surfaces, like one might use a bullnose today. Its egdes are rounded, so that was its use. It is typically 2x6 to match Subway Tile.

The other way of handling edges in historically correct installations is to, as you suggest, install a 1x edge made of nice Oak, stained and varnished. This would typically be 1x2 or 1x3 and would be screwed, nailed, or bisquited into the same doubled up plywood edge. If ya'all want to keep liquids and rolling pins on the counter, it is raised about a 16th above the mosiacs. The joint between it and the tile is always caulked.

Golly, I hope this answers your question, unless I am very confused.

Here is a typical Box Cap:

W.Malouf 10-06-2004 01:26 PM

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I read and re-read your post and now I think that the "box-cap" that John described, and the one that you are talking about may be different (this also means that I may have ordered the wrong tiles from Mission).

The "Box-Caps" that I was looking for have a 2" x 6" flat surface and two vertical surfaces (when viewed from the side it looks like a 'U').

The last installation that you described is what I am looking for. I have seen many of these online, but I am not sure if I have permission to post them. I will attach a photo that has the look I want (please forgive the size!).

I may need to call Mission Tile West and change my order (of course I will still have to purchase the custom ordered Black pieces). I know that they carry the type of tile that I am looking for. I just need to be sure of my terminology...


W.Malouf 10-06-2004 02:46 PM

Good News!
1 Attachment(s)
I called Mission Tile West, and was assured that I had ordered what I wanted (the profile is a 'C' with 1" legs).

Here is a photo of what I want to do (only new and clean!)


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