Ashburn, VA

How Much Does It Cost To Install Tile?

$7 – $15 per square foot

Most homeowners spend $825 to $2,520, or an average of $1,672 on their tiling project. The average cost to install tile flooring is $10 to $15 per square foot. Tiling a shower or bathroom walls run from $7 to $25 per square foot while installing a tile backsplash costs $23 to $35 per square foot. Get free estimates from tile installers near you.

Tile Installation Cost

The average cost to install tile flooring is $10 to $15 per square foot with most homeowners spending between $825 and $2,520 for porcelain or ceramic tiling. Tiling a shower or bathroom walls run from $7 to $25 per square foot, while installing a tile backsplash costs $23 to $35 per square foot.

Average Cost To Install Tile
National Average Cost $1,672
Minimum Cost $300
Maximum Cost $4,929
Average Range $825 to $2,520

For all tiling projects, your materials cost $3 to $10 per square foot, while labor ranges from $5 to $14 per square foot. Your final price depends on which room(s) you are having tiled and the resulting total square footage, as well as the quality and size of tile being used.

Tile Installation Cost
Project Average Cost
200 Square Foot Floor $2,200 – $3,400
80 Square Foot Shower Walls $520 – $2,000
30 Square Foot Backsplash $690 – $1,250
72 Square Foot Countertops $2,756 – $4,929

Table Of Contents

  1. Tile Installation Cost
  2. Cost To Install Tile Floor
  3. Porcelain Vs. Ceramic Tile Cost
  4. Cost To Install Tile Shower
  5. Labor Cost To Install Tile
  6. Tile Cost Calculator
  7. Price To Install Over Existing Flooring
  8. Outdoor Tiling Estimator
  9. DIY Vs. Hiring a Tile Installer
  10. How To Choose Bathroom and Kitchen Tile
  11. Frequently Asked Questions
  12. Tile Installation Near Me

Tile Installation Cost Per Square Foot

On average, tile installation costs $10 to $15 per square foot depending on your location and local labor rates. Also, prices will vary drastically depending on whether you're installing a floor, backsplash, shower walls, or countertops. If your project requires backer board to provide a firm, even surface, add $6 per square foot to your total cost.

Tile Cost Per Square Foot
Type of Tile Tile Cost (SF) Labor Cost (SF) Total Cost (SF)
Ceramic $2 $5 – $12 $7 – $14
Encaustic Cement $2 $5 – $12 $7 – $14
Slate $3 $5 – $12 $8 – $15
Quartzite $5 $6 – $13 $11 – $18
Porcelain $6 $6 – $13 $12 – $19
Travertine $6 $7 – $14 $13 – $20
Natural stone $6 $7 – $14 $13 – $20
Marble $8 $7 – $14 $15 – $24
When purchasing tile, allow for a buffer of an extra 10% to account for breakage as well as cutting waste.

Stone Tile Floors In Shades Of Gray With Marble Backsplash In Kitchen

Labor Cost To Install Tile Per Square Foot

The average labor costs to install tile ranges from $4 to $8 per square foot when setting the counter, wall and floor tile in adhesive, and $7 to $14 per square foot when setting in a thin-set mortar with backer board. Your price depends on the size and type of tiles installed. Smaller 4-1/4" glazed tiles cost 10% more to install than 8" tiles. Labor rates to install marble, granite or stone tile runs on the higher end at $12 to $14 per square foot, while ceramic tiles range from $4 to $8 per square foot.

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Cost To Install Tile Floor

The average cost to install ceramic tile flooring is $7 to $14 per square foot, whereas porcelain tile ranges from $12 to $19 per square foot. Tile installation in a medium-sized bathroom will cost $563 to $1,125 and $1,610 to $2,415 in a average-sized kitchen. Your final can vary based on local labor rates.

Tile Flooring Cost Per Square Foot

Tile flooring costs range between $7 and $24 per square foot with most homeowners spending $10 to $15 per square foot. The lowest cost floors are ceramic at an average cost of $10 per square foot, while marble floors will be $20 per square foot or more.

While there are many high-traffic areas inside and outside the home, the kitchen and bathroom are the two most common areas for tile installation, with hallways and laundry rooms coming third and fourth.

L-Shaped Kitchen With Tile Flooring, Granite Countertops, and Mosaic Tile Backsplash

Cost To Tile Kitchen Floor

The average cost to tile a kitchen floor is $975 to $1,950 for a small 130 SF area, $1,208 to $2,415 for an average 161 SF kitchen, and $1,380 to $2,760 for a large 184 SF kitchen.

Kitchen Tile Installation Cost
Tile Type Small (130 SF) Average (161 SF) Large (184 SF)
Ceramic $975 $1,208 $1,380
Encaustic Cement $975 $1,208 $1,380
Slate $1,040 $1,288 $1,472
Quartzite $1,430 $1,771 $2,024
Porcelain $1,560 $1,932 $2,208
Travertine $1,755 $2,174 $2,484
Natural Stone $1,755 $2,174 $2,484
Marble $1,950 $2,415 $2,760

Gray Tile Flooing Matching The Gray Rectangualar Stone Backsplash In Modern Kitchen

Cost To Tile Bathroom Floor

The average cost to tile a bathroom floor is $300 to $600 for a small 40 SF area, $563 to $1,125 for an average 75 SF bathroom, and $1,200 to $2,400 for a large 160 SF bathroom.

Bathroom Tile Installation Cost
Tile Type Small (40 SF) Average (75 SF) Large (160 SF) Huge (210+ SF)
Ceramic $300 $563 $1,200 $1,575
Encaustic Cement $300 $563 $1,200 $1,575
Slate $320 $600 $1,280 $1,680
Quartzite $440 $825 $1,760 $2,310
Porcelain $480 $900 $1,920 $2,520
Travertine $540 $1,013 $2,160 $2,835
Natural Stone $540 $1,013 $2,160 $2,835
Marble $600 $1,125 $2,400 $3,150

Bathroom With Granite Counter, Tile Tub Surround, Tile Shower Walls, and Tile Floors To Match

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Porcelain Vs. Ceramic Tile Cost

The two most common tile materials used in homes are ceramic tile and porcelain tile. To install ceramic tile, expect to pay between $7 to $14 per square foot compared to porcelain at $12 to $19 per square foot for both labor and materials. Both are clay-based products that are shaped in a mold, dried, and sometimes glazed. Because of the similarities, one topic that comes up repeatedly is whether I should use ceramic or porcelain tiles?

Porcelain Vs. Ceramic Tile Cost
Type of Tile Tile Cost (SF) Labor Cost (SF) Total Cost (SF)
Ceramic $2 $5 – $12 $7 – $14
Porcelain $6 $6 – $13 $12 – $19

Before making your final decision between ceramic and porcelain tile, you need to look at its Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) Wear Rating. Tiles are rated from 1 to 5, which indicates their suitability in different areas, depending on the amount of traffic. Tiles with a PEI Wear Rating of 1 or 2 should only be used for walls, such as a bathroom or backsplash. Experts recommend a rating of 3 to 5 for moderate to heavy traffic applications like interior floors and countertops.

Soft Tones Bathroom Interior With Tile Floor and Tile Wall Trim

Porcelain Tile Installation Cost

Porcelain tile installation costs $12 to $19 per square foot and is usually about 50% more expensive than ceramic tiling. Because of porcelain tiles’ ability to resist stains and keep moisture at bay, they are typically installed in areas where there is a lot of moisture such as:

  • Bathrooms walls, bathroom floors, shower stalls
  • Around sinks, around stoves, as a backsplash
  • In laundry rooms

Porcelain is an extremely hard and dense material. As a result, porcelain tiles can withstand heavy traffic better, and for longer than ceramic tiles. Also, they can also withstand freezing temperatures without cracking because they absorb little to no water. Porcelain tiles are available in matte, textured, gloss, semi-gloss, unglazed, and glazed forms. Because of the tougher nature of porcelain, it is a lot tougher to cut, which explains some of its higher cost.

Ceramic Tile Installation Cost

Ceramic tile installation costs between $7 and $14 per square foot on average which is almost half the price of porcelain tiling. The ceramic tiles alone cost $1 to $3 per square foot and are likely to be used in high-traffic areas, like a hallway. Like porcelain, it will remain colorfast, even with repeated exposure to direct sunlight in our hottest states. While also strong, moisture resistant, stain resistant, and long lasting, ceramic tile doesn’t score quite as high as porcelain.

Ceramic tiles will always have a white, tan, or red base with a color glaze on top, which will be exposed if a deep enough chip comes loose. Tiles with a highly effective finish can be slippery and should be avoided as floor tiles.

White Floor Tiles With Tile Backsplash Pattern And Granite Countertops

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Cost To Install Tile Shower

The average cost to install tile in a shower ranges from $7 to $25 per square foot with most homeowners spending $270 to $780 for glazed ceramic, and from $499 to $1,440 for porcelain tiling. The cost to tile a walk-in shower with 84 SF of walls ranges from $546 to $2,100 depending on what type of material you select.

Showers are normally built in either a square or a rectangular shape since most homeowners are installing a premanufactured shower base and not tiling the floor of the shower. The chart below includes prices for two walls tiled where there are one glass wall and one glass door, and three walls tiled where there is only one glass door.

Cost To Tile A Shower
Shower Size 32" x 96" 42" x 96" 60" x 96"
Number of Walls 2 walls 3 walls 2 walls 3 walls 2 walls 3 walls
Shower Size 42 SF 62 SF 56 SF 84 SF 80 SF 120 SF
Glazed Ceramic $270 $406 $364 $546 $520 $780
Slate $333 $499 $448 $672 $640 $960
Porcelain $499 $749 $672 $1,008 $960 $1,440
Natural Stone $562 $842 $756 $1,134 $1,080 $1,620
Glass $1,040 $1,560 $1,400 $2,100 $2,000 $3,000

White Marble Rectangualar Floor Tiles Installed In Bathroom With Walk-in Shower With Tile Surround

Tile Shower Cost Per Square Foot

The average cost to tile a shower is $7 per square foot for glazed ceramic, $12 per square foot for porcelain tiling, and around $25 per square foot for glass. For smaller showers, you can make it look bigger by using glass tiles, lighter colors, larger tiles, and simple or plain designs.

Tile Shower Cost Per Square Foot
Type of Tile Cost Per Square Foot
Glazed Ceramic $7
Slate $8
Porcelain $12
Natural Stone $14
Glass $25

Cost To Install Tile Shower Pan

The average cost to install a tile ready single threshold shower pan with center drain (included) is between $1,024 and $1,999 for materials and professional labor.

Cost To Tile A Tub Surround

The average cost to tile a tub surround costs $3,000 to $4,000 for both materials and professional installation. Another option is to install a pre-built tub or shower surround with prices ranging from $200 to $800.

Cost To Tile Bathroom Walls

The average cost to tile bathroom walls is between $7 and $25 per square foot. The typical bathroom is 5 feet by 8 feet, and if one wall is covered in cabinets and another wall has a bath or shower with its own tiles, the average cost for tiling the remaining two bathroom walls is $1,690 with prices ranging from $780 to $2,600. Cement backer board will also need to be installed behind bathroom tiles, and each 5’ by 3’ sheet averages $11.50 for the materials.

Cost To Tile Bathroom Walls
5' & 8' wall 9.3' & 8' wall 20' & 8' wall 26.5' & 8' wall
Type of Tile $ Per SF 104 SF 138.4 SF 224 SF 274 SF
Glazed Ceramic $7.50 $780 $1,038 $1,680 $2,055
Slate $8 $832 $1,107 $1,792 $2,192
Porcelain $12 $1,248 $1,661 $2,688 $3,288
Natural stone $13.50 $1,404 $1,868 $3,024 $3,699
Marble $22 $2,288 $3,045 $4,928 $6,028
Glass $25 $2,600 $3,460 $5,600 $6,850

In this category, marble will have the widest range of material costs depending on the quality of marble and where it is from, with prices ranging from $2 to $28 per square foot for materials alone.

Gray Glass Tile Shower Surround With Granite Countertop

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Labor Cost To Install Tile

The labor costs for tile installation ranges from $5 to $14 per square foot depending on the type of tile and where it's being installed. Tile flooring installation costs $5 to $14 per square foot, compared to $20 to $35 per square foot for backsplashes and countertops. If you purchased the materials your self, and are looking to hire a pro by the hour, expect to pay between $57 and $93 per hour. The larger the tile, the faster the installation, and the labor will cost slightly less.

Average Cost To Lay Tile

If there is already a subfloor in good, usable condition, then the cost to lay tile ranges from $7 to $15 per square foot for flooring. However, if the subfloor needs to be repaired or replaced, then you can expect to pay an additional $2.10 per square foot, which could add another $450 to $600 to your project cost. Also, the size and type of tiles being installed will affect your final price.

Cost To Install Tile Backsplash

The cost to install a tile backsplash in your kitchen will range from $23 to $35 per square foot depending on the materials you select. Tile backsplash installation prices range from $460 to $1,400 with most homeowners spending between $600 and $1,200. Your rate depends on the amount of square footage to be tiled, the type of tile being used.

Tile Backsplash Cost
Tile Type Cost (SF) 20 SF 30 SF 40 SF
Ceramic $23 $460 $690 $920
Porcelain $26 $520 $780 $1,040
Travertine $30 $600 $900 $1,200
Natural Stone $30 $600 $900 $1,200
Marble $30 $600 $900 $1,200
Glass $32 $640 $960 $1,280
Copper $35 $700 $1,050 $1,400
Stainless Steel $35 $700 $1,050 $1,400

These prices are for a straightforward rectangular wall without any complexities like going around corners, or other custom design features.

Modern White Cabinets And Brown Mosaic Tile Backsplash

Kitchen Countertop Tile Cost

The cost to install tile countertops in the kitchen ranges from $31 to $93 per square foot on average. Quartz and Granite tile countertops cost $70 per square foot on average, while laminate is around $31 per square foot.

Cost To Install Tile Countertops
Type Installed Cost (SF) Small Kitchen
(13 LF/30 SF)
Medium Kitchen
(24 LF/53 SF)
Large Kitchen
(30 LF/66 SF)
Laminate $31 $930 $1,643 $2,046
Solid Surface $52 $1,560 $2,756 $3,432
Quartz $70 $2,100 $3,710 $4,620
Granite $70 $2,100 $3,710 $4,620
Marble $87 $2,610 $4,611 $5,742
Quartzite $89 $2,670 $4,717 $5,874
Dekton $93 $2,790 $4,929 $6,138

Subway Tile Per Square Foot

Subway tile is normally sold as a white, glazed ceramic tile measuring 3” by 6”. The average cost is around $13 per square foot. Subway tile became popular after it was installed in the New York subway stations in the early 1900s.

Heated Tile Floor Cost

The national average cost to install heated tile flooring is $4.75 to $7.25 per square foot with most homeowners spending $6 per square foot on average. With a typical 5' x 8' bathroom of 40 square feet, radiant heated floors will cost $240 to install.

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Tile Cost Calculator

For the tile materials alone, costs range from $1 to $26 per square foot with most homeowners paying $2 to $6 per square foot on average. Prices below are for material costs only.

Tile Cost
Type of Tile Cost Per Square Foot
Ceramic $1 – $3
Porcelain $3 – $8
Wood-Look $1 – $10
Vinyl $1 – $3
Stone $5 – $12
Glass $12 – $26
Resilient Tile $1 – $7
Rectified Tile $1 – $6

Ceramic Wall and Floor Decorative Tiles Installed On Bathroom Walls

Wood-Look Tile Cost

Wood-look tile made of ceramic or porcelain costs $0.77 to $9.99 per square foot. Wood-look tile is manufactured to mimic the beauty of wood planks and to provide the strength and low maintenance of a tiled surface. It’s available in a limitless range of colors and finishes like ash, oak, walnut, redwood, chestnut, pecan, and more.

Wood-Look Tile Made Of Ceramic Installed In Living Room

Stone Tile Installation Cost

Prices for natural stone can range from $5 to $12 per square foot, but most homeowners can expect to pay around $7 per square foot. Products that fall into this category include basalt, clay, granite, limestone, marble, onyx, pebble, sandstone, slate, and travertine.

Cost To Install Vinyl Tile Flooring

Vinyl tiles are available from plain white to a range of colors, as well as wood and stone patterns. Being both the most affordably priced at $0.41 to $3 per square foot, and a durable walking surface, making them very popular. Vinyl planks range from $0.97 to $5 per square foot and include a diverse range of colors and wood looks, along with grain texture.

Glass Tile Cost

Usually, the color options for glass tiles represent earth tones including red, blue, gray, green, brown, and yellow, and the price for a 12” by 12” tile can range from $12 to $26. Glass tiles are not just available in clear glass, or as a single tile. Many manufacturers produce 12” by 12” tiles that are made up of uniform or random sizes and shapes, giving the appearance of a brick wall structure. While with the right ratings they can be used for flooring, but they are generally installed on walls and backsplash.

Kitchen Backsplash Installation With Small Square Mosaic Tiles

Rectified Tiles Cost

Rectified tiles are ceramic or porcelain tiles that have a more precise measurement, and it is a more suitable tile if installing tile larger than 15” along with any side, and when you want minimal grout space between the tiles. The cost for rectified tile is between $1 and $6, but add $0.50 per square foot for a leveling system, and the extra labor cost for a slower installation time can add up.

Resilient Floor Tile (Vinyl, Linoleum, Cork, Rubber)

Resilient flooring is the name of a category of tile that despite being durable, possesses an elastic nature and can restore its shape. They are commonly made from vinyl (sold as tiles and as imitation wood planks), cork, and linoleum, and prices run from $1 to $7 per square foot.

  • Linoleum tiles are a combination of renewable elements including linseed oils, tree resins, cork powders, jute, and wood flours. Instead of using an image layer, the design permeates the entire product. Averaging around $4 per square foot, it is typically $1 more per square foot than vinyl.
  • Cork flooring tiles which run from $1 to $5.50 per square foot, provide the fewest design options, but variations in the granule size include small, medium, large, and burled for a more organic look. It can be painted or stained to give homeowners more choice, and it is also available in tiles and planks.
  • Rubber flooring tile costs $9 per square foot on average, and it's the option you will generally see the least often in a home. With its inherent shock-absorbing characteristics and its more muted or commercial look, it is something more typically suited to a garage floor or a home gym than it is for a kitchen or bathroom.

How To Measure For Your Tile Project

For a flooring project in a straightforward rectangular room, measuring the length of the room by the width of the room will give you your overall square footage of tile needed. If there are complicated areas, sketch a diagram of the room, organize the floorplan into blocks, and note the dimensions of each logical block. That will give your installer a rough idea of what is needed. If you are using 12” by 12” tiles, the tiles needed will be easy enough to install; however, a bit more planning is required if you are using 2 or 3 different sizes of tile.

Additional Cost Considerations

Unless you are tiling a brand-new house, it would be normal to expect additional costs.

  • Remove Old Floors – Old flooring might need to be taken up first to lay the tile. If this is the case, that will cost an average of $3.36 per square foot.
  • Concrete Repair – Concrete floors might need to be repaired. The surface needs to be completely flat at the cost of around $3 per square foot.
  • Subfloor – If the concrete is too damaged, your contractor may instead install a subfloor for $2.10 per square foot before installing your new tile floor.
  • Subfloor Repairs – If there is already a subfloor in place and it needs some repairs before the tile goes in, you can expect to pay between $37 to $56 per square foot for repairs.
  • Backing Board – If the tile is going into a bathroom or any area that will experience moisture daily, a concrete backing board will need to be installed, and that will usually cost around $6 per square foot.

Cost Of Backer Board For Tile

Backerboard materials cost an average of $11.50 for one sheet of 5’ by 3’, and another $5 per square foot to install, which translates to $6 per square foot total.

Cost Of Backer Board For Tile
Item Small Bathroom Medium Bathroom Large Bathroom Huge Bathroom
Total SF to Tile 2 walls 8’ High 104 SF 138 SF 224 SF 274 SF
Boards needed @$11.50 each 7 10 15 19
Boards Cost $81 $115 $173 $219
Labor @ $5/SF $520 $692 $1,120 $1,370
Total $601 $807 $1,293 $1,589

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Price Of Installing Tile Over Existing Flooring

A professional contractor will always remove the existing flooring first before installing new tile. The cost to remove the old flooring averages $3.36 per square foot.

Cost to Remove and Retile a Floor

Tile replacement costs $5 to $8 per square foot in labor. You will also need to replace the backer board at an average cost of $6 per square foot in addition to the tile materials.

Tile Replacement Cost
Type of Tile Remove and Retile Cost (SF) 10’x10’ 12’x12’ 12’x24’ 24’x24’ 30’x30’ 38’x38’
Ceramic $10.86 $1,086 $1,564 $3,128 $6,255 $9,774 $15,682
Encaustic Cement $10.86 $1,086 $1,564 $3,128 $6,255 $9,774 $15,682
Slate $11.36 $1,136 $1,636 $3,272 $6,543 $10,224 $16,404
Quartzite $14.36 $1,436 $2,068 $4,136 $8,271 $12,924 $20,736
Porcelain $15.36 $1,536 $2,212 $4,424 $8,847 $13,824 $22,180
Travertine $16.86 $1,686 $2,428 $4,856 $9,711 $15,174 $24,346
Natural Stone $16.86 $1,686 $2,428 $4,856 $9,711 $15,174 $24,346
Marble $18.36 $1,836 $2,644 $5,288 $10,575 $16,524 $26,512

Cost to Lay Tile on Concrete

The average cost to lay tile on concrete is $5 to $7 per square foot. It is very unusual to take up any flooring and find a pristine concrete surface, and you’ll need to make the surface completely flat at a repair cost of around $3 per square foot. If there is minimal damage to the concrete, the holes can be patched and the resulting surface buffed to level off with the surrounding surface. If there is too much damage to the concrete, a new subfloor could be installed on the concrete for $2.10 per square foot.

Cost to Remove Wall Tiles

The following is a table showing the price to remove tiles at $3.36 per square foot from three walls, assuming one wall has cabinets on it.

Cost to Remove Wall Tiles
Wall Size 5'x8' 9.3'x8' 20'x8' 26.5'x8'
Total SF of 3 walls 8’ high 168 SF 202 SF 288 SF 338 SF
Tile removal @$3.36/SF $564 $679 $968 $1,136

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Outdoor Tiling Estimator

Outdoor tiles can cost anywhere from $1.50 to $28 each depending on the materials you choose, plus an average of $9 per square foot for the installation. To estimate the cost of your outdoor tiling project:

  • Tile cost by SF x SF of project + 10% of SF (cutting waste) = tile cost
  • SF of project x an average $11/SF labor cost = labor cost
  • Add the tile cost and labor cost to get your total estimate.

A professional tile installation contractor will be able to suggest the best materials for your outdoor area. Such as tile that’s safe to walk on in wet conditions and that will survive freezing temperatures. If you are buying the tile yourself, be sure to check the section that details the rating system found on tile box labels. It will need to be rated for freezing conditions unless you live somewhere that doesn’t get extreme cold conditions, and it will need to have the appropriate water absorption rating.

Slip-Resistant Tiles

To pick the right level of slip resistance in your tile, check the tile’s COF rating. Prices for slip-resistant tiles range from $2 to $19.50 per square foot, and the extra treatment in the surface could either be something like a grid of grooves, or an engrained wood grain finish, like Shadow Wood from Lifeproof, which has a COF > 0.60 and is suitable for both indoor or outdoor installations. Another option is vinyl tiles which have a textured surface that mimics stone. Slip-resistant tiles are not going to be a high-gloss or polished walking surface but will have more of a matte finish.

Laying Porcelain Pavers Cost

Outdoor porcelain pavers range in cost from $5 to $38 per square foot. If the area is likely to get wet often, and the area is subject to freezing temperatures in the winter months, in addition to the COF rating, it should also have the appropriate WA rating to ensure that the tile does not absorb a lot of water that could freeze, causing the tiles to crack.

Outdoor Decking Tile

Between their ease of installation with a snap-lock mechanism for many brands, along with eco-friendly materials and rot resistance, and a price point is between $4.50 and $15 per 1’ by 1’ tile. If you have an older deck that is still in good condition from a structural perspective, but it has gone beyond repair concerning its appearance, you can install deck tiles on top of the original deck without tearing it up.

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DIY Vs. Hiring a Tile Installer

The savings from doing a tile installation yourself may not be as significant you might expect. You may save on the project cost line item when it comes to contractor labor, but they already have all the right tools, and will have a lot less waste tile from bad cuts than you will. They’ll also install it much faster at a higher quality, at a cost slightly higher than you can do yourself.

Another downside is the potential for poor work because of a lack of experience. The problems that may occur are:

  • Raised tiles
  • Cracked tiles
  • Loose tile
  • Not having a finish you are happy with because of complicated cuts around corners

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How To Choose Bathroom and Kitchen Tile

For many homeowners looking to install tile as a flooring solution, some of the top considerations commonly weighed first are the cost, look, and wear rating of the tile.

Tile PEI Ratings

A traffic rating system was standardized by the Porcelain Enamel Institute, called the PEI Wear Rating, which measures the abrasion resistance properties of a tile. The scale goes from 1 to 5, and the higher the number, the more use the tile can endure before any physical damage occurs that would change the appearance of the tile. [4]

  • PEI 1 and PEI 2 only recommended for wall application, such as a kitchen backsplash or bathroom wall tiling.
  • PEI 3, Moderate Traffic - These tiles can be used on all indoor wall applications, all interior countertop applications, and all residential interior floors. This tile should not be used in commercial applications.
  • PEI 4, Moderate to Heavy Traffic - These tiles can be used on all indoor wall applications, all interior countertop applications, all residential interior floors, and all light commercial applications, such as restaurants and lobbies.
  • PEI 5, Heavy Traffic - These tiles can be used on all indoor wall applications, all interior countertops applications, all residential interior floors and all heavy commercial applications, such as airports, shopping malls, supermarkets, etc.

Porcelain Tile Grades

Each box of tiles has an information label where you can find the PEI rating (indicated next to an icon of a drill bit drilling into tile) for that tile. In addition to the PEI rating, you will also find the following:

  1. Best quality (1) – Ideal for walls and floors
  2. Good quality (2) – Has slight imperfections – Ideal for floors and walls
  3. Low quality (3) – Being the thinnest tile, it is only suitable for walls and not for floors

Tile Water Absorption Rating

In addition to hardness, wear rating, and slip resistance, the water absorption rating measures how much moister is likely to absorb into your porcelain tiles over time. If the moisture penetration gets too high, your tiles will crack. Here are the four different tile moisture absorption ratings:

  • Nonvitreous: High absorption (more than 7% of water absorbed). Not suitable for outdoor use or rooms with a lot of moisture, such as bathrooms.
  • Semivitreous: Moderate absorption (3%–7% water absorbed). Not suitable for outdoor use or wet rooms, such as bathrooms.
  • Vitreous: Low absorption (0.5%–3% water absorbed). Suitable for outdoor use and wet rooms, such as bathrooms.
  • Impervious: Lowest absorption (less than 0.5% of water absorbed). Suitable for all interior and exterior uses.

Coefficient of Friction Floor Tile

The COF (Coefficient of Friction) Rating details the potential for slipping on the tile and is a measure of how much force is required to move something across a tile divided by the weight of the object. The range goes from 0 to 1, with a higher number indicating more friction, which makes it less slippery. Based on the ratings, they make the following suggestions:

  • COF >.50 Suitable for residential installations
  • COF >.60 Suitable for commercial installations, or any floor that is frequently wet

Additional Considerations

  • Frost Proof – Icon of a snowflake – If this icon is on the information label, then the tile is suitable for outdoor use where freezing conditions are common.
  • Tone – Icon of a grid of various shades of gray – The presence of this icon indicates that there are different tones of color in the box of tiles and they are not all identical, and as a result more organic.

Tile Sizes

Square tiles are the standard shape you will see. While selecting a design that does not use square tiles will typically give a more exciting finish, it will take longer per square foot, and as a result, it will cost more to install. The most commonly sold tile sizes are:

  • A square shape of up to 36” by 36” and as small as 4” by 4”
  • A rectangular shape from 3” to 24” tall and anywhere from 24” to 48” long

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to install ceramic tile per square foot?

Ceramic tile is the least expensive tile option with the tiles ranging from $1 to $3 per square foot, and the labor for installation costs around $5 per square foot.

How much do tilers charge per hour?

The national average for professional tile installers works out to about $35 per hour; however, most contractors charge per square foot. Tilers know how many square feet they can get installed in an hour, and since the square footage of the area in your home that needs the tile has definite measurements, it's a better way for both parties to structure the costs.

How much does it cost to tile a small bathroom?

For a small bathroom of 40 square feet, your costs range between $300 for ceramic tile up to $600 for marble. For a medium bathroom of 75 square feet, the range is between $563 to $1,125. For a large bathroom measuring 160 per square foot the range is $1,200 to $2,400, and for a huge bathroom of 210 square feet, prices range from $1,575 to $3,150 on the high end.

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[1] Craftsman National Home Improvement Estimator 2018

[2] Home Depot’s description of the label information

[3] Craftsman National Home Improvement Estimator 2018

[4] A description of each classification from the Floor and Décor website

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