The average cost for tile installation is $5 /sq. ft. Hiring a tile installer, you will likely spend between $6 – $40 per sq. ft. if you include all materials and labor costs. The price of tile installation can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). View our local tile installers or get free estimates from pros near you.
While there are many high traffic areas, both inside and outside the home, for which tile is an excellent choice, this guide will take a closer look at two of the most common areas homeowners have tile installed—the kitchen and the bathroom.
Tile is an ideal flooring solution for a range of areas in the home, including high-traffic areas such as hallways, kitchens, hallways, and laundry rooms. Almost ten years ago, the average size of a kitchen in the United States was around 70 square feet. Today, with home sizes in the US on the rise, the average kitchen size is closer to 100 square feet—in a home of about 1,200 square feet.
Many manufacturers refer to 10 x 10 (100 square feet) as a standard size for a kitchen. If tiling the kitchen and dining area, the average tiling area will be closer to 200 square feet. For larger homes, it could be closer to 500 square feet. An average bathroom has about 80 square feet.
The two most common tile types in homes are ceramic tile and porcelain tile. Both are clay-based products that are shaped in a mold, dried, sometimes glazed, and then fired (at temperatures between 2,732°F in a kiln to solidify the shape, the same way all ceramic products such as pottery are produced).
Costs around $6/sq. ft., installation about $6/sq. ft.
Porcelain tiles are usually about 60% more expensive than ceramic tile. 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—
Porcelain is usually referred to as an extremely hard and dense material because the clays used in its production go through more purification and refinement, and they are fired at a higher temperature and pressure than ceramic products.
As a result, porcelain tiles can withstand heavy traffic better, and for longer, than ceramic tiles. In addition, they can also withstand extreme cold temperatures without cracking—great for locations where there is a likelihood of repeated freezing and thawing—because they absorb little to no water.
Select a tile that is the same color the entire way through so that if a piece of the tile gets chipped off, the different colored base won’t look so bad. Tiles can be purchased in sizes from 1 square inch up to 2’ x 4’. Porcelain tiles are available in matte, textured, gloss, semi-gloss, un-glazed, and glazed. Because of the tougher nature of porcelain, it is a lot tougher to cut, which explains some of is higher cost.
Costs around $1–3 sq. ft., installation approx. $5/sq. ft.
Ceramic tile is the more common choice for residential flooring because of its price, and it’s likely to be used in flooring for high-traffic areas, like a hallway. Ceramic tile is produced in the same manner as porcelain tile, but the clay and sand are not refined or purified to the same degree. As a result, while still being strong, moisture resistant, stain resistant, and long lasting, it doesn’t score quite as high as porcelain. Like porcelain tile, it will remain colorfast, even with repeated exposure to direct sunlight in our hottest states.
In addition to being colorfast, glazed ceramic tile is also suitable in areas where the location would make carpet or hardwood unsuitable. 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 are to be avoided as floor tiles.
Costs around $4–$7/sq. ft., installation at $7/sq. ft.
If tiling outdoors, look for the tile absorption rating—if it’s 3% or less, it will be okay for outdoor use.
Tile can be cut into a wide range of shapes other than the traditional square shapes, which allows for your inner artist to get creative. Large tile looks very grand and stylish, especially in a wide walkway or a large room, but if used in a small kitchen, it might not look as expected when you are done.
Your tiling contractor will be well equipped to offer input at the design stage of the project. You can get tiles in many shapes, including:
Not every shape is available in every brand, type of tile, or color. Check with your contractor to see if they can source the tile you want. Don’t forget, you can also mix your shapes and tile types for even more creative solutions.
For example, you can have one style of tile as your backsplash and another shape or tile type surrounding your stove top. The same goes for flooring tile, allowing you to have alternating size tiles of one tile type for the majority of your floor, and a design from different tiles and shapes in the middle of the floor or around the base of a kitchen island.
The list of brands for wall and flooring tile available in the United States is quite extensive and covers a vast array of design possibilities for your floors, kitchens, hallways, and bathrooms. Prices vary from $0.49 to $84 per square foot. Below is a list of known brands sorted alphabetically, providing everything from ceramic to glass and metal.
Prices will vary depending on labor costs and taxes in the state you live in and how close you are to the warehouse your tiles will come from, but on average, labor costs for installation average out at about $7/sq. ft. for floors and $10/sq. ft. for walls.
Unless installing over a concrete floor or similarly perfectly flat floor, the contractor will prepare the floor by patching up any damaged or uneven parts to ensure the floor under the tiles is completely level. Following that, the surface will be cleaned to remove any grease, wax, and/or debris. You might have to hire someone to replace subflooring if the previous one was damaged.
Ceramic tile is set in place on backerboard with either mortar or adhesive. For walls, the backerboard will be attached to the studs; for floors and counters, it will be glued onto plywood.
The contractor will find the center point of the room and work out from there, laying the tiles kept a small distance apart by spacers. This allows the contractor to see how the floor will look once done and let them know what pieces need to be cut for edges once the tile reaches the wall.
Once all that is done, it is time to go back to the center of the room and start fixing the tiles in place by applying the adhesive or mortar, and giving each tile a slight twist to spread the adhesive/mortar before it sets in place.
Then, each tile will get a slight tap from a rubber hammer or a small block of wood to make sure the tile is well settled into the adhesive/mortar and there are no spaces between the tile and floor without any setting.
When the excess grout is removed and has been sitting for about 20 minutes, the entire surface will be sponged to catch any residual grout and to make the grout trenches smooth.
Within three days, the floor will be ready for normal traffic, and once it has been in place for three weeks, it will be ready to be sealed and polished.
Before making a final selection, we recommend you have between three to five contractors who appear to match your checklist for the work you want done. Reach out to these contractors to get bids on your project.
For your own peace of mind, we suggest that you look for contractors who fit in as many of the following groups as possible:
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