Financing options provided in partnership with Prosper
Most Spent Between
Less than 200 sq.ft.
$572 - $1,777
Between 200 - 1,000 sq.ft.
$1,599 - $4,432
More than 1,000 sq.ft.
$4,446 - $9,496
Ceramic and porcelain tile are some of the most versatile flooring options available to homeowners today. These sturdy floor coverings are specially coated to make them impervious to water and ingrained dirt, but ease of maintenance is only one of the advantages of installing ceramic tile. It is likely the number one reason most people install ceramic and porcelain tiles is because of their durability. It is not uncommon for ceramic tile flooring to last up to 20 years without major repairs if the tiles are installed correctly. Even then, minor repairs on ceramic or porcelain tiles are relatively affordable.
Another great thing about ceramic and porcelain tiles is their flexible decorative uses. Ceramic tiles are used to improve kitchen backsplash areas, decorate furniture and create original artwork. A wide selection of tiles is available at hardware stores and there are plenty of online instructional videos available. Therefore, many people opt to install the tiles themselves. However, difficult flooring configurations and the inexperienced nature of some DIY installers often make this a less desirable option than hiring a professional. Here are some details on the costs to install ceramic tile in residential spaces.
Choosing the Right Tiles
Ceramic and porcelain usually find their way into kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and mud rooms. When contemplating a tile installation, homeowners have numerous options available to them: everything from high-end, designer tiles to bargain-basement specials. Before hunting up the perfect style of tile, one must consider a few factors such as tile composition and strength. Experts recommend a clay-based tile for flooring projects where the hardness level matches its function.
For instance, a tile with a hardness rating of one should only be installed in light traffic areas like bathrooms while a tile with a hardness rating of five can be installed anywhere. Ceramic tiles are generally rated from one to three while porcelain tiles fit the description of group-five tiles. Ceramic tiles are softer and less durable than porcelain tiles, and they generally cost less than their porcelain counterparts. Although the average cost per square foot of tile varies by location, great deals can generally be found at hardware stores or tile discount centers.
Selecting a Tile Contractor
There are many tile installation companies to choose from. The internet has plenty of consumer review sites that give good indications on whether a contractor does acceptable work. However, one should learn a little about the tile installation process before sitting down with a contractor to talk about a new project. This is an important step because it allows the consumer to ask relevant questions and make informed decisions about their particular tile installation project.
Consumers should ask to see a portfolio of the tile installer's work and ask for references from satisfied clients. While there are many talented tile installers who operate their own businesses, there are marked benefits for selecting a contractor associated with one of the big-box hardware stores. Because their reputations are on the line, these stores hire reputable subcontractors for residential tile installation jobs, so the consumer gets pre-screened labor whose work is backed by a large company with set labor rates. It is recommended that a homeowner get quotes from multiple contractors so that they can get a general idea of the going labor rates for their area.
Find a Local Tile Contractor Now
Installing Tile over Existing Flooring
The type of flooring foundation and the room configuration affect the price charged by contractors. For example, having ceramic tile installed on a cement floor will likely cost more than having the same tiles installed in a kitchen sitting on a wood foundation surface. The latter example requires fewer materials and less time to complete the installation.
The cost factors involved with installing tile over concrete flooring are the additional labor hours and materials needed to smooth and level the floor surface in preparation for laying the tile. For a cement floor, the tile installer must ensure that the floor is clean, smooth, dry and free of holes or divots. If there are surface cracks or small holes, the installer may use a product called Thin-Set to prepare the surface for tiling. After smoothing the surface, installers apply a latex primer to the flooring surface to prepare it for installation. The next step in the process is to determine if the surface is level, and if it is not, the installer must lay down a self-leveling compound.
Wood sub-flooring is a less-than-ideal foundation for ceramic tile because it naturally warps when exposed to high levels of moisture. When the wood loses its integrity, the tiles can pop off or break. The solution is to use a material called backer board to provide a level cement surface on which to lay the tile. Special screws are needed to secure the cement sheets in place.
Manufacturing tiles that will endure the hardships of outdoor installation isn't cheap, but fewer outdoor floor installations will give you such a refined and stunning look. This unparalleled visual appeal means you should at least consider an outdoor tile installation. You may not have the budget for a complete patio or walkway in ceramic tile, but even a small stoop or some other tiling accent can add significant beauty to your outdoor landscape.
Slip Resistant Tiles
Outdoor tiles need to be slip resistant for obvious safety reasons. This can mean foregoing sealant or glazing common to other tiling installations. High end outdoor tiles are glazed with grit embedded in the glaze to create a finished product that also provides superb traction. The rougher texture of unfinished tiles will also make them more difficult to clean, but unless you can afford the specially-formulated tiles, that's just part of the deal.
More than just slip resistant, outdoor tiles must also be able to withstand repeated freezing and thawing. This requires dense tiles with low absorption rates. The absorption rating should be 3% or lower. This means choosing vitrified or impervious graded tiles. Permanently bonding tiles to the flooring substrate is critical. For outdoor tiling projects, concrete slabs should be used and they must be thick enough and reinforced with steel to prevent cracking and separating. Consistently-sized tiles will also make for a stronger tiling installation. Ceramic tiles are kiln-fired and some variation is inevitable, but ideally, shouldn't exceed 1/8 of an inch. Ignoring any of these rules can lead to tiles that are quickly in disrepair. Ensuring your outdoor tiles will hold up for many years is especially important since, regardless, the installation won't be cheap.
Outdoor Decking Tiles
A relatively inexpensive alternative for outdoor tiling projects is decking tiles. These tiles are interlocking, belaying the need for precise substrate bonding. These tiles are often used to spruce up existing installations. For example, a wood deck or porch, which has fallen into disrepair, but still has its structural integrity, can have decking tiles laid directly over the original material. Decking tiles may not have the same longevity as standard outdoor tiling, but they are still cost-effective and the tiling choice of many homeowners.
Installing ceramic or porcelain tile is both an art and a science. Tile installers must know the composition of the tiles as well as how to lay them in place attractively. Besides the normal costs of labor and materials, a tile project's costs vary by the type of sub-flooring to be used as a foundation for the tile. While a smooth, level cement floor is an ideal surface on which to lay tile, those conditions are somewhat rare in the tile laying business. Laying tile on uneven cement floor, the more common situation, requires additional time and materials that could raise the costs of the project beyond the costs associated with laying tile over a subflooring made of wood or another material.