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How Much Does It Cost To Install Ceramic Or Porcelain Tile?

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ProjectAverageMost Spent Between
Less than 200 sq.ft.$1,174$572 - $1,777
Between 200 - 1,000 sq.ft.$2,914$1,599 - $4,432
More than 1,000 sq.ft.$6,970$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.

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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.

Outdoor Tiling

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.

Installation Requirements

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.

Cost Considerations

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.

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Tom Woltjer More than 1 year ago
I have a small condo in Edmonds with remodel in process. I need someone to install about 40-50 sq/ft of subway tile. Area is prepped and I have the tile. I need this done in the next few days. Is anybody available?
Linda Sindeldecker More than 1 year ago
I have been trying to get a quote for floor tiling - tiles already purchased. No answer. It's been a month - still no answer. 264 sq feet. How do you get someone to respond?
Jose Granizo More than 1 year ago
It all depends on the size of tile and the type of tile. It can run anywhere from $3 SQ FT to $5 SQ FT
Jose Granizo More than 1 year ago
It can range anywhere from $3 to $5 a Sq Ft depending on size and type of tile
dustin schouten More than 1 year ago
do you need  someone to install??
Lori Cote More than 1 year ago
I would like a rough estimate on labor for 32ft. backsplash in the kitchen all prepped up.
Evin Jovany Mejia More than 1 year ago
i will be happy to do the job call me 786-217-5069
john mendenhall More than 1 year ago
minimum charge here is $400+ setting material and grout.
 It sure helps to know where you are as prices vary regionally.  
Joyce Bamburg More than 1 year ago
With only installing 130 ft. I'm going to do it myself.
I just wanted to know if I could do it over the existing tile?
Audrey thompson More than 1 year ago
what is labor rate for 11' linear run (two rows) totaling 22 (12x12) tiles, and 5 outlet cutouts?? I supply the marble tiles and grout. Need answer soon!!
jeff groman More than 1 year ago
min charge 150
tom costa More than 1 year ago
i have a small shower area 72sf, tub out,wonderbrd. on and sealed,back wall 5'x8' with window, 2 side walls 2'x8' one with nitche, i have 3"x6" subway tile and need and have  accent stripe. thanks Tom
Carlton Baker jr More than 1 year ago
What is the cost to put 13 ×13 tiles I have 273 Sq feets 
Holly Bray More than 1 year ago
I have 15 sq ft of subway tile backsplash, needing someone to install. Salem OR
a baker More than 1 year ago
Why so many dated comments?
Daron Allen More than 1 year ago
I meant to put tile surround
Daron Allen More than 1 year ago
What would it cost to do a tub surround in a mobile home 27"×54"
Tom OConnor More than 1 year ago
I have a shower/tub area that I would like to have re-tiled. I plan on tiling the 3 walls above the tub which would be roughly 1 wall at 5'x6' and 2 walls at 3'x6'. aprox  66 sq. ft.  I have already removed the tile and put up hardi backerboard but dont feel comfortable with tiling part.    What would labor and material cost (no  tiles) be to install tiles (point up) and a border in the middle.  Located in North Dallas area.
Danielle Bean More than 1 year ago
I need approx. 200 square feet of porcelain tile installed on my kitchen floor. The vinyl and subfloor need to be removed and cement board installed so when tile is down, the kitchen floor is flush with carpet. I live in Spokane, WA
Ruben Luna More than 1 year ago
No comments at this time because I have not been contacted by installer yet
Gladys Stith More than 1 year ago
Why does it take so long for people to get back to you with an estimate, over 2 weeks already.
Joi Biddle More than 1 year ago
quite informative
Margarita Garcia More than 1 year ago
Good information. I'm happy with this page, very informative. Thanks.
Melanie Radice More than 1 year ago
We have what seems to me as a very easy job for someone that works with tile. It's a small living room that has cheap laminate, which we can remove ourselves if needed. No odd angles, and we have the tile, a "wood" look ceramic, so no big grout job either. Any Pro interested in giving me a quote?
john mendenhall More than 1 year ago
it certainly helps to know where you are located .
Go to NTCA to get list of accredited installers in your area.
William Endorf More than 1 year ago
Page was helpful
Gregory Bryant More than 1 year ago
I currently have ceramic tile on my kitchen floor. Some of them are cracked and need to be replaced. The tile is about ten years old. Is it possible to just replace the damaged ones or will it be too hard to find replacements? If so, how much to replace the entire floor? The kitchen is about 240 sq ft.
john mendenhall More than 1 year ago
unless you have some "leftovers" it may prove difficult to find them now.
Cracked tiles are and indication of substrate  movement  or improper application of mortar
 leaving voids susceptible to cracking .
 These issues would need to be addressed for a proper installation.
Jayetta Embry More than 1 year ago
I'm looking to have tile installed in small bathroom 5x5 area.  Currently have lineolium on the floor.  What should I expect to pay if I can ever find someone to give me a quote?
john mendenhall More than 1 year ago
expect a minimum charge of $200+
Kathy Amatuli More than 1 year ago
I'm trying to get a quote on labor to install 52 sq ft of ceramic tile for a kitchen backsplash.  There is no existing backsplash.  
chris miller More than 1 year ago
I have a shower/tub area that I would like to have retiled. The tile I have chosen is 18x18. I plan on tiling the 3 walls above the tub which would be roughly 1 wall at 5'x6' and 2 walls at 3'x6'. I calculate that to be 66 sq. ft. The estimate for labor ONLY was $1500. Is that reasonable? Location: Reno, Nevada
Jean Tilton More than 1 year ago
I've had 2 estimates already with 2 answers on installation process. I want to take up Lineolium out of upstairs bathroom. I have a wood sub floor under the lineolium. What is the best process for laying tile on that floor once the linelium has been taken up? Do I need underlayment then tile? Or put down backerboard then tile?
jeff groman More than 1 year ago
backer board would be best way
Beverly Adamson More than 1 year ago
Backer board is best, it won't have a tendency to warp like underlayment - you don't want your tiles popping!  The rule I use is: if it's in a wet area, or if you are tiling, use backerboard/wonderboard.
Ruth Hurston More than 1 year ago
Joan Gadler More than 1 year ago
Knowledge is power. Thank you.
ursula baukol More than 1 year ago
Thank you. This information makes it easier for me to get the job done right.
Dawn Matthews More than 1 year ago
If you have a laminate floor down, do you have to remove it?  Can you install wood looking tile over the floor?  I believe the floor below is concrete. 
Rick Jordan More than 1 year ago
As a contractor who has done many hundreds of tile jobs in the past, I can confidently say, you guys have lost your marbles. I would never step into a house willing to complete a job for any less that $12 a square foot. This includes only: bringing equipment to job site, set up equipment, layout, cutting tile, spreading thin set, buttering tiles (thin setting back of tile), cutting tile, laying tile, adjusting tiles to be spaced equally and level, cleaning up, packing up equipment, coming back another day to grout, setting up for grouting, spreading grout, wiping 3 or 4 times until perfect, cleaning up, packing up all tools again, coming back another day to seal grout, and finally leaving you with a final product. You saying $3-$5 a square foot is outrageously low for the whole process. The price I stated $12 a square foot would also require me to come in to a perfectly demoed room, with a proper sub floor already in place and screwed off. Price off all materials is extra.
Mike J More than 1 year ago
Seemsyyou are like the rest of young contractors today. Going to become a millionaire without a college education.
Matt Wagner More than 1 year ago
Are you that ignorant?  What young contractor has done hundreds of tile jobs?
Or are one of those guys who doesn't listen and read something before replying and ends up looking like a fool. 
My how to tile book was published by an international book company and that book was sold in all the home centers.  Ive done hundreds of tiling jobs,(should I turn up the volume on your earbuds Mike J So you hear that?). So no young buck here.
I will charge $12-18 per foot for all the reasons Rick mentions. If it's a tub or shower surround on the second floor, have no doubt my price is closer to the $15-$18 range. 
It ain't by the foot really. It's by the hour. you want to wallow in poverty and end up working for $15 an hour all your life Mike. Be my guest.
Mark Bartholomew More than 1 year ago
Not to mention that your company now "OWNS" that job...
Jamie Ehrhardt More than 1 year ago
Wow.  Must be a location thing.  I had my tile done for $2.25 sq ft in AZ and just got a quote for $3 in TX.  $12-18?  Not gonna happen

Deborah Benenati More than 1 year ago
No wonder the Illegals get the jobs, and they are very qualified, with quality work. I am witness to the quality. Nobody wants to pay for piece work as you have specified .People want to know the job cost, not your cost to put concrete on each tile evenly, then slap it on the floor, which you call buttering tiles...YEAH RIGHT! There are too many people in this country right now who when they retire, the paycheck get less and less each year. Again, I wish you luck, if Hillary is your next President, you will price yourself right out of business. try becoming a hairstylist. How much do you think someone can charge for a haircut..that is only an example of what I am trying to tell you on pricing the job, not each hair you cut.  Good Luck with the next election!
Patricia Radosin More than 1 year ago
If the Donald becomes President, you won't have any illegals to hire, will you? That means you will have to pay the $12+ per tile or go without. I am retired but I don't want to take away someone's right to earn a decent  living. Since you know so much about tiling why don't you put some concrete on each tile evenly and slap it on the floor to supplement your income? (sic) Also, I don't get your point about being a hair stylist. If you are exceptional hair stylist, you command more money per cut. If the client has long hair, you charge more money. If you live in San Francisco you can expect to pay more per tile than if you you lived in Marion, SC. It's as simple as that. 

Mark Studt More than 1 year ago
That was easy, thanks
Audrey thompson More than 1 year ago
kitchen backslpash
jeff groman More than 1 year ago
were is job located
Jane Ogea More than 1 year ago
Very helpful.
Jane Ogea More than 1 year ago
Thank you, I wasn't aware that there were installers in my general area .

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