By Katie Flannery and Evelyn Auer | Updated Sep 19, 2023 4:37 PM
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Installing tile flooring, backsplashes, and showers is a durable way to update a home’s look. Tile is a sought-after design element for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and more. Tile often adds a classic and timeless look while being a long-lasting and low-maintenance option. When homeowners are considering tile installation cost, it helps for them to know the additional price factors that go into the project. According to HomeAdvisor and Angi, the average tile installation cost for porcelain or ceramic tile flooring is between $400 and $6,500, with the national average at $2,006. Homeowners can expect to pay around $4 to $115 per square foot for installation and materials. Tile installation costs for kitchen or bathroom remodels can vary depending on the location of the tile installation in the home and the type of tile chosen, among other factors. Labor costs can range from $3 to $15 per square foot, and some professionals charge between $60 and $120 per hour. Homeowners can search online for “tile flooring near me” to find a tile that best fits their style and budget.
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Calculating the cost of tile installation depends on a few factors. Prices can differ from the national average of $2,006 due to the size of the project, labor, prep work, the type and rating of the tile, and the installation site.
Most professionals will charge based on the square footage of the project area. The larger the area that needs to be tiled, the lower the cost per square foot. The best way for a homeowner to figure out the area that will be tiled is to measure the length and multiply by the width. For example, a 10-foot by 12-foot room will equal 120 square feet. On the low end, a small project may cost between $40 and $1,150. Very large projects can reach $13,800 or more. It can be helpful for homeowners to slightly overestimate to allow for broken tiles or unusually shaped cuts. The total project cost will also include essentials like spacers, grout, sealants, and adhesives, which can add up to $6 per square foot.
The type of tile will directly affect the installation cost. It’s a good idea for homeowners to consider where the tile will be located and choose the tile based on its strength, quality, and location where the particular type of tile is best used. James Upton is a bathroom remodeling specialist in the Seattle area and owns DIYTileGuy.com, a tile installation resource for DIYers. According to Upton, not all types of tile are suited for flooring: “Wall tiles are more prone to scratching, can be slippery, and they chip more easily than denser floor tiles… Further, you want to consider slip resistance if you are choosing tiles for an entryway or bathroom floor that may be exposed to water. There’s an industry standard called Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF) and, for residential floors you want that to be greater than 0.42.”
Tiles have a specific rating system that determines their intended installation location. The rating system goes from Class I to Class V, with Class V being the most durable.
Tiles can also be classified by their porosity. Porosity refers to how many air pockets the tile has. Tile porosity is rated by the degree to which it is glass-like (or vitreous). The more porous a tile is, the more absorbent it is. Tiles that have a high level of absorbance are better suited to areas that don’t have a lot of moisture. There are four levels of tile porosity:
Labor for tile installation costs between $3 and $15 per square foot on average, but prices may vary depending on the project. Labor to install a tile floor costs between $5 and $14 per square foot, but that price can rise to $20 to $35 per square foot for backsplashes and countertops. The square footage will usually determine labor prices, but some professionals may charge by the hour. If that’s the case, homeowners will want to prepare to pay between $60 and $120 per hour, depending on the project.
Tile installation costs will be different depending on where the tile is placed. Tile backsplash installation costs around $600 to $1,300, whereas the cost to tile bathroom walls is between $780 and $2,600. Tile floor installation costs more in total than many other projects, but the cost per square foot may be lower due to the larger square footage. If the tile is being installed in a high-moisture area or a location with direct water contact, the tile needs to be nonporous. Typically, the more vitreous the tile, the more expensive it is. For this reason, shower tile installation costs can be as high as $2,000 or more.
The more prep work that’s needed before tile can be installed, the more expensive the project will be. Installing tile on a smooth and even surface will take less time and require minimal prep compared to tiling over old and uneven flooring. Flooring that needs to be removed and replaced or walls and countertops that need repair will raise the overall price of the project.
When homeowners are budgeting for tile installation, there are usually additional price factors for them to consider that a tile installation cost calculator won’t necessarily account for. These can include other materials, subfloor repair and installation, and geographic location.
While it is sometimes possible to tile over tile, in many cases any existing tile will need to be removed before installation can begin. There will likely be a tile removal fee in addition to the installation cost. Removing the old tile is likely to add $2 to $7 per square foot to the project cost unless a homeowner feels comfortable doing this part themselves.
Backer board will need to be installed if the tile is being installed on a wood subfloor. Since wood will warp if exposed to excessive moisture, it’s not the ideal base for tile installation. Backer board supplies a level and solid cement surface to lay the tile, and it’s commonly used in bathrooms. Backer board can cost between $5 and $8 per square foot and is usually included in the overall cost of labor.
If the existing subfloor needs repair, it can add an average of $40 to $65 per square foot to the total floor tile installation cost. If a concrete subfloor needs to be resurfaced, homeowners can expect to pay an extra $3 to $10 per square foot. Additional labor hours and materials are needed to level the floor and make sure it’s a smooth surface for the tile installation. In order to make the subflooring ready for the tile, the installer must fill any holes or cracks while also ensuring that the subfloor is clean and dry. Next, a latex primer will be applied to prepare the surface for installation. Finally, the installer will need to make sure the subflooring is level and use a self-leveling compound if necessary.
Tile waterproofing is an important step in the installation process, as it can prevent future water damage and mold growth on the surfaces beneath the tile. This is especially important for bathroom tile installations. Waterproofing tile has a cost range of $450 to $750, and this price is typically included in a professional estimate. DIYers will want to pick up a tile waterproofing kit to take care of this themselves.
Geographic location can impact tile installation cost. Densely populated urban areas usually have a higher cost of living, which directly affects labor costs. Coastal areas and places that experience higher humidity levels may have elevated prices due to the difficulty of tile installation in those environments. Homeowners can look up “tile installation near me” to get a sense of prices in their area.
The type of tile a homeowner chooses will affect tile installation cost. Each type has its own advantages and is suited for specific uses.
Ceramic is a relatively common tile material. Ceramic tile installation costs between $3 and $15 per square foot. Ceramic isn’t as durable as porcelain, but it’s a more budget-friendly material. Installing ceramic tile over a cement floor is typically more expensive than installing it over a wood floor that’s in good condition. Ceramic tile is scratch-, dent-, and stain-resistant, and it will maintain its color even if it’s exposed to direct sunlight. Cleaning ceramic tile regularly will help keep it in great condition.
A relatively affordable tile option, encaustic cement tiles cost about $2 per square foot for materials alone. Including labor, the total cost to install encaustic cement tiling is about $7 to $14 per square foot.
Glass tiles usually average approximately $30 to $60 per square foot but could range anywhere from $10 to $180 per square foot. According to Upton, “Glass tiles are another one that is best limited to wall applications… If you drop something and it chips the tiles, you now have shards of glass on your floor.” Still, glass is suitable for use as a backsplash, in a shower, or as a countertop. Glass tiles are available in various tones such as brown, green, yellow, blue, gray, and red. They’re commonly available in 12-inch by 12-inch tiles that are made up of either random or uniform shapes that have the appearance of a brick wall.
Marble has a remarkably wide cost range of $2 to $28 per square foot. The highest-quality marble will fall toward the higher end of this spectrum, but often a similar look can be achieved with a lower-grade marble.
One of the most common tile materials is porcelain. Porcelain tile installation costs from $2 to $15 per square foot. Thin porcelain costs more than thicker tiles because of the process it undergoes to be durable despite the thinness of the tile. It’s helpful for a homeowner to know the Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) wear rating when deciding on porcelain tile. Tiles are rated from 1 to 5, depending on durability and intended location and purpose of the tile. Tiles that are rated a 1 or 2 are best for tiling bathroom walls or backsplashes. Tiles rated 3 to 5 are suitable for flooring and countertops. Porcelain is stain-rpesistant and works well in areas with high levels of moisture.
Porcelain tile that’s made to look like wood averages $3 to $12 per square foot. These tiles are typically cut into rectangular planks but are still priced by the square foot. Porcelain wood tile is an excellent choice for those who enjoy the look and warmth of wood grain while benefiting from tile durability.
Quartzite is a natural stone tile that comes in a variety of colors from white to dark gray. This material is popular for its durability and easy maintenance. The average cost per square foot for quartzite tile is $5.
Rectified tiles are cut after the firing process, so each tile has precise edges and measurements. It’s available in many different styles in ceramic or porcelain. The price can run from $1 to $6 per square foot. Some homeowners opt for rectified tile if they’re looking for minimal grouting between tiles or if they want tiles larger than 15 inches.
Durable slate tiles have a dark, earthy texture with an upscale aesthetic. Slate is available in more colors than just dark gray. It sometimes is found with mixtures of brown, tan, gray, green, and even purple. Slate has a naturally grooved texture, but it’s available in a sanded smooth option as well. Slate floors are extremely durable and can stand up to daily wear and tear. Slate does scratch easily so it’s best suited to areas like a kitchen or bathroom. Slate is challenging to install due to the weight of the material. Slate tiles typically cost around $3 per square foot, but homeowners can expect to pay two to three times the price of the material for installation.
Natural stone tiles can cost between $5 and $45 per square foot. Stone tiles are durable but not as strong as ceramic tiles. Stone tiles are typically cut to fit the size of the space and provide a unique look. Many homeowners are drawn toward the color variations and natural beauty of stone for countertops, flooring, bathrooms, and backsplashes. However, it may require more upkeep than other materials, since stone tile is prone to scratches and chips. Upton adds, “If you choose to install natural stone in your home, such as marble, travertine, slate, or granite, then you will have to have a regular maintenance routine. Natural stones are porous and require regular cleaning and sealing.” Some other natural stone material options are limestone, clay, basalt, pebble, onyx, and sandstone.
Travertine is a kind of durable natural stone that is typically light and neutral in color. It is popular for both indoor and outdoor use and can be either polished or textured. Travertine tile costs about $6 per square foot.
Vinyl tile is available in a variety of colors as well as in stone patterns and wood grain. This budget-friendly option can cost between $1 and $12 per square foot. Vinyl is a durable tile option and provides a dependable walking surface in a home.
Installing tile can improve the appearance of a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, or patio. No matter a homeowner’s style, tile can reflect their tastes with various colors, textures, styles, and shapes. Some of the benefits of adding tiles to a home are explained in detail in this section.
When installed correctly, tile can last a lifetime. Tile is durable and, when properly sealed, it’s also stain- and scratch-resistant. It maintains its color even when in direct sunlight, and porcelain tile is considered more durable than granite. Even if a single tile breaks, it is usually possible to fix a cracked tile without replacing the whole area.
Many tile varieties require little to no maintenance outside of regular cleaning. According to Upton, it’s a good idea to “choose porcelain tile and a stain-resistant grout for ease of maintenance.”
Those with allergies are opting for more tile in their homes since tile is impervious to mold, dust mites, germs, bacteria, and other allergens.
Tile is an outstanding choice when it comes to upgrading the look of a home. From replacing old, chipped countertops and dull, outdated flooring, tile can brighten up and update a home.
Adding tile is one way to increase a home’s value. If the cost of a bathroom remodel or kitchen renovation is out of reach, sprucing up the space with new tile can help give it a more affordable refresh. Most major home improvements will increase the value, but tile flooring will always add value to the home due to its durability and longevity.
Tile installation cost per square foot ranges from $3 to $15 when homeowners hire a pro, which makes DIY tile installation a tempting prospect for those on a limited budget. Smaller projects like tiling a backsplash are the simplest for beginners. Those who have the tools could also replace a single tile that is broken or chipped. However, inexperience could lead to incorrect cuts and grout application or breakage. Fixing these mistakes as a DIY project could end up costing more than hiring a professional from the start. “If it’s not installed correctly, it’s not just loose or crooked tiles that homeowners may have to deal with,” says Upton. “Rather, it could result in mold or structural damage to their home from water escaping where it shouldn’t.” Unless a homeowner has extensive experience, it’s recommended that they leave tile installation to one of the best tile installation companies. They have the right tools for the job and can finish the installation a lot more efficiently than an inexperienced DIYer.
Tile installation costs can be high, and the additional costs associated with the project can quickly add up. One way to save on tile installation is to buy the cheapest material, but there are other ways to save without compromising quality.
Asking a professional the right questions about tile installation cost can minimize miscommunication, save money, and get the desired results. Listed below are some questions homeowners can ask tile installation professionals before hiring.
Deciding on the right tile for a home while staying within budget can be a daunting process. The following frequently asked questions about tile installation costs can help guide a homeowner’s decision-making process.
On average, it costs between $4 and $115 per square foot to tile a room. For 100 square feet, it would cost between $400 and $11,500.
It can take approximately 3 days to tile a 10-by-10-foot room.
Most types of ceramic, porcelain, and terracotta tile can last 50 years or more.
The answer depends on where you’ll be using the tile. Porcelain tile works the best in areas with a lot of moisture, like bathrooms, showers, or sink backsplashes. Porcelain floors are harder and denser, but ceramic is more comfortable to walk on and stays cooler than porcelain. The decision comes down to cost and function.
Sources: HomeAdvisor, Angi, HomeGuide, Home of Tile, Mission Tile West
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