Tile installation costs: How do you know what you’ll pay

Tile, usually the bathroom and kitchen floor, has been used in more home design applications in recent years. Solid wood paneling, subway and marble-look tiles, as well as other new textures, patterns, and shapes, are among the most popular home trends.

From floors to walls, tiles are literally a gorgeous and in-demand design element for modern and improved builders. Here’s how to plan, budget, and execute a tile installation project.

Tile Installation Considerations

Tiles have always been best suited for bathrooms, mudrooms, and kitchens. It is ideal for areas that may be exposed to moisture because it is durable, easy to clean and waterproof. Today, tile arrangements are being made in more rooms.

The reasons for the popularity of tiles include:

  • Tiles are cooler on your feet and a favorite in warm regions.

  • Installing tiles is less expensive in warm regions.

  • Printing technology allows for nearly endless design possibilities.

Tile classification

For flooring, be sure to grade the tiles you choose for flooring.

“You can’t put wall tiles on floors. They won’t stand up to foot traffic, you can slip on them, and they can crack,” says Debbie Gartner of Westchester, New York, a blogger at theflooringgirl.com.

Floor tiles can be used on the walls.


If it will be installed in wet or damp areas, such as bathrooms and entryways, the tiles should be slip-resistant.

Regional differences in housing

Gartner notes that labor costs vary depending on where you live. In warmer parts of the country, tile installation costs are likely to be lower, compared to costs in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, or Northeast.

This is because homes in warmer regions are often built on slabs, Gartner says, with sub-concrete floors.

“You can install tiles directly on top of that,” she says. “Labour is often less expensive because there is less you need to do.”

In the country’s cooler climates, homes are typically built with a plywood floor, so there are higher material and labor costs due to the additional setup required.

How to budget tile installation costs

National estimates are practically useless. For example, Fixr.com, a service referral site, says the average cost to install tile floors in a 200-square-foot area ranges from $700 to $2,000. This is a great wide range.

HomeAdvisor, the professional service’s referral site, got a little more accurate, saying the average price per square foot for tile ranges from $1.30 for ceramic to $7.50 for marble.

There are many pricing variables that go beyond the type of tile, including:

  • Costs related to flooring changes, such as electrical and plumbing alterations.

  • and general installation labor.

Forget the shot ball. Gartner says you should take a straightforward path to budgeting by getting realistic estimates. you should know. Gartner has owned a shop flooring for more than nine years.

“The best way to budget is to get estimates,” she says. “Start with what you want. Imagine for a second that the budget doesn’t matter.”

The best way to budget is to get estimates.

Debbie GartnerAnd Blogger at theflooringgirl.com

Consider whether you want tiles everywhere, only in some rooms or as accents. “Then have three contractors come in and give you an estimate,” Gartner adds.

After receiving the “budget doesn’t matter” estimates, you can start finding ways to cut costs and prioritize what you want to spend your money on.

“Sometimes, if you switch materials, it will affect employment,” advises Gartner. “Natural stone is a good example. It will cost you more labor.”

How to reduce tile installation costs

There isn’t much you can do about labor costs in your area, but there are ways to reduce the overall cost of your project:

  • Choose less expensive tiles, which can reduce product and labor costs.

  • Reduce tile coverage to fewer rooms or smaller areas.

  • Cut other project costs, such as not replacing the bathtub or bathroom vanity, or foregoing the kitchen island.

Do tiles enhance the value of your home?

Add most major home improvements to home value, but little, if any, returns to your total investment in materials and labor. Gartner says that laminate floors generally add more value than tile floors.

New wood flooring has made 91% of its cost back, according to the 2017 Remodeling Impact Report from the National Association of Realtors. Wood-look tiles are popular these days. However, hardwood versus tile flooring costs can vary depending on where you live, so you’ll want to compare the two before making a final decision.

DIY tile installation

For DIYers looking to cut costs, trying to install tiles may not be the way to go due to the experience and equipment required, as well as proper floor preparation.

“The biggest problem is when people install tiles on top of any type of wood. When they do this, hardwood (or plywood) naturally expands and contracts through moisture — moisture and temperature — so the wood expands but the tiles don’t. Tiles are brittle and tend to cracking,” Gartner says.

However, tile backsplashes are a potential DIY project, mainly because they go against the wall and don’t get under the constant stress of traffic that floor tiles do. Surface preparation is also less of a factor.

And many backsplash tiles these days come inside a mesh backing, spaced perfectly for easy installation.

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