If you’ve ever researched ceramic tile, you already know pricing and installation costs vary considerably. Prices change according to the shape, size, and color of your tiles. A beautiful tile floor can last decades, plus they’re easy to keep clean.
Ceramic tile is available in any pattern, and shade you can think of; the possibilities are endless. There’s ceramic tile that looks like real wood, natural stone or even brick. You can install ceramic tile floors anywhere in your home.
If you love the look of tile but feel discouraged by the price, don’t give up yet. There are bargains out there, you just need to know what to look for. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to spend on ceramic tiles.
Ceramic Tile Costs
The price of ceramic flooring fluctuates according to quality and durability. Stronger and thicker tiles will cost upwards of $4-$8 a square foot. While thinner materials are often under $1.
The durability of ceramic tile is rated between 1-5 on the PEI scale. If your installing ceramic floor tiles, look for a rating of 3 or higher. Anything less than that won’t stand up to foot traffic and is better suited for walls.
Sizing also affects the price of tile. Standard size squares are usually the least expensive choice. While larger formats may be stylish, they’ll cost more and produce the most waste.
Consider using porcelain tiles when installing floors in damp areas such as bathrooms or kitchens. Due to its manufacturing process, porcelain is denser and better at repelling water. Porcelain costs an average of $2 more per square foot but wears better than conventional ceramic.
When purchasing ceramic tile it’s best to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Large home improvement stores may not be the cheapest option. Many smaller tile shops (online & in-person) run specials on close-outs and discontinued styles.
Even if you don’t purchase from a specialty shop, stop in and speak with a salesperson. They can offer you valuable insight and guide you towards selecting the best options for your space. Tile shops are also helpful in giving recommendations for installers in your area.
Typical Installation Charges
Pricing for ceramic tile installations varies depending on the size of the job and overall floor plan. Complicated patterns and transitions will impact your estimate. Most installers charge an average rate of $5 per square foot.
A bathroom will cost more to tile than a comparably sized living room. Your installer will need to make cuts to accommodate obstacles such as showers and vanities, so rates will be higher. Damp areas may require the application of a waterproof membrane to prevent water damage.
Your installer will advise you if this step is necessary. Don’t cut corners when deciding whether or not to pay for waterproofing. You’ll end up spending thousands of dollars fixing damages that could have been prevented for a lot less.
Another cost factor is the preparation of your subfloor. Some contractors prefer to use cement boards as a tile base while others float traditional mortar beds. Both methods will give you an even surface to apply the tile, but mortar beds can take up to 28 days to cure.
Never install ceramic tile directly over plywood. Changes in humidity will cause wood to contract and expand. The stress of the constant shifting may result in breakage and unevenness over time.
While preparation costs can strain your budget, letting a professional tackle the job is never a bad investment. If you’re looking to cut costs, why not assemble a crew of helpers and demo your old floors? It’s back-breaking work, but it will shave a few hundred dollars off your bill.
It’s possible to install ceramic tile as a DIY project. Be forewarned, it takes a ton of patience and requires some skill. You can rent or buy the tools from your local home improvement store.
You’ll need trowels, a drill, a mixing paddle, and a wet-saw or tile cutter. You should also have buckets and sponges available for clean-up. Don’t forget to purchase adhesive, thin set, sealer, and grout.
Take extra precautions when using a wet saw as you’ll be working with both water and electricity at the same time. If your job will take several days to complete, consider buying an inexpensive saw. You can buy one for less than the cost of a weekend rental.
If you plan to install the tile on your own, do your research and take advantage of online videos. While not a substitute for professional advice, videos can guide you on the best techniques and help you avoid common mistakes. Tiling takes precision and is much harder to do than it looks.
Know what you’re getting yourself into before you start.
Ceramic tile is a durable and affordable choice for your home. It’s made for active households and requires little maintenance. To keep your floors from looking outdated, opt for simple coloring and basic patterns.
Always ensure the tile you buy is certified and inspected for quality. You can find out more information by visiting the Tile Council North America’s website.
When selecting an installer, get at least 3 estimates before making your decision. While price is important, always research your contractor’s credentials. Do an online search for recent reviews or complaints.
If you’ve recently installed ceramic tile floors, tell us about it. Did you tackle the project yourself or hire a professional?