Are you thinking that tile flooring may be just what your home needs, but you have heard horror stories about tile installation costs? The truth is: the tile flooring cost estimate you’re after may not be as straightforward as you’ve been hoping for.
Countless factors influence the cost of tile flooring, from the type of tile you pick to the pattern you want to set them in ,and from the size of the area you’d like to tile to the contractor tasked with the job.
Budgeting for tile flooring can be a headache. For some, it can even lead to heartache. To make sure you don’t end up on the receiving end of either of those aches, we have put together this helpful guide to assist you in understanding the ins and outs of tile flooring.
Regardless of whether you pick the cheapest tile option or the most expensive, be prepared for that cost to double – if not triple! I’ll be covering all of the following in today’s article, so be sure to read it for a full look at what factors contribute to the cost of tile flooring and how to decide if this is the flooring type for your home or not.
- Cost Factors: Materials
- Cost Factors: Installation
- Advantages Of Installing Tile Flooring
- Disadvantages Of Installing Tile Flooring
- Maintenance Tips
- Frequently Asked Questions
Tile Installation Cost Factors: Materials
- Type of tile selected
- Grading and brand
- Sales tax, shipping, and delivery fees
- Additional materials and supplies
- Installation charges
When it comes to tile flooring, how much it is going to cost you can vary widely depending on what you choose. Some tile is very inexpensive, while other types of tile can cost a small fortune.
For example, you can find ceramic floor tiles for as little as $0.45 per square foot. Although, the average price range for ceramic tiles is around $2.50 to $3.00 per square foot.
Porcelain tiles can also be found cheaply. However, there are also more costly choices, especially if it has an intricate design or is imported.
The average price range for porcelain tiles is from $3 to $10 a square foot.
You also have the option of going with natural stone tiles such as marble, travertine, slate, granite, or quartz. These are generally more expensive.
Most natural stone tile costs around $5 to $10 per square foot, with an average price of $7. However, if you want designer floor tiles, you are looking at $25 plus per square foot.
And not only does the type of floor tile impact the cost, the quality of the tile can also impact it. Many retailers set a grading level of one to three for their tiles.
The lower the grade, the better the product. Grade one means high-quality, uniform tiles, while grade three means you’ll find flaws, chipping, or other major issues.
The brand you select can also impact the price. Artisan brands such as Bisazza out of Italy are much more expensive than MS International flooring, which can be bought from major home improvement stores such as Home Depot.
Once you’ve narrowed down the kind of tile flooring you want, you will have a much better idea what it is going to cost you. However, there are still some other cost factors to keep in mind.
In the majority of the states, there is a sales tax, so make sure to factor that into your total cost. Sales tax rates vary widely from state to state.
Now, if you purchase your tiles online, it is possible that you will not pay sales tax. But that will depend on where you live and where the company is located.
Unless it is a small project or you have a truck and buy local, there is a good chance you will have to pay for shipping or delivery to your home.
If you order online, plan to pay for shipping unless there is an option to ship the tiles to a local store (such as Lowe’s, for example). Then you can pick them up yourself.
Another cost factor to include in your budget is for additional materials you will need.
Did you factor in an extra 5% of materials for trimming and waste? Will you need new baseboards or molding?
Are you planning to put in a radiant heat tile flooring system? Anything extra should be factored into your costs.
And finally, if you are going with tile floors, you’ll probably want to hire a professional to do the installation. We’ll talk further about installation costs in this next section.
Tile Installation Cost Factors: Installing The Tile
- Level of difficulty to install
- Issues with the subflooring
- Removal of existing materials
- Distance to installation location
- Who you are working with
Tile flooring can be difficult to install. And, in most cases, it is not a DIY project.
So, if you want tile in your home, you should plan on factoring in the cost of installation to your overall budget. You can calculate much of the installation cost by square footage.
Ceramic tile installation averages around $5 a square foot to install. Porcelain tile generally comes in at a comparable $5-$6 per square foot. Natural stone tiles cost $7 per square foot on average for installation.
However, in addition to square footage costs, there are other things that can impact the price of installation.
One such factor is the level of difficulty.
For large, open areas, tile installation will go smoothly and fast. However, if the installer has to work in tighter spaces or around things such as electrical and plumbing, then there will be an extra charge for these more difficult places.
If you plan to create a pattern with the tiles, this is also more challenging and will cost more.
You may also incur additional installation charges if your subfloor is not very level. If the subfloor is uneven or slanted, your contractor will have to level it before even beginning.
Unlike some other flooring options, tile cannot go on top of existing floors. So, you will have to remove the old floor.
If you do this yourself, you can save some money. If you have your installer do it, then it will cost you extra.
On average, you can expect to pay around $2 per square foot to have your old floors removed.
You may also be charged more if contractors have to drive a long distance to get to your home. However, if you live in a major metropolitan area, or close to one, then this will probably not be a factor.
Finally, who you are working with can also impact the price. High-quality contractors may cost more.
The best way to keep installation costs under control is to get estimates from multiple contractors. You can contact each one yourself or use a service to compare costs.
Carefully examine your quotes to make sure your estimate includes the different factors that affect your installation (such as removal of old materials or leveling the subfloor).
Word-of-mouth and referrals from neighbors, friends, or family is another way to find high-quality, well-priced installers.
Advantages Of Installing Tile Flooring
- Very durable
- Can be used in virtually any room
- Something for every budget
- Doesn’t go out of style
- Easy to clean
- Easy to maintain
- It won’t trap allergens
Tile flooring is extremely durable. Its hard surface is impenetrable by things that leave another flooring vulnerable.
And it can work in just about any room in the house.
It is often used for wet rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms because it won’t warp or get damaged by moisture. It is used in high traffic areas because it won’t wear down like carpet or get scratched up like hardwoods.
Plus, you can find tile flooring for pretty much any budget. Whether you want to spend a lot or need something cost-effective, you still have plenty of choices.
Ceramic and porcelain tile both offer very inexpensive options. And if cost is not as important as style, there are plenty of selections to choose from.
You can even find tiles that mimic wood for use in wet rooms.
And tile is not a flooring that goes out of style (unless you choose a really outrageous look).
Although some natural stone tiles do require periodic refinishing.
It is also low maintenance. It handles pet traffic, spills, heavy furniture, and much more without getting damaged.
And even if your well-meaning child draws on the floor with a permanent marker, you can easily remove it from tile flooring.
Another benefit to tile flooring is that it does not trap allergens the way that carpet does. Dust, mold, and other allergens are swept away during routine cleaning.
Disadvantages Of Installing Tile Flooring
- Feels cold and hard to walk on
- Does not absorb sound
- Can be slippery, especially when wet
- Difficult to install
While there are many advantages to tile flooring, it also has some disadvantages.
For example, tile is not the warmest flooring option. And you probably won’t find yourself sitting on the floor much as you would with carpet.
But you can always put some rugs down. And if you live somewhere that gets cold in the winter, you can install radiant floor heating underneath it.
Tile does not absorb sound very well. So, if you have a teenager who needs to practice the tuba or a dog that barks every time a car passes on the street outside, then you will need to find other ways to absorb some of the noise.
Hard surfaces reflect sound while soft ones absorb it. So, here’s another reason to strategically place some rugs down in the rooms that have tile.
Draperies can also help absorb some of the sounds.
Another disadvantage to tile is that it is easier to fall on than some of the other flooring options. If small children or elderly people live in the home, this could be an issue.
Tile flooring could also be difficult for pets who suffer from joint disease or osteoarthritis. So, for safety reasons, tile flooring may not be the best choice.
It is also very difficult to install compared to other types of flooring. DIY’ers may want to consider a different type of material to work with.
Tile is heavy and requires special tools to cut and place in tight spaces. And grout is just plain messy.
So, if you want to install flooring on your own, you may not want to choose tile.
Let’s say you’ve weighed out the pros and cons and decided that tile flooring is the best choice for your home. How do you keep it clean?
As mentioned earlier, it is pretty easy to maintain tile floors. You just need a few supplies: dust mop and pan (or a vacuum that has a “hard floor” mode), a wet mop, and a floor detergent.
The best way to sweep up the dirt and debris from your floors is to use a dry dust mop. How often you sweep will depend on who lives in your home and how much traffic the flooring gets.
Homes with large families or pets should be cleaned several times a week or even daily depending on how dirty the floors get.
It’s a good idea to place mats at exterior doors to catch some of the dirt and dust. And you can also ask family and guests to remove their shoes before coming inside.
Use a wet mop and floor detergent weekly for a deeper cleaning. If you have natural stone floors, avoid using acidic cleaners such as those that contain lemon or vinegar.
The material and installation cost to install tile is approximately $15 to $20 per square foot. On the lower side of the tile price scale, an installation can cost $11.49 per square foot while more expensive installations can surpass the $35 mark.
Asking “how much is a tile” is like asking how long is a piece of string. There are all sorts of factors that influence the cost of tiles, from the type of material used to build the tile to the size of it. Your best bet is to use a tile installation cost calculator.
Is It Cheaper To Install Hardwood Or Tile?
It is much cheaper to install tile than it is to install hardwood flooring. A hardwood floor installation will typically cost between $5 to $8 per square foot. However, although hardwood costs much more, initially the ROI is absolutely massive.
An ROI of 70% to 80% can be expected, considering that your home’s value increases by 2.5%, and 54% of home buyers would pay more for a house with hardwood flooring.
How Much Do Tilers Charge Per Hour?
Tilers charge between $45 to $250 per hour. This figure fluctuates according to the size of the job, whether its a residential or commercial job, the time it will take, and the physical labor demands required.
Be mindful of the fact that some tilers also incorporate other expenses into their fees, including the cost to commute to and from the job site and the cost to transport materials.
Why Is Tile Installation So Expensive?
It’s expensive to install tiles because tiles themselves aren’t necessarily cheap to manufacture and the labor involved in tile installations is extensive. On top of these, other factors that influence tile flooring cost include the removal of previous flooring, subflooring preparation, and electrical or plumbing modifications.
I recommend requesting at least three cost estimates from different contractors to ensure you’re being quoted fairly.
Is Ceramic Tile Cheaper Than Laminate Flooring?
No, ceramic tile is not cheaper than laminate flooring. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find a flooring type that is as inexpensive as laminate flooring is.
While ceramic tiling trumps laminate flooring in areas such as durability, laminate is much cheaper to purchase, install, maintain, and repair. The average cost to install laminate flooring is between $2 to $8 per square foot.
Does Tile Flooring Increase Your Home Value?
Yes, tile flooring increases your home value. In fact, focusing on flooring is one of the easiest ways to boost your home’s value. In general, the return on investment for tile flooring is between 50% to 70% – which is HUGE!
All tile flooring installations have a significant ROI, but of course, the type of tile used largely influences the percentage. Porcelain tiles have a 55% average ROI, the ROI of stone tiles ranges from 55% to 70%, and marble tiles have an ROI of less than 50%.
How Many Floor Tiles Can Be Laid In A Day?
While it’s near impossible to answer this question, on average, 150 12 x 12 floor tiles can be laid in a day. However, this number can vary wildly on either side as there are various factors that influence how long it takes to tile a floor.
The size of the tiles plays a huge part in how many floor tiles can be laid daily as it will take much longer to tile a floor using small tiles compared to how quickly a large tile installation will go.
Other factors that come into play include the size of the floor as well as its shape. You also need to account for any prep work that needs doing, as well as any grouting and cleaning that is required after. Finally, the expertise and experience of the tiler also impacts how many floor tiles can be laid in a day – a novice will work at a much slower pace than a seasoned professional.
How Much Does It Cost To Tile A Backsplash?
It costs between $592 to $1,317 to tile a backsplash, with the average tile cost being $1,000. Again, these figures are not set in stone and many factors influence the actual cost to install tile backsplashes such as the type of tyle, the installation area, the square feet, the complexity of the planned design, and the labor costs.
The labor costs of installing a backsplash are normally between $40 to $60 per hour, but note that not all contractors charge per hour; some charge per square foot and others charge a flat labor fee. If you change your mind, know the average cost to remove backsplash is between $3 and $6 per square foot – so it’s best to be totally sure you want a backsplash.
Tile flooring is a classic, timeless option that is high in popularity and low in maintenance requirements. Because tiles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles, this type of flooring is suitable for almost any environment from bedrooms to bathrooms and all rooms in between. There are many different reasons why tile flooring is the number one choice for so many homeowners.
But I won’t beat around the bush. The cost to purchase and install tiles is significant and may make even those with the biggest of budgets do a double take. But when you consider the impressive ROI, low maintenance costs, and the sheer versatility of this flooring option, it’s easy to justify the costs of tiling your way to your dream home.
Are tiles expensive to buy? Yes. Is the cost to install them even more expense? Yes. Will it take plenty of sweat – and sometimes blood and tears – to tile your space beautifully? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
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