What Is a Tiler And When You Might Need One

What Is a Tiler And When You Might Need One

Tile Work
Additions and Remodels
Small Projects and Repairs
By Ani Mouradian June 21, 2021

The artistry, skillfulness, and expertise involved in tile installation are often overlooked. For many homeowners who are building or sprucing, the tile application process is also often last on the docket when remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. Although installing the tiles might be less time consuming than processes like plumbing, electrical, drywall, and paint that precede it, your choice of tiler and the work they do involves a few nuances that can affect the overall quality and appearance of your new ceramic (or porcelain) laden surfaces.

Who Is a Tiler?

A tile installer (aka tile contractor, tile installation pro, or tiler) is a professional that competently preps, applies, seals, and in some cases waterproofs tile onto your home’s various surfaces. Tilers use varying materials to install tile typically in places and rooms that exhibit moisture. However, nowadays tile is also used almost anywhere because for many it is a fairly popular design choice in living spaces as well.

What Does a Tiler Do?

Tile installers carry out a range of services including:

  • Tile removal
  • Preparing surfaces for tiling
  • Shaping and laying tiles on walls and floors
  • Grout placement and sealing
  • Tile resurfacing
  • Waterproofing
What Does a Tiler Do?

What Does a Tiler Do?

A good tiler should also be able to recommend and advise you on what kind of tiles you should or shouldn’t use for the area you want to cover. For example, they will warn against porcelain wood tiles around a fireplace and might recommend larger
kitchen tiles to expand the visual scan of the room.

When Do You Need a Tiler?

When Do You Need a Tiler?

When Do You Need a Tiler?

Tiles are most commonly selected to beautify shower walls, bathroom floors, kitchen floors and walls, kitchen backsplashes, and outdoor flooring. Other scenarios where they may be applied are sunrooms, pools, outdoor fountains, and fireplaces. You can even consider tiles in bedrooms and living spaces, where larger tiles are often used to make smaller spaces look more expansive or add character through exotic tile selection. In all cases, tile is a sound choice if you are looking for durability and timeless charm.

You should also consider replacing tile that is chipped or coming off. Although many do attempt to DIY tiles, hiring a tile installer comes with many benefits. 

How Much Does a Tiler Charge?

Our first bit of advice regarding pricing is to get at least three quotes to compare. You should also ask for the quotes to be written out and broken down. This is because there are a few additional factors that can influence the cost of a tiling job that you’ll want to know to account for or not. The price will depend on the size and difficulty of your project; smaller pieces, varying tile shapes that require more cutting, and mosaics (which are all more labor-intensive) will up the cost.

How Much Does a Tiler Cost?

How Much Does a Tiler Cost?

Tile installers charge $15 to $20 per square foot or $850 to $2,700 for the materials and installation of an average ceramic or porcelain flooring job. A wider range of all tile projects will cost between $13.50 to $83. What causes such a difference? 

  • Whether they’re indoor or outdoor tiles (the latter being on the higher end of the scale).
  • The size of the surface area meant to be tiled. 
  • The choice of tile material. Going from more costly to less these can be slate, glass, porcelain wood tile, porcelain, rectified tile, ceramic, travertine, and more.
  • The jobs that might need to go along with the tile installation. These can include preparation of the area, old tile removal, waterproofing, and backer board installation. Backer board is a layer of cement that serves as a more reliable surface to lay tile on and often replaces wood sub-flooring (especially in the case of bathroom tiles and kitchen backsplashes) which tends to retain a lot of moisture.
  • The experience level and specialty of the tile installing professional.

With all things considered, how much a tile installation costs ranges between $860 and $2,740, with a national average of $1,800.

How They Fit In Within a Larger Project

It’s important to remember that, although tiles come in toward the end of a kitchen or bathroom remodel (typically after drywall and painting and before flooring), they will play a very significant role in how the room comes together. Tile style, color, size, and layout should therefore be on your mind right from the start. Your tile contractor will typically tell you when and how you should start tiling based on the other plans you have surrounding that area or in that particular room. Things like surrounding furniture, whether you’re waiting for imported tile, and the existing surface they’ll be working with will help a professional estimate timing and sequence.

Specialty Skills or Classifications Within the Trade

The main distinction between tiling experts, other than how long they’ve been in the business and certification, is the materials they work with. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are the most widespread and therefore, most tilers are skilled in working with both. However, if you are considering glass or natural stones to embellish your home’s new surface then you want to find a professional who has more experience working with the tools and materials needed to aptly shape, size, place, and seal those unique pieces.

Specialty Skills and Classifications for Tilers

Specialty Skills and Classifications for Tilers

How to Choose the Right Tiler for You

As you may have gathered by now there are more than a few factors that can affect the satisfaction level of your tile project. Expertise in particular materials, the know-how needed to cut and shape when needed, and the professional foresight to determine whether you need backer board or waterproofing to prevent tiles from chipping, popping off or breaking, are only some of the reasons why you should hire a professional instead of DIY-ing your own tiles.

But how do you choose a tile installer? Here are some questions you’re going to want to ask to make an informed decision.

  • Are you licensed or qualified?
  • Are you insured to work in my home?
  • How long will this job take?
  • Can you provide a written quote?
  • Do you provide installer warranty?
  • Do you have references I can follow up with?
  • Can I see examples of your work?
  • Have you done similar projects before?
  • Do you have experience working with similar materials?
  • Does the quote include removal of old tiles, surface preparation, sealing? Waterproofing, and polishing the tiles included in your quote?

Other Considerations to Best Evaluate a Tiler

If most or all of the questions above have been answered then you have all the important stuff down. But you should also read ratings and reviews of the professionals in the directories you find them in.

You can also take into consideration any certification the tile professional has or doesn’t have. Ones to look out for can be from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) or the National Tile Contractors Association. According to the CTEF, a certified tile installer is “... a dedicated and knowledgeable professional whose competence in installing tile has been verified to meet specific tile industry standards.” (CTEF)  Both of the mentioned professional organizations provide certification and education opportunities. Membership in or certification from one of these organizations means that your tiler is closer to the dissemination of information about new technologies, solutions, and advancements in the field. 

Finally, don’t forget about experience. Although a more experienced tiler will quote higher, they will also be able to carry out the job more quickly and efficiently than a less experienced tiler - essentially saving you money. Starting tilers normally work under the supervision of a certified tile installer to gain experience, until they meet the prerequisites to get their own certification. Although certifications are not a requirement in the field, they are a convincing sign of credibility and experience in a tile contractor.

Besides gaining a greater appreciation for tilers, we hope this article will help you find the right tile installer for your next tile installation home project.

Written by
Ani Mouradian

Written by Ani Mouradian