Cost of Tile Installation [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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06-13-2003, 04:01 AM
Just was wondering on the price that the installer gave me to tile a 130 square fee. The grand total of 2000.00, with tiles and backerboard, complete. I personally think that is a little over the top on I right????

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scott anthony
06-13-2003, 04:12 AM
Oh my God
Unless he is rebuilding the supporting structure of your house yes it is.
But hold on.
Tell us more, is this a shower or floor. And does this include the granite:)
Fill us in on some details.
Where are you from Alaska?
That might be something else we need to know.

06-13-2003, 04:34 AM
Well in response to your questions, it's my kitchen area. It would be 12 x 12 tiles installed on a diagonal. I already have a 3/4" plywood subfloor there, I guess backerboard on top of that is a requirement. I started thinking about this price when my niece paid 600.00 for an area smaller than mine, not by much, I thougt it was a little expensive. I believe that they are porcelain tiles.....their not much would that area cost, I know cutting on a diagonal allows for some waste, but not that much....I'm not in Alaska....I'm in Pennsylvania

scott anthony
06-13-2003, 04:44 AM
OK that's where we need to be.
2000 dollars is to me outragious, diagnol or not.
130 ft of tile at the most should be 400$ and that's high.
Floor prep I would charge 400$ w supplies.
And the install with all supplies I would be 500$.
Now make sure the underside of the house is suitable for tile.
Now these are my prices on the deep end, but thats me.

John K
06-13-2003, 05:17 AM

Scott Anthony is in Florida which is one of the lowest paying areas in the United States, so don't go by his pricing.

Check pricing in your area.:)

John K

06-13-2003, 05:21 AM
Hi Scott
About the kitchen area underside, holding the tile, that was my question to the installer....he said of course, no problem. What are the specs for there some kind of regulation. This area in question is over my laundry room area, which has normal headers and joists. Will I have a problem with that.....

06-13-2003, 05:43 AM
Hi, Loretta!

"...which has normal headers and joists."

I'll be glad to help, if you'll tell us a little more about them. What size are the joists (2x8, 2x10, etc), how far are they spaced apart (16", 24", etc), and how long between supports (walls, beams, etc). You can use the deflectolator (the calculator icon at the top of the page), or I can do it for you. If you come up a little short, I can help you with that, too.

06-13-2003, 07:35 AM
To my estimation they are 2x8, and 16" apart, they run wall to wall. Also I forgot to mention, about 4 foot of my kitchen lays on a cement only 8 foot is on the joists. After all this figuring maybe an alternative to ceramic tile is a better choice.

06-13-2003, 07:51 AM
How far are the walls apart?

No matter, you have about 1/3 of your floor on slab, and the other 2/3 over wood. The joint will have to be addressed, as well as any leveling issues after you put backerboard down over the plywood (you don't put backerboard down over concrete).

Since you are putting the tiles on the diagonal, placing a grout line over the joint will not be possible. Spanning the joint with an antifracture membrane may work, but you would then need soft joints for 3 rows of tiles, which may not be practical for a kitchen.

I think you may be right about looking for an alternative.

06-13-2003, 10:13 AM
In the Austin TX area I would go

4 bags thinset @ 13 ea = 50 bucks ( need this for above and below backer board)
10 sheets of CBU @ 10 ea = 100
$5 per sq ft x 130 sq ft = 650 ( porcelain on diag)
2 bucks per sqft ( average) x 130 sq ft = 260 for tile
Not sure of your grout type / cost

Looks like about 1060 bucks

I thinks this is the most you can expect in my area. I've done it cheaper ;)


scott anthony
06-13-2003, 01:09 PM
Listen her Icbear
Dem der engieerin fellers will take good care of ya.
Ya can have you guns loaded when the crew gets there.
I thought my pricing was fair. I find it works to be fair.
Man I need to move.
From what I hear it's Miami that's the worst.
They tile for food.
The way I look at it, I would profit after my helpers donation
about 500 in a day. He grouts. I can live with that.
Happy pricing.

06-13-2003, 02:23 PM
2 grand total, 400 for tile, 1600 for labor and rough materials. That's 12.30 sq ft. Sounds bout right for mud. Probably alittle high for a backer installation. I'd call a few more guys out and get more bids.:)

06-13-2003, 04:25 PM
I usually tell folks to figure $5.5-6 a square foot plus the cost of the tile. I'm in south central PA. :)

John Bridge
06-13-2003, 05:17 PM
Maybe $1300 for the job.


Quit tiling for food, will ya? You're driving down the prices. :D

Hi Loretta, Welcome. ;)

I think you have a problem with the two different types of subfloor anyway. You'd have to have a movement joint installed where the wood floor connects to the slab, and it sounds to me like that would be right in the middle of the kitchen. Maybe ceramic is not in your stars. :)

scott anthony
06-13-2003, 06:18 PM
OK will work for beer:shades:

John Bridge
06-13-2003, 06:42 PM
Well, that's more like it. :D

06-13-2003, 10:45 PM
Tile @4.00 s/f....................520.00
Setting Materials...............280.00 (includes CBU,Keralastic,grout.Durock Tape,Sanded Caulk,Schluter metal)
CBU Install........................200.00
Tile Install on Diag.............520.00
Total...........1520.00+tax on materials

Add Trip charge of 60.00 for anything over 50 miles 1 way.

06-14-2003, 05:19 AM
I want to thank all of you for your intuitive replies. I will get other estimates....I had my brother come over to check out the joists and the location using the whachacallit on top of this page. Seems my calculations on a previous post was incorrect, I guess my explanation wasn't clear. They are 1x4's 16" apart, 10 across running horizontally. There isn't that much of a large part that sits on concrete as noted above, just about 25" and that's on a solid base, not a slab.....sorry. I think this GC does beautiful work, I've seen some of it, but he has a few helpers with him so I guess they have to eat too. But I will take your advice and get some other quotes, including the installer that did my niece's home. Thanks

06-14-2003, 08:08 AM
OK add another 400.00 to beef up the Subfloor with Proper Joists and to add bridging between them. I guess with Tax we just made 2 grand.But hey.At least it will be there forever :D

06-14-2003, 02:51 PM

I am curious to know how long it would take you to do that job ( not including the beefing up of the joists) just the CBU install, tile install and grouting.
Would you have to install the cbu on one day, then the tile on another and finally the grout on the third day? How many man hours each day?
And how much you would profit doing it for that price not including the actual tile cost?

I am just curious for my own reference because I only do mud floors.



John Bridge
06-14-2003, 06:42 PM
Yeah, this is getting a little curious all right. ;)

As you all know, I don't do backer board floors, but I do do Ditra floors. I can't see 130 feet costing that much.

Say 2.50 for the Ditra and install. $325.

Tile at $3.00 which is high. $390.

Setting labor at $5.00 which is high. $650.

Throw on a few bucks for grout, and I still come up with only $1,400. Now, I'm telling you, I can do this in one day with my helper. I'm looking at about $800 in labor and overhead. Unless the subfloor needs major work, there is no way this job should cost 2 grand anywhere in the country (I think). :D

Of course, I forgot sales tax on the materials.

06-14-2003, 07:00 PM
#1-keep in mind i had the porcelain at 4.00 a s/f
#2 I include things like stair noses ,schluter etc
#3 I am using Keralstic not versabond

Subfloor work and CBU 1 day for me and a helper 7-8 hours
Tilework 2nd day-3.5-6 hours depending on all the normal factors.
Grout and finish work 3-4 hours 3rd day
This figures 30-35 man hours aproximatly
Material costs are around 800.00
30 hours @ 40.00 per man hour = 1200.00 Labor

Without the subfloor work its a 2 day job 7-10 1st day
3-4 2nd day or 10-14 total or 20-28 man hours
24 hour avg @ 40.00 =960.00 Labor

Now of course if i were to look at the job i would have a much better idea on time And perhaps if it were on the low end it could be bid less.

Now for someone that gets 600.00 a day labor like John.If he were to figure adding Joists,Bridging and doing the CBU or ditra(either or) and he can do that and set all the tile on the diagonal in a day(a 6 hour day cause thats what he works) He's a much better man than me :D

06-14-2003, 07:07 PM
I just thought of 1 more thing, there was no mention of Demo work,disposal etc.Is this being done by the homeowner or the Tilesetter??

scott anthony
06-14-2003, 07:14 PM
We are all blowing smoke. None of us would bid on a job like this without checking it all out first. I still don't think we have the full picture.
But I sure like hearing the different offers. Interesting.

06-14-2003, 08:37 PM
now I am even more confused....:wtf:

Todd your #'s on your first post dont match your second post...

Your first post was a total of $720 in labor ( CBU install and tile install with grout)
Your second post now says $960...?

I was just trying to get a feel for how long a CBU floor install takes And what the cost to profit ratio is. So what your saying is its a 1-1/2 day job without subfloor reworking with a gross profit of about $720.00 ( according to your first post pricing). your total bid without tile is $1000.00 ( $7.69 sf.).

If I was to do the same floor in mud for the same $1000.00 I would have a gross profit of $900.00 with 1- 1/2 days +/- to complete the job. But in my area the price would be more like 10 sf. so the gross profit would be $1200.00 which would bring me close or near the $600 a day rate that I like to stick to.

Here is a break down of the material cost.
1/4 +/- roll felt paper...........................$4.00
10 2.5 diamond lathe @ 2.50.............$25.00
1/2 yard sand......................................$10.00
3 bags portland @6.00........................$18.00
2 bags thin-set (versa-bond) @13.00...$26.00
2 25lb grout @15.00.............................$30.00

total material cost $113.00

On a floor that small I would lay the paper , lathe , mud and then do a wet set on the tile. That would be a 10hr +/- day. the next day I would grout 2hr +/-.

Note: If this job was in Manhatten I would'nt touch it for less then $25.00 sf. plus tile cost.


Art in Stone
06-15-2003, 02:30 AM
I was reading all of your posts and my mouth started to water.:drool2: I need to move. Strike that last comment, my wife would :bonk: :moon: :whip:

06-16-2003, 04:47 AM
Ok Men:
Explain this joist problem that everyone keeps coming up with...I just had another estimate.....this one 1400.00, since I will need some bullnose along the opposite side where there are no cabinets, and they are expensive, so I'm told, that is 600.00 less that the first installer. This installer checked the flooring and said that there is no problem, for ceramic tile, as far as weight and structure. My cabinets with granite countertop is laying on the concrete portion of my kitchen and there is no problem at all. I will keep you gentlemen posted, maybe a third estimate may be even less.

06-16-2003, 10:48 AM
I don’t know about other locations, but my local Home Depot stocks a decent selection of Schluter trim. This could save you from the expense of the bullnosed tiles, plus this trim produces a great finished look.

scott anthony
06-16-2003, 12:28 PM
I agree, end with a full tile if possible and use the trim.

06-16-2003, 02:14 PM
Loretta, please read this article in our Liberry:

It talks about deflection of the floor supporting the tile. We check this for anyone wanting to install tile on wood frame construction, because some homes are of non-standard construction, or were not built for tile. In your case, your tile guys said "no problem" which may mean a couple of things. Best case, they looked and determined that your structure was fine. Worst case, they don't know any better, and to them, they see no problem.

Checking the floor usually involves going into the basement and taking a couple of measurements. Joist size, spacing and span. Knowing or determining the subfloor construction is critical, too. The absolute minimum is 5/8" plywood, on top of which you will add 1/2" of backerboard. If you have 3/4", you add 1/4" backerboard.

If your cabinets with the granite tops are on concrete, great! No Problem!

05-22-2007, 09:12 AM
Is $4 a sq ft for 415 ft of flooring a fair price? The home owner is helping lay the backer board. There is no tear out but there is a 5 X 12 area they want diagnal with a boarder. Home owner is supplying all matrials tile,thinset,spacers,backer board, and grout.. Just wanting some opinions I've heard I'm not charging enough and I've also been told it was way too much.. I thought $4 a sq is about average for labor. Let me know what you think.

05-22-2007, 11:00 AM

I think you are at a good price point at $4 + materials. I do some work on the side for friends and family in the Philadelphia area and charge anywhere between $2-3 a sq foot. If you go to Lowes they will charge you $6.50 to install backerboard and tiles. I could get more but it's friends and family, I get some extra cash for my pocket and save someone I like so money too.

At the end of the day you have to make sure you get what your worth, remember you are doing them a favor. If someone says it is too much tell them to go get their own quote. Lowes has the install price advertised in the tile section.

my 2 cents

05-23-2007, 02:12 PM
Thank you for your 2 cents, I appreciate it & I'll be able to sleep well with a clear conscience

tile mom
05-23-2007, 09:15 PM
anyone in NC around?? what would you charge for labor only? per sf? per hour? just curious...really curious!

cuz looking at a 10x13 room, for example, at 3 bucks a sf...that would only be $390??? I don't think that I would do it for that, personally. Don't know how long that would take one person to do but too long, i would think for $390 in labor charges...

Also, what is the difference in charges for diagonally laid tile vs. a regular grid vs. intricate do you pros figure the differences?

05-24-2007, 05:09 AM
Tile Mom,

If it is just tile than 130 feet would be an easy short day for one person. The reality is, though, it's never just tile. There is tear out, base board, CBU/Ditra, and sometime structural reenforcement.

That said, here is a long and overly complicated price list I use in NC, note that it include everything except the tile.

Tile Pricing

Prices include appropriate underlayment, thinset/mortar, grout and sealing.

1) Min. Job: $600.00

Base price: $6.25 -- 0-300 sf.
$6.00 -- 301-600 sf.
$5.75 -- 601+ sf.

2) 45deg. /Basic Patterns add: $1.00
(Complex patterns will be extra)

Large tile (over 16x16) add $1.00

Natural Stone and
Porcelain add: $1.00
If polished: $1.50

Hand made and Glass add: $2.00

Edge finishing: soft stone $10.00 lf.
hard stone $14.00
(For bullnose fabrication add an additional $2.00 )

3) Remodling add: $1.00

4) Walls add: $3.50
If shower: $4.25
(includes Kerdi water/vapor proof barrier)

Ceilings add: $6.00

5) Trims add: $2.00 lf.

6) Cut-ins add $6.00 per item

7) Curves add: $6.00 per pc.

Shower Prep: $350.00
(Includes Schluter Kerdi drain, and mud bed with footprint up to 12 sq.ft.; foot prints above 12 sq.ft. will be charged $10.00 per additional sq.ft.)

Bench add: $200.00
(Includes Better Bench; custom shapes can be made, but will be extra)

Recessed Soap Dish add: $150.00

Corner Caddy/Soap Dish add: $15.00
(Labor only)

Glass Block: $6.00 per block
(Foundation, if required will be extra)

Please read carefully! Ask questions!

Mud work available only with bid.

Do to the wide variety of heat mats available installation costs will be determined on a job by job basis.

We feel our prices are reasonable and fair. You will, however, be able to find less expensive alternatives. But remember, if you don’t have the time or money to do it right the first time, how are you going to find the time or money to fix it?

Notes and definitions:
Hourly rate: $50.00

All Prep Work/ Tear Out/ Framing/ Cleaning/ Etc. necessary to prepare a suitable substrate for tile will be charged by the hour + materials (if any). Cleaning is defined as any preparation beyond normal sweeping. (I.E. excessive mud, re-cleaning due to other trades, etc.)

Any work performed that is not on the price list must be first discussed or will be billed hourly.

Installing cabinets before flooring creates more work and lowers the square footage; therefore cabinets are not subtracted from floor space.

1) A job is defined as work completed at a given site in continuity. Work that must be done at a later date (thereby requiring extra trips) at the same site will be considered a separate job.

2) Basic patterns include: running bond, hopscotch, directional (tile that must be laid in a particular direction), and any field tile that comes on a sheet. Other patterns may or may not be considered “basic” and should be discussed prior to pricing.
45deg. is defined as tile set on a diagonal orientation to the edges of the area to be tiled. When a space has edges of both orientations than it will be considered as oriented in relation to the edges with the greatest number of lin.ft.

3) Remodeling is defined as work done on any previously completed structure; an exception will be made for jobs prepared in such a way as to resemble new construction in both scope of work and access (i.e. access being defined as not requiring special attention to the state of repair or cleanliness of the structure beyond what would be necessary in a new construction setting).

4) Measurements for walls will be made to the nearest ½ foot with a minimum of one foot per change of plane. Walls are defined as any surface that is not a floor.
Measurements for floors will be made to the nearest sq.ft. (I.E. 12’5’’ becomes 12’ and 12’6” becomes 13’)

5) Trims are defined as any piece of tile that is not a part of the field. (I.E. listellos borders, etc.); miters will be considered as two trim. Each individual row created by trim will be billed separately. (I.E. a row of diagonally cut tiles in a square field creates three rows of trim) Bullnose will be considered part of the field.
The field is defined as the material used to cover the majority of an area tiled. A change in plane with a differing field will be billed accordingly. (I.E. a shower wall set square will be billed differently than the shower floor set on a 45deg. in the same shower

All tiled surfaces will be measured and billed for the appropriate field price with trim pricing being added to the total.

6) Cut-ins are defined as any individual piece, which does not create a row, and requires the cutting of the field.

7) Curves are defined as any row of cuts, which cannot be made with a strait line. (i.e. the edge of a rounded tub deck) It does not include individual pieces that must be cut to complete a non-curved field (i.e. the end of a windowsill).

Tile set on concrete should have a full coverage crack isolation membrane (included in base price); if such a membrane is not used, when and if the concrete cracks so will the tile.

Any shortcoming or defects discovered in the surface to be tiled will be brought to the attention of the contracting party. Ultimately, however, unless a complete and thorough inspection is performed, the contracting party is responsible to ensure that the job is prepared properly and meets the requirements of ANSI A108. A complete and thorough inspection will be completed before work commences if requested and will be billed by the hour. It is the responsibility of the contracting party to communicate this to all individuals involved in the decision making process.

Work performed outside Rowan or Cabarrus Counties will be billed a surcharge of $0.45 per mile each way, each day. Mileage will be determined from zip code 28138 by

05-24-2007, 05:59 AM
WOW Nathan.........I didnt see a Sponge Surcharge LOL

That kinda pricing may fly in a Metro area but I might as well go work at home depot trying to charge for some of the things you have on that list while others are just a bit low.

More power to you if you can get it and stay busy 48-50 weeks per year

One thing to remember about installing no matter what part of the country you are in.........SUPPLY & DEMAND

If you have an Abundance of Qualified Tile Installers and Little Demand for the work due to economic slowdown etc the guy's who charge premium rates during a Boom are going to go under if they do not adjust their thinking.

Setting Prices in stone is one way of doing things but another way is to look at your schedule.

If you are 3 months booked you are too cheap....if you are wondering where next weeks job will come from your too high for the immediate market situation.

Sometimes you need to look at how many days a job will take rather than how many s/f it is
5000 s/f , 12 x 12 tile,big open area over good concrete and 4.00 a s/f are not going to get you the job in MOST area's (unless perhaps its a 4x8 herringbone pattern :crap: ) I dont care HOW GOOD you THINK you are.
If you are not getting big jobs you are not pricing them right.

If your average Invoive is under 800.00 you are doing far too many small jobs.

Just a few things to consider! :)

tile mom
05-24-2007, 11:03 AM
I must be dead the 10 x 13 room--it took me 4 hours to clean up, vacuum, lay-out, put down hardibacker , thin-setted and nailed, including cut-outs for air and dryer vents and corners...

I am planning on setting tile this weekend...12 x 12's

I am thinking about just buying the Felker TM- 75 --5 days of rental would pay for you Pro's or experienced DIY'ers recommend a better blade than what comes with the saw? or a different saw?

THanks for all of the tips on this forum..I am addicted! Better this than other things, I guess!!


05-24-2007, 12:06 PM
That TM-75 is a great little saw and refurbished models are on sale now through the on-line store here for $198. Which blade to use depends entirely upon the type of tile being cut. If standard ceramic wall tile is what you'll be cutting then I'd stick with the factory supplied blade. But if you need to cut granite or porcelain then that recommendation would change.

Memmy, why don't you start a project thread of your own and tell us a little bit about what you'll be doing. That would also be a perfect place to add additional questions as they come up.


tile mom
05-24-2007, 12:35 PM
right- o! thanks for all the great info, folks...

starting a new thread...

05-24-2007, 09:46 PM

I agree completely. In fact, I hate price lists, but in my area (by the way, NOT a metro; Rockwell pop. 3000, Rowan county pop. 136,000) a price list is basically demanded. So I have a price list.

My average job is generally $2-4000 dollars and I stay booked out 3-6 weeks year round if I want to. Also, I don't want the big commercial jobs, they are to much of a headache and are often a semi-controlled disaster area. To much for an anal neat-nick like myself to handle.

I've worked in other areas and have been setting for 10 years. I've found that what you can and can't charge for and how much often seems to have no real pattern. For example, in WV I can charge $10 for cutting a door jamb and NC it's a freebie. Something is worth what someone will pay for it. I believe, as you suggested, your ability to land enough jobs but not every job is the best indicator of your price being in the right ballpark.

tile mom
05-25-2007, 08:41 AM
Nathan- I would like a price list if I were the least I would know exactly ( or close to it) what was going to be charged...on the other hand, if I were the tile setter I would feel like I would need a list by my tile saw just to keep me up to date with my cuts, curves, and whatever!! ha ha

Nathan- looked at the Mission web site...very nice.