Tile Installation

Why is tile installation so expensive?

Are you thinking that tile flooring may be just what your home needs, but you have heard horror stories about tile budgets going well and truly out the window? 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.

Looking for the best tiling renovations? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.

Hidden Factors That Increase Your Total Price

Tile Installation

Flooring Pro You Hire

There will be no shortage of tile installers for your project. If you are looking to save money, you can hire a handyman. The downside of this may be lack of license and insurance, as well as questionable labour quality.

You can also find local contractors that specialize in tile installation have proper licensing, tools and experience to perform a high-quality job. While they will charge more for their services, you will have peace of mind that you are dealing with real professionals, who will get the job done to your satisfaction.

Another option is to go with an installer from one of the big box home improvement stores (Home Depot or Lowe’s). The upside is that these stores have already vetted the contractors they work with and can guarantee their quality. Another benefit is that you may be able to get financing for your project. On the downside, you have to also purchase the materials for your remodel from the store.

Bottom line: when you start looking for a contractor, get at least three estimates from different companies and always ask for references, as well as a portfolio of previous jobs.

Room Accessibility

Ease of access to the worksite will impact your total price. If you live in a single-family home with easy access, you will not incur any additional fees. However, if you live in a condo or apartment building, or if the building has an elevator, any special association requirements for remodels, etc., your contractor will charge extra.

Size Of Your Floor

In general, tile installation prices per square foot are calculated based on the minimum project size of 200 sq. ft. Smaller projects are typically billed at a higher rate because the installer has to include his prep and clean up time, as well as overhead.

For example, if you want porcelain tile in a small hallway (45 sq. ft), your price to install tile will be $11.25 – 12.30 per sq. ft. Thus, the total flooring cost will be $450 to $550.

On the other hand, if you want the same porcelain tile installed in an area that totals 700 sq. ft, (ex. basement), you will be charged at the rate of $4.0 – 4.4 per sq. ft. That is almost three times less than the small project! Your total cost will be $2,800 – 3,100.

Your Existing Floor

The type of floor over which you plan to install tile can have a great impact on the final price. For example, if you have cement or concrete flooring, there will be an additional charge for the contractor to smooth, level and prime the floors, using special tools and materials.

By comparison, installing tile over a wood surface will be cheaper. However, when it comes to the wood subflooring, you should know that this is not an ideal surface for tile application, especially in areas with high moisture such as bathrooms. Wood tends to warp when exposed to high levels of moisture and tile sitting on top can either pop or break as a result.

If you have wood sub-flooring, you may want to consider installing special backer boards on top of the wood floor, which will provide a level, moisture-resistant surface for the tile.

Type Of Tile

Installing natural stone tiles, such as marble, granite, and slate will be 40-50% more expensive than ceramic or porcelain tile. This is because natural stone is more difficult to work with, requires special tools, more precision and expertise.

Also, unlike porcelain and ceramic tile, stone requires sealing after installation. All of these factors increase the overall complexity and length of time necessary to complete the project, and thus you get a higher price quote.

The average cost to install a ceramic tile floor is $1,350 – 2,500 for a 120 sq. ft. space.

By contrast, installing stone tile flooring runs about $1,950-3,000 for a 120 sq.ft space.

Tile Size

It costs less to install large than small size tile. This is because wider and longer tile covers a larger floor area at a time, which means that the entire project can be finished faster. Also, it takes less time to apply the grout to large vs. small pieces. These factors help reduce the cost of labour on large installs.

Room Layout

The cheapest floor tile installation will be in a room that has a straight layout with a minimal number of corners. The more cutting an installer has to do to custom fit the tile into an unusual room layout, the higher the price will be.

Custom Work

Any custom work and special tile pattern, such as the installation of borders, medallions, mosaics, tiling over built-in shower shelves, etc., will significantly increase the overall cost. You can expect to pay double or even triple the average price for a custom install.

How Much is a Porcelain Tile Floor?

To determine the total cost of having a porcelain tile floor, we’re going to talk about all factors that will affect the final flooring costs.

Most of the costs will be flooring installation, but we will break it down a bit for you to see what makes that total price per square foot.

Installation Costs

In our zip code –which is 33442– the average prices of a porcelain tile floor range from $6 to $12 per square foot depending on these parameters.

Tile Design

To give you an idea, the average price of just the tiles alone ranges from $3 to $4 per square foot. However, there are a number of factors that can affect the price of porcelain tiles such as the manufacturer, the country of origin, the depth/quality of the printing process, etc. 

Style

Tile visuals have come a long way, and manufacturers have enhanced their technology to make realistic wood, cement, or even natural stone looking tiles.

With just the porcelain tile options alone, you can do 10,000 square feet of tile with each tile having a unique pattern! 

The complexity of the tile design can affect the price but not that much. Maybe a couple of dollars. What this means is you can have the freedom to choose whatever design you want!

However, size and shape do affect the pricing in a significant way, especially for tile floor installation.

Check out our range of tiling renovations Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions. 

Shape

Exotic shaped tiles are trending this year with clients picking shapes such as hexagonal and chevron tile patterns. This can affect installation costs as different shapes can require more materials for the tiles to adhere to the floor properly.

Another thing to consider for shape is if you are going to orient the tiles diagonally on. The installation costs will be the same, but you have to order more tiles –about 10% to 15%– more to account for the waste.

The tile installers will have to do more cuts to adjust to the diagonal installation, so that is something to keep in mind.

Size

It’s expected that the larger the tile size, the higher the price. Larger tiles cost more and require more materials to install. 

However, if you go the other way and move to smaller tile patterns, such as mosaics, the price can also rise considerably. 

The price of tiles will not change much, but the installation costs will increase because it requires more work for it to be installed according to the design, which will make the labour costs higher.

This is most especially true when dealing with bathrooms.

Room

For spaces such as living rooms, patios, bedrooms or kitchens, they have almost the same cost to install, given that they have the same square footage. However, bathrooms have different project costs than any other space.

The workers have a limited space to work in, and the cuts are more precise and more frequent, requiring more work. 

Also, when dealing with bathrooms, we typically do it on a cost per hour basis, instead of the usual project costs.

We determine how much time is going to be spent on labour, and then we can figure out the cost for the client.

Material

This is the most common way to install porcelain tiles. As the name implies, it uses a thin material to bond the tile to a subfloor. This lets you achieve a lower floor height, about a quarter to half an inch from the original flooring.

This set is also the installation that’s commonly used for smaller tiles.

Mudset

For larger tiles, a mudset installation is required to hold the tiles properly. This is a lot more material than thin-set. It can raise the floor from an inch to an inch and a half because of the mortar mix and the tile adhesive, which is the thin-set material.

Demolition Cost

As much as possible, we prefer to demolish the existing floor first to ensure the steadiness of the tile application.

Carpet, vinyl, and laminate flooring are all fairly easy to remove so they can just cost $0.50 to $1 per square foot. 

However, for existing tile floors, marble or a glued-out wood floor, the labour cost can be $2 to $3 per square foot.

Time

This cost is just conditional as it depends on your budget and when you want the installation to be finished. This is also related to demolition costs.

Let’s say that you have 2 to 3 persons working on the installation without a professional demo crew. The time to finish a standard home measuring 2500 square feet can take up to 2 weeks.

However, if you can afford to have a demolition crew, it can take only 5 to 7 business days to finish. 

It highly depends on your budget. The more people you have, the faster the project will be.

Is a Porcelain Tile Floor a Good Investment?

Value is highly dependent on your budget and situation. Upon first glance, you might say that tiles, especially porcelain and ceramic tile, can lean on the more expensive side. Sometimes, it can even reach the prices of a hardwood floor installation.

But here in South Florida, porcelain tile is one of the top 3 best-selling flooring materials. Many clients see its value, and it has one of the most value for the money when it comes to flooring solutions.

Climate

South Florida is very hot and humid, but it can also be very wet. Flooring options tend to lean on the more waterproof options which are coincidentally the top 2 best-sellers on Foundation Flooring: Luxury Vinyl and Porcelain Tile.

Porcelain tiles are very waterproof so it is perfect for our climate and it can be used in wet spaces such as the bathrooms, kitchens, or laundry rooms.

Price

Aside from being waterproof, porcelain tiles lie on the sweet spot between expensive hardwood and very affordable luxury vinyl. That price doesn’t just go to aesthetics; it goes to durability and wearability.

Durability

Between our two best-sellers, porcelain tile is arguably more durable. It is a very strong material. It can withstand high impact stresses which can make it suitable for high-traffic areas, and it can be used in commercial spaces.

And it can also bear a heavyweight, so if you have large furniture in your living room or your kitchen, porcelain tile is the best option you have.

Porcelain tile is also highly scratch-resistant, making it the best flooring solution if you have kids or pets.

Long-Term Value

One of the greatest benefits of having a porcelain tile floor is the little to no maintenance that comes along with these floors. 

Hardwood floors can require sanding and refinish after some time, and natural stones need to be sealed and refinished every two years. However, with porcelain tile, you don’t have to do any of that to keep it looking good.

Porcelain tile floors are almost a set it and forget the situation, because of their durability and reliability. With wood floors, you have to consider flooding, public adjusters, insurance claims and all those shenanigans. But with porcelain tile, you don’t have to think about all that. You can rest easy in your place, as you should be.

This is the perfect solution for people with a very busy lifestyle, have kids or pets, or need a worry-free flooring solution for their home or workplace.

What’s even better is porcelain floor upgrades also increase your resale value!

But even if you don’t plan to resell your house, it’s still a pretty good investment as it can last for 20 – 50 years, depending on the installation. But here at Foundation Flooring, we believe that if you lay your floor right the first time, you can walk all over it for a lifetime!

We have a wide range of Melbourne tiling renovations to help you choose in creating a new design for your house. 

What are the most common tiling materials?

Let’s take a closer look at your the options for your new tile floor and how they differ.

  • Ceramic tile. What is commonly referred to as “ceramic tile” is usually stoneware, which is a type of ceramic made from grey clay. Stoneware ceramics are fired in a kiln at a higher temperature than terra cotta, making them stronger. Stoneware tiles are often glazed, which gives the tile a colourful, protective coating. Glazed stoneware tiles are usually double-fired in a kiln, making them stronger than unglazed tiles.
  • Terra cotta tile. Terra cotta is the cheapest and most fragile variety of ceramic tiles. Commonly used for clay flower pots, terra cotta is orange-red and is often laid without glaze, which makes it highly absorbent of stains, water and other spills.
  • Mexican or “Saltillo” tile. This type of tile is made from terra cotta, but is sun-dried instead of baked in a kiln.
  • Quarry tile. Contrary to their name, these tiles do not come from quarried stone but rather are unglazed ceramic tiles. Because they are unglazed, your tile contractor will seal them to prevent water absorption and staining, which costs an extra $100 to $400.
  • Porcelain tile. Porcelain is the white clay used to make fine china dishes and toilets. A tile must be tested for its durability and low water absorption rate by the Porcelain Tile Certification Agency (PTCA) to be certified as “porcelain.” Certified porcelain tile can cost nearly twice as much as regular ceramic tile.
  • Natural stone tile. Cut stone tiles are strong and durable with pleasing colour variations, but they need to be sealed to prevent staining or water damage.
  • Cement tile. Poured into moulds, cement tiles can be customized with colouring agents.
  • Terrazzo tile. These Italian tiles are made from a cement base mixed with stone or marble chips to create a textured and varied surface.
  • Glass tile. Glass tiles are pieces of glass cut into uniform shapes that are bright and translucent. Glass tiles are often used as part of a mosaic pattern for backsplashes and wall tiles, but can also be sold as smaller, individual pieces. Glass tile is generally not used for flooring.
  • Mosaic tile. Mosaic tiles can be made from ceramic, glass or metal tiles, and then mounted on mesh backing for easy installation.

Tile flooring is a classic, timeless option that is high in popularity and low maintenance requirements. Because tiles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles, this type of flooring are 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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