Tile Installation: A Cost & Consumer Guide

Kenneth Wilson

In welcoming guests or prospective buyers into your home, the last thing you’d want to show are the faded, scratched, or stained interiors. Trust us; it’s not an appealing sight to see, nor does it place your home in a favorable light.

In contrast, a bathroom, hallway, or kitchen with beautiful, neat tiles will show the commitment and effort you have put into your property. It’s why tile has long been a personal preference for most home improvement projects.

Tile flooring is a durable and cost-effective choice that fits any home aesthetic– provided correct installation. Otherwise, it may be prone to cracks, mildew, and other related problems. Tile flooring material is frequently used on countertops, bathroom floors and walls, and kitchens. In short, apply it to any area in your home that sees a high level of moisture. Another selling point of tiles is their easy maintenance, making cleaning a breeze.

If you are ready to install new tiles in your house, we’ll include everything you need to know in this article– particularly the costs involved.

Tile Installation Cost Overview

On average, the cost to install a tile floor runs somewhere between $948 to $2,898, at $11 to $17 per square foot of tile installation. There are several considerations you need to keep in mind as you prepare your tile installation budget.

The total project expenses are heavily dependent on the type of tile, the scope of the project, and local labor rates. For instance, what you spend on a tile floor project may differ if you install it on shower walls or countertops. In some cases, you may also need to install a backer board to create an even and firm surface. It may only hike up the total costs. (Related: Bathroom Remodel Cost Guide (With Examples))

Factors Affecting Tile Installation Cost

In setting your tile installation budget, you will need to consider several factors that may hike up the costs further than the national average. Let's discuss some of the most defining considerations you need to consider, such as type of tile material, subfloor repair, and the like.

Type of Tile

The cost to install a tile floor will differ depending on the type of tile you’ve chosen for your home improvement project. From porcelain tiles to stone tiles, there are so many options you can choose from. With that in mind, it’s understandable how the wide variety of choices can make the entire selection process a bit overwhelming.

For starters, you can choose your tile type depending on its appearance, durability, and quality. Some types of tile are not best used for flooring purposes– although they will work best on backsplashes or countertops installation. Here’s a quick overview of the different types of tiles and their average costs:

Type of Tile

Average Costs

Suitable Areas


$3 - $11

Floors, High foot traffic areas, outdoors


$1 - $8

Walls, Floors, Home Interiors

Porcelain Wood Tile

$3 - $35

Floors and Walls


$5 - $17

Swimming pools, Fireplaces, and Kitchen Backsplashes

Rectified Tile

$0.50 - $35



$5 - $17

Kitchens, Bathrooms, and Entryway


$1 - $5

High-traffic Areas


$5 - $35

Walls, Floors, Bathrooms, Kitchens, Exterior Paved Areas

Quarry Tile


Floors, outdoors (courtyards and patios)


$1 - $3

Living room, Kitchen, or Outdoor Patio and Porch

  • Porcelain Tiles - Porcelain is considered the most popular tile material, with indoor tiles starting at $3 to $11 per square foot. Outdoor porcelain tiles may cost you up to $40 per square foot. Keep in mind that thinner tiles are more expensive than thicker ones since they undergo an intricate durability process despite the tile's width. If you decide to go with porcelain tiles, always check its Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI) wear rating to determine its strength and the areas in the home where the tile is ideal. Porcelain material is stain-resistant, and it suits high moisture areas.
  • Ceramic Tiles - A ceramic tile installation cost runs from $1 to $8 per square foot. It is another popular, cost-effective tiling material, although not as durable as porcelain. Notably, installing ceramic tiles is cheaper over a wooden surface than on a cemented floor. The material is known to be resistant to scratches, dents, and stains. It also maintains its rich color despite frequent exposure to direct sunlight.
  • Porcelain Wood Tiles - Nowadays, recreating the appeal of wooden tiles plus improved durability is easier to achieve. Porcelain wood tiles, which appear to have a wood-like appearance, will cost you $3 to $14 per square foot on average. Outdoor tiles may go up to $35.These tiles are usually trimmed into rectangular-shaped planks but are still calculated per square footage. If you want to achieve a cozy, rustic aesthetic for your home– these tiles are an excellent choice to consider.
  • Glass Tiles - At around $5 to $17 per square foot, glass tiles are more commonly used as a design material and a versatile home decor option. Note that it is not suitable for flooring or outdoor use. Regardless, many homeowners like to use glass tiles for backsplash, countertops, and shower tiling. Glass tile material has several earth tones to choose from, including blue, brown, gray, red, and yellow. They are available in both random and uniform-sized shapes with an appearance that mimics a brick.
  • Rectified Tiles - If you're looking for a material that offers less grouting between the tiles, or tiles more extensive than 15 inches, rectified tiles make for a great choice. Indoor rectified tiles will cost you approximately $0.50 to $17 per square foot, while outdoor tiles can get up to $35 per square foot. These tiles are trimmed after the firing process, ensuring precision in their edges and measurements. You can also choose from different rectified tiles in ceramic or porcelain material.
  • Slate Tiles - Choosing darker tile colors offers a more luxurious aesthetic appeal. In particular, slate tiles exude luxury and elegance– with their dark, earthy texture. This durable tiling material is available beyond gray hues, including brown, gray, and tan. Indoor slate tiles cost around $5 to $19 per square foot, with up to $40 per sq ft for outdoor tiling. This material is available in naturally grooved or sanded smooth textures. With its durability, you can count on slate tiling to last wear and tear. However, it may be prone to scratches, so it's more suitable to use in the kitchen or bathroom. Due to the slate's massive weight, the installation process may become a challenge. Depending on your contractor, it's best to prepare your budget accordingly for the installation expenses at up to two to three times than average.
  • Vinyl Tiles - Vinyl tile is another popular budget-friendly option for many homeowners. Standard vinyl planks start at $1 to $5 per square footage. This material comes in different wood grain finishes, color hues, and stone patterns. If you want to mimic the appearance of high-end tiles without paying the premium price, this is one excellent alternative to consider. (Related: How Much Does A High-End Kitchen Remodel Cost? We Break It Down) Not to mention, vinyl gives you a reliable, safe walking surface in the different areas of your home.
  • Stone Tiles - Stone tiles are best known to bring natural aesthetics to your home. Hence, you will never go out of style with stone look tiles. On average, it costs between $5 and $35 per square foot. Popular stone material choices include clay, basalt, granite, limestone, marble, and sandstone. These are commonly used in the kitchen and bathroom areas for countertops, backsplashes, and flooring. Most natural stone tiles are cut to fit your desired space and offer a unique look with various color variations and natural beauty. Although this material is considerably durable, it's not as resilient as ceramic tiles. It is also notoriously prone to chips and scratches– so you will need to do annual sealing to prevent further damage.
  • Quarry Tiles - For your reference, quarry tiles are unglazed ceramic tiles. This sturdy, water-resistant paving material is made from different ground materials similar to a brick. Certain pigments are added to the tile's clay body to achieve earthy, rich colors. The average price runs at $2 per square foot. However, quarry tiles are much harder than standard clay bricks, thanks to the minerals involved and extreme firing temperatures.
  • Terracotta Tiles - The term terracotta is derived from the Italian phrase "baked earth." It is categorized as a ceramic tile made from a porous and easily shaped clay material. Terracotta tiles cost around $1 to $3 per square foot. The high iron content is behind their signature reddish-brown color. This unglazed tile material is considered the least durable, and it needs periodic sealing to avoid staining.

Labor Costs

On average, the labor cost to install tile runs from $5 to $17 per square foot. Keep in mind that your contractor may choose to alter the prices– depending on the project's scope, the difficulty of the installation project, and the materials used.

If you plan to go with large tiles where the installation process will be a breeze, the labor costs will be cheaper.


Some projects will require extra materials, such as a backer board installation for a wood subfloor. Wood is prone to warping after excessive moisture exposure; hence it doesn't make for an ideal base.

On the other hand, backer wood will give you a level and solid surface for tile installation. It is usually used for bathroom tile installation projects, costing between $5 and $10 per square foot.

Old Surface Removal

You may need to remove the existing flooring before you can lay new tiles. This process will cost you approximately $4.3 per square foot.

Floor retiling work runs from $4 to $11 per square foot. You can consider it a new tile installation project, except you will start by getting rid of the existing tile flooring.

Area Preparation

Simply put, the more prep work you need for the tile installation, the higher the total tile installation cost will be.

If you have existing flooring in good condition and ready for new tile installation, expect to save a few hundred dollars on surface preparation for the new materials. It will be easier to install new tiles on an even, smooth surface than old, worn-out floors. The duration of the project will also be a whole lot quicker.

Should you need to remove or replace existing floors or remove any countertops or walls– the total project costs will hike up accordingly.

Project Size

Most tile installation professionals in the country will charge you per square footage of the project. This means the larger your tile installation project size is, the lower the cost per square foot.

Hence, always consider the rooms you plan to have tiled and calculate their estimated total square footage. Here’s a simple formula to calculate the entire area that needs tiling:

  • Measure the length
  • Multiply by the width

With that in mind, a standard ten by 20-foot room will be equivalent to 120 square feet of tile installation. Allow for a bit of overestimation to accommodate broken or unusually shaped tiles. Refer to the table below for the standard cost for tile installation per sq ft:

Project Scale

Average Costs

Flooring (200 Square Feet)

$2,530 - $3,910

Shower Walls (80 Square Feet)

$598 - $2,300

Backsplash (30 Square Feet)

$793 - $1,437

Countertops (72 Square Feet)

$3,169 - $5,668

Tile Rating

For your reference, each tile adheres to a specific rating that serves as a guide to inform homeowners where they are ideally used and installed. This tile rating system ranges from Class I to Class V, with the latter as the most durable rating.

  • Class I - Most Class I classified tiles are considerably not durable enough to withstand flooring use. Instead, these tiles make for perfect wall tiles.
  • Class II - A little more durable than class I titles, class I tiles are suitable for light-traffic areas in the house– like bathrooms.
  • Class III - These tiles can accommodate average foot traffic, as they are in the middle of the scale. You can use Class III tiles for countertops and walls, to name a few.
  • Class IV - Class IV tiles are considerably strong. You can use these tiles in any area of the household.
  • Class V - These tiles are the most durable among the rest. Class V tiles can meet the needs of commercial or industrial usage.

Tile Water Absorption Rating

Besides durability, slip resistance, and wear rating, another critical variable in tile selection is the water absorption rating– which measures the amount of possible moisture absorption in the long run. The more porous a tile is, the higher its absorbency. Tiles with high absorbance are suitable for low-moisture areas in the household. If the moisture levels get too high, the tiles may be prone to cracking.

Let's talk about the four different levels of tile moisture absorption:

  • Non-Vitreous Tiles - These tiles have high absorption levels, absorbing more than 7% of water. However, it is not suitable for outdoor usage or rooms with high moisture levels (like bathrooms). The average cost to install this tile is between $1 and $5.7. Bisqueware and terra cotta are two famous examples of this porous tile. With its high absorbency, you can use it for walls or decors.
  • Semi Vitreous Tiles - These tiles have moderate absorption, at around 3 to 7 percent absorbed water. Although they do not make for perfect use in bathrooms or outdoors, they are usually installed in areas outside the comfort room. Its tile installation cost per square foot is at $2 to $7.
  • Vitreous Tiles - These tiles have low absorption, with approximately 0.5% to 3% absorbed water. It is an excellent choice for bathrooms (except the shower area) and outdoor usage. The average cost to install this tile runs from $4 to $9 per square foot. Although vitreous tiles are water-resistant on the surface, their back and sides are not. Frequent moisture exposure and direct water contact may also affect its water-resistance levels.
  • Impervious Tiles - These tiles have the lowest absorption rate among the four, absorbing less than 0.5% of the water. Impervious tiles have a glass-like appearance with lesser absorbency, making for an excellent choice in both interior and exterior use. You can install it in rooms with high moisture and frequent direct water contact. The cost to install this tile floor is $5 to $11 per square foot.

Location of Tile Installation

The area to be installed with tiles will also influence the total project costs. Accordingly, the cost to install a tile backsplash will be more expensive than a mere flooring project. Remember that a non-porous tile material is ideal for areas with high moisture and frequent direct water contact. The more vitreous the tile, the more it'll cost you.

  • Kitchen Floor: For a standard 130 square feet kitchen area, you will spend about $1,289 on tile installation costs. Expect to shell out up to $3,174 for larger-sized kitchens (184 square feet).
  • Countertop: The tile installation cost for countertops runs about $28 to $36 per square foot. It is primarily due to the smaller tile sizes and intricate decorative work for the project. Installing tiles surrounding the fireplace area is priced somewhat similarly. Generally, these embellished tiles will improve your backsplash areas and customize unique artwork.
  • Bathroom Floor and Walls: The cost to install tile flooring surrounding your shower will cost you approximately $2,300 for a 90-square feet area– including the wall surface preparation, backer board price, and tile and grout placement.
  • Shower: The average cost to install a tile shower (90 square feet) will cost you approximately $2,300. It covers the preparation work, backer board price, and tile and grout installation.

Subfloor Repair

In some cases, you may need to do some repairs to your existing subfloor. It will cost you anywhere between $42 to $64. If you need resurfacing for your concrete subfloor, you may need to pay an additional $3 to $11 per square foot for the total tile installation costs. Some contractors may also need extended labor hours or more materials depending on the scope of your tile project, increasing the project costs further.

Your tile installer may do extra tasks to prepare the subflooring, making it ready for tile installation at once. It involves filling in any cracks or holes and ensuring the subfloor is clean and dry. Afterward, your contractor may be required to apply a layer of latex primer to make the surface ready or use a self-leveling compound if the subfloor is uneven.

Subfloor Installation

Some properties may have a damaged concrete subfloor after a long period of wear and tear, or it may be too defaced to be even saved through repairs.

If that's the case, your contractor may suggest a subfloor installation starting at $11 to $23 per square foot. Doing so is crucial before installing new tile floors.

Outdoor Tiles

Many homeowners consider tiles as an excellent outdoor surface for their decks and patios. With various types of outdoor tiles you can choose from, there's always a durable and stylish choice that will complement your property's outdoor environment. Standard outdoor tiles start at $1.7 to $32, depending on the materials involved. Expect to pay an additional $10 per square foot for the tile installation costs.

Here's a short formula to keep in mind if you want to get estimates for your outdoor tile project:

  • Tile cost by Square Footage multiplied by the project's Square Footage plus 10% of Square Foot (cutting waste) will give you the estimated tiling costs.
  • The project's Square Footage multiplied by the average $11 per Square Footage labor cost will give you the estimated labor costs.

Adding the estimated tiling costs and the labor costs will give you the approximate total project expenses. Hiring a tile installation professional gives you the best advice on the most suitable materials for your outdoor project.

Ideally, select a safe outdoor tile that's non-slippery given wet conditions and can survive freezing temperatures without cracking. It is a crucial step to ensure the safety of all the occupants of your property.

Slip-Resistant Tiles

Speaking of safety, you may also benefit from tiles with high slip resistance levels. If you have older people or children running around at home, you might consider adding this feature to your tile installation project. These tiles notably have a matte finish instead of a high-gloss or polished surface.

Most slip-resistant tiles will cost you an average of $3 to $22 per square foot. To ensure picking tiles with the right slip-resistance level, check its coefficient of friction (COF) rating first. Tiles with good traction have a COF rating of at least 0.60.

If you're looking for an alternative, consider buying vinyl tiles with a textured surface similar to stone.

What are the Benefits of Tile Installation?

Undoubtedly, installing tiles can improve the appearance of your patio, bathroom, or kitchen. With various colors, textures, and styles of tiles to choose from– we can guarantee there’s the perfect tile to suit your home design and personal preferences. Let’s discuss some of the advantages of a tile installation project.

  • Durability: Given proper installation, you can count on your tile floors to last you long years. We’re not kidding when we say tile is durable– it’s super resilient. Some types of tiles may be more durable than others, though. Case in point: porcelain tiles are far more durable than granite or terracotta ones. When properly sealed, tile material is also known to be resistant to stains and scratches. It eliminates the additional hassle of cleaning. Another selling point is a tile’s capacity to maintain its original color even when frequently exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Easy Maintenance: Tile floors have easy maintenance, which is a significant factor to consider in deciding to push through with your tile installation project. It is easier to clean compared to other flooring surfaces, given proper sealing. Otherwise, the grout may soak up stains and make your space look untidy. Keep in mind that there are different maintenance guidelines and techniques in cleaning tiles, primarily depending on the type of tile you have chosen. Nonetheless, you won’t need to shell out a hefty sum on specific cleaning products to keep your tiles clean.
  • Upgraded Appeal: Installing stylish new tiles can increase the value of your property. Compared to flimsy, tacky wallpapers or plain painted walls, tiles can add a long-lasting aesthetic appeal to your home. Many homeowners turn to tiles for a home improvement project– from replacing old countertops to outdated flooring. The material is famous for its ability to brighten up just about any area in the house. For instance, stone-look and natural stone tiles add an elegant touch to your space. These gorgeous tiles are also timeless. If you’re looking to add value to your property, consider aesthetically appealing tiled areas. Trust us; it would make a world of difference to your visitors or potential buyers.
  • Water Resistance: In particular, ceramic tiles are known to have a glazed, protective surface layer that’s water-resistant and impervious to deep stain penetration. Tiles are ideally used for bathroom floors as they are resistant to high humidity levels, making them suitable for hot or moist areas.
  • Wide Variety of Tile Options: Fortunately, you can choose from different tile colors, sizes, textures, and styles to complement your home aesthetic and design. Are you going for a minimalist look? A classy, timeless appeal? Simple yet modern? There’s a tile type for all your needs. The various tile patterns also offer unique, decorative effects that are exclusive to your property only. Enjoy all of this creative freedom without breaking the bank.
  • Eco-Friendly Material: Generally, tile is made from several raw materials such as clay, glass, and sand. Ceramic tiles, for example, are produced by combining other recycled materials. As such, they also serve as a form of insulation for different areas in the house. Tiles may help reduce your energy bills as they keep your home cool during the summer and warm in the winter season. Thanks to its solid surface, tiles do not attract dirt, dust, or other allergens into your home.

Tile Installation Project Process

Tile makes for an attractive, durable flooring option, given proper installation. Otherwise, you may have to deal with cracks, mildew, and other related complications. It’s best to familiarize the basics of a tile installation process to ensure every step is done correctly. Here is the step-by-step process for most tile flooring projects:

Area Preparation

First, you will need to clear out the installation area. Any surrounding appliances or furniture will need to be moved. In some cases, your contractor may need to do a door casing trimming as well as baseboard removal.

Next, the subfloor is inspected to ensure it is level and free from any cracks. Once the subflooring is confirmed to be suitable, you will need to put the base underneath the tiles known as substrate. Other materials such as a cement backer board or uncoupling membrane may also be required.

Your professional tile installer can advise you on the best options for your needs, depending on the size and type of the tiles used.


After dividing the area into easy-to-manage sections, your installer will repeatedly apply mortar and lay the tiles until the entire room is covered. Commonly, professionals often start from the center and work on it outwards. It is crucial to steer clear from stepping on the tiles at least until the mortar has set.

Once all the tiles are set in place, edge pieces may need trimmed for corners or rounded cuts. The average tile drying time will depend on the type of mortar used. For thin-set mortar, a whole 24 hours of waiting may do. Other projects may require an extended waiting period, though.


Your installer will assist you in selecting the right color and grout type (either sanded or unsanded) for your project needs. When using stone tiles, it needs sealing before grouting. However, you can do grouting for ceramic tiles after scraping off any excess thin set.

Once the grout dries, your new tiles can now be wiped with a damp sponge until there is no visible residue. (Related: Grout vs. Mortar: What's The Difference?)


Lastly, it is essential to seal your tile projects to make them stain and water-resistant. It serves as an additional layer of protection against damage.

Your installer may opt to leave the sealant so you can seal your grout after several days. Don’t worry; it’s a straightforward process. You can even opt to check YouTube videos or guides as your point of reference.

That said, the tile installation process requires proper expertise and knowledge. You wouldn’t want to waste your time in a DIY approach– only to realize the placement is wrong.

If you want your home improvement project to turn out both durable and visually appealing, leave it to the hands of a tile professional! It’s an excellent investment to consider for added home value.

Should I Hire a Tile Installation Professional?

Although it is always tempting to do a DIY tile installation project to cut costs, improper installation may result in breakage, incorrect cuts, and inaccurate grout placement. With that in mind, you may only shell out more cash to correct your mistakes.

It’s best to hire a tile installation professional to ensure a flawless tiling project, which will cost you somewhere between $11 and $17 per square foot. The pros also have the right equipment and tools to get the job done correctly. With their expertise, you can expect your tile installation project to be completed in no time.

Checklist in Hiring a Tile Installation Professional

It's best to ask your local contractor about tile installation costs to make the most bang for your buck. Being on the same page minimizes the risk of miscommunication, ensuring you'll get the most value out of your money and the desired results you are aiming for. Start by asking these questions to your local tile installation professional:

  • Do you have references I can check online?
  • Have you been in business for at least three years?
  • Are you insured?
  • What services are included in the estimate?
  • Do you offer any warranty on your services?
  • How long will the tile installation project take?
  • Do you charge by the square foot or an hourly rate?

Simple Tips to Save Money on Tile Installation

The cost to install tile flooring may be way beyond your budget. Additional related expenses may quickly add up before you know it.

If you’re aiming to trim down costs, we’ve got you covered. Here are some simple ways to save on your tile flooring project without compromising its quality.

  • Skip the decorative tile options. Intricate designs will undoubtedly cost you more than standard tile materials. These will also require more time and expertise to install.
  • Use large-sized tiles. Simply put, more oversized tiles will be cheaper to install than smaller tiles since it requires less labor.
  • Only install tile in limited, select areas. Depending on your budget, you may need to scale back the project scope to a smaller space or one room.
  • Rip out the old flooring by yourself. If you want to save on labor costs, you may personally remove or haul away the existing floors.
  • Get at least three estimates. Most estimates are free, so getting multiple quotes is better to determine the best price and service that fits your budget.

Tile Installation: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does a standard tile installation project take?

New tile installation requires a multiple-step process that may typically last for 1 to 3 days, depending on your chosen area.

How long is the average lifespan of most tiles?

Typically, most porcelain, ceramic, and terracotta tiles may last for more than 50 years.

Are all tiles waterproof?

Porcelain tiles can be considered waterproof because water cannot significantly affect the tile’s top and body, allowing them to be installed indoors and outdoors. Meanwhile, a ceramic tile is water-resistant and cannot be damaged by water, but it may absorb some moisture. Compared with other types of tiles, we highly recommend installing porcelain tiles for outdoor usage.

Is porcelain tile better than ceramic tile?

The answer to this question entirely depends on where you will be using the tile. Since porcelain is waterproof, it works best in places with water and moisture, such as showers, bathrooms, and sink backsplashes. Meanwhile, the ceramic tiles stay cooler than porcelain and are easier to walk on. In the end, cost and function are also other factors that need to be considered to help you make your decision.

Which tile is the best on a tight budget?

Ceramic tile is probably one of the most affordable tiles in the market, costing approximately $1 to $8 per square foot.

What tile type is the best for flooring?

Tile durability depends on the material you choose. Slate and stone tiles may be highly durable, but they require sealing to keep them safe from water damage. Porcelain is probably the best tile for flooring because it is both highly durable and waterproof.

Is sealing important for new tiles?

Yes, sealing is crucial to be applied on grout lines to keep them protected from moisture. An adhesive sealant is highly recommended for tiles like slate and travertine, which are not water or moist-resistant. On the other hand, both porcelain and ceramic do not need to be sealed because they have features that protect them from water and stains.

How much do tile floors increase the home value?

Yes, it is probably one of the best ways to increase your home’s value. Generally, the return on investment (ROI) you acquire from your tile investment is enormous and may range between 50% to 70%.

Final Thoughts

If you're looking for a great way to improve your home's appeal, beautifully arranged tiles leave a long-lasting impression on your guests and prospective buyers alike.

A residential tile project gives you a welcoming presence that makes your home look more inviting. Fortunately, tile fits just about any living space, from bathrooms to bedrooms. Start with the most common rooms to be tiled, such as the floors, walls, or outdoor areas.

Skip the DIY tile installation project plans and consider hiring a tile installation professional in your area to get a flawless result and a guaranteed ROI.

Kenneth Wilson
September 30, 2021
Cost Guides, Flooring, Interior

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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