Custom & Production
Tile installation costs can vary greatly. Not
including the price of the tile, installation
charges can range from a low of $ 3.50 per
square foot to as high as $60 per foot. This
price range is based on the amount of labor
time involved to perform the work.

Four factors influence the price range:
1) Type of Tile
2) Method of Installation
3) Detail of the work
4) Size of the area
Type of Tile:
There are many different materials available to choose from these days,
one trip to a local tile distributor attests to this. Standard 4 x 4 tiles,
mosaic, marble, granite, porcelain and even glass tiles are available.
Each of these come in various sizes and shapes.

Working with all the different types of tile requires all different ways to
deal with their individual characteristics.

For example, 4 x 4 tiles can be cut using a tool called a cutting board
(time wise is fast) while a stone tile like granite requires a tile saw which
is much slower.
Another example would be of tiles that have a smooth backside verses
tiles that have a heavily indented backside. Tiles with deep indentations
on the back require an extra step called 'back buttering'. This means not
only do we apply the adhesive to the floor we are tiling but we also have
to apply it directly to the back of the tile to fill the indentations.

There are many more different situations like these that affect the time
involved for an installation, solely based on the type of tile selected.
Method of Installation:
There are two main methods for installing
tile. The 'thin set' and 'thick set' methods.
Each method has advantages and

The 'thin set' method is the less expensive
method but quality is sacrificed possibly in a
major degree depending on the area to be
tiled. The flatness of the tile is at the mercy
of the surface being tiled over. Never the
less, most 'thin set' tile installs look pleasing
to the eye.
A thin set floor of 18 x 18 tiles over
cement board
The 'thick set' method is more expensive. This is a separate process and
requires more labor. There are many situations that the thick set method
is needed.
The process involves applying a mortar bed from 3/4 to several inches
For tile to look really nice a very flat surface is needed. When walls are
flat and plumb, the tile looks far better compared than when it's not. Tile
manufactures produce trim tiles specifically for 'mortar' tile jobs. These
trims give the tile work a rich look.
The flat appearance is true for floors, too. In
addition, floors may need to pitch to a drain as
in a shower or slope away from a house as on
a deck.
Detail of the work:

The cost of tile installations is all about time. Experienced tile setters
earn very high wages, so the longer the work takes the more it costs.
The more angles, curves, cuts, stripes, patterns, trim and so on greatly
reduce the square feet per day a tile setter can install.
For example, on a large floor the tile setter may install 400 square feet
per day. The same tile setter working on a detailed kitchen back splash,
may install only 18 square feet per day.  
Right: This mock up display can be seen at the
in Berkeley, Ca. Angled tile pattern,
recessed shelf, glass tile seat are a few of the
As with many of the pictures on this web site the
actual tile job looks far nicer than the camera can
All tile work shown at this web site was performed by A & M Tile Company
with the exception of the tile murals. These were performed by Faucett Tile
Company, a family related company.

Left: This shower & tub combo has lots of detail: a 'pony' wall, a
corner seat, angled walls, angled and straight tile pattern, two colors
with decorative accent tile, trimmed with 1/4 round tiles.
Above: This shower is a combination of thin
& thick set method. Marble Trim, a quartz
stripe and porcelain tile have come together
to create this elegant shower.

Left: This unfilled fountain bottom has curved
walls. It was waterproofed with Nobleseal and
mortar was applied over three inches thick.
These 1x1 glass tiles needed a very smooth
surface to achieve the desired look.
Size of the Area:

Many factors influence the cost of tile installations: waterproofing
under the tile or crack isolation membrane or a mortar bed. The other
major factor is the size of the area to be covered. As noted in the
Detailed Work Section above, open areas with little or no patterns can
go in relatively quickly. That is why a typical commercial bathroom
floor costs far less per square foot than a residential bathroom floor.

This type of work involves large areas and is found usually on
commercial projects (office buildings, theaters, etc...). A home with
good size floors may also fall into this category. The key is large
areas. When the tile setter can spend his time setting tile rather than
cutting it, the area covered per day increases and thus drives down
the square foot price.