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Posted by Caryn Colgan | Jan 31, 2010

Determine the Price of Tile Installation

Aside from the cost of the tiles themselves, you need to factor in other materials, equipment and the installer's fees.

Calculating the cost to install tile is relatively easy. Whether you install the tile yourself or hire a professional installer to complete the job, you will be able to estimate your costs by following the steps outlined in this article.

Tile adds high-end beauty and elegance to many areas of your home. Most realtors will agree that tile also adds more value to your property than other surfaces such as vinyl, linoleum and other manmade products. Tile is commonly used in the following areas:

  • Patios, sidewalks and barbecue areas
  • Steps and risers
  • Fireplaces
  • Countertops
  • Shower and tub surrounds

Quantity of Tiles

Measure the width, depth and height of the area to be covered with tile. If you have an area that is 3' by 3', multiply 3 times 3 for 9 square feet of tile. If your tile is sold as 12" squares, then simply purchase nine tiles. However, most projects are not so simple.

If your project measures 46" by 65" then multiply those numbers for a result of 2,990 square inches. To convert to square feet divide by 12 twice or 144 to get 20.76 or 21 square feet (rounded up). Purchase at least 21 12-inch tiles for the project.

Assume your tiles are 4" square instead of 12-inch. Nine tiles will be needed for one square foot of coverage (not counting the grout line). Therefore, 9 x 21, or 189, tiles are the minimum number of tiles you will need to buy. Since most builder-grade tiles are sold in boxes with square-footage coverage data on the box, it is often simpler to buy based on the square footage.

Cost of Tile

Ceramic tile starts around $1 per square foot in some regions and is less expensive than stone tiles. Travertine starts around $2.50 per square foot while limestone and granite start around $1.99 per square foot. Slate will cost $1.75 or more per square foot. Onyx, a fine quartz stone, will cost no less than $4.95 per square foot.

Borders and moldings with a finished edge are also available. Prices depend on the material used.

Cost of Other Materials

You will need to figure in the costs of other materials, too. Don't forget:

  • V-notch or square-notch trowel
  • Adhesive
  • Grout
  • Grout float or spreader
  • Grout sealer
  • Tile cutter or wet saw
  • Rotary saw

The rotary saw and tile cutter can be rented from many local home improvement stores, if needed. The cost of grout, sealer and adhesive depends on the size of the project.

Cost to Hire a Professional

Naturally, the cost to hire a professional depends on many factors including preparation, complexity of the job and pricing in your area. Preparation of the surface can include removing uneven spots, removing and applying subsurface (also called thinset), installing cement board or other necessary corrections.

Time and complexity of the tile design also influence the cost. Some estimates for a basic installation start around $2 per square foot with no preparation work. Most reasonable estimates put the price closer to $5 per square foot.

Whenever hiring a professional, be sure to obtain at least three quotes from area contractors. With careful research and planning, your tile project will surely add value and beauty to your home.

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