Tile work costs How Much?

What factors determine the cost of tile installation & how to keep costs down. 

Are you shopping for tile work? Perhaps you are renovating your bathroom or kitchen, or perhaps you are calculating the cost to build your dream home, either way with this blog post I hope to help you get an idea of what your tile project could cost you.

I recommend you read this information over before you start calling tile contractors as this blogpost also contains 5 very important questions you would be smart to ask the contractors.

Pricing tile work and comparing contractors can be a difficult task. There are many reasons why this task is not an easy one, in this post I will talk about the 5 most common factors that impact pricing of a new tile installation. 

First we will discuss how materials affect the installation price, walk into any store where they sell ceramic, stone, glass and other tile and you will probably be overwhelmed with your countless choices! Yes the tile you chose can and will impact the installation price.

Another factor is complexity of design, there are ways we can design your tilework to save money and there are definitely times when the design will raise the price, so you can see why it’s important to discuss this aspect from the beginning.

Complexity of the jobsite also plays a major role in the final price of a project, we will not only discuss why, but also how you can save some cost with a couple tweaks.

Square footage of your project obviously plays a direct role in the price of tile work, large jobs are going to end up costing more overall but small jobs will typically end up costing more per square foot and we will go over why this is important to understand.

Hidden issues in remodeling work can often lead to the increase in the overall cost of your project, and because they are hidden you will want to be prepared for them, we will give you a great question to ask the contractors that you end up discussing your project with.


Not that long ago there wasn’t that much variation in the choices of tile. You had predominantly 12” square tiles for floors with the occasional 18” square tile starting to gain popularity. You had subway tile or the 12” square tiles going on the shower walls. Today, walk into any tile showroom and you will be blown away by the endless amount of choices! 

You have all sorts of unique designs and sizes to choose from. Your choices do not end with the size and shape of the tile though! You have to choose whether or not ceramic tile, porcelain, stone, glass, cement, or even metal tile is the tile for you! Yes you have a difficult job as someone shopping for new tile. We are here to help! We love tile and know about advantages and disadvantages with virtually every option, a quick conversation can narrow down choices of material that is best for you and your needs.

For now we will stay focused on the money and specifically on saving you some money! 

If you are looking for a budget friendly installation we recommend purchasing a tile that’s not too big but not too small, something like a 12×24” tile will cut down installation cost. And the good news is that with some pre thought out design work we can make that rectangular tile stand out and look fantastic! 

If you have your eye on a nice mosaic, glass, or similar artistic tile, we could talk about installing that on a feature wall and utilizing a 12”x24” tile for the other walls, this way we are saving money on the majority of the job and adding some pizazz that you crave. Another option would be to frame a mosaic in the center of the wall, cutting costs down even further with both the purchase of the mosaic as well as the installation as we will be handling a smaller quantity of the finicky mosaic tile.

Quick Tip; Ask your contractor if they have a preference in size or style of tile to work with that can save you some installation money. 

Complexity of Design

Another major factor is the design of your desired tilework. Adding things like mosaic feature strips sounds great when you are shopping in a tile showroom with a designer. However even one mosaic or glass tile feature strip in your shower will add time to the installation and time equals money. So again, if you are looking to cut back on costs, consider leaving out the feature strips altogether. If you are keen on having more than one style of tile on your wall though there are still ways to keep the installation cost moderate. We would be happy to discuss how to do this. One way to cut down on time would be to add a larger feature strip on one wall only.

Another consideration would be to forgo shampoo niches inside your shower in favor of a much quicker and easier installation of a prefabricated corner shelf. This can shave off about $400 per niche.

If you are shopping for a new backsplash, one thing that adds lots of time to the tile installation is electrical outlets and light switches, talk to your electrician to have the outlets installed underneath your kitchen upper cabinets and the switches can be moved as well. This results in a much cleaner looking backsplash allowing that new tile to really shine!

Quick Tip; Ask your potential tile installer if they can recommend a design that makes their job easier since you would like to stay within your budget.

Complexity of Jobsite

Just about every experienced contractor you will meet will not be able to commit to a price until they have walked your jobsite. This is because the location and complexity of your jobsite plays just as important a role in the process as anything else. Is the job upstairs, in a basement, in a condominium complex, new construction or a remodel with finishes to protect in every room except for the construction site? These are some of the questions that a tile contractor must get answered before committing to a price.

Quick tip; Ask your potential contractor if there is anything you can do in advance to make their job easier and lower the cost to you.

Square footage

Due to the wide variety of tile sizes and choices, most contractors today cannot or will not give you a square footage estimate. There are simply too many variables and one would be foolish to assume the type and size of the tile you will end up purchasing. 

In general terms, often there is a sweet spot when it comes to the size of the job vs the square foot price. Funny enough the very small jobs will often have the highest square footage price, this is because often even though the days and hours worked on a small project might not add up to many, the time lost can often be significant and again, time is money. If we come to your house for 5 or 6 hours on a few occasions, we will have to charge you as if we were there all day long as we would lose out on other larger jobs that could keep our crew busy for full days for a week or more straight.

Quick tip; Ask your contractor if they could lower the price on a small job if you did several small projects at the same time, this way they can maximize their time spent at your home.

Hidden Issues 

Last but not least to discuss is hidden issues. If there is demolition involved there will likely be some hidden problems uncovered! This is especially true for older homes that have been remodeled multiple times. Often we find things inside walls that we cannot in good conscience ignore. Of course we will always bring this to your attention as soon as we find them, we will go over your options and do our best to keep cost to a minimum.

But if you are remodeling your home, the fact that hidden issues can and do come up is something that you need to be aware of.

Quick tip; Ask your contractor what some common hidden costs are for your particular project, ask them to give you worst case scenarios, preferably real life instances. 

Yes tile work can feel expensive, but actually in the long run the lifetime cost of tile is one of the most economical materials you could choose and in our next article we will expand on this.

Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or would like to discuss an upcoming tile project in your home or business. 


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