Tile Floor Installation Cost – 9 Hidden Factors That Increase Your Total Price

Cost per square foot to install tile flooring

The average cost to tile a floor is $5-11 per square foot.

Aside from the obvious, such as size and quality of tile, there are 9 factors that will actually make a big difference on how your final tiles price will be. Understanding these and carefully researching your options can help you get the best deal and save you thousands of dollars.


1. Your Geographic Location

Contractor labor charges to install flooring tile vary greatly based on the region of the US. You can expect to pay up to 20% more than the average price if you live on either the East or West coast, as compared to the rest of the states. Similarly, you will pay more if you reside in a city with a high cost of living, such as New York, Boston, Washington D.C. San Francisco, Los Angeles, etc.

2. Flooring Pro You Hire

Professional Tile Floor Installation

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

You can also find local contractors that specialize in tile installation, have proper licensing, tools and experience to preform 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 up side 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 3 estimates from different companies and always ask for references, as well as a portfolio of previous jobs.

3. Room Accessibility

Ease of access to the work site 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.


4. Size Of Your Floor

Home Depot Tile Installation Cost Per Square Foot

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.

5. 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 wood sub – flooring, 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.

6. Type Of Tile

Cost to install tile on a kitchen floor

Installing natural stone tile, 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 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.

7. Tile Size

Ceramic Tile Installation Cost In A Modern Bathroom

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 grout to large vs. small pieces. These factors help reduce the cost of labor on large installs.

8. 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 in to an unusual room layout, the higher the price will be.

9. Custom Work

Floor tiles price

Any custom work and special tile pattern, such as 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.


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2 thoughts on “Tile Floor Installation Cost – 9 Hidden Factors That Increase Your Total Price

  1. Dale Holdgraph

    Home Depot wants to charge me .70 per sq ft more to install 12×24 than to install 12×12 tile. Does this make sense? D

    Reply
    1. Leo B

      Dale,

      That’s complete bs … don’t hire home depot – they charge much more than independent contractors, and hire subs to do the work (subs that can’t get their own work). These subs get paid per sq. ft. and want to finish the job as soon as possible, to get paid. And if there are issues, you will have to deal with corporate bureaucracy instead of your local guy, who values his reputation.

      On top of that, your money will go to CEO salary, instead of your community.

      And back to your question – 12×24 should cost LESS than 12×12 tile … or the same… there actually isn’t much difference in extra work. However if you compare 6×6 to 12×12 tile – labor is much more intensive for 6×6 or smaller.

      Bottom line – find a local guy. Go to some small(er) tile supplier, pick good tile and ask for few local contractors.

      Good luck.

      Reply