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tile estimate

2 replies [Last post]
Joined: Jul 8 2003


I got an estimate for tiling the entry/kitchen/family room/bedroom hallway area. Approx. 450sf. Labor and materials (not including tiles) is $7100. The specs are:

• Demolish and disposal of existing tile in entry, vinyl in kitchen, and carpet in family room and hallway

• Does not include demo and disposal of original VCT tiles under carpet

• Move owner’s refrigerator in/out of kitchen

• Provide labor and setting materials for customers tile includes:

• Contractor’s price on customer’s selected tile

• Pick-up and delivery of tile

• Straight set, large tiles (up to 18” x 18”)

• Tight grout joints (one color) - 1/16 th or 1/8 th - depending on tiles selected

I know tile installation is labor intensive, but I had no idea it would be quite this much. I still need to pay extra to buy the tiles and have the VCT removed and disposed (it's not likely that we will do this by ourselves). When adding all up, it is over my budget.

The contractor is highly recommended by a reputable tile shop. I'm wondering if they charge more than average (supposedly they do a very good job).

What do you think? Is the estimate in the balllpark?


Joined: Jan 4 2004

For that knd of estimate ($18 per square foot) they had better be installing isolation membrane over the existing slab.
Generally tile labor should be quoted as follows:

(All should include setting materials, except epoxy grout)

1. Installation of ceramic, porcelin tile over slab starts at $10-12 sq/ft

2. Installation of ceramic, porcelin tile on vertical surfaces starting at $16-$18 square foot

These are general guideline that don't take in to account prep work, design detail, etc.
The price for natural stone should be higher, as there is a bit of stone fabrication (bullnosing, laminating etc.) and sone takes a bit longer to set properly. I use 3 tile contractors, and these prices come right from them.

Also, many suppliers/showrooms tend to charge a bit more for installation/referrals than other sources, they sometimes have a mark-up for the outsourced field work (common, but not always true).
It is always best to get at least 2-3 estimates if you are attempting any project exceeding $500. Good luck


Joined: Mar 22 2003

Also realize that the larger tile size (18x18 as opposed to 12x12) will be much more difficult to install in a way that the edges for each tile meet vertically, since the larger size magnifies any imperfections in how level the slab is. I belive that any good installer that really knows what they are doing can deal with this, but I have seen 20x20 poorly done in a neighbor's home and it now looks like a lawsuit waiting to happen the first time someone trips and falls over the edge of a non-level tile.

I don't believe that I am violiating any rules by referring you to the johnbridge tile advice forum. It is a hangout for tiling professionals and they are wonderful in providing technical advice to homeowners and DIY'ers also. It is at

Good luck! PS: About 7 years ago, we paid $13 per square foot INCLUDING the cost of the the tile - ceramic with a PEI rating of 4 (light industrial) and removal and disposal of all vinyl and carpet, as well as prep of the floor. That was an incredible price and as a result, we ended up doing the entire house - though in stages. The crew were refugees from Bosnia and had been doing a lot of work in the neighborhood, which was one reason they came so cheap. The contractor that oversaw the job came highly recommended and we liked working with him but later found that his license was not active which probably meant zero liability insurance and the workers were likely undocumented. We just got lucky that the job was pretty well done and no issues came up around liability--thank goodness.

Had we used the original contractor we were considering, who was quoting $25/ft^2 all inclusive, we would have only been able to afford the kitchen and entry at that time, having just moved in and paid a huge down on the home. The less expensive job we ended up with allowed us to do the whole house and we are glad we did - but again, if I were to do it over again, I'd check contractor's license and insurance status and spend more time negotiating the details (they did not remove our baseboards, for example; they just tiled up to in some ways you do get what you pay for.)

Cathye (Another Live and Learn example. )

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