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Become A Tile Setter

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Working As A Tile Setter

  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Getting Information
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
  • Repetitive

  • $75,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Tile Setter Do

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile.

Duties

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters typically do the following:

  • Remove existing flooring or wall covering
  • Clean and level the surface to be covered
  • Measure the area and cut flooring material to fit
  • Arrange flooring according to design plans
  • Place flooring, using adhesives, nails, or staples
  • Fill joints with filler compound and remove excess compound
  • Trim excess carpet or linoleum
  • Apply necessary finishes, such as sealants and stains

Nearly every building has a finished floor, and flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay the materials that improve the look and feel of homes, offices, restaurants, and other buildings. Although most of the materials installed by these workers cover only floors, some materials are also installed on walls and countertops or in showers.

A smooth, even base of mortar or plywood is required in order for floors and tile to be installed. The base may be installed by flooring installers and tile and marble setters or by other construction craftworkers. When remodeling, workers may need to remove the old flooring and smooth the surface.

Carpet installers lay lengths of carpet on new floors or over older flooring. They use special tools, including “knee kickers,” to position the carpet and power stretchers to pull the carpet snugly against walls. Carpet seams are joined with special heat-activated tape.

Carpet tile installers lay small, modular pieces of carpet that may be glued into place. Carpet tiles allow for easy replacement and design patterns that are not possible with standard carpet.

Floor sanders and finishers perform the final steps in hardwood floor installation. After carpenters install the hardwood floor, workers use power sanders to smooth it. They apply stains and sealants to preserve the wood.

Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles, install a wide variety of resilient flooring materials. Linoleum installers lay the hard, washable floor material of the same name. The linoleum is cut to size and glued into place. Vinyl installers install plastic-based flooring that includes vinyl ester, vinyl sheeting, and luxury vinyl tile. Installers of laminate, manufactured wood, and wood tile floors are included in this category.

Tile and marble setters install ceramic and marble tile. Tile installers, sometimes called tile setters, cut and place tile. To cut tiles, workers use wet saws, tile scribes, or handheld tile cutters to create even edges. They use trowels of different sizes to spread mortar or a sticky paste, called mastic, evenly on the surface to be tiled. To minimize imperfections and keep rows even, they put spacers between tiles. Spacers keep tiles the same distance from each other until the mortar is dry. Tile finishers apply grout between tiles after the tiles are set, using a rubber trowel which is called a float. When the grout dries, they must wipe the tiles for a clean, finished look. Marble setters cut marble to a specified size with a wet saw. After fastening the stone, marble setters polish the marble to a high luster, using hand or power sanders.

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How To Become A Tile Setter

Although some flooring installers and tile and marble setters learn their trade through an apprenticeship, most learn on the job, sometimes starting as a helper.

Education

There are no specific education requirements for someone to become a flooring installer or tile and marble setter. A high school diploma or equivalent is preferred for those entering an apprenticeship program.

High school art, math, and vocational courses are considered helpful for flooring installers and tile and marble setters.

Training

Most contractors have their own training programs for flooring installers and tile and marble setters. New workers typically learn by working with experienced installers. Although workers may enter training directly, many start out as helpers. 

New workers usually start by performing simple tasks, such as moving materials. As they gain experience, they are given more complex tasks, such as cutting carpet. Some tile installer helpers become tile finishers before becoming tile installers.

Some flooring installers and tile and marble setters learn their trade through a 2- to 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of the program, apprentices must complete at least 144 hours of related technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. Some of these programs now include online training. Many new workers begin with 12 weeks of preapprenticeship instruction at a training center to learn construction basics. This instruction may include mathematics, building code requirements, safety and first-aid practices, and blueprint reading.

Several groups, including unions and contractor associations, sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications for entering an apprenticeship program are as follows:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • High school education or equivalent
  • Physically able to perform the work

After completing an apprenticeship program, flooring installers and tile and marble setters are considered to be journey workers and may perform duties on their own. 

Some flooring manufacturers offer product-specific training for their products. In addition, some installers attend conferences that offer training sessions in various flooring materials.

Certification

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) offers the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) certification for workers with 2 or more years of experience. Applicants are required to complete a written test and a hands-on performance evaluation.

Several groups, including the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, the International Masonry Institute (IMI), the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA), and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) have created the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program. Certification requirements include passing both an exam and a field test. Workers must also have either completed a qualified apprenticeship program or earned the CTI certification to qualify for testing. The program offers certifications in five specific areas of tile installation:

  • Large-format tile and substrate preparation
  • Membranes
  • Mortar (mud) floors
  • Mortar (mud) walls
  • Shower receptors

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) has a voluntary certification for floor sanders and finishers. Sanders and finishers must have 2 years of experience and must have completed NWFA-approved training. Applicants are also required to complete written and performance tests.

The International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) offers certification for flooring and tile installers. Installers need 2 years of experience before they can take the written test and a hands-on performance evaluation.

The International Standards & Training Alliance (INSTALL) offers a comprehensive flooring certification program for flooring and tile installers. INSTALL certification requires 4 years of classroom and hands-on training, and covers all major types of flooring.

Important Qualities

Color vision. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters often need to determine small color variations. Because tile patterns may include many different colors, workers must be able to distinguish among colors and among patterns for the best looking finish. 

Customer-service skills. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters commonly work in customers’ homes. Therefore, workers must be courteous and considerate of a customer’s property while completing tasks.

Detail oriented. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters need to plan and lay out materials. Some carpet patterns can be highly detailed and artistic, so workers must ensure that the patterns are properly and accurately aligned.

Math skills. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters use measurement-related math skills on every job. Besides measuring the area to be covered, workers must calculate the number of carpet tiles needed to cover that area.

Physical stamina. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters must have the endurance to stand or kneel for many hours. Workers need to spread adhesives quickly and place tile on floors before the adhesives harden.

Physical strength. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters need to lift and carry heavy materials. Workers must be strong enough to lift, carry, and set heavy pieces of marble into position.

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Average Length of Employment
Marble Setter 5.6 years
Tile Mechanic 4.9 years
Tile Finisher 4.0 years
Tile Setter 4.0 years
Tile Installer 3.8 years
Tile Conduit Layer 2.3 years
Setter 2.1 years
Tile Layer Helper 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Tile Setter
Cashier 11.4%
Carpenter 6.7%
Cook 4.5%
Painter 4.4%
Technician 4.3%
Helper 4.0%
Driver 4.0%
Framer 3.8%
Welder 3.7%
Server 3.6%
Top Careers After Tile Setter
Owner 6.4%
Carpenter 5.7%
Cashier 5.7%
Driver 5.4%
Technician 4.3%
Installer 4.2%
Supervisor 3.7%
Painter 3.7%
Welder 3.7%
Foreman 3.6%
Manager 3.5%

Do you work as a Tile Setter?

Average Yearly Salary
$75,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$34,000
Min 10%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$75,000
Median 50%
$164,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Sandia National Laboratories
Highest Paying City
Lubbock, TX
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a Tile Setter make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Tile Setter in the United States is $75,502 per year or $36 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $34,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $165,000.

Real Tile Setter Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Tile Setter John Moskal, D/B/A Ceramic Tile Scotch Plains, NJ May 13, 2010 $75,988
European Tile Setter Simplicity Painting Inc. NY Mar 25, 2016 $73,483
Tile Setter Irewell Valley Corp. Del Rey Oaks, CA Nov 17, 2010 $67,828
European Tile Setter Simplicity Painting Inc. NY Dec 19, 2016 $65,198
Tile Setter Foreman B&L Floorcovering, Inc. Richmond, VA Sep 11, 2016 $57,221
Tile Setter Achille & Son Incorporated New York, NY Mar 11, 2009 $57,121
Tile Setter Micahel Nay Contracting Inc. Orange, CA Jan 19, 2016 $55,243
Tile Setter Acer Enterprises, LLC New York, NY Dec 22, 2009 $54,262
Tile Setters Montano Tile & Coping PA Mar 03, 2014 $53,093
Tile Setter Stonemark Tile, Inc. Mount Airy, MD Apr 19, 2011 $51,750
Tile Setters Montano Tile & Coping PA Mar 02, 2015 $51,257
Tile Setter/Floor Layers, Except Carpet Wood Valor General Contracting and Restoration Corp. New York, NY Dec 19, 2008 $50,631 -
$52,175
Tile Setter Sandia Ceramics, Inc. VA Feb 06, 2016 $50,606
Tile Setter Arch-Craft Design and Construction Co., Inc. Alexandria, VA Apr 15, 2009 $49,671
Tile Setter G.A. Bovero Tile & Marble Inc. Beaverton, OR Oct 28, 2010 $46,010
Tile Setters Montano Tile and Coping Perkasie, PA Apr 04, 2016 $44,933
Tile Setter Jud Tile, Ltd. Vienna, VA Aug 21, 2009 $44,787
Tile Setter Jud Tile, Ltd. Vienna, VA Jan 09, 2008 $44,787
Tile Setter Jud Tile, Ltd. Vienna, VA Aug 18, 2008 $44,787
Tile Setter Arch-Craft Design and Construction Co., Inc. Alexandria, VA Nov 19, 2007 $44,787
Tile Setter Hahn's Floor, Inc. Burke, VA Sep 21, 2009 $44,787
Tile Setter Ricardo Means Tile Malibu, CA Jan 14, 2010 $43,326
Tile Setter Ocean Pools Service Bell Gardens, CA Sep 16, 2008 $35,020
Tile Setter New Essex Floor Covering Inc. Bellerose, NY Feb 06, 2009 $34,978
Tile Setter Beautiful Tile Orem, UT May 05, 2009 $34,436
Tile Setter Beautiful Tile, Inc. Orem, UT Apr 22, 2008 $34,436
Tile Setter Beautiful Tile Orem, UT Jun 16, 2008 $34,436
Tile Setter Beautiful Tile Orem, UT Apr 28, 2009 $34,436

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Top Skills for A Tile Setter

  1. Floor Designs
  2. Setting Tile
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Lay and set tile of various varieties to crate functional spaces as well as decorative wall and floor designs.
  • Assisted in laying and setting tile in private and commercial buildings.
  • Install and oversee custom tile/stone installations Customer service specialist Repair and maintain tile installations Coordinate supply deliveries
  • Maintained a clean and safe work environment on job sites averaging 2000 square feet, with zero work related injuries.
  • Removed excess grout from tile joints with wet sponge and scraped corners and crevices with trowel.

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Top 10 Best States for Tile Setters

  1. Pennsylvania
  2. Hawaii
  3. Kansas
  4. Minnesota
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Oregon
  7. New York
  8. Washington
  9. Wyoming
  10. Missouri
  • (6 jobs)
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  • (3 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (1 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)

Tile Setter Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 3,442 Tile Setter resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Tile Setter Resume

View Resume Examples

Tile Setter Demographics

Gender

Male

84.2%

Unknown

9.0%

Female

6.8%
Ethnicity

White

60.7%

Hispanic or Latino

19.7%

Black or African American

9.0%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.4%

Russian

7.0%

French

5.3%

Polish

5.3%

Portuguese

3.5%

Ukrainian

3.5%

Thai

3.5%

Swedish

1.8%

German

1.8%

Cherokee

1.8%

Carrier

1.8%

Tagalog

1.8%

Norwegian

1.8%
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Tile Setter Education

Schools

The Academy

12.4%

University of Phoenix

10.9%

Santa Rosa Junior College

6.6%

Pima Community College

5.8%

Salt Lake Community College

5.1%

California State University - Sacramento

5.1%

Weber State University

5.1%

Universal Technical Institute

4.4%

Modesto Junior College

4.4%

Ashford University

3.6%

College of DuPage

3.6%

Boise State University

3.6%

Idaho State University

3.6%

Chemeketa Community College

3.6%

Southwestern College

3.6%

Cape Fear Community College

3.6%

Green River Community College

3.6%

Butte College

3.6%

San Joaquin Valley College

3.6%

Central Texas College

3.6%
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Majors

Business

19.6%

General Studies

10.6%

Automotive Technology

8.7%

Computer Science

6.3%

Criminal Justice

6.3%

Precision Metal Working

5.7%

Construction Management

4.4%

Electrical Engineering

4.0%

Liberal Arts

3.6%

Graphic Design

3.6%

Drafting And Design

3.4%

Accounting

3.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.0%

Engineering

2.9%

Psychology

2.7%

Biology

2.5%

Computer Information Systems

2.5%

Heating And Air Conditioning

2.5%

Education

2.3%

Information Technology

2.3%
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Degrees

Other

48.4%

Associate

20.3%

Bachelors

16.5%

Certificate

8.4%

Diploma

3.3%

Masters

2.3%

License

0.8%

Doctorate

0.1%
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Tile Setter Videos

How To Grout Floor.. THE RIGHT WAY!" by Tile Setter Dave Blake Licesne Tile Contractor"

Tile Setter - What is it and how do you become one?

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