How to Estimate Budget for Tile Projects

How to Estimate Budget for Tile Projects

Tile, grout, and thinset adhesive, plus a square-foot labor charge, all make a tile job's price

By Shelly McRae

Floorplans and Tiles
Photo by iStockphoto.comBookmark and Share

Estimating a budget for your tile project gives you a realistic idea of what the final cost will be. Researching the cost of the materials necessary for the job before you purchase is an important element to budgeting, as is accounting for installation costs and the value of having the job done by professionals. The process of developing a budget may also aid in reducing unexpected expenses, as the process involves evaluating each step of the project before you begin.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Consider the cost of your own time if doing the project yourself. In addition to the saw, estimate the cost of the tile, backer board, glue, grout and tile installation tools.

Step 1:

Measure the area you wish to tile. Use a steel tape measure and measure the width and the length of the area. Multiply the two figures. The result is the square feet of the area. For example, you may be tiling the floor of a room that measures 10 feet wide by 12 feet long, or 120 square feet.

Step 2:

Determine the cost of tile. Tile is sold by the case. As you shop for the tile of your choice, look on the case for the amount of square feet a case of that tile will cover. This will indicate how many cases of tile you need. A case of 12-inch tile may cover 11 square feet. Divide the number of square feet you need to cover by the number of square feet one case will cover. The resulting number is the number of cases that are needed to cover the area. Divide 120 by 11 to get 10.90; round up to the nearest number. Eleven cases will cover the area.

Step 3:

Add 10 percent to the number of cases. In the example, you would add one extra case. Multiply the cost of one case of tile by the number of cases you need. The result is the cost of tile.

Step 4:

Determine how much grout is needed for the project. A 25-pound bag of grout covers approximately 75 to 125 square feet, depending on the size of the grout joints. To cover 120 square feet, one bag may be sufficient. However, for estimating budget, add the cost of an extra bag to your budget.

Step 5:

Determine how many bags of thinset you need for your project. Thinset is the adhesive used to install the tile onto the surface. One 50-pound bag of thinset covers approximately 75 to 100 square feet. As with the grout, it is better, for budgetary purposes, to add the cost of an additional bag.

Step 6:

Consider the cost of hiring professional installers. Tile installers usually break down a project by the square foot. The cost to you for labor may run from $1.95 a square foot to as high as $3.50 to $4 a square foot. If you are having a specialty tile installed, such as granite or travertine, the cost may be higher. Multiply the amount of square feet you need covered by the cost of installation and add 10 percent to estimate your installation costs.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Consider pricing the rental of a wet saw vs. purchasing it for cutting tiles if you are doing the project yourself.
  • Order a few extra tiles in case some break.
  • Purchase tile at one time instead of trying to match tile later. Different runs are occasionally slightly different.
  • The simplest tile jobs are the ones that go over concrete. If you have to remove an existing tile floor, you'll have demolition costs. And if you're installing a new tile floor upstairs, you may have to also add a thicker, plywood subfloor.

About the Author

Shelly McRae is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has experience with hydroponic gardening and other areas of the home improvement industry.

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