If you are thinking about a new tile floor for any room of your home, ceramic floor tile makes a beautiful, durable, and decorative covering. Ceramic tiles come in many colors, shapes, and sizes, including many traditional and classic looks that are ideal for bathrooms and foyers in particular.
With so many shapes, sizes, and patterns, ceramic tile floors have a wide range of costs. The national average ranges from $800 - $4,500, with most people paying around $3,474 for 200 sq.ft. of 12-inch ceramic floor tile installed.
|Ceramic Tile Floor Cost|
|National average cost||$3,474|
The average cost to install ceramic tile depends greatly on the type of tile used: prices range a few dollars per square foot for simple machine-made squared tile to several times more for mosaic or handmade tile. It’s also important to consider labor to calculate a ceramic tile installation cost per square foot, as more elaborate tiles may cost more to lay. While the cost to install ceramic tile floor is largely comparable to other materials like porcelain or laminate, it is a better fit for wet areas. You can use this ceramic tile flooring cost calculator to guide your budgeting for this installation.
Ceramic tile flooring comes in many sizes, colors, patterns, and types, so it has a wide range of associated costs per square foot. It is possible to find retro tile - old-fashioned ceramic flooring tile in a mosaic pattern - for $2.50 a square foot. It is also possible to find large format tile at $10 a square foot. The average cost per square foot for most ceramic tile flooring is around $5 for the materials and approximately $12 for the installation.
Ceramic tile comes in a wide range of types, not all of which are suited for floor use. Floor tiles tend to be thicker than wall tiles and are more likely to have a matte or textured glaze, making them non-skid. And, they are less likely to craze or develop thin cracks in the glaze.
All ceramic tile is made from wet clay that is either extruded or formed. The clay base receives a glaze, giving it its appearance, color, and style. Nearly all ceramic floor tiles are bicottura, meaning the tiles are fired, glazed, and fired again. This makes them more durable than monocottura tiles, which are fired only once and more commonly used on walls.
|Ceramic Tile Type||Average Cost Range (per square foot)|
|Machine-made||$1 - $10|
|Retro mosaic||$2 - $5|
|Penny tiles||$2 - $5|
|Large format||$5 - $10|
|Handmade||$15 - $30|
|Mosaic||$15 - $30|
A machine-made tile is completely extruded, cut, and glazed by machine. These tiles have very clean edges, uniform shapes and sizes, and little variation in glaze. They are the least expensive, starting at $1 - $10 a square foot. Machine-made tiles come in many sizes starting at about 6 inches for floor tile.
This is a unique subset of mosaic tiles, made of specific patterns, including hexagon, octagon-and-dot, and basketweave. The tile sizes are ¾ inch up to 2 inches, depending on the pattern. They come mounted on mesh sheets ready to install. They are ideal for creating a retro bathroom and are inexpensive at $2 to $5 a square foot.
Penny tile is a type of retro ceramic mosaic. Each tile is about the size and shape of a penny and is mounted onto mesh sheets about 12 inches in size. Penny tiles are very popular for bathroom floors and come in a range of colors. They cost between $2 and $5 a square foot.
They are not as big as large format porcelain but come in sizes up to 16-inches square and sometimes up to 12 x 24 inches. Large format tiles are thicker and tend to have more complications with installation, needing additional steps to prevent corners from sticking up, a condition called lippage. Large format ceramic tiles cost between $5 and $10 a square foot on average.
While not as common as handmade wall tiles, some companies make handmade ceramic tiles for light traffic floor use, such as in bathrooms or for a border or accent tile in kitchens and high traffic areas. Handmade tiles are extruded or formed and glazed by hand. They have more variation in size, shape, and color. They need a wider grout joint to accommodate their variation in size. They cost between $15 and $30 a square foot.
While retro and penny tiles are types of mosaics, there are many other types of ceramic mosaics. They come mounted on sheets and are found in a variety of colors and sizes up to 2 inches. They are most often square or rectangular and are usually thicker than retro tiles, which tend to be thin. Most ceramic mosaics cost between $15 and $30 a square foot, with the exception of retro tiles.
Ceramic tiles are graded based on the Mohs hardness scale and are ranked 1 - 5, with 5 being the hardest and most durable. To be classified as a floor tile, the tile must have a Mohs rank of 4 or above, although some tiles with a rank of 3 are used in light traffic areas like bathroom floors. Most ceramic floor tiles have a rank of 4. A ranking of 5 is rare for ceramic and usually designates porcelain tile.
Ceramic floor tiles universally rank as a 4, regardless of their size, shape, and thickness. This includes low-cost 8-inch floor tile, retro tile, and 12-inch designer floor tile, so the cost range is from $1 - $30 a square foot on average.
When using a handmade wall tile rated for light floor use, your costs are higher, with most starting at around $25 a square foot.
Ceramic tile is a wonderful material used to cover the floors everywhere in your home. It is most commonly installed in bathrooms, but it makes an excellent floor for kitchens, mudrooms, living rooms, and bedrooms as well.
The exact cost to install tile in each of these rooms depends on the size of the space and the tile type:
|Area||Average Cost to Install|
Ceramic tiles come readymade in mosaic patterns, such as hexagon, octagon-and-dot, and basketweave. They also come in square and rectangular shapes of many sizes, so you may create several different patterns for your floor. Except for mosaic patterns, any pattern you create increases costs by 15% to 20% due to the extra material required for cuts and for the additional work to lay and install the pattern. Some popular floor tile patterns include:
Ceramic flooring tile comes in many sizes. It is found in mosaics measuring ¾ inches up to large format tiles of around 16 inches or 12 x 24 inches. The following sizes are among the most common:
Some manufacturers make ceramic floor tiles in other sizes as well, but these are usually custom, more expensive to produce, and have longer wait times to receive.
The general rule of thumb when choosing tiles is to use the largest size possible in a small room because fewer grout lines make spaces seem larger. However, for more traditional spaces, small tiles work better because they produce a more classic appearance.
Ceramic tile is fairly easy to cut and install. It does not need to be sealed like stone and is less likely to experience problems with lippage. For that reason, labor costs are around $8 - $14 a square foot for most installations. They are a little more expensive for handmade and mosaic tile and a little cheaper for a straightforward 8-inch tile floor installation.
They are among the easiest tiles to install. They do not require back buttering, just keying the mortar to the correct depth and setting them. Most floor tiles should be cut on a tile saw, but some 6-inch and 8-inch tiles may be scored and snapped. The installation is done over two days so that the mortar has time to dry before grouting.
For a 200-square-foot ceramic tile floor installation, expect labor costs to be around $1,500 - $3,000 out of the $3,474 total.
When replacing an existing floor, your costs are higher than installing a new one because the old floor must be removed. To do this, the installer first chisels out a few tiles before using a pry bar to remove the rest. Then the old mortar or mastic, depending on how old the flooring is, needs to be scraped up and removed and the subfloor inspected. Sometimes, you may need a new underlayment if the old one has too much movement. Expect costs to be roughly $2 - $3 a square foot higher for a replacement, making a 200 sq.ft. installation around $2,800 - $3,000 on average.
Ceramic tile is beautiful, versatile, and comes in many colors, sizes, and patterns. It is fairly low maintenance and may be installed anywhere. You do not need to seal it, and you can clean it with most household cleaners without issue. Ceramic tile has grout lines to deal with, however, so it is important to either seal the grout or use a stain-resistant grout to avoid discoloration over time. Any ceramic tile crazes, meaning it develops thin cracks in the glaze. This is not a defect, but simply part of the tile. If this happens, seal the tile to prevent stains.
Ceramic tile is fairly easy to clean and care for. Sweep it daily to remove grit and surface debris. If you vacuum, use the setting without a beater bar to prevent scratching the tile. Wash it as needed using your preferred cleaner. Depending on the tile texture and its color, some hide dirt better than others. Light-colored floors tend to show more things like pet hair or tracked in dirt and need to be cleaned more often than darker floors.
Removing a ceramic tile floor is not difficult. Your contractor uses a chisel to remove one tile and then a pry bar to get under the rest and lift them up. In most cases, this lifts the mortar as well, but if the tile job is old and used an older mastic or a “mud” job, the floor may need to be scraped. The job goes fairly quickly and costs $2 - $3 a square foot or $400 - $600 for a 200 sq.ft. floor.
Porcelain floors and ceramic tile floors are frequently confused with one another. They are both clay tile floors but are different. Ceramic tiles are made from wet, extruded clay. Porcelain tiles are made from compressed clay dust fired to a very high temperature. Porcelain tiles might be glazed but are often not. Ceramic tiles are always glazed. Porcelain is much harder and more durable than ceramic and mimics the look of other materials like stone, metal, or wood. It is also thicker and harder to cut and install than ceramic.
Both tiles make excellent materials for floors, and in a residential setting, there is little difference between them once installed. It comes down to your personal preference for color and appearance.
Laminate flooring is another popular flooring material for residential installations. It is often made to look like wood and installs either in a glue-down or a click-lock installation made from planks. Ceramic tile is mortared down using a thinset made from Portland cement.
Laminate flooring mimics wood and is easy to install, but it may not be installed in wet areas like bathrooms or below grade. Ceramic tile is used in wet areas because it is not impacted by moisture the way laminate is. While ceramic tile is harder to install, it is often more durable and longer-lasting.
Both ceramic tile and hardwood make beautiful floor coverings. Keep in mind that hardwood should not be used in the bathroom and is not advised for mudrooms, while ceramic tile is used everywhere. Hardwood is more expensive, with an average cost of $3,930 for 200 sq.ft. as opposed to $2,400 for ceramic tile.
Vinyl is another material used on floors. It comes in both tile and plank forms and is glued down or click-locked together to form a floating floor. Vinyl is softer underfoot than ceramic and comes in many colors and styles. It is grouted or simply butt-edged. While it is moisture-resistant, avoid using it in bathrooms unless it is grouted to keep moisture out of your subfloor.
Glue-down vinyl gets stronger the longer it is down. This means if you want to remove it, it is very difficult. Ceramic tile does not have this problem. It comes up easily no matter how long it has been down. Ceramic also comes in more colors, sizes, and styles than vinyl tile, although vinyl planks also offer the look of wood.
Getting a new floor is a great time to add underfloor or radiant heating. Electric heat mats are ideal for small spaces like bathrooms and work well with ceramic tiles. They are also used with whole-house hydronic systems. The average cost of radiant heating is $14 - $20 a square foot installed.
The cost of removing old flooring depends largely on what that flooring is. Removing an old ceramic floor costs between $2 and $3 a square foot. Removing a more difficult floor like vinyl costs more.
It is very common to install a new subfloor or to repair an existing one before installing tile. The most common method is to install a new backer board and screw it down to stop movement. This adds another $50 - $200 to the project cost.
Many ceramic tiles have matching ceramic baseboards. These install at the same time as the flooring and give your room a cohesive look. Expect costs of around $5 - $10 a linear foot.
Yes, ceramic tile flooring is very durable and is used in high traffic areas.
Yes, ceramic tile is waterproof and may be installed in wet areas.
When well-maintained, they last for 30 - 50 years.
Both materials have a wide range of costs. They overlap at some points, but both are more or less expensive, depending on the quality, brand, and style.