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How Much Does Ceramic Tile Flooring Cost?

Ceramic Tile, despite the growing popularity of other flooring types, has remained one of the most popular flooring options on the market. Homeowners love the glossy look and feel of tile in their kitchen, but it can be used for many other applications as well. Before you purchase your ceramic tile flooring, check out the cost guide below.

The Costs

  • Average maximum cost of ceramic tile flooring materials: $1,200 per 500 square foot section
  • Average minimum cost of ceramic tile flooring materials: $425 per 500 square foot section

What Is Ceramic Tile? 

Ceramic tile is made by mixing natural mineral clays with water, forming the resulting material into tile shapes. The tiles are then baked under a very high heat. Typical tiles are 1/2- to 3/4-inch thick and most commonly measure 4 inches by 4 inches. Different sizes are available but are less common. The finish can be smooth and glossy or made with a less shiny matte coating. Some tiles are left with a more natural finish, such as terra cotta or tiles meant to be used outdoors.

Ceramic tile is rated by the manufacturer using a number system, 0 through 5. The lowest number represents the least sturdy type, while those rated 5 are the strongest. Choose the correct rated tile for the specific application.

Types of Ceramic Tile Flooring and Characteristics

Ceramic tiles come in several forms and finishes. They include porcelain, mosaic, terracotta, glazed and quarry types.

  • Porcelain is water resistant and can include different coatings. Some homeowners install porcelain tile that has been covered with a slip-resistant finish.
  • Terracotta has a very natural and earth-toned look, but it should be sealed to resist staining and extend wear.
  • Glazed tiles may be single or double fired. Single firing creates a sturdier tile. Gloss finishes are attractive, but may scratch more easily.
  • Mosaics tend to resist staining and are moisture resistant. In addition, they won’t chip as easily as other types.
  • Quarry tiles are typically installed outdoors where the temperatures are moderate to high and don’t often reach freezing. They are created to be durable when exposed to outdoor weather.


Ceramic tile, being made from inorganic material and then hardened by fire, is used in kitchens, baths, hallways and entryways. These areas in a home require durable flooring that can take excessive use and is repellant to spills and moisture. Ceramic tile is so resilient that there are still examples of tile work still in excellent condition in Egypt, Rome and Pompeii that are thousands of years old.

Ceramic is easy to clean and wipe free of bacteria and other germs present in bath and kitchen areas. Cleanup is simple using common cleaning supplies, or it can be touched up with plain water and polished with a dry towel or cloth. Maintenance requires no special chemicals or cleaners and it can be deep cleaned with standard floor cleaning products or eco-friendly products if desired.

Ceramic tile is a flooring choice that is reasonable in cost. Choose a tile rated 3 for home use, and 4 or 5 for commercial and industrial flooring. It can be installed by a homeowner with some DIY experience. Materials and installation range from $3 to $7 per square foot on average.


The most common complaint among those who have installed ceramic tile flooring is the cold and hard quality of the floor. Standing on a tile floor for long periods of time can be hard on the feet, back and legs. Fatigue is often reported when spending much time cooking or managing a meal and cleanup in the kitchen.

Though the tiles are easy to clean, the grout between the tiles can become discolored. Tile is very hard and anything dropped is certain to break. It can be quite slick when moist or wet.

Another disadvantage to using ceramic tile is the inconsistency of color and quality. Lot numbers are very important when purchasing a quantity of tile for a complete project. Measuring accurately when making the initial purchase and making certain to buy enough can help to avoid a difference in lot coloring.

Additional Costs Associated with Ceramic Tile Installation

When planning for the installation of a ceramic tile floor, there are costs in addition to the tiles themselves. Labor, if it’s not a DIY project, could be the largest expense beyond materials costs. Labor for a typical 500-square foot project will cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to more than $5,000.

Professional flooring installers are usually the quickest to finish a project. Completion will generally be efficient and usually includes a warranty if the project is completed by a licensed installer. Labor times estimated for a DIY installation are approximately 100 hours or possibly more but require no financial expense. A local handyman may be another option and could represent significant savings as they usually charge less than flooring specialists. When hiring a general handyperson, find out what their experience is in installing ceramic tile flooring. A 500-foot section should take about 65 hours to complete. References may also be a good idea if the homeowner is not familiar with the handyman’s work. Hiring a flooring contractor is more expensive than a handyman, but it will take about 5 hours less to complete. The most expensive way to pay for labor is to have the designer or contractor hire a subcontractor.

An additional $500 to $600 should also be allowed for specialty tools and other supplies that will be needed to complete the project. Tiles will likely need to be cut to fit in some areas. That will require the use of a wet tile saw, which can be rented. Flooring contractors, especially those who specialize in tile installations, may own their own cutting equipment.

One important factor to note when calculating materials costs is the extra tile needed. Each section estimated should include approximately 5 percent overage to account for breakage and partial tiles used to fill in smaller spaces. For example, in the costs section above, though the estimate covers a 500-square foot project, the actual tile purchase includes an additional 20 to 25 tiles.

Last updated on May 19, 2016

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