There’s nothing like new tiling to refresh a floor, or even an entire room. But, as with any home improvement project, it’s crucial to consider the cost before you get started.
The cost to install new tiles can vary a lot, since they come with a lot of customizable options: The overall price tag for a tiling project can swing from $300 to nearly $5,000, according to HomeGuide (most jobs fall within the $800 to $2,500 range).
Let’s look at the most common points that impact the total cost of a tile installation, some smart ways to save on the project, and an overview of your financing options.
Tile installation cost breakdown
Like many home improvement projects, the price tag for installing new tiling breaks down into two basic parts: the materials and the labor. In general, the tiles themselves typically cost between $2 to $10 per square foot , while the actual installation costs range from $5 to $14 per square foot.
Four primary factors are going to influence how your tile installation will cost:
- Room size: Tile installation is priced per square foot. The larger the area you want to tile, the more you can expect to pay.
- Room layout: Tile needs to be cut to fit around corners and curves. If the room has a simple floor plan, the installation will be cheaper. If the layout is unusual and requires a lot of cutting, you should expect higher labor costs.
- Type of tile: Tile comes in a wide variety of materials and designs. Simpler tiles will cost less than tiles with intricate patterns, and smaller tiles usually cost less than larger ones. Ceramic tiles are often the most durable and affordable choice, starting at $0.50 per square foot. Porcelain, glass and marble tiles offer more variety, but will typically cost more than ceramic, starting at $3 per square foot.
- Custom work: Any individualizing of the tile layout, such as the creation of borders, medallions or mosaics, will increase the final tab significantly over installing “straight tile.”
Tips to save on tile installation
If your goal is to keep costs down, here are some tips to keep your tile installation affordable.
- Get multiple estimates: Asking for quotes won’t just give you a clearer picture of the final bill, it’ll also help you choose the most affordable contractor. Make sure to give each contractor the same information, so you can feel confident you’re making apples-to-apples comparisons.
- Choose smaller, more basic tiles: In general, smaller tiles are more affordable than larger ones; they tend to require less cutting, which saves time and decreases the labor costs.
- Limit your coverage area: Since the price to install tile is calculated per square foot, the smaller the area you cover, the less you pay. If you’re being budget-conscious, you may want to consider tiling only a small area.
- Avoid customization: Any customization work is bound to be labor-intensive and significantly increase the overall cost of your tile installation. If the budget is your main concern, skip a fancy or unique design and opt for a more straightforward pattern instead.
- Go DIY: Most of the installation cost for tile comes from labor. If you’re handy and think you can achieve a professional-looking result, this may be one project worth doing on your own. Just be careful and do your homework to avoid making costly mistakes.
How does tile installation impact your home value?
As with any home improvement project, installing tile makes the most sense when it positively impacts your home’s value. According to Realtor.com, installing tile in your home offers a 50 to 70 percent return on investment. The key is the type of tile you choose to install. In particular, ceramic tile has the best ROI, especially when you do it yourself..
Tile doesn’t always have a positive impact on home value, though. Crazy colors or wild patterns can go out of style quickly. Stick to neutral colors and steer away from tiling trends if you are trying to add lasting value to a home .
Bear in mind: Tile is not the most valuable flooring material. Wood floors offer a bigger bang for the investment buck, recouping 70 to 80 percent of their cost.
Tile installation financing options
While installing tiling isn’t the most expensive of home remodeling projects, you still might want to finance it, especially if it’s a four-figure job. Here are some options.
If you don’t have much equity in your home, getting a personal loan may be your best option for financing the cost to lay tile. Personal loans are installment loans, which means you’ll receive the money in one lump sum and then make fixed, regular payments until it’s paid off. Personal loans are also unsecured, meaning that instead of being tied to an asset like your home, approval is based largely on your credit score.
That said, be aware that some personal loans come with high interest rates, because they’re not backed by any collateral. If you choose to go this route for your financing, be sure to get estimates first and only borrow as much as you need.
Home equity loan
If you’ve been paying down your mortgage for a while, a home equity loan may be a better option. Like a personal loan, you’ll receive the money in one lump sum and make fixed payments. However, there’s a good chance you’ll get a better interest rate with a home equity loan. But since a home equity loan is secured by the value of your home, you could be putting your home at risk if you fail to make payments on time.
A home equity loan is a smart choice for tile installation because you’ll be leveraging your ownership in the house to do something that positively impacts its value, and the interest could be tax-deductible (if you itemize deductions).
Home equity line of credit
Unlike the other two options, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) works more like a credit card than an installment loan. In this case, you’ll be granted a certain amount of time — usually 10 years — where you can borrow against the value of your home as needed. During that time, you’ll likely only have to make payments on the interest on what you’ve borrowed. Then, after that borrowing period is over, you’ll start making payments on both the principal loan balance and the interest.
HELOCs traditionally have variable interest rates, but more lenders are starting to offer fixed interest rate options, priced about the same as home equity loans.
Using a home equity line of credit is a smart choice if installing tile is only one of a few home improvement projects you plan to complete; the flexibility in borrowing makes a HELOC ideal for balancing multiple projects.