A tile floor looks good, is easy to maintain and, with proper installation and care, lasts for many years. However, laying a tile floor is a big job, especially for a large space like a living room. A professional tile setter can finish in two or three days, but labor costs and the tile setter's profit from the materials will add substantially to the cost. Tiling is a job you can do yourself even if you don't have advanced home improvement experience. An accurate estimate of the cost and the amount of material you need is the key to getting your project off to a good start.
Figure out the room's square footage by measuring the length and width and multiplying the two measurements. A 10 x 12-foot room, for example, is 120 square feet. Determine how much backerboard you'll need to install over your subflooring. Standard sheets are 3 x 5 feet. For the 120 square foot room, you'd need eight sheets -- four 3-foot spans across and two 5-foot spans front to back. Add 10 percent extra in case you mis-measure or make a mistake and ruin a sheet.
Estimate the Tile
Your floor tile will come in boxes. Once you've chosen the tile you want, make a note of how many square feet each box covers. Divide the living room's total square footage by the number of square feet each box covers. The answer is the number of boxes you'll need. Add 10 percent to be safe. Multiply the number of boxes of tile you need by the price per box. You'll also need to estimate the cost of border, or trim, tile. Note the circumference of the living room by adding the lengths of each wall. In the example used earlier, there are two 10-foot walls and two 12-foot walls. The circumference, then, is 44 linear feet. Your border-tile boxes will say how many linear feet each box covers. Divide the circumference of the room by that number to determine how many boxes you need. Add 10 percent, then multiply the number of boxes you need by the price per box. For the total cost of the tile, add the cost of the border tile to the cost of the floor tile.
Estimate Other Materials
List other materials you'll need to complete the project. These include mortar for underneath the backerboard, screws for the backerboard, a chalk line, fiberglass tape for the backerboard seams, grout and grout sealer. Browse online home improvement stores to estimate the costs of these items. If you're not sure how much you'll need, contact your local home improvement store for advice.
Estimate Tool Purchase or Rental
Inventory your tools to ensure you have everything you need to complete the job. Among the tools you'll need to lay the tile are a level, a square, tape measure, straightedge, backerboard cutter, mortar mixing paddle, screw gun or drill, tile cutter or saw, tile nippers, grout float, trowels, cloths and a large sponge. Browse online home improvement stores, or contact a local rental center to inquire about prices.
- Home Depot: Installing Cement Backerboard
- Home Improvement 1-2-3; Benjamin W. Allen, ed.; pg. 174-175; Homer TLC, Inc; 2008
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