Like any home improvement project, the cost of tile installation is crucial to consider before you get started. Here are the four primary factors that impact the total cost, some smart ways to save and an overview of your financing options.
Tile installation cost breakdown
The cost to install tile can vary wildly thanks to all the custom elements that fluctuate from home to home. To give you a better picture of what to expect, here are the most common factors that impact your tile installation 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: Like all materials, 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.
Custom work: Any custom work done to the tile, such as the creation of borders, medallions or mosaics will cost more than 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 because they tend to require less cutting, which takes less time and decreases the cost of labor.
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 only tiling 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 the custom work and opt for a more straightforward installation 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 make sure to stay safe 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 recent research by Realtor.com, installing tile in your home can have anywhere from a 55% to 70% return on investment. The key is the type of tile you choose to install. In particular, ceramic tile had the best ROI, especially when paired with a DIY install.
That said, tile was not the most valuable flooring material on the list. Unsurprisingly, wood flooring topped the list, earning a 70%-80% return on investment. For areas where wood is a natural fit, like a kitchen or living area, wood flooring may be worth the splurge.
Tile installation financing 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 off your credit score.
That said, be aware that some personal loans come with high interest rates. 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 equity to do something that positively impacts the value of your home.
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.
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.