What are the Different Tile Setter Jobs?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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The different tile setter jobs all focus on meeting four essential requirements: designing the layout, selecting the tiles, preparing the surface area, and installing the tiles according to the design plan. A tile setter can work in residential or commercial properties, laying tile in a wide range of materials, sizes and designs. The popularity of tile has increased dramatically in the past five years, and the demand for tile setters is expected to increases in the next three to seven years, as property owners invest in small projects with big visual impact.

There is no formal post-secondary training program to become a tile setter. Instead, the skills required are learned on the job. There are three main types of tiles that a tile setter must be able to work with: granite, marble, and ceramic. All three come in a range of sizes and can be used in a variety of applications. Tile setter jobs are typically organized within a tiling or flooring crew. It is not uncommon for all members of the flooring crew to be able to lay down both flooring and tiles.


One of the experienced tile setter jobs is to design the tile layout. This requires a combination of art and science. The design should be visually appealing, appropriate for the space, add to the beauty of the home, and be relatively easy to maintain and clean. The client may have selected a specific tile or provided an image that they want to emulate. It is the task of the tile setter to create a practical design that meets the clients needs and can be implemented within the time frame and budget.

The selection of the tiles themselves is a very important task. Many tile setters provide a design with samples of the proposed tiles, so that the client can see what the final product will look like. When selecting the tile material, one of the tile setter jobs is to ensure the material is suitable, durable, and fits the design and budget. For example, slate is a wonderful material, but too heavy for a kitchen back splash. Small, ceramic tiles come in a range of colors but are not durable enough for a front foyer.

Once the design and tile selection is completed, a tile setter must prepare the surface area to accept the tiles. This may include removing carpet or flooring, adding an adhesive or other bonding product to the floor and allowing the surface to cure. Of all the tile setter jobs, this one can be the most tedious, as it may be necessary to make a series of small adjustments to create a perfectly level surface.

Actually applying the tiles to the floor is a relatively straightforward process. The preparatory work in preparing the surface will ensure a smooth installation. After the tiles have settled, the tile setter returns to apply a sealant to the surface to reduce the risk of scratches and other surface damage.


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