Duties and responsibilities
A tile setter is a specialist flooring installer who is responsible for installing tiles. They cut tiles using several different tools such as tile scribes, wet saws and handheld tile cutters. They can go to people’s homes or into commercial buildings. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Cutting tiles and shaping them properly
- Forming tile beds using concrete, plaster, mastic, cement, glue or mortar utilizing tools
- Aligning tiles and straightening them with straightedges, levels and squares to ensure patterns are even and precise
- Cutting, installing and polishing and surface granite and marble
- Preparing various surfaces for tiling with waterproofing material
- Creating decorative wall and floor designs
- Tapping tiles into place and making sure not to break or damage tiles
- Following blueprints precisely and marking and measuring surfaces that need to be tiled
To become a tile setter, you will need to complete on the job training or an apprenticeship program. After this, tile setters may become certified in order to demonstrate their experience and skills.
Skills and relevant work experience
Tile setters will also need skills such as:
- Physical fitness and stamina, as a tile setter will have to carry heavy materials and will have to kneel down for long periods of time
- Detail orientation, as a tile setters will need to follow instructions and lay tiles accurately
- Leadership skills, as tile setters may have to supervise other tile setters
- Communication skills, as tile setters need to be able to communicate with clients
- Dexterity, as tile setters will use a range of tools to lay tiles with great accuracy
Tile setters tend to work full time (around 40 hours per week). If you work in a commercial setting, you may work evenings and weekends so that you are not disrupting a clients business.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for tile setters in the United States was $43,050 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $74,630.
Tile setters are already specialist flooring installers. To progress further, tile setters can become supervisors, whereby they will manage other setters and/or apprentices. Or, they could become self-employed and start up their own business.