How Much Does Porcelain Tile Installation Cost?

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated December 27, 2021
Master bathroom with double vanity and bathtub
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

Installing new porcelain tiles costs $1,930

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You’ve finally started planning the kitchen remodel of your dreams, and now it’s time to decide on tile. Porcelain tile installation costs an average of $1,930, with costs ranging from $880 to $3,000

While porcelain tiles tend to cost more than ceramic, it’s because they are highly durable. Ceramic tile is a great option for areas with high traffic, as it stands up well to chipping and scratching, plus it’s water-resistant.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Porcelain Tiles per Square Foot?

Installing porcelain tiles costs about $13 to $65 per square foot for the tiles and installation. Stronger, higher-quality tiles and custom options will fall at the higher end of this range, while thinner, uncustomized options will cost less.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Porcelain Tiles Yourself?

In total, you’ll spend around $9 to $50 per square foot to install porcelain tiles yourself. You can save $4 to $32 per square foot on labor costs by going the DIY route, but these tiles can be harder to cut to size when filling in the gaps along a wall. 

If you don’t know how to safely cut tiles, it’s best to hire a local tiler to make sure this is done properly. Plus, hiring a professional ensures the tiles will be laid correctly.

Porcelain Tile Installation Cost Breakdown

 A professional installation of floor tiles
Photo: RedHanded / Adobe Stock

Porcelain tile costs primarily depend on the cost of the tiles themselves, plus the cost for professional installation.

Materials

The most important material for a tile installation project is the tile itself, and porcelain tiles can cost $0.50 to $15 per square foot for indoor tiles, or $1 to $35 per square foot for outdoor tiles.

To lay the tiles, you’ll also need an adhesive to stick the tiles to the floor, counter, or wall surface as well as spacers, grout, and grout sealer. Together, these items will add about $6 to $9 per square foot.

Tools

If you plan to install tiles yourself, you’ll need some tools to do the job, which altogether cost about $60 to $400. If you have a well-stocked toolbox already filled with items like safety goggles and a level, you’ll save some money on tools needed for tiling projects.

MaterialCost
Safety goggles$5 – $15
Tape measure$5 – $20
Level$5 – $30
Tile cutter$30 – $250
Notched trowel$5 – $30
Rubber grout float$5 – $20
Tile nipper$15 – $25
  • Safety goggles: Especially if you are using a grout nipper or tile cutter, protect your eyes with safety goggles, which cost $5 to $15.

  • Tape measure: A tape measure is essential for any project and costs $5 to $20. Don’t forget the age-old adage to measure twice, cut once.

  • Level: If you plan to add a tile backsplash, a level can ensure the individual tiles all align and costs $5 to $30.

  • Tile cutter: Tile cutters cost $30 to $250 to purchase—just be sure to choose one that is designed to cut porcelain tiles, which are harder than other tiles, like ceramic. You can also rent a tile cutter for about $20 to $50 per day.

  • Notched trowel: The trowel is used to spread adhesive and costs about $5 to $30.

  • Rubber grout float: Important for pressing grout between tiles, a rubber grout float costs $5 to $20.

  • Tile nipper: You can use a tile nipper, which is $15 to $25, for circular cuts in tile that are hard to achieve with a tile cutter.

Labor

Hiring a professional tiler costs $4 to $32 per square foot. Some contractors may prefer hourly rates, which will range from around $30 to $120. Experts will take about 10 hours to lay porcelain tiles, although this can range depending on the size of your project.

How Much Do Porcelain Tiles Cost by Type?

Porcelain tiles are offered in a variety of types and finishes. Whether you want a slip-resistant bathroom floor or a mosaic backsplash in the kitchen, you can make it happen with different porcelain tiles.

Glazed

Glazed porcelain tiles range from around $3 to $30 per square foot. The glazing can add texture, color, or even patterns to porcelain tiles. Glazing offers better color protection and makes the tiles easier to clean compared to unglazed tiles.

Unglazed

Unglazed tiles are less expensive than glazed tiles at $2 to $15 per square foot. Unglazed tiles are also available in a variety of colors, and they can feature a matte or polished finish. Even without glaze, porcelain tiles are non-porous and hold up well against scratching or chipping.

Mosaic

Mosaic tiles, which cost about $20 per square foot, measure less than 2 inches by 2 inches in size. So why do these smaller tiles cost more than some of the larger porcelain tile options? 

These tiles are often used to create more complex designs and cost more to cut them down to size. Mosaics are popular tiles for showers and backsplash, and these tiles may also be glazed, unglazed, or polished. 

Polished

For ultra-smooth floors, consider polished porcelain tiles for $5 to $30 per square foot. To polish, porcelain tiles go under a diamond disk, which grinds down the surface of the tile to make it smoother and shinier. This finish is often an alternative to glazed tiles, but polished tiles can be slippery, so they work best as countertops or backsplashes rather than floors.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Install Porcelain Tiles?

Factors like adding pavers, laying tiles in a pattern, or considering tiles for floors versus backsplash can all influence the cost of installing porcelain tiles.

Pavers

You can give your outdoor space a high-end touch with porcelain pavers. The cost to install porcelain pavers outside is about $3 to $35 per square foot.

Pattern

Laying tile in intricate patterns can drive up the cost, as it takes more time to design, cut, and arrange the tiles.

  • Standard: A standard arrangement, vertically or horizontally, costs $9 to $40 per square foot.

  • Diagonal: Diagonally arranged tiles cost $10 to $50 per square foot and require more care along the edges of a floor or wall because every tile will need to be cut to fit.

  • Herringbone: Herringbone, which costs $10 to $50 per square foot, is a popular design trend that adds visual interest to any room. But it does require more tiles to achieve compared to a standard arrangement.

  • Subway: For the trendy subway tile arrangement, each row of tiles will be offset by a half tile, which costs $10 to $50 per square foot to achieve.

Location 

Porcelain is a top floor tile option in the kitchen because of its durability, but porcelain backsplash would also be smart if you want your walls to repel water as you wash dishes. Porcelain tiles also work well as countertops.

  • Flooring: For a 200-square-foot area, porcelain tile floors cost about $3,000 to $4,000 for materials and installation.

  • Backsplash: Porcelain backsplash covering 30 square feet costs around $1,500.

  • Countertops: Covering your countertops costs about $3,500.

FAQs About Porcelain Tiles

How do porcelain tiles compare to ceramic tiles?

Porcelain and ceramic tiles are made from clay, but porcelain tiles are fired in a kiln at higher temperatures. This makes them more durable, but it also means porcelain is more expensive than ceramic at $3 to $5 more per square foot.

How do I clean porcelain tiles?

To clean tile counters and backsplash, you can use a store-bought tile cleaner or a mixture of a one-half cup of dish soap, one-half cup of water, 1 2/3 cup of baking soda, and a couple tablespoons of vinegar. Wipe the surfaces clean, then dry them.

For floors, you can do daily sweeping to remove dirt. Once per month, clean the floors with a solution of 1 gallon of warm or hot water and one-fourth of a cup of vinegar.

How long do porcelain tiles last?

Porcelain tiles can last 60 years or longer. With high-quality tiles and proper installation, your porcelain tiles may even outlive you, making them well worth the initial investment.

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