Bureau of Labor Statistics

Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters

Tile and marble setters
Floor sanders and finishers must remove old stain before applying the new coats.
Quick Facts: Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters
2019 Median Pay $42,050 per year
$20.22 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education No formal educational credential
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training See How to Become One
Number of Jobs, 2019 123,400
Job Outlook, 2019-29 3% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 4,100

Summary

What Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters Do

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile.

Work Environment

Installing flooring, tile, and marble is physically demanding, with workers spending much of their time reaching, bending, and kneeling. In commercial settings, they may need to work evenings and weekends.

How to Become a Flooring Installer or Tile and Marble Setter

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters typically need no formal educational credential. They learn their trade on the job, sometimes starting as a helper.

Pay

The median annual wage for flooring installers and tile and marble setters was $42,050 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of flooring installers and tile and marble setters is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for flooring installers and tile and marble setters.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of flooring installers and tile and marble setters with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about flooring installers and tile and marble setters by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters Do

Tile and marble setters
Some tile and marble setters create intricate designs.

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile.

Duties

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters typically do the following:

  • Remove existing flooring or wall covering
  • Clean and level the surface to be covered
  • Measure the area and cut flooring material to fit
  • Arrange flooring according to design plans
  • Place flooring and secure with adhesives, nails, or staples
  • Fill joints with filler compound and remove excess compound
  • Trim excess carpet or linoleum
  • Apply finishes, such as sealants and stains

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay the materials that improve the look and feel of homes, offices, restaurants, and other buildings. Although the materials these workers install are primarily for floors, some materials also cover walls, countertops, and showers.

Installing floors and tiles requires a smooth, even base of mortar or plywood. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters or other construction craftworkers lay this base. On remodeling jobs, workers may need to remove old flooring and smooth the surface before laying the base.

The following are examples of types of flooring installers and tile and marble setters:

Carpet installers lay carpet on new floors or over existing flooring. They use special tools, including “knee kickers” to position the carpet and power stretchers to pull the carpet snugly against walls. They also join carpet edges and seam edges by sewing or by using tape with glue and a heated carpet iron.

Carpet tile installers lay modular pieces of carpet that may be glued into place. Installing carpet tiles may be an option where standard carpet is impractical, such as in designing a pattern over an area.

Floor sanders and finishers perform the final steps in hardwood floor installation. After carpenters install the hardwood floor, workers use power sanders to smooth it. They apply stains and sealants to preserve the wood.

Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles, install a variety of resilient flooring materials. Linoleum installers lay washable flooring material of the same name, cutting the linoleum to size and gluing it into place. Vinyl installers lay plastic-based flooring that includes vinyl ester, vinyl sheeting, and vinyl tile. Installers of laminate, manufactured wood, and wood tile floors are included in this category.

Tile and marble setters install modular pieces of flooring made of ceramic, marble, or other material, such as glass. Tile installers, sometimes called tile setters, cut tiles using wet saws, tile scribes, or handheld tile cutters. They then use trowels of different sizes to spread mortar or a sticky paste, called mastic, evenly on the work surface before placing the tiles. Tile finishers apply grout between tiles after the tiles are set by using a rubber trowel, called a float, and then wipe the tiles clean after the grout dries. Marble setters cut stone, such as marble, to a specified size with a wet saw. Next, they use thinset, a substance that is less thick than mortar, to fasten the stone to the tiling surface; in remodeling projects, they may first need to smooth the underlying surface after removing old flooring materials. Finally, marble setters polish the stone, using hand or power sanders.

Work Environment

Tile and marble setters
Carpet installers spend a lot of time kneeling when stretching carpet.

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters held about 123,400 jobs in 2019. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up flooring installers and tile and marble setters was distributed as follows:

Tile and stone setters 57,000
Carpet installers 36,500
Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles 22,900
Floor sanders and finishers 7,000

The largest employers of flooring installers and tile and marble setters were as follows:

Self-employed workers 28%
Home furnishings stores 8
Manufacturing 4
Construction of buildings 4

Installing flooring, tile, and marble is physically demanding, requiring workers to spend much of their time reaching, bending, and kneeling. Workers typically wear kneepads while kneeling; safety goggles when using grinders, saws, and sanders; and dust masks or respirator systems to prevent inhaling work-generated dust in enclosed areas with poor ventilation.

Injuries and Illnesses

Both carpet installers and floor sanders and finishers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations

Work Schedules

Most flooring installers and tile and marble setters work full time. In commercial settings, they may need to work evenings and weekends to avoid disturbing regular business operations.

How to Become a Flooring Installer or Tile and Marble Setter

Tile and marble setters
Most flooring installers and tile and marble setters learn on the job working with experienced installers.

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters typically need no formal educational credential. They learn their trade on the job, sometimes starting as a helper. Some learn through an apprenticeship.

Education

There are typically no formal education requirements for someone to become a flooring installer or tile and marble setter, although candidates entering an apprenticeship program may need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Certain high school courses, such as art and math, may be helpful for flooring installers and tile and marble setters.

Training

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters typically learn on the job, working with experienced installers or starting as helpers.

New workers usually do simple tasks, such as moving materials. As they gain experience, they take on more complex tasks, such as cutting carpet. Some helpers work as tile finishers before becoming tile installers.

Some flooring installers and tile and marble setters learn their trade through a 2- to 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of a typical program, apprentices must complete a predetermined number of hours of technical instruction and paid on-the-job training. Technical instruction in the apprenticeship may include mathematics, building code requirements, safety and first-aid practices, and blueprint reading. After completing an apprenticeship program, flooring installers and tile and marble setters are considered journey workers and may perform duties on their own.

Certification

Several organizations offer certification for floor and tile installers. Although certification is not required, it demonstrates that a flooring installer and tile and marble setter has a specific mastery of skills to do a job.

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) offers the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) designation for workers with 2 or more years of experience as a tile installer. Applicants must pass a written test and a hands-on performance evaluation.

Several groups, including the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, the International Masonry Institute (IMI), the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA), and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) have created the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program. To qualify for the program, applicants must have either completed a qualified apprenticeship program or earned the CTI certification. Requirements for certification include passing both an exam and a field test.

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) offers optional certification for floor sanders and finishers. Sanders and finishers must have 2 years of experience and must have completed NWFA-approved training. Applicants are required to complete written and performance tests.

The International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) offers certification for flooring and tile installers. Installers need 2 years of experience before they can take the written test and performance evaluation.

The International Standards & Training Alliance (INSTALL) offers a comprehensive flooring certification program for flooring and tile installers. INSTALL certification requires both classroom and hands-on training and covers all major types of flooring.

Important Qualities

Color vision. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters often determine small color variations and must be able to distinguish among colors in patterns for the best looking finish.

Customer-service skills. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters must be courteous with and considerate of customers, especially while completing tasks in customers’ homes.

Detail oriented. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters need to be thorough and exacting to ensure that tile, wood, and carpet patterns are properly aligned.

Math skills. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters use math to measure an area to be covered and to calculate the amount of material needed to cover it.

Physical stamina. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters must be able to stand or kneel for many hours in order to spread adhesive quickly and place tiles before the adhesive hardens.

Physical strength. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters must be able to lift, carry, and set heavy pieces of flooring material into position.

Pay

Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters

Median annual wages, May 2019

Construction trades workers

$46,340

Flooring installers and tile and marble setters

$42,050

Total, all occupations

$39,810

 

The median annual wage for flooring installers and tile and marble setters was $42,050 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,780, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $74,630.

Median annual wages for flooring installers and tile and marble setters in May 2019 were as follows:

Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles $44,240
Tile and stone setters 43,050
Carpet installers 40,090
Floor sanders and finishers 39,610

In May 2019, the median annual wages for flooring installers and tile and marble setters in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Construction of buildings $44,240
Home furnishings stores 41,050
Manufacturing 36,390

Most flooring installers and tile and marble setters work full time. In commercial settings, they may need to work evenings and weekends to avoid disturbing regular business operations.

Job Outlook

Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Total, all occupations

4%

Construction trades workers

3%

Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers

3%

 

Employment of flooring installers and tile and marble setters is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The construction of new housing units will be the primary source of flooring and tile and marble installation work over the projections decade. More flooring installers and tile and marble setters will be needed for remodeling and replacement projects in existing homes. Although carpet is still the dominant flooring, other products, including resilient flooring such as vinyl, are growing in popularity.

Tile and marble will continue to be commonly installed in bathrooms, shopping malls, and restaurants, as well as in other commercial and government buildings.

Job Prospects

About 10,700 openings for flooring installers and tile and marble setters are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

As with many other types of construction occupations, employment of these workers is sensitive to fluctuations of the economy. On the one hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, additional workers may be needed in some areas during peak periods of building activity.

Employment projections data for flooring installers and tile and marble setters, 2019-29

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers

SOC Code47-2040
Employment, 2019123,400
Projected Employment, 2029127,500
Percent Change, 2019-293
Numeric Change, 2019-294,100
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Carpet installers

SOC Code47-2041
Employment, 201936,500
Projected Employment, 202933,300
Percent Change, 2019-29-9
Numeric Change, 2019-29-3,200
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles

SOC Code47-2042
Employment, 201922,900
Projected Employment, 202925,200
Percent Change, 2019-2910
Numeric Change, 2019-292,300
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Floor sanders and finishers

SOC Code47-2043
Employment, 20197,000
Projected Employment, 20297,100
Percent Change, 2019-292
Numeric Change, 2019-29200
Employment by IndustryGet data
Occupational Title

Tile and stone setters

SOC Code47-2044
Employment, 201957,000
Projected Employment, 202961,900
Percent Change, 2019-299
Numeric Change, 2019-294,900
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of flooring installers and tile and marble setters.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2019 MEDIAN PAY
Carpenters

Carpenters

Carpenters construct, repair, and install building frameworks and structures made from wood and other materials.

High school diploma or equivalent $48,330
Brickmasons, blockmasons, and stonemasons

Masonry Workers

Masonry workers use bricks, concrete and concrete blocks, and natural and manmade stones to build structures.

See How to Become One $46,500
Painters, construction and maintenance

Painters, Construction and Maintenance

Painters apply paint, stain, and coatings to walls and ceilings, buildings, large machinery and equipment, and bridges and other structures.

No formal educational credential $40,280
Electricians

Electricians

Electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical power, communications, lighting, and control systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $56,180
Glaziers

Glaziers

Glaziers install glass in windows, skylights, and other fixtures in buildings.

High school diploma or equivalent $44,630
Grounds maintenance workers

Grounds Maintenance Workers

Grounds maintenance workers ensure that the grounds of houses, businesses, and parks are attractive, orderly, and healthy.

See How to Become One $30,890
Hazardous materials removal workers

Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

Hazardous materials removal workers identify and dispose of harmful substances such as asbestos, lead, and radioactive waste.

High school diploma or equivalent $43,900
Material moving machine operators

Material Moving Machine Operators

Material moving machine operators use machinery to transport various objects.

See How to Become One $36,770
Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair piping fixtures and systems.

High school diploma or equivalent $55,160
Construction laborers and helpers

Construction Laborers and Helpers

Construction laborers and helpers perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.

See How to Become One $36,000

Contacts for More Info

For details about apprenticeships, training, or other work opportunities in this trade, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local contractors or firms that employ flooring installers and tile and marble setters, or local union–management apprenticeship committees. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor's Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to search for apprenticeship opportunities.

For more information about flooring installers and tile and marble setters, visit

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

International Masonry Institute

International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers

Tile Contractors’ Association of America

The Tile Council of North America, Inc.

Home Builders Institute

For more information about training and certification of flooring installers and tile and marble setters, visit

International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association

Finishing Trades Institute International

International Standards & Training Alliance (INSTALL)

National Tile Contractors Association

National Wood Flooring Association

O*NET

Carpet Installers

Floor Layers, Except Carpet, Wood, and Hard Tiles

Floor Sanders and Finishers

Tile and Marble Setters

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/construction-and-extraction/tile-and-marble-setters.htm (visited October 28, 2020).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

View this page on regular www.bls.gov

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