Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters

What Flooring Installers and Tile and Marble Setters Do

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDsz_vhHPGg

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.

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.

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.

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 Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Carpenters

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

High school diploma or equivalent $48,330

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 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 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 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 perform many tasks that require physical labor on construction sites.

See How to Become One $36,000

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


Suggested citation:

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