How Much Tile Do I Need?


How Much Tile Do I Need?: A Common, But Essential, Question

If you’re planning on having floorwork done in the future, you’ve likely asked yourself the all-too-common question: How much tile do I need?

It’s a reasonable question to ask, even if you don’t currently have the tools needed for a 100% accurate estimation. After all, even a ballpark figure can help you understand what you’ll eventually need, which in turn can help you be prepared for future negotiations with a general contracting firm.

Below, you’ll find our team’s list of four easy tips for estimating how much tile you’ll need.

DIY Tile Estimating: 4 Easy Tips

At Sleeping Dog, we always measure the layout of the rooms with professional sonar equipment. This helps us accurately adjust our calculations and gain a solid estimation of how much tile you’ll need. However, there’s never any harm in satisfying your curiosity and doing some DIY estimations before contacting a construction firm.

Brown floor tiles in a kitchen

First, grab some measuring tape, a pencil, something to write on, and a calculator. Then, you can begin your DIY tile calculations by following these simple steps:

  1. Draw a photo of the entire space or room.
  2. Measure every side in inches and mark these numbers on the drawing. It helps to break the spaces of the room into different sections and mark each one with a different letter.
  3. Multiple the width and the height of each section.
  4. Add the values of all the sections together and divide by 144 to get the square footage.

Calculating tile requirements for a project is a complex task. Still, we encourage anyone who’s interested to follow our four-step estimating process if they’d like to make their own DIY calculations. Then, you’ll have a better understanding of what will likely be needed. And even if you don’t want to do any DIY estimating beforehand, that’s fine too – after all, that’s why design-build professionals exist!

Tile Calculations, Pricing & Estimations: Important Things to Keep in Mind

Close-up of a construction worker laying down a floor tile on top of wet cement

Whether or not you want to follow the DIY tile estimation steps listed above, there are still a few other things that will ultimately impact the cost and timeline of your project. For example, whenever our team members go to estimate a project’s tile requirements, we must stay mindful of the types of tile, styles, and patterns, shade variations, costs of labor, and more.

Types of Tile

The type of tile is the biggest factor that will impact how much tile you’ll actually need (as well as overall costs). Whether it’s natural stone, vinyl, porcelain, ceramic, or any number of other options, you’ll find that tiles range greatly in price depending on type, brand, availability, and durability. The size of each tile will also impact the cost and timeline of the project because of their impact on labor.

Tile Styles and Patterns

Some styles of tile can take much longer to install than others. For example, if you’re interested in transparent glass tile, then it will take a bit longer to achieve a great look using this style compared to, say, a typical ceramic tile. Meanwhile, different patterns can cost more to lay out and install, and they may also result in more waste. If you want to lay out tiles in a diagonal pattern, for example, this process may result in 20% more waste for offcuts.

Tile Shade Variations

Do you picture your dream floor as having an even and consistent pattern? Or maybe a mixed or varied one? Perhaps something in between? Fortunately, most tiles are marked for shade variations on some sort of scale (for example, a uniform appearance to a slight variation all the way to a substantial variation). When you work with a professional contracting firm, you’ll be able to review several pieces to get a better idea of what types of variations and colors are best suited to your project.

The Style & Size of the Room(s)

Naturally, the style and size of the room (or rooms) will make a huge impact on overall prices and timelines. That’s because the type of the room will help dictate which type and style of tile is best, regardless of price. Let’s say you’re wanting to tile a kitchen floor. In this case, stain-resistant porcelain would be a better choice than natural stone since the latter is a more permeable material that can stain over time. This is just one example of a scenario where functionality outweighs aesthetics (even though exceptions can obviously be made). Meanwhile, professionals can help calculate the exact amount of tile you’ll need on a room-by-room basis using cutting-edge measuring materials to help predict estimated costs.

Costs of Labor

Tiling requires a great degree of skill and expertise, especially when high-quality materials and ornate patterns are involved. In addition, everything from the intricacy of the project to the geographic region can impact the overall costs of labor. When it comes to tiling, however, one thing is for sure: you always get what you pay for.

Tile Overage

It’s a best practice to always order 10-20% extra than what you’re expecting to use. This will be a lifesaver in the event of tile breakage, cuts, or general waste. In addition, it’s an instant solution if the particular type tile you need unexpectedly goes out of stock halfway through your project. Always plan ahead!

Want to Work With One of New England’s Leading Tile Construction Service Providers?

A construction worker cutting floor tiles outside

At Sleeping Dog Properties, our client-centered approach to design-build construction ensures our projects are created on time and with the utmost attention to detail. Our connections with leading manufacturers gives us preferential pricing on all sorts of tiles, and these savings go directly to our clients – even when it comes to highly specialized or custom-made materials or styles.

Contact us today to learn more.


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