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Career Profile: Tile and Stone Setters

Apply hard tile, stone, and comparable materials to walls, floors, ceilings, countertops, and roof decks.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 54,100 people employed as tile and stone setters in the United States. The median annual salary is $44,200. Entry level employees earn approximately $27,390 per year and senior employees earn approximately $76,620 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Select and order tile and other items to be installed, such as bathroom accessories, walls, panels, and cabinets, according to specifications.
  • Cut and shape tile to fit around obstacles and into odd spaces and corners, using hand and power cutting tools.
  • Lay and set mosaic tiles to create decorative wall, mural, and floor designs.
  • Align and straighten tile using levels, squares, and straightedges.
  • Study blueprints and examine surface to be covered to determine amount of material needed.
  • Spread mastic or other adhesive base on roof deck to form base for promenade tile, using serrated spreader.
  • Cut tile backing to required size, using shears.
  • Install and anchor fixtures in designated positions, using hand tools.
  • Assist customers in selection of tile and grout.
  • Level concrete and allow to dry.
  • Prepare surfaces for tiling by attaching lath or waterproof paper, or by applying a cement mortar coat to a metal screen.
  • Mix and apply mortar or cement to edges and ends of drain tiles to seal halves and joints.
  • Remove and replace cracked or damaged tile.
  • Apply a sealer to make grout stain- and water-resistant.
  • Remove any old tile, grout and adhesive using chisels and scrapers and clean the surface carefully.
  • Prepare cost and labor estimates, based on calculations of time and materials needed for project.
  • Determine and implement the best layout to achieve a desired pattern.
  • Measure and mark surfaces to be tiled, following blueprints.
  • Finish and dress the joints and wipe excess grout from between tiles, using damp sponge.
  • Measure and cut metal lath to size for walls and ceilings, using tin snips.
  • Build underbeds and install anchor bolts, wires, and brackets.
  • Brush glue onto manila paper on which design has been drawn and position tiles, finished side down, onto paper.
  • Cut, surface, polish, and install marble and granite or install pre-cast terrazzo, granite or marble units.
  • Mix, apply, and spread plaster, concrete, mortar, cement, mastic, glue or other adhesives to form a bed for the tiles, using brush, trowel and screed.
  • Apply mortar to tile back, position the tile, and press or tap with trowel handle to affix tile to base.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
54,100
Annual Openings:
5,400
Increase in Openings by 2030:
12%
Annual Salary Range:
$27,390 - $76,620
Education Requirements:
Some high school