Flooring installers and tile and marble setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile.
What they do
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.
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.
How to become a Flooring Installer and/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. Some learn through an apprenticeship.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 projected 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.
Similar Job Titles
Ceramic Tile Mechanic, Ceramic Tile Setter, Marble Mason, Tile and Marble Installer, Tile and Marble Setter, Tile Finisher, Tile Installer, Tile Mason, Tile Mechanic, Tile Setter, Floor Covering Contractor, Floor Coverings Installer, Floor Layer, Flooring Helper, Flooring Installer, Flooring Mechanic, Vinyl Installer, Composition Floor Layer
Terrazzo Worker and Finisher, Insulation Worker-Mechanical, Paperhanger, Construction Carpenter, Fence Erector, Helper-Carpenter
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- Ceramic Tile Institute of America
- International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
- National Tile Contractors Association
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
- FCICA- the Flooring Contractors Association
- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades
Magazines and Publications
- ProInstaller Online Magazine (.pdf)
- Floor Trends Magazine
- Hardwood Floors Magazine
- Wood Floor Business Magazine
- Floor Covering News
- Tile Magazine
- Contemporary Stone and Tile Design Magazine
To create a floor that’s both beautiful and durable takes a strong back and a skillful eye. Flooring installers and tile and marble setters tackle the job—laying and finishing carpet, wood, vinyl, and tile. Work starts by removing old flooring then cleaning and leveling the surface. These workers measure the area to be covered, and cut flooring material or tile to fit. Relying on design plans—or their knowledge of attractive patterns and colors— they place tile and flooring and affix it in position. Each type of flooring requires its own skills and tools to install: Carpet installers use “knee kickers,” to position carpet, and power stretchers to pull it snugly against walls. Floor sanders and finishers power sand hardwood floors, then apply stains and sealants to preserve the wood. Floor layers install durable linoleum, vinyl and other materials. Tile and marble setters use special cutting devices to size ceramic and marble tile, then install it and finish the floor surface. The work of installing flooring comes with challenging physical demands; workers spend much of their time reaching, bending, and kneeling, and wear protective equipment when needed. Most schedules are full time, and self-employment is common. Most flooring installers and tile and marble setters learn on the job starting as helpers, though some enter the field through a 2-4 year apprenticeship.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org