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Tiling can be a DIY job, or you can opt to hire a professional tiler. Depending on which option you chose, as well as a few other factors, the speed at which the work can be done will vary.
Professional tilers and contractors can lay around 100 12×12 inch (30.5×30.5 cm) tiles in an hour or 900 tiles in a single 9-hour day. Still, some factors may affect your speed, such as your skills and experience, the choice of mortar, the layout pattern, and the preparation needed.
Keep reading to learn about the factors that affect the number of tiles you can lay in a single day. I’ve also put together a list of tips you can follow to lay the most tiles as quickly as possible.
What Factors Affect How Quickly You Can Lay Tile?
You’ll need to consider several factors to understand how many tiles you can lay in a single day.
Factors that affect how quickly you can lay tile include your skills and experience, the preparation needed, and the size and shape of the area. Finally, the type of mortar, the size of the tiles, and the layout design will also influence how many tiles you can lay in a single day.
Let’s look at each of these factors in detail:
It Takes Time To Prep a Surface for Tiling
Preparing a flat, smooth base for tiles and planning the layout can be very time-consuming on the actual tiling day.
The more time you’ll take in prepping the underlayment, the fewer tiles you’ll install in a day. In addition, finishing some of the initial steps (such as measuring, gathering materials, and preparing the surface) the day before tiling can speed up the process.
Every Job Is Different
The amount of tile you can lay in a single day in a bathroom or kitchen might differ from the tiling you can do in an outdoor flat area.
That’s because environmental factors might throw you a curveball, setting back progress. Rain and weather conditions may force you to pause progress when you are outside, and the temperature and humidity will slow down curing and drying times.
However, foot traffic, temperature, and humidity can also slow things down in an indoor setting.
In addition, every job calls for special tools, skills, and attention.
The Choice of a Mortar Adhesive
It’s crucial to get the right consistency of your mortar, and it’s also essential to allow enough cure time once you’ve installed the tiles before proceeding with grouting.
Therefore, choosing between the standard mortar and the rapid setting mortar adhesives determines how many tiles you can lay in a day. If you are in a rush, choosing quick-dry and fast-curing products will help you speed things up.
Skills, Techniques, and Equipment
A tile expert with the right skills and experience can lay the most tiles in a day compared to a first-time DIYer tiler.
Besides, an expert has the right equipment and understands the techniques to lay the most tiles without setbacks.
Size of the Tile (Tile or Stone Dimensions)
When working with oversized tiles, you’ll make more visible progress, even if you haven’t installed many. Big tiles take up more space, which means you’ll need fewer of them to cover an area and finish your project faster.
On the other hand, you’ll have to lay many more small tiles to cover that same amount of space, which will take more time.
Type of Tile
The type of tile determines how much tiling you can do in a day. For instance, self-stick tiles are easy and quick to lay. Generally, installing self-adhesive tiles takes less than a minute. On the other hand, applying ceramic or stone tiles with no adhesive backing takes more time per tile.
Area To Be Tiled
The shape and structure of the tiling area influence how many tiles you can lay in a day.
If you’re laying tiles in an uneven area, it takes you a bit longer to put them all down because you need to be careful when cutting and trimming them. Thus, you won’t lay many tiles as you would when working in a rectangular or square room with no obstacles.
Besides, certain areas such as the bathroom or windows require more attention while trimming and laying the tiles to prevent them from leakage and sticking out in the future.
The Layout Pattern
If you’re laying your tiles in special design features, such as diagonal tile, a tiled border, or a unique mosaic pattern, you’ll take more time.
Angular patterns and designs require focus and time to get right, and you can’t just lay each tile down in a straight line. Because patterns and mosaics are more detailed and demand more focus, prepare to take more time and lay less tile when you choose to install one.
How Do You Lay the Most Tiles in a Single Day?
Laying the most tiles possible in a day can be tricky. You’ll have to “get in the flow” and develop skills at tiling if you want to be productive and efficient.
To lay the most tiles in a single day, it’s best to put in the time and plan ahead, learn the skills, prep the underlayment beforehand, consider pre-mixed mortar and grout, and decide on the tile size and type. You’ll also want to have the right tools on hand.
Here are some tips you can follow to lay the most tiles in a single day like a pro:
Learn How To Lay Tiles Like a Pro
While it’s possible to be intimidated by laying tiles, it’s essential to learn the skills and steps of installation before you start the job.
You might want to learn more from YouTube videos or ask professionals how they maximize their effort.
If you want a quick introduction to laying tile floors, you might want to check out this helpful video from DIY Network:
Prepare All the Necessary Materials Prior
When you have enough supplies, you can lay the most tiles in a day. So, take your time and measure the area you plan to tile. Also, purchase extra boxes of tile just in case some of them break.
Remember, tile-laying requires dry laying (special planning where you measure and build the design and line up the corners before tiling). So, be sure to think about your space and try to come up with the smartest, most efficient way to get all the tiles down.
Decide on Your Tile Size and Type Beforehand
The tile size and type will determine the specific tools, adhesives, and grout you choose. For example, you won’t have to do much prep work or get extra materials if you decide to use self-stick tiles.
So, you’ll need to consider what you want your tiled surface to look like before you get any materials. If you can, you might want to think about the size of your room and get a tile that will fit perfectly in that space without any cutting.
Start With an Excellent Underlayment
The underlayment (where you install your tiles) is key to laying the most tiles. You’ll need to prep it to get an even, flat, and firm surface.
If you don’t prep it correctly, the tiles will sag and crack in some areas, and that means you’ll have to redo the tiling over and over again.
Consider Pre-Mixed Mortar or Tile Adhesive
A pre-mixed mortar saves you the time and headache of mixing water and measuring. So, instead of worrying about getting the correct mortar measurement, you can use the time gained to lay tiles.
Likewise, pre-mixed grout that you can use straight out of the container will save you time, allowing you to maximize your tiling day.
Get the Right Tools for the Job
To lay the most tiles, you need to make your tiling easy and stress-free. So, you’ll need some specific tools for the tile job. These include trowels, a snap cutter, a wet saw, spacers, a grout sponge, a grout float, tile nippers, and a rubber mallet.
It’s good to note that you can rent some of these tools for a day or two.
Here’s a detailed YouTube video that highlights all the tools you need for your tiling project:
Ultimately, the amount of tile laid in a single day depends on many variables. However, hiring a professional tiler will make the installation perfect and eliminate a lot of guesswork out of the process.
Otherwise, prep work, planning, and research can help you achieve maximum efficiency when laying tiles, so always ask for help or look up tutorials if you are in doubt. If you do the job well, your tiles will stand the test of time.
- Rubi Blog: 10 Most Common Mistakes When Laying Floor Tiles (And How to Avoid Them)
- The Spruce: How to Choose the Right Flooring Adhesive for Any Project
- HomeAdvisor: 2021 Tile Calculator
- The Tile Shop: How to Lay Tile
- Proflooring: How Long Does It Take To Install Tile Floors?
- Contractor Talk: How many tiles can you lay in an hour?
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Giovanni Valle is an architect, designer, internet entrepreneur, and the managing editor of various digital publications including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place. He is the founder of BuilderSpace LLC.