TILE: It’s the go-to finish when you’re looking for high fashion and high function. But you might not get either if you leave it to just anyone to install. Unlike plumbing, electrical and structural masonry trades, tile installers and the tile contractors who employ them are not generally required to meet minimum trade craft criteria to be in business.

The difference between trained, experienced installers and inexperienced installers is noticeably present in their work. Furthermore, the difference between a quality contractor and a deficient one is apparent in their service and business operations.

Together, contractors and installers transform your concept into reality. Whether you’re a design/build professional selecting tile contractors regularly or a homeowner with a single tile project, it’s simply impossible to overestimate the importance of finding qualified contractors and installers.

Tile installer installing patterned floor tiles.

The Reputable Tile Contractor

Tile installer installing floor tiles.
  • Operates a legitimate business, with responsible business practices and a policy of standing behind their work.

  • Invests in continuing education necessary to stay up to date on current building codes, regulations, standards and best practices. Note: On-the-job training is the most popular way to learn a construction trade. Nonetheless, formal training is a must for ensuring installers are learning and using the correct installation methods for your project.

  • Carries all required business licenses and insurances, and doesn’t push liabilities for property damages or worker injuries onto others.

  • Does not misclassify workers to avoid paying into Social Security, unemployment, workers’ compensation and other employee programs.

  • Has a traceable business location so customers can be sure that contractors address and resolve their post-installation questions and issues.

  • Has a track record for quality and service — good contractors can easily produce references and verifiable documentation of their commitment to quality and service.

Choosing Your Tile Contractor

Architects & Specifiers

Include language in job specifications requiring qualified labor, and enforce it with the GC. See the TCNA Handbook for a list of industry-recognized prequalification programs for installers and contractors, such as the CTEF Certified Tile Installer Program, the ACT (Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers) Program, the NTCA 5-Star Contractor Program and the TCAA Trowel of Excellence Program.

General Contractors

Deliver a quality tile installation by fulfilling contractor qualification requirements in job specifications. When not included, use internally developed qualifications. Require proof of qualifications to be included with all project bids. Thoroughly compare estimates from bidding contractors before awarding contracts. Note: Higher estimates often reflect better materials and additional necessary components and tasks, like substrate preparation and movement joints.


Don’t hesitate to ask contractors for proof of insurance, their license (where required) and their installation qualifications. Thoroughly interview bidding contractors, and check several references. Use the consumer resources available from your state online and from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation.