Tile fitters install tiles onto walls and floors. They cut tiles to the right size and shape, prepare the surface, and put the tiles in place flush and straight. Tile fitters may also take on creative and artistic projects, with some laying mosaics.
The following job titles also refer to tile fitter:
No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a tile fitter.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Tile fitter is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Tile fitter career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to tile fitter.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of tile fitter. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of tile fitter with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of tile fitter.
- Types of tile adhesive: Different adhesive materials for different types of tile, surfaces, drying times, environmental conditions and costs.
- Sanding techniques: The various sanding techniques (such as gang sanding), as well as the different sanding papers necessary for which surface.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of tile fitter.
- Caulk expansion joints: Fill the space intentionally created to allow for expansion or contraction of the construction materials with a sealant such as silicone.
- Work ergonomically: Apply ergonomy principles in the organisation of the workplace while manually handling equipment and materials.
- Snap chalk line: Stretch a line covered in fine, non-staining chalk between two points and snap it against a surface to produce a straight line.
- Transport construction supplies: Bring construction materials, tools and equipment to the construction site and store them properly taking various aspects into account such as the workers’ safety and protection from deterioration.
- Lay tiles: Firmly place the tiles on a surface prepared with adhesive. Adjust their position to so they are flush and evenly spaced. Take care not to disturb the surface. Insert spacers in the joints. When working vertically with heavy tiles, place a supporting piece of timber to prevent slippage if called for. Remove any excess adhesive from the face of the tile.
- Inspect construction supplies: Check construction supplies for damage, moisture, loss or other problems before using the material.
- Fill tile joints: Use grout, silicone paste, mastic or other appropriate material to fill the joints between tiles. Spread the mixture onto the tiles using a padded trowel or float. Make sure the mixture is worked into the joints before removing excess material. Use a diagonal motion to avoid scooping material from the joints. Wash material from the front of the tiles and buff the tiles to finish.
- Follow health and safety procedures in construction: Apply the relevant health and safety procedures in construction in order to prevent accidents, pollution and other risks.
- Use measurement instruments: Use different measurement instruments depending on the property to be measured. Utilise various instruments to measure length, area, volume, speed, energy, force, and others.
- Cut tiles: Cut tiles to the right size and shape using a wet tile saw. Set up the wet saw and attach it to a water source if called for. Mark the desired shape and size on the tile. Push the tile against the rotating carbide blade of the saw to make a straight cut. For curved cuts, make straight incisions at right angles along the desired curve. Snap off the resulting ‘fingers’ and finish the curve with a diamond file.
- Mix construction grouts: Mix construction materials with water and other materials based on the appropriate recipe. Mix thoroughly to prevent lumps. Avoid contamination, which will adversely affect the properties of the mixture.
- Use safety equipment in construction: Use elements of protective clothing such as steel-tipped shoes, and gear such as protective goggles, in order to minimise risk of accidents in construction and to mitigate any injury if an accident does occur.
- Apply tile adhesive: Apply the tile adhesive, often thinset, to the surface. Load the notch trowel with adhesive and paste it to the wall to form a thin, even layer. Take the drying time of the material and your working speed into account to make sure the adhesive does not dry out. Remove excess adhesive. Apply silicone or mastic along the edges, anywhere slight movement is expected, or for improved moisture resistance.
- Types of tile: Tiles of different sizes, materials and glazing. Their properties such as weight, propensity to chipping or breaking, moisture resistance, adhesion and cost.
- Plan tiling: Plan the position of the tiling on the surface. Mark straight and flush lines to determine the position of the tiles. Decide on the spacing between the tiles. If tiles have to be cut to size, avoid small slivers as they may be hard or nearly impossible to cut, depending on type of tile and equipment used.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of tile fitter. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Art history: The history of art and artists, the artistic trends throughout centuries and their contemporary evolutions.
- Aesthetics: Set of principles based on which something is appealing and beautiful.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of tile fitter. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Advise on construction materials: Provide advice on and test a wide range of construction materials.
- Operate mosaic tools: Use the appropriate tools to cut and chip mosaic for fitting into the workpiece.
- Apply restoration techniques: Select and apply appropriate restoration techniques in order to achieve the required restoration goals. This encompasses preventive measures, remedial measures, restoration processes and management processes.
- Answer requests for quotation: Make up prices and documents for the products that customers may purchase.
- Protect surfaces during construction work: Cover floors, ceiling, skirting boards and any other surfaces with various materials such as plastic or textile to keep them from being damaged or stained when performing construction or renovation work like painting or plastering.
- Monitor stock level: Evaluate how much stock is used and determine what should be ordered.
- Maintain tile flooring: Remove mould and stains, assess the damage and identify the cause, remove the old adhesive to replace broken tiles, repair joints and apply new protective layers.
- Work in a construction team: Work as part of a team in a construction project. Communicate efficiently, sharing information with team members and reporting to supervisors. Follow instructions and adapt to changes in a flexible manner.
- Drill holes in tile: Use a special carbide tipped drill bit to cut holes in tile. Apply masking tape or another appropriate covering material to protect against chipping and to keep the drill bit from slipping. Mark the spot and nick it slightly with a punch. Apply medium pressure to the drill to prevent chipping or breaking.
- Maintain work area cleanliness: Keep the working area and equipment clean and orderly.
- Plan surface slope: Make sure the planned surface has the necessary slope to prevent puddling of water or fluids.
- Calculate needs for construction supplies: Take measurements on site and estimate the amount of materials required for the construction or restoration project.
- Install insulation material: Place insulation material, often shaped into rolls, in order to insulate a structure from thermal or acoustic influences and to prevent fire. Attach the material using face staples, inset staples, or rely on friction to keep the material in place.
- Estimate restoration costs: Estimate the cost implications of restoring and replacing products or parts.
- Keep personal administration: File and organise personal administration documents comprehensively.
- Order construction supplies: Order required materials for the construction project, taking care to purchase the most suitable material for a good price.
- Process incoming construction supplies: Receive incoming construction supplies, handle the transaction and enter the supplies into any internal administration system.
- Interpret 3d plans: Interpret and understand plans and drawings in manufacturing processes which include representations in three dimensions.
- Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
- Attach accessories to tile: Use silicone to securely attach accessories, such as soap holders, to tile. Paste silicone onto the accessory and press it firmly against the tile. Hold it in place to dry if necessary.
- Interpret 2D plans: Interpret and understand plans and drawings in manufacturing processes which include representations in two dimensions.
- Make mosaic: Create a mosaic by laying out individually cut pieces of suitable materials, such as glass, ceramics, or shells, in artful shapes. Work with one or several mosaic techniques, such as direct mosaic, indirect mosaic and double inverse mosaic.
ISCO group and title
7122 – Floor layers and tile setters
- Tile fitter – ESCO