How to become a tiler

Posted on 6/20/2019

Up and down the country, there is always a regular demand for beautifully tiled kitchens and bathrooms. Tiling is not only a steady profession it can also be a rewarding one, as you help to make clients’ dream interiors a reality.

If you have an eye for detail and good concentration, tiling could be the ideal profession for you. If you wish to learn more about the job description of a tiler, or want to know how to become a tiler yourself, keep reading our guide.

What do I need?

As a tiler, you could be working in clients’ houses, in public buildings like hotels and restaurants, or on construction sites. Still, wherever your location, the basic skills you’ll need to succeed in the role remain the same.

Whether you're working in customers' homes or commercial settings, the same tiling skills apply

Firstly, you’ll need to be detail oriented, with the ability to focus in on small parts of a bigger picture. When tiling, you’ll be preparing surfaces to ensure that they’re level, individually fixing tiles with grout, and then finishing them off neatly. If any of these small details go wrong, they could throw off a whole area of wall or flooring. You don’t want to have to redo a day’s work because you weren’t precise the first time!

Secondly, you’ll need to be able to concentrate for extended periods of time. Laying tiles requires that you stay focused in working environments which may be noisy, dusty, and physically demanding. You’ll do well if you can work well under pressure and despite the distractions.

Next, you’ll need some maths skills. To lay tile, you’ll need to mark out an area to estimate the amount of tiles and adhesive you’ll need, and then to cut the tiles to the right size and shape. You’ll also need number skills to calculate the costs of the materials you’ll need; that way you can charge clients the right amount!

Tiling requires accurate estimates for time and materials, making maths skills essential for success

You’ll also need to be flexible in your working style. Some days you might be working independently on small interior projects, in which case you’ll need to be self- motivated and work well alone. Other times, especially on larger jobs, you might find yourself working in a team. In this case, you’ll need to communicate and co-ordinate well with a group.

Finally, you’ll need customer service skills. These are especially important if you’re tiling domestic interiors, as you’re being trusted with your clients’ homes. You should be able to advise them but also to listen and at times takes constructive criticism. You want to make your clients feel reassured and confident in your abilities.

Close up picture of a spirit level on tile floor You don't need any formal qualifcations to become a tiler but experience is highly valued

Where do I start?

There are no formal qualifications needed for a career in tiling, but employers often look for somebody with on-site experience. You should think about which of the multiple routes into the profession suits you best.

If you’re a school leaver looking to go directly into employment, then you might want to gain some initial experience in construction by working as a construction site labourer. Once you have some experience, your employer could then train you in wall and floor tiling. Note that if you want to work on a construction site, you’ll need the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card.

If you wish to gain a tiling qualification, then you might think about taking a college tiling course. These included a Level 1 Certificate in Wall and Floor Tiling, or a Level 2 Diploma in Wall and Floor Tiling. Depending on the college and the level of study you choose there may be GCSE entry requirements. Make sure you do your research first to make sure you meet the entry criteria.

Tiling apprenticeships can be a great way to receive a qualification, learn practical skills and earn a wage

A tiling apprenticeship can be a good option if you wish to gain a qualification and learn the practical skills of the trade while also earning a wage. However, you should note that you will need some GCSEs (usually in English and maths), and that an intermediate apprenticeship will usually take between two to three years to complete.

Next steps

A career in tiling requires an eye for detail, focused concentration, and customer service skills. The good news is that so long as you are hard- working and eager to learn, there are multiple entry routes into the profession available to you. Once you’ve established a good reputation for your work you could become a team leader supervising the work of others, or even set up your own business.

If you’re an experienced tiler looking to start a new chapter in your career, you might think about becoming a Local Hero. To become a Local Hero tiler, we require that you have an NVQ or equivalent in tiling; or, without a qualification, that you have a minimum of 10 years’ experience.