Tile and Stone Setters

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Also known as:
Ceramic Tile Installer, Hard Tile Setter, Marble Ceiling Installer, Parquet Floor Layer, Tile Installer, Tile Mason, Wood Tile Installer

Video transcript

Whether on walkways or walls, ceilings or countertops, tile and marble are a durable and decorative addition. The creative craftsmen who install these materials in our buildings and homes are tile and marble setters.

Like pieces of a puzzle, tile and marble need to be carefully put together - that's why setters spend a great deal of time working, even before they start laying materials down.

During installation, setters use measuring devices and levels. A power saw is used to cut pieces to the correct size. Setters often prearrange tiles on a dry floor to see how their design will look when completed. Cement, grout, and sealants are then applied to make the pattern stick.

Tile and marble setters usually work indoors during regular daytime hours. But if the job is in a busy office or store, they may work weekends to avoid disturbing business. Flexibility and endurance are a must since these workers spend most of their time bending, kneeling, and reaching - and boxes can weigh a great deal, so heavy lifting is to be expected.

This is a trade you can learn on the job. Apprenticeships and contractor-sponsored programs help provide comprehensive training. If you aspire to work for yourself, think about this - many tile and marble setters are self-employed and the work is steady as long as the economy is good.

As all types of buildings continue to be built and renovated, the need for marble and tile setters is as strong as the materials at their fingertips.

Apply hard tile, stone, and comparable materials to walls, floors, ceilings, countertops, and roof decks.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Measure and mark surfaces to be tiled, following blueprints.

Apply a sealer to make grout stain- and water-resistant.

Remove any old tile, grout and adhesive using chisels and scrapers and clean the surface carefully.

Prepare surfaces for tiling by attaching lath or waterproof paper, or by applying a cement mortar coat to a metal screen.

Level concrete and allow to dry.

Remove and replace cracked or damaged tile.

Lay and set mosaic tiles to create decorative wall, mural, and floor designs.

Apply mortar to tile back, position the tile, and press or tap with trowel handle to affix tile to base.

Cut, surface, polish, and install marble and granite or install pre-cast terrazzo, granite or marble units.

Cut and shape tile to fit around obstacles and into odd spaces and corners, using hand and power cutting tools.

Finish and dress the joints and wipe excess grout from between tiles, using damp sponge.

Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Building and Construction Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Design Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Mathematics Using mathematics to solve problems.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.