How Long Does Tiling Installation Take? Step-by-Step Breakdown

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The average tiler can install tiles in an average sized room in roughly 10 hours.

But let’s be honest, that doesn’t help you very much.

Your home is anything but average so whether you’re looking at tiling a bathroom for a long overdue upgrade, or tiling a new kitchen as your dream home comes together, knowing how long the job is likely to take is important.

Don’t be fooled by videos on YouTube that show effortless tiling jobs completed in a flash with minimal effort (and minimal mess). Tiling services in real life take time to ensure each tile is installed properly, with the right amount of grouting, proper preparation, and a finished surface that’s strong and long lasting.

If you’re transforming your Eastern Suburbs or Hills District home, odds are you’re dealing with a multi-step process and can’t afford to sit around waiting for a tiler to finish up. So, although there are plenty of variables at play, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know to plot out your next tiling project.

Here’s your step-by-step breakdown.

So, how long does tiling take?

This is a common question.

Unfortunately, tiling is a broad term that captures more than just laying tiles on the floor and calling it a day. Proper preparation is required to ensure a lasting finish, which means your tiling job will be made up of three distinct parts:

  • Floor Preparation 
  • Tiling 
  • Drying

Here’s what goes into each step and where your time will be spent.

Before you go… get on top of your budget with our official ‘Aussie Tiling Price Guide’

Step #1: Floor Preparation

Installing tiles on a surface that isn’t properly prepared is asking for trouble. Expensive trouble. Whether you’re using the wrong adhesive, installing tiles on a surface that hasn’t been evened out, or leaving cracks that can encourage mould growth, you’ll need to prep your floor which can take up to 24 hours.

The specific time this takes will come down to the size of the area being tiled, your experience (or the experience of your local tiling team), and the level of preparation required. For example, removing carpet may be easier (and less time-consuming) than removing old tiles and the glue, plus the coatings and sealant that comes with it.

This step may also take longer if you’re required to repair any cracks in the surface. Waiting for sealer and compound filler to dry can be frustrating when you’re ready to move on in your Sydney home improvement project, but you’ll be thankful you wait when your new floor is strong, robust and laid on solid foundations.

Expected Timeline: 6 to 12 hours

Step #2: Tiling

Is your surface prepped?


Now it’s time to move onto the tiling. The time it takes to install tile will vary based on experience. Naturally, professional tilers can typically lay tiles faster and more efficiently than a DIY’er. 

You’ll also need to factor in the size of your room and the size of the tiles. Again, larger tiles will occupy a greater area than smaller tiles. However, if your room requires a number of custom tiles – for example, pipes that must be worked around in a bathroom or laundry – then you’ll need to factor in more time.

Expected Timeline: 10 to 16 hours

Step #3: Drying Time

Your new tiles are in place and you’re ready to start using your new room… but it’s best to hold off a little longer.

Though it might be a pain, most experts (including us) recommend you wait at least 24 hours before stepping foot on your new tiled surface. Even if you’re not stepping on new tiles (for example, on walls or kitchen tops), it’s best to let the surface rest for 24 hours before interacting with it.

Don’t be fooled if you see small sections of thinset (an adhesive mixture of cement, water and sand) that appear dry in between each tile. The thinset under your tiles won’t receive as much air, so it’s not likely cured until you meet the 24-hour threshold. 

Expected Timeline: 24 to 48 hours

Factors that influence a tiling project timeline

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Can you tile a whole bathroom in a day? Can you tile and grout on the same day? Can I tile over existing tiles?

Odds are, these are the types of questions going through your head and answering these sorts of questions will help you plot out your tiling timeline. Although a tiling job can be the perfect weekend project, there are many tiling installations that will require longer.

The timeline above outlines the average number of hours needed for each step, but there are extra factors that influence your installation timeline. Here’s a few of the most common:

Floor Preparation

As we mentioned, not all floors are ready to receive tiles. Although tiles can be installed over most surfaces (including old tiles), the level of preparation varies. For example, a linoleum floor can typically be removed with a utility knife and a little elbow grease. In comparison, old tiles may need to be removed with a hammer, chisel, shovel and floor scraper.

DIY vs. Pros

Do you plan on doing the job yourself or are you outsourcing to save time and more than a few headaches? Although taking the DIY option may seem cheaper, it can become *much* more expensive if you fail to prepare your floor or make a mistake that requires a complete do-over. 

Tile Orientation

Are you opting for a basic tile pattern or are you tempted to go for a more intricate pattern like Herringbone or variating blocks? Naturally, the more elaborate your tiling design, the longer they will take to install. On the flipside, innovative designs can remain eye-catching for years (or decades) to come so the slower installation can pay off in the long run.

Stuck for ideas? Discover the most popular tiling patterns 

Tile Choice

When it comes to a tiling project, you’re not limited with your options. Most projects use ceramic tiles which are the quickest and easiest to install. Travertine tiles are another popular choice which can help speed up the installation process as the edges don’t need to be gapped (creating one less job to do). On the more difficult side, slate tiles are brittle and heavy which requires an even surface to avoid uneven weight distribution and the likelihood of cracks. If you’re opting for marble you won’t have any major structural challenges to overcome, but aligning the unique patterns of marble tile can be difficult… and time-consuming. 

BONUS: Tips to speed up your next tiling project

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Good things come to those who wait… but you want results now! 

We don’t blame you. Although you can’t click your fingers and lay a floor or wall full of tiles in an instant, there are a few industry tricks and tips that can slash time from your install.

Here are a few of our favourites.

✔ Start with a good substrate

Your tile work is only as good as your substrate. If you’re starting from an uneven or damaged substrate, you’ll end up doing significantly more work in the long run. Worse still, an even floor can lead to cracked tiles, so pay extra attention to floor preparation to help your floor last longer and save you unnecessary work down the line.

✔ Use pre-mixed thinset

Pre-mixed thinset will set you back more than dry thinset mortar (which you’ll need to mix yourself), but it can help you save serious time. Not only are you off the hook for mixing your dry thinset but you avoid the headaches that come with an incorrect water to thinset ratio.

✔ Use the right tools

A tiler is only as good as their tools. For example, when spreading mortar you should use a notched trowel, not any old tool that “pretty much works”. A notched trowel will regulate the flow of thinset on your substrate, which means choosing the wrong tools is putting your tile installation at risk.

Preparing your home for a tiling project? Steal our Ultimate Checklist to save time and money

Call NHK Tiling for your next tiling project

At NHK Tiling, we understand the importance of keeping your stress levels down and minimising disruption when tiling your home or business. That’s why, as a family-owned business supporting our Sydney clients for almost 30 years, we treat every project like it was our own home and let the results speak for themselves.

All of our installers are licensed, insured, and accredited to take on any tiling project, and we back all of our work with 100% customer satisfaction and quality guarantees. If you’re looking for fast and reliable tiling that will stand the test of time, get in touch and speak to a member of our team.

Request a free quote for your project today by calling 0402 462 570.

Request a free quote on 0402 462 570, or simply enquire online.