Top 5 Warning Signs When Hiring a Tiling Contractor

Investing in a tiler can be a major decision with considerable time and money on the line. To help you separate the good from the bad, we’ve rounded up the top 5 warning signs that the tiler you’re considering might not be the best fit

When it comes to hiring a tiling contractor for your Sydney home or business, you’ll find the good, the bad, and the ugly.

With hundreds of tilers on Google or in the Yellow Pages, quantity isn’t the problem – but the quality is. You’ll need a tiler with the correct licenses, registration, and experience. But it also takes more than industry know-how to become a leading Sydney tiler.

No matter what tiling project you have in mind, knowing how to screen your contractors and spot red flags before you sign on the dotted line is key – and that’s exactly what we’ll show you how to do.

Spotting a “bad contractor” can be tough, so read on to find out what warning signs to watch out for and how to find a reliable Sydney tiler for your next bathroom, kitchen, or home improvement project.

What are the top red flags when hiring a tiling expert?

When it comes to your Sydney property, a poor tiling job isn’t just an expensive headache for you to fix – it can be downright dangerous.

Thin porcelain tiles that crack easily. Improper underlayment. Bad grout. Not installing a backer board. Messy caulk lines. Dotting corners for uneven adhesive spread.

It’s easy to spot these signs of a shoddy tiler *after* the job is done. To save you from relying on hindsight, check out the following 5 warning signs of a terrible tiling team.

Red Flag #1 – There’s no contract

A contractor requires a contract (it’s in the name).

A handshake agreement may seem like an old-school and honest approach, but it leaves you at the mercy of shoddy workmanship and payment discrepancies. A contract ensures your tiler is held accountable and is meeting the objectives of the project.

Keep in mind, it’s not enough to have any old contract. Your contract should contain clear information and expectations. This includes:

  • Your tiling contractor’s contact information
  • An exact breakdown of costs
  • Payment schedule
  • Work schedule

If your tiler wants to get started without an official agreement, that’s a warning sign you shouldn’t skim over.

Red Flag #2 – They’re not licensed or insured

Finding a friend of a friend who offers “mates rates” can be appealing – but it’s a red flag that puts you at unnecessary risk.

Sydney’s leading tilers will be fully licensed and insured. Better still, they’ll be ready and willing to show you documentation and paperwork to prove they’ve been certified to perform tiling work by the relevant regulatory bodies.

No matter how well you know the tiler – whether it’s a neighbour with handyman skills or your cousin Bob – you’re legally responsible for what happens on your property. The worst outcome would be finding yourself legally culpable for something your uninsured tiler did, so be sure to ask for all licenses and insurance before you commit to a working relationship.

Red Flag #3 – Their rates are lower than low

Everyone loves a discount, but bargain basement prices can be a red flag worth looking into.


Because tiling is a specialist skill that requires considerable training, expertise, and quality materials. When it comes to home improvement, it’s true that you typically get what you pay for. If your local Sydney tiler has a price so low you can’t believe it’s real, they may be:

  • Skipping insurance
  • Skipping training
  • Buying cheap tiles and materials
  • Buying cheap tools

NHK Tiling Tip: Your tiling job is an investment. Whether improving the value of your Sydney home or improving the quality of your life, great tiling jobs help drive ROI. Market-value pricing with a clear breakdown of costs is the most reliable hire.

Curious about cost? Check out our Sydney Tiling Price Guide [2022]

Red Flag #4 – They have no testimonials or previous projects

Would you rather have a tooth pulled by a career dentist or an intern in their first week?


A lack of testimonials or previous projects may be due to a lack of experience. While this isn’t a red flag flown with malice, it’s important you invest in a tiler who has the skills and expertise to execute your vision whether you’re installing natural stone tiles or repairing cracked tiles outdoors.

A lack of testimonials can have a more sinister reason if your choice of tiler doesn’t want you to know about past jobs. Previous work represents a tiler’s CV, so they should be willing and ready to share their work. A reliable Sydney tiler will have plenty of satisfied customers to show off, so ask to see examples of work or read testimonials as a measure of quality.

Keen to put our experience to the test? Explore our gallery of finished projects here

Red Flag #5 – They want the full payment upfront

“I’ll need the full deposit to get started”

If your tiler is asking for all, or a large percentage, of the cost upfront, that’s a warning sign. You’ll typically have room to negotiate with your tiler during the initial stages, and this includes the deposit required to get started.

Most tilers charge between 25% and 30% of a project’s cost upfront to secure their time and work. But asking for 100% of the cost is a red flag as no experienced or reliable tiler will make this request.

It’s worth noting that each tiler may have different cash flow issues. This can increase their deposit request, but reliable tilers will be open and transparent about their finances to keep you in the loop, with contracts in place to protect your investment (as we mentioned above).

How to find a reliable tiling contractor in Sydney

When it comes to choosing a tiler, always trust your gut.

Don’t let high-pressure sales tactics or “too good to be true” prices sway your decision. Instead, ask the following questions to ensure your choice of contractor has the skills, experience, and passion to deliver the service you expect:

  • “How long have you been working in the industry?”
  • “Do you have a contracting license?”
  • “Are you fully insured and can I see the paperwork?”
  • “What is the timeline for completion?”
  • “Do you do the job or outsource to sub-contractors?”
  • “Do you have any tiling references?”
  • “Is your quote an estimate or a fixed price?”
  • “Who are your main tile suppliers?”

More than crooked, uneven, or poorly installed tiles, the wrong tiler can damage your kitchen, bathroom, laundry, or wet room and leave you with expensive repairs.

Taking the time to ask the questions above will help you find a reliable tiler with ability, a passion for their job, and a commitment to meeting your needs.

Looking for the signs of a quality tiler? Here are 8 tips for choosing the best tiling company in Sydney

Trust NHK Tiling as one of Sydney’s leading tiling experts

At NHK Tiling, we’ve been transforming Sydney spaces since 1995, so we know what it takes to deliver exceptional service at a price that works for you.

As a family owned and operated business, we also know the trust that’s required to let a contractor into your home. That’s why the tips above can help increase your confidence when browsing tiling contractors, but nothing beats speaking to an expert and finding out whether their vision and cost are suitable for you.

So let’s start with a 100% obligation-free chat and find out if we can help. Get in touch with a member of our team on 0402 462 570 or click here to request a fast and FREE quote online.

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