Flooring installers and tile and stone setters lay and finish carpet, wood, vinyl, and other materials, such as ceramic, glass, marble, and granite.


Flooring installers and tile and stone setters typically do the following:

  • Remove existing materials from floors, walls, or other surfaces
  • Clean and level the surface to be covered
  • Measure the area and cut material to fit
  • Arrange materials according to design plans
  • Place materials and secure with adhesives, nails, or staples
  • Fill joints with filler compound and remove excess compound
  • Trim excess carpet or linoleum
  • Apply finishes, such as sealants and stains

Flooring installers and tile and stone setters lay the materials that improve the look and feel of homes, offices, restaurants, and other buildings. Many of these workers install materials on floors. However, they also work on walls, ceilings, countertops, and showers.

Installing floors and tiles requires a smooth, even base of mortar or plywood. Flooring installers and tile and stone setters or other construction craftworkers lay this base. On remodeling jobs, workers may need to remove old flooring and smooth the surface before laying the base.

The following are examples of types of flooring installers and tile and stone setters:

Carpet installers lay carpet on new floors or over existing flooring. They use special tools, including “knee kickers” to position the carpet and power stretchers to pull the carpet snugly against walls. They also join carpet edges and seam edges by sewing or by using tape with glue and a heated carpet iron.

Carpet tile installers lay modular pieces of carpet that may be glued into place. Installing carpet tiles may be an option where standard carpet is impractical, such as in designing a pattern over an area.

Floor sanders and finishers scrape and smooth wood floors, often using power sanders. They then apply stains and sealants to preserve the wood. (For information on workers who install wood floors, see the profile on carpenters.)

Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles, install a variety of resilient flooring materials. Linoleum installers lay washable flooring material of the same name, cutting the linoleum to size and gluing it into place. Vinyl installers lay plastic-based flooring that includes vinyl ester, vinyl sheeting, and vinyl tile. Installers of laminate, manufactured wood, and wood tile floors are included in this category.

Tile and stone setters install pieces of ceramic, marble, granite, glass, or other materials. Tile installers, sometimes called tile setters, cut tiles using wet saws, tile scribes, or handheld tile cutters. They then use trowels of different sizes to spread mortar or a sticky paste, called mastic, evenly on the work surface before placing the tiles. Tile finishers apply grout between tiles after the tiles are set by using a rubber trowel, called a float, and then wipe the tiles clean after the grout dries. Stone setters may cut marble, granite, or other stone to a specified size with a wet saw. They use special adhesives to fasten the stone to the desired surface; in remodeling projects, they may first need to smooth the underlying surface after removing old materials.

Work Environment

Flooring installers and tile and stone setters held about 115,100 jobs in 2021. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up flooring installers and tile and stone setters was distributed as follows:

Tile and stone setters 56,700
Carpet installers 27,200
Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles                    25,200
Floor sanders and finishers 6,000

The largest employers of flooring installers and tile and stone setters were as follows:

Specialty trade contractors                  50%
Self-employed workers 27
Home furnishings stores 9
Manufacturing 5
Construction of buildings 4

Installing flooring, tile, and stone is physically demanding, requiring workers to spend much of their time reaching, bending, and kneeling. Workers typically wear kneepads while kneeling; safety goggles when using grinders, saws, and sanders; and dust masks or respirator systems to prevent inhaling work-generated dust in enclosed areas with poor ventilation.

Injuries and Illnesses

Carpet installers and floor sanders and finishers have some of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations.

Work Schedules

Most flooring installers and tile and stone setters work full time, although schedules may vary. In commercial settings, they may need to work evenings and weekends to avoid disturbing regular business operations.

Education and Training

Flooring installers and tile and stone setters typically need no formal educational credential. They learn their trade on the job, sometimes starting as a helper. Some learn through an apprenticeship.


There are typically no formal education requirements for becoming a flooring installer or tile and stone setter, although candidates entering an apprenticeship program may need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Certain high school courses, such as art and math, may be helpful for flooring installers and tile and stone setters.


Flooring installers and tile and stone setters typically learn on the job, working with experienced installers or starting as helpers.

New workers usually do simple tasks, such as moving materials. As they gain experience, they take on more complex tasks, such as cutting carpet. Some helpers work as tile finishers before becoming tile installers.

Some flooring installers and tile and stone setters learn their trade through a 2- to 4-year apprenticeship. For each year of a typical program, apprentices must complete a predetermined number of hours of technical instruction and paid on-the-job training. Technical instruction in the apprenticeship may include mathematics, building code requirements, safety and first-aid practices, and blueprint reading. After completing an apprenticeship program, flooring installers and tile and stone setters are considered journey workers and may perform duties on their own.


Several organizations offer certification for floor and tile installers. Although certification is not required, it demonstrates that a flooring installer and tile and stone setter has a specific mastery of skills to do a job.

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) offers the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) designation for workers with 2 or more years of experience as a tile installer. Applicants must pass a written test and a hands-on performance evaluation.

Several groups, including the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, the International Masonry Institute (IMI), the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC), the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA), and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) have created the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) program. To qualify for the program, applicants must have either completed a qualified apprenticeship program or earned the CTI certification. Requirements for certification include passing both an exam and a field test.

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) offers optional certification for floor sanders and finishers. Sanders and finishers must have 2 years of experience and must have completed NWFA-approved training. Applicants are required to complete written and performance tests.

The International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI) offers certification for flooring and tile installers. Installers need 2 years of experience before they can take the written test and performance evaluation.

The International Standards & Training Alliance (INSTALL) offers a comprehensive flooring certification program for flooring and tile installers. INSTALL certification requires both classroom and hands-on training and covers all major types of flooring.

Personality and Interests

Tile and marble setters typically have an interest in the Building, Creating and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Creating interest area indicates a focus on being original and imaginative, and working with artistic media. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Creating or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a tile and marble setter, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Tile and marble setters should also possess the following specific qualities:

Color vision. Setting tile often involves determining small color variations. Because tile patterns may include many different colors, tile setters must be able to distinguish between colors and patterns for the best-looking finish. 

Customer-service skills. Working in customers’ homes is common. Therefore, tile and marble setters must be courteous and considerate of a customer’s property while completing tasks.

Detail oriented. Some tile arrangements can be highly detailed and artistic, so workers must ensure that the patterns are properly and accurately arranged.

Math skills. Basic math skills are used on every job. Besides measuring the area to be tiled, installers must calculate the number of tiles needed to cover an area.

Physical stamina. Tile and marble setters must have the endurance to spend many hours on their feet. When setting tile or marble, installers also may be on their knees for hours at a time.

Physical strength. Some marble setters must be strong enough to carry and lift heavy marble countertops into position.


The median annual wage for flooring installers and tile and stone setters was $47,310 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,650, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $78,130.

Median annual wages for flooring installers and tile and stone setters in May 2021 were as follows:

Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles                   $48,060
Tile and stone setters 47,810
Carpet installers 46,640
Floor sanders and finishers 39,140

In May 2021, the median annual wages for flooring installers and tile and stone setters in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Construction of buildings $47,970
Specialty trade contractors                    47,790
Home furnishings stores 46,380
Manufacturing 38,760

Most flooring installers and tile and stone setters work full time, although schedules may vary. In commercial settings, they may need to work evenings and weekends to avoid disturbing regular business operations.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of flooring installers and tile and stone setters is projected to grow 4 percent from 2021 to 2031, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 10,700 openings for flooring installers and tile and stone setters are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 


Projected employment of flooring installers and tile and stone setters varies by occupation (see table). The construction of new homes and the renovation of existing units will be the primary source of flooring and tile and stone installation over the projections decade.

Vinyl and other resilient flooring products have become increasingly popular, especially in homes, which will lead to employment growth for floor layers. Tile and stone installation will continue to be common for bathrooms, restaurants, and other buildings, supporting demand for these workers.

For More Information

For details about apprenticeships, training, or other work opportunities in this trade, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local contractors or firms that employ flooring installers and tile and stone setters, or local union–management apprenticeship committees. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor's Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to search for apprenticeship opportunities.

For more information about flooring installers and tile and stone setters, visit

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

International Masonry Institute

International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers

Tile Contractors’ Association of America

The Tile Council of North America, Inc.

Home Builders Institute

For more information about training and certification of flooring installers and tile and stone setters, visit

International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association

Finishing Trades Institute International

International Standards & Training Alliance (INSTALL)

National Tile Contractors Association

National Wood Flooring Association



Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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There are many excellent tools available that will allow you to measure your interests, profile your personality, and match these traits with appropriate careers. On this site, you can take the Career Personality Profiler assessment, the Holland Code assessment, or the Photo Career Quiz.

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