The virtues of ceramic tile for bathrooms and kitchens are well known, but many of those advantages also make it a good choice for living rooms. Ceramic tile is durable and easy to maintain. It can handle even the highest traffic locations without showing much wear. Spills, chips and other accidents really aren’t an issue provided the floor was installed correctly. And the design advantages are undeniable: modern printing techniques give you a wealth of aesthetic options for creating a floor that is truly unique to your living area. For example, there are now porcelain mosaics that look so much like exotic hardwood planks that you will have trouble telling the difference.
The costs of a ceramic tile floor are comprised of two elements: the price of the materials themselves, and the cost of installation labor.
When purchased at big-box stores or tile specialty outlets ceramic tile can range from less than $1 per square foot for plain solid-color tiles to just under $20 per square foot for porcelain tiles that mimic the look of fine marbles or woods. At the high end, prices rival that of natural stone tiles, but very elegant and serviceable tiles are available in the $3 to $7 per square foot range.
Installation costs can vary widely, too, depending on the size of the job, geographic location, and even where your building is located. Even when installation services are purchased from a national retailer, labor costs in some regions of the country may be much higher than those in another region. However, a recent national survey placed the costs for standard ceramic tile installation at about $5 per square foot. Installation of porcelain or mosaic tiles will be somewhat higher than this due to more complicated installation requirements, but it’s rare that you will need to pay more than $8 per square foot for installation. Larger jobs actually tend to be cheaper on a cost-per-square-footage basis. There may be a minimum charge of $300 or so for small installations
Tile is a fairly labor-intensive flooring to install, and DIYers can enjoy considerable savings by doing this work themselves since roughly half the cost of the floor is in the installation labor.