Tile and Marble Setters fall into the Artistic Theme Code Category of the Strong Interest Inventory® Test. The Strong Interest Inventory® has been used and refined since 1927 to help people find a profitable and fulfilling career, based on their interest patterns and job preferences. The Strong Inventory involves, among many other things, categorizing careers based on people’s work-environment preferences, and assessing and ranking individuals’ interests to identify their top Theme Code Categories. This enables people to identify and research careers they might actually be interested in, rather than wasting time on an overly broad range of career options. Individuals who favor the Artistic Theme Code thrive in a flexible work environment, where they can freely express themselves with less boundaries or restrictions.

Tile and Marble Setters apply tile, marble, wood, and sometimes other materials to surfaces in residential and corporate buildings, including walls, floors, ceilings, and roofs. Those who have more experience or an artistic eye may be involved in the design vision itself, for instance in helping customers select the optimal materials for their situation. They measure and mark surfaces that have to be tiled, often following blueprints or directions. Some planning or imagination may be necessary to determine the optimal lay out to achieve a desired pattern look. They cut and shape the tile uniformly, often using levels, squares, or straight edges. If necessary, they fit the tiles around any obstacles, including into unsymmetrical spaces and corners. As they lay the tiles, it is often necessary to use additional materials, including plaster, concrete, glue or adhesive to attach the tile to the surface.

Some Tile and Marble Setters also lay and set mosaic tiles to create decorative murals or mosaics on walls, floors, or ceilings. Other Tile and Marble Setters may install granite or marble units to counter tops and floors. When they are finished, Tile and Marble Setters finish and dress any joints, and remove excess grout using damp sponges or grinders. If necessary, they may also seal the tile to make it stain and water resistant.

An enormous number of tools are required for Tile and Marble Setters to complete their daily tasks. They use abrasive stones, exhaust fans, pliers, a number of different kinds of grinders, hammers, chisels, spreaders, and more to lay the surfaces themselves. They also protect themselves using ear muffs, ear plugs, eye washers or eye wash stations, goggles, hard hats, and other protective gear. Ladders, gas generators, levels, mallets, plumb bobs, and more are needed to reach difficult locations and to ensure the proper alignment of all tiles and marble pieces. Polish and buffers perfect the final product. Some technology and software are also used. For instance, computer-aided design (CAD) software, database management and query software, and project management software (Measure square FloorEstimate Pro) help Tile and Marble Setters do their jobs.

Tile Setter's Salary and Career Info

Read about a career in Tile Setting including information such as a Tile Setter’s salary, daily tasks and other career information.

Familiarity with building and construction, design principles, and mathematics are necessary characteristics of successful Tile and Marble Setters. They need to think critically about challenging spatial problems and listen carefully to others, particularly since they often work with difficult or dangerous situations and materials. Finally, because of the intensely physical nature of this job, Tile and Marble Setters need to possess a great deal of strength, flexibility and dexterity. On a day to day basis, they cut, align, and install masonry materials, estimate project costs and labor requirements, mix and smooth surfaces, install building fixtures, and much more that requires a wide range of physical motion.

Some Tile and Marble Setters have a high school diploma or certificate of some kind. Most of them never finished high school. Instead, their skills were developed on-the-job outside the classroom. The nation-wide average for Tile and Marble Setters’ salary is under $40,000 annually. Some states, such as Massachusetts, have average Tile and Marble Setters’ salary as high as $85,000 per year. Employment rates are also slowly rising around the country, with the fastest growth in the western states of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Oregon, and California. In California, Tile and Marble Setters’ salary is near $70,000, while in Utah it is close to $50,000. Nationally, wages are highest in New England, New York, and other north eastern states.

Below are some employment trends for Tile and Marble Setters:

  • Median Tile and Marble Setter’s Salary: $18.94/hour; $39,400 annually
  • Employment: 55,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2014-2024): average (5% to 8%)
  • Projected job openings (2014-2024): 11,300
[Information retrieved from Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2024 employment projections]


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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org