How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000?

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mr_scaramanga
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How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000?

Post by mr_scaramanga » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:35 am

Over the winter, the cold water faucet pipe froze and burst in our first floor half bathroom. I was able to isolate the break through shutoff valves in the basement so the bathroom was still usable (toilet was on separate pipe and hot water in the sink still works.) The pipe must have broken right beneath the floor under the faucet because I could see water splashing up from under the floor. The bathroom is very small (3' X 5') and has a tile floor with plywood underneath the tile.

Our regular plumber came and looked and said the only way to fix it would be to break up and the tile and tear out the floor. The house is very old and there is no crawlspace a human can fit underneath to repair the pipe.

Our plumber recommended a carpenter to do the tile and floor work. The carpenter came out and looked at the job. He said he would break out the old tile and remove the plywood. After the plumber came in and fixed the pipe, the carpenter would install new plywood and then tile the entire floor. For all this work (including materials and labor), the carpenter would charge $2000. Remember, this does not include the plumbing work.

I was somewhat shocked by that estimate. I do not have a high end home by any means. I was planning to install very basic (cheap) tile. Seems somewhat excessive, but I have not had tile work done in a very long time. Does that quote seem out of line?

This work is for the entire 3' X 5', but that in the scheme of things, that is a very relatively small area. We are being charged basically $133 / sq ft. Say, for example, I had a 50 sq ft bathroom, at that rate, the tile and floor alone would cost $6,650? Seems a lot to me.

11111010001
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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by 11111010001 » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:44 am

Your labor costs and possibly disposal should be the big bill in that quote.

Did the carpenter give you an estimate broken down by category?

Removing tile is no fun, especially if it's solid, thick and put down on a proper mortar bed. Perhaps if you did the demo, you'd save some serious $.

I've seen quotes from 5-10 a square foot for installation only on a clean floor. Materials extra on top of that.

You may also be getting a premium markup for such a small job?

Edit: you can get a comparison quote from HD or Lowes as well to serve as a second opinion pretty quickly.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mxs » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:53 am

Sounds high to me also...

Any chance you could do it yourself, and do you have time to not use that bathroom for a while?

The plywood would cost something like $20 at most depending on thickness/type. Then you probably have an underlayment layer or two, mortar/grout, and the tile. I would say you would be out $200-$300 at most for materials plus minimal tools you would need to buy. The pipe may also be able to be done by you depending on what section of the pipe is burst and if you can simply remove a section. Otherwise you would probably have to sawzall out the section and put in a new section with a good connection. Plumbing cost would probably be $200 or less including materials and tools.

I would consider doing it yourself, asking a knowledgeable friend, or at the very least get a second quote. BTW, at the very least you may be able to save yourself some money by doing some of the demo yourself so you don't have to pay the plumber to do it.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by magellan » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:57 am

I can't say for sure the price is reasonable and you might want to get another quote or two to be safe.

For such a small space you really can't think in terms of cost per sq. ft. There's a fixed setup overhead with any job and that probably accounts for most of the cost of this job. Also, it's not just a tile job, you're also paying for demolition and materials removal plus the cost of installing a new plywood floor.

Most contractors hate small jobs and that can add a significant premium. There's no space to work and tight spaces require much more cutting and fitting per sq ft than a big wide open space.

It's unavoidable that you'll pay some premium with this job because it's sort of undesirable. OTOH, another quote might help reassure you that you're not getting taken to the cleaners.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mr_scaramanga » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:02 pm

11111010001 wrote:Your labor costs and possibly disposal should be the big bill in that quote.

Did the carpenter give you an estimate broken down by category?

Removing tile is no fun, especially if it's solid, thick and put down on a proper mortar bed. Perhaps if you did the demo, you'd save some serious $.

I've seen quotes from 5-10 a square foot for installation only on a clean floor. Materials extra on top of that.

You may also be getting a premium markup for such a small job?

Edit: you can get a comparison quote from HD or Lowes as well to serve as a second opinion pretty quickly.
I just looked at the quote again. It says "Tile and grout supplied by home owner. Wow, it seems that the $2000 is mostly all labor (well some of it is plywood.)

BTW, I tried to break out the tile myself. I used a cold chisel and a big hammer. It was brutal - only little pieces were coming up I tired myself out - and all I got out was one tile. I gave up after that.

My Home Depot rents demolition hammers for $80 /day. I was thinking about maybe trying that, but I am a little concerned. As I was breaking the tile with a hammer, little chips of tile were coming up and hitting me in the face. With a demolition hammer, I'm worried something worse would happen to me.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by nordlead » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:05 pm

A cheap tile for a 3'x5' area will cost you a grand total of $15. A 4x8 section of plywood and a single piece of 3'x5' 1/4" backerboard will cost you under $50 (tile shouldn't be directly on plywood unless you don't mind if it breaks up, there are other solutions besides backerboard but I'm not familiar with them). Grout and other required materials shouldn't cost too much. I'd say you can do the job yourself for ~$150 + tool rental/purchase (under $100).

So, the real question is, is the labor/disposal worth ~$1750 to tear out and replace the tile? By my estimate I'd learn to do it to save the cost. But, you are paying a premium for him to take two trips, possibly make more cuts per sqft (small job), and not a very long job (more overhead costs compared to actual labor done).

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mr_scaramanga » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:10 pm

mxs wrote:Sounds high to me also...

Any chance you could do it yourself, and do you have time to not use that bathroom for a while?

The plywood would cost something like $20 at most depending on thickness/type. Then you probably have an underlayment layer or two, mortar/grout, and the tile. I would say you would be out $200-$300 at most for materials plus minimal tools you would need to buy. The pipe may also be able to be done by you depending on what section of the pipe is burst and if you can simply remove a section. Otherwise you would probably have to sawzall out the section and put in a new section with a good connection. Plumbing cost would probably be $200 or less including materials and tools.

I would consider doing it yourself, asking a knowledgeable friend, or at the very least get a second quote. BTW, at the very least you may be able to save yourself some money by doing some of the demo yourself so you don't have to pay the plumber to do it.
Well, honestly, I wouldn't be comfortable doing all parts of the job. I've never sweated copper pipe. Since it is going to be under the floor, I would probably feel most comfortable if I had the plumber do that. I have not installed tile either.

I do feel comfortable, however, removing the toilet and sink. I tried breaking out the old tile by hand, however. It was brutal. If I can get a power tool that makes it easier, I could probably do it. I could also most likely buy and cut new plywood.

There is an additional problem, however. I have a family member who is partially handicapped. Getting them up to the upstairs bathroom is a real ordeal (we have a stairlift for this purpose.) So, I need to minimize 1st floor bathroom downtime.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by Aptenodytes » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:16 pm

Price per square foot will go up as the size of the floor goes down. If all there were to it was placing a bunch of tiles down, there'd be nothing to it. But you have to cut to fit around corners and toilet bowls, and to evenly match the width and length.

I had a 10-8 floor and a shower wall put in for $1200 labor. So I suspect you can do better if you look around.

If you want to minimize cost do all the demo yourself and put in the subfloor yourself. Just leave the work that requires skill, and then bring in a few guys to give you estimates.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mr_scaramanga » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:19 pm

Aptenodytes wrote:Price per square foot will go up as the size of the floor goes down. If all there were to it was placing a bunch of tiles down, there'd be nothing to it. But you have to cut to fit around corners and toilet bowls, and to evenly match the width and length.

I had a 10-8 floor and a shower wall put in for $1200 labor. So I suspect you can do better if you look around.

If you want to minimize cost do all the demo yourself and put in the subfloor yourself. Just leave the work that requires skill, and then bring in a few guys to give you estimates.
Wow, do you mean a 10' X 8' floor? And a shower wall - all tiled?

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by nordlead » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:21 pm

If you are going to do the demo work only, I'd suggest doing a google search for how to remove tile. My understanding is that bashing them to tiny bits isn't the easiest solution. Also, wear proper safety gear like goggles, gloves, shoes, long shirt, and long heavy jeans!!

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by jimbowman » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:22 pm

If you want to remove the tile yourself I would recommend buying or renting a used rotary hammer drill with a chisel bit. We have a Dewalt simiary to this one. It's a great multipurpose tool. You can either select it to drill and hammer or just hammer so you have a little jack hammer in your hands.

Obviously try and see if you can chisel up the entire piece of tile first before smashing it into bits first though.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DeWalt-DW567-1- ... 35e86a4694
Last edited by jimbowman on Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by NateH » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:26 pm

Sounds like the plumber just wants someone else to do the demolition and re-lay subfloor. These are not difficult, but they are very physical jobs.

A couple of eager teenagers could do demo for few hundred bucks if you got a small dumpster and rented the demo hammer.
A handy-man service would be cheaper than a carpenter. A carpenter is overkill to lay plywood subfloor.
4X top-twenty S&P 500 prognosticator. I'd start a newsletter, but it would only have one issue per year.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by Aptenodytes » Wed Apr 15, 2015 12:33 pm

mr_scaramanga wrote:
Aptenodytes wrote:Price per square foot will go up as the size of the floor goes down. If all there were to it was placing a bunch of tiles down, there'd be nothing to it. But you have to cut to fit around corners and toilet bowls, and to evenly match the width and length.

I had a 10-8 floor and a shower wall put in for $1200 labor. So I suspect you can do better if you look around.

If you want to minimize cost do all the demo yourself and put in the subfloor yourself. Just leave the work that requires skill, and then bring in a few guys to give you estimates.
Wow, do you mean a 10' X 8' floor? And a shower wall - all tiled?
Yeah, I did almost all the prep work and provided all the materials. He touched up the subfloor to level and reinforce it, but did not replace it. I had the plumbing and cement-board installed in the shower.

There are very skilled people out there who do good work for reasonable rates, if you can find them. In this case I got lucky.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by Kosmo » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:34 pm

Do it yourself.

Make sure you remove all the baseboard trim first, try not to break them so you can use them again. Pry up the tiles rather than breaking them. Only do the tiles at the wall, then cut the plywood floor out. Get a friend and lift up the tile and plywood as one piece to get it out (it will be very heavy). If you can break it up so it fits in a trash can, you can put these materials out for the trash collector. Rent a wet saw to cut the tile. Mortar the tile to backerboard instead of directly to the plywood. You're talking maybe $300 in materials and tool rental, and that's on the high side. This is probably 4 hrs for demo, another 4 to lay the tile, another 2 for the grout, and maybe 1 for the baseboard trim (not all in the same day). So plan on double that if you've never done it before.

Another tip: Double nut the johnny bolts before putting the toilet back on. Single nuts tend to wiggle loose and this will make removing the toilet in the future much easier.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by flossy21 » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:35 pm

mr_scaramanga wrote:Well, honestly, I wouldn't be comfortable doing all parts of the job. I've never sweated copper pipe. Since it is going to be under the floor, I would probably feel most comfortable if I had the plumber do that. I have not installed tile either.
There is an alternative to sweating copper pipe. This stuff attaches copper to plastic or copper to copper and is a press in by hand type of fit.

http://www.sharkbite.com/product-category/push-fit/

check out some youtube vids to see how it works. I did some simple work in a laundry room with this and it worked surprisingly well. If you can put together a puzzle you can do the plumbing with this stuff.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mr_scaramanga » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:43 pm

flossy21 wrote:
mr_scaramanga wrote:Well, honestly, I wouldn't be comfortable doing all parts of the job. I've never sweated copper pipe. Since it is going to be under the floor, I would probably feel most comfortable if I had the plumber do that. I have not installed tile either.
There is an alternative to sweating copper pipe. This stuff attaches copper to plastic or copper to copper and is a press in by hand type of fit.

http://www.sharkbite.com/product-category/push-fit/

check out some youtube vids to see how it works. I did some simple work in a laundry room with this and it worked surprisingly well. If you can put together a puzzle you can do the plumbing with this stuff.
Yeah. I saw that in Home Depot. I may try that in an area that is accessible, but for an under the floor, inaccessible area, I think I would want the most permanent method of joining pipes - sweating. Too risky to have a press fit.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:46 pm

Demo the floor yourself, then have the plumber fix the pipes, then do the floor yourself. Tiling really isnt that hard.

I had one of my solder joints leak after about 3 or 4 hours of sitting under pressure. No damage done because I was watching it closely and I just had to redo that joint. Learning how to sweat a copper pipe joint isn't very hard and you can buy some pieces to practice on. My problem was getting it too hot, like most videos online showed. I had much better results by heating the whole area for a few seconds, then applying heat to the fitting and holding the solder to the joint until it started melting in.

I would irrationally not trust any fitting held in place by friction in an inaccessible place, but that's just me.

As for cutting tile, start with a new tile saw blade and you'll be good for that size of an installation. If the saw starts tracking off then its time for a new blade or you can try "dressing" the old one. Dressing didn't work for me though.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mr_scaramanga » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:47 pm

Kosmo wrote:Do it yourself.

Make sure you remove all the baseboard trim first, try not to break them so you can use them again. Pry up the tiles rather than breaking them. Only do the tiles at the wall, then cut the plywood floor out. Get a friend and lift up the tile and plywood as one piece to get it out (it will be very heavy). If you can break it up so it fits in a trash can, you can put these materials out for the trash collector. Rent a wet saw to cut the tile. Mortar the tile to backerboard instead of directly to the plywood. You're talking maybe $300 in materials and tool rental, and that's on the high side. This is probably 4 hrs for demo, another 4 to lay the tile, another 2 for the grout, and maybe 1 for the baseboard trim (not all in the same day). So plan on double that if you've never done it before.

Another tip: Double nut the johnny bolts before putting the toilet back on. Single nuts tend to wiggle loose and this will make removing the toilet in the future much easier.
I thought of trying to take the plywood out in one piece, but wouldn't the plywood be nailed to the floor joists all across? So, if I cut it out at the edges, wouldn't it still be nailed in places in the middle of the floor?

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by adamthesmythe » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:53 pm

> little chips of tile were coming up and hitting me in the face. With a demolition hammer, I'm worried something worse would happen to me.

A little reminder to EVERYONE to wear eye protection when using tools!!

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by nordlead » Wed Apr 15, 2015 1:58 pm

mr_scaramanga wrote:I thought of trying to take the plywood out in one piece, but wouldn't the plywood be nailed to the floor joists all across? So, if I cut it out at the edges, wouldn't it still be nailed in places in the middle of the floor?
A large lever (like a spade) should pull them out fairly easily.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by Kosmo » Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:00 pm

mr_scaramanga wrote: I thought of trying to take the plywood out in one piece, but wouldn't the plywood be nailed to the floor joists all across? So, if I cut it out at the edges, wouldn't it still be nailed in places in the middle of the floor?
Prybar/crowbar. Although if you can get a good grip on the plywood, you can probably pull it up by hand. Had to do this in my kitchen and hallway, I was able to pull up whole sections larger than your bathroom.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mr_scaramanga » Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:03 pm

adamthesmythe wrote:> little chips of tile were coming up and hitting me in the face. With a demolition hammer, I'm worried something worse would happen to me.

A little reminder to EVERYONE to wear eye protection when using tools!!
Oh, I wore eye protection and gloves, it just that much of my face was exposed. I was worried little pieces of tile were going to cut my face. Maybe I should get a welder's mask before attempting this.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by sls239 » Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:26 pm

Get an estimate from a flooring place on how much they would charge to demo the floor. They've got the equipment and the experience to do it the quickest.

Skilled professionals charge more for things they don't like doing or don't do very often.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mxs » Wed Apr 15, 2015 2:31 pm

If you know what size of plywood you need when you buy it, Lowe's/Home Depot have a cutting station in store and will cut it for you for free. Makes hauling it a lot easier.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by Easy Rhino » Wed Apr 15, 2015 4:44 pm

Are you going to be replacing it with 'traditional' tile, i.e. stone or porcelain on a mortar bed? Might get a quote from tilers instead of carpenters. The tile portion sounds more demanding than replacing the plywood.

Also, if the flooding was extensive, there may be rot or mold, so you might find surprises when you take off the plywood.

We're going through a re-tiling of a shower. when we opened it up to replace the drain we realized that a joist has to be reinforced. Not because it was damaged but just because the previous renovater had cut it all to heck to run pipes through.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by dolphinsaremammals » Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:13 pm

nordlead wrote:Also, wear proper safety gear like goggles, gloves, shoes, long shirt, and long heavy jeans!!
Yes, really, you were having bits hit you in the face?

I would get another estimate.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by derosa » Wed Apr 15, 2015 5:30 pm

Maybe the guy doesn't want to do the job? So he prices it so that he won't get the work. Hmmm...wouldn't be the first time someone didn't want the work but didn't want to say no - to either his friend the plumber or the client.

Minimum of two trips. Thats at least $100 - $200 a trip just for the guy to park in your driveway. No work done yet. If you live out in the country a trip charge would be more.

Old house - who knows what is under the floor? Who knows what the floor is? Who knows how it was built? HUGE unknowns and you want a fixed price - the guy has to go high doesn't he?

Just take the plywood up and cut a similar size piece and nail it down? Who knows where the joists are? Might require putting in some nailing blocks or other new pieces of joists? Where are the joists in relation to the wall itself?

What will be required to make the floor fit with the existing wall and baseboard without removing or damaging it?

Not saying the price is good or bad but there are comments on this board that are making a lot of assumptions about what is underneath that floor.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by ralph124cf » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:23 pm

Easy Rhino wrote:Are you going to be replacing it with 'traditional' tile, i.e. stone or porcelain on a mortar bed? Might get a quote from tilers instead of carpenters. The tile portion sounds more demanding than replacing the plywood.

Also, if the flooding was extensive, there may be rot or mold, so you might find surprises when you take off the plywood.

We're going through a re-tiling of a shower. when we opened it up to replace the drain we realized that a joist has to be reinforced. Not because it was damaged but just because the previous renovater had cut it all to heck to run pipes through.
Since this is an old house, you may very well have unknown issues with the joists under the plywood. I would hire a good, well recommended local handyman for the demo, and then get a careful assessment to the exposed joists and any now exposed plumbing. Your plumber may find other problems that are worth fixing while the floor is open.

Ralph

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by Dolphin1 » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:28 pm

I would recommend getting 2 more quotes, if possible. Then you can see if this one is within reasonable range. Make sure the quotes are including the same things as each other.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mxs » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:29 pm

About the quote you received and what derosa said about the guy maybe not wanting the job...

I got a quote for my garage to get roofed and was shocked by the amount. I called 2 other roofing companies to get quotes and one quoted me half the price of the first company, and the third company never got me a quote. I don't know if the first company charges way too much or maybe they just didn't want the job that bad, but I went with the half price quote and am glad I did. The quotes were for the same materials (architectural shingles, etc). Unless you have prior knowledge in the field or personally know the person well, I would say it is always a good idea to get at least 2 quotes.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by camper » Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:44 pm

Careful with the recommendations of doing the tile work yourself. You don't place tile on plywood. Plywood expands and contracts too much for tile to be placed directly on top of it. Unless you want cracked grout lines and possible cracked tile. You would need a cement backer board over the plywood. I would get a few more estimates.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mr_scaramanga » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:51 pm

derosa wrote:Maybe the guy doesn't want to do the job? So he prices it so that he won't get the work. Hmmm...wouldn't be the first time someone didn't want the work but didn't want to say no - to either his friend the plumber or the client.

Minimum of two trips. Thats at least $100 - $200 a trip just for the guy to park in your driveway. No work done yet. If you live out in the country a trip charge would be more.

Old house - who knows what is under the floor? Who knows what the floor is? Who knows how it was built? HUGE unknowns and you want a fixed price - the guy has to go high doesn't he?

Just take the plywood up and cut a similar size piece and nail it down? Who knows where the joists are? Might require putting in some nailing blocks or other new pieces of joists? Where are the joists in relation to the wall itself?

What will be required to make the floor fit with the existing wall and baseboard without removing or damaging it?

Not saying the price is good or bad but there are comments on this board that are making a lot of assumptions about what is underneath that floor.
It may well be the case that he doesn't want the job. The travel time for him is not excessive, though - he lives maybe 5 miles from my home.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by carolinaman » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:01 am

I am not expert on this type of demo but if your are replacing the sub floor too, it seems a much better approach is to remove the sub floor and tiles all together. Why chisel the tiles out when you are going to remove sub floor anyway? You can use a sawzall to cut out sections and use crowbar to pry off of joists. Just be sure you do not cut the joists. Based upon your earlier replies, you are probably not comfortable doing this but getting the floor up should not be that difficult for a pro.

I agree with others that you should get more quotes and ask them how they are going to do the demo and installation.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by edge » Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:56 am

I think there was an earlier comment on not putting tile on plywood. Putting tile on plywood is OK as long as it is secured tightly and you use a thinset which is specifically for over-plywood installation. This is needed sometimes if you want to avoid having step ups/downs where the cement fiberboard would make the threshold uneven.

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lthenderson
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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by lthenderson » Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:33 am

I don't think $2000 is being unreasonable. He has to come out to demo everything and then wait for the plumbing to get done. Another day for putting down the cement backer board and waiting for the adhesive to set up. Another day for tiling and waiting for that to set up. Another day for grout and waiting for that to set up. Finally a day to put back trim, etc. That is five partial days of labor and back and forth driving.

That said, I gutted my 4 x 8 bathroom and spent about $1500 in materials putting it all back including floor to ceiling tiled walk in shower with $500 worth of shower fixtures, a custom built vanity, etc. But I put in about three months of labor doing it all myself.

I never sweated copper pipes until I bought this house but it was extremely easy to learn. Watch a few videos online, get yourself a propane torch and some solder from the store and give it a try. The key is to make sure there is absolutely no water in the joint you are doing which in your case since it is vertical to the toilet, shouldn't be an issue. If you have a horizontal joint where getting all the residual water out is hard, I shove a chunk of wonderbread into the pipe to absorb the water and then solder it. Works like a charm and the bread disolves int he pipe.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mr_scaramanga » Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:21 am

OP back. I took a lot of the suggestions here and had two more estimates done. One contractor gave me an estimate of $1700 for the floor demo and replacement and re-tiling. However, that price did not anticipate any damage beneath the plywood sub-floor. If floor joists had to replaced, it would cost extra. This contractor said he wouldn't know the full extent of the job until the floor was torn out.

I just had another contractor look at it today and he offered me a different pricing model. He said that given the unknowns, he would be willing to offer an hourly labor rate of $40.00/hour. Materials would be extra. This sounds appealing to me, but I'm wondering about the downsides? If someone is being paid by the hour, would this not give them an incentive to slow down and make the job take longer than it should? I will be around to keep an eye on them, but their speed will greatly depend on the type of tools they bring. For example, if they hammer the old tile out by hand instead of using a demolition hammer drill won't this make an enormous difference in terms of labor time? Of course, I don't know what tools they will bring.

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wageoghe
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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by wageoghe » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:42 pm

Well, the first new estimate of $1700 is very near the original estimate of $2000 so maybe that lends some credence to the original bid?

About the second new estimate of $40/hr... If you are trying to save money, it isn't obvious that this will necessarily be a money saving option. For ease of calculation, assume that your job requires $400 in materials. Compared to the original estimate, this leaves room for about 40 hours of work. Compared to the second estimate, this leaves room for about 30 hours of work. Is it obvious to you that the job can be done in 30-40 hours? If so, the second new estimate will probably cost about the same as the two fixed price contracts (hidden damage notwithstanding). If you think the job can be done in less than 30 hours, then the second new estimate might save you some money.

All in all, it seems like the job is going to cost you a similar amount, regardless of which contractor does the work. If it were me, I would just pick the guy that I thought could do the best job.

There are a lot of posts earlier in the thread suggesting that you do it yourself. For a pittance in material cost, you can get the satisfaction of completing a home project with your own sweat equity. They make it sound pretty easy (and fun!). I haven't done any tilework, although I've seen plenty of it on tv. It certainly looks pretty straightforward. I've also seen plenty of tilework done by professionals and DIYers. Some professional tilework looks awful and some DIY tilework looks great, but I think the opposite is usually the case. Unless you are really into non-trivial home projects or want to get into them, go with a good pro. If you've done home projects like this before, or if you really want to do some of your own work on your home in the future, this might be a good project to start with. Otherwise, don't expect to be happy with your first (and maybe only) tile job.

Good luck!

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by hicabob » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:46 pm

wageoghe wrote: There are a lot of posts earlier in the thread suggesting that you do it yourself. For a pittance in material cost, you can get the satisfaction of completing a home project with your own sweat equity. They make it sound pretty easy (and fun!). I haven't done any tilework, although I've seen plenty of it on tv. It certainly looks pretty straightforward. I've also seen plenty of tilework done by professionals and DIYers. Some professional tilework looks awful and some DIY tilework looks great, but I think the opposite is usually the case. Unless you are really into non-trivial home projects or want to get into them, go with a good pro. If you've done home projects like this before, or if you really want to do some of your own work on your home in the future, this might be a good project to start with. Otherwise, don't expect to be happy with your first (and maybe only) tile job.

Good luck!

As a handy-person but very amateur at tile I've found horizontal floor tile on wonderboard easy and quite enjoyable (you will need a wet saw). Vertical tile is more difficult and should probably be attempted only after getting decent at horizontal.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mr_scaramanga » Thu Apr 23, 2015 12:52 pm

wageoghe wrote:Well, the first new estimate of $1700 is very near the original estimate of $2000 so maybe that lends some credence to the original bid?

About the second new estimate of $40/hr... If you are trying to save money, it isn't obvious that this will necessarily be a money saving option. For ease of calculation, assume that your job requires $400 in materials. Compared to the original estimate, this leaves room for about 40 hours of work. Compared to the second estimate, this leaves room for about 30 hours of work. Is it obvious to you that the job can be done in 30-40 hours? If so, the second new estimate will probably cost about the same as the two fixed price contracts (hidden damage notwithstanding). If you think the job can be done in less than 30 hours, then the second new estimate might save you some money.

All in all, it seems like the job is going to cost you a similar amount, regardless of which contractor does the work. If it were me, I would just pick the guy that I thought could do the best job.

There are a lot of posts earlier in the thread suggesting that you do it yourself. For a pittance in material cost, you can get the satisfaction of completing a home project with your own sweat equity. They make it sound pretty easy (and fun!). I haven't done any tilework, although I've seen plenty of it on tv. It certainly looks pretty straightforward. I've also seen plenty of tilework done by professionals and DIYers. Some professional tilework looks awful and some DIY tilework looks great, but I think the opposite is usually the case. Unless you are really into non-trivial home projects or want to get into them, go with a good pro. If you've done home projects like this before, or if you really want to do some of your own work on your home in the future, this might be a good project to start with. Otherwise, don't expect to be happy with your first (and maybe only) tile job.

Good luck!
I understand what you are saying. Unfortunately, all I have is Angie's list to guide me on who is the best and I'm really sure if I can trust those reviews. In terms of total hours work, I do have some gauge on that from the first estimate (the $2000 one.) That contractor told me the entire job would talk 3 days. One day to demo the the old floor, do wood repair work (this estimate included all necessary wood repair), and cut and lay a new piece of plywood. This contractor would them come back and lay the tile. Then he would come back for one more day and grout. That sounds like less than 30 hours - but if I pay by the hour, I think I pay for the worker's travel time?

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:20 pm

How about just doing the grout yourself to save the guy a day off his labor? Grout is really easy.

ddurrett896
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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by ddurrett896 » Thu Apr 23, 2015 1:45 pm

15 sqft is a walk in the park...DIY!

-Really good porcelain tile is $5/sqft - you looking at less than $100 in tile
- 1 bag of grout $40
- 1 bag of thinset $17
- Trowel/float/spondegs/buckets/mixes/Spacers $50
- Small tile saw $80
- 1 piece of hardi backer (3x5) $10
- Hardi backer screws $10

Your looking at around $200 in material and you end up with a saw for future projects. Tile is EASY - If you pay someone, DON'T WATCH THEM WORK! You will end up kicking yourself you paying someone all that $$.

westie
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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by westie » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:32 pm

I'd just pay the guy you felt most comfortable with. I'd be mindful of the terms of this contract, never get behind.

Being an old house, not familiar with framing, plumbing, perhaps renting or buying a tile saw, etc., etc. would be my rational.

ponyboy
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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by ponyboy » Thu Apr 23, 2015 3:23 pm

So in other words...you can DIY, screw it up 8 times, on the 9 try do it properly...and still come in under $2000. Huh...I wonder which route I would go??

mhalley
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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by mhalley » Thu Apr 23, 2015 4:40 pm

Another option would be a combination. Do the subfloor yourself, and have a professional do the tile. The tile is the most difficult part (if you don't count the possiblity of falling through the floor) :|
Mike

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by ohiost90 » Fri Apr 24, 2015 7:45 am

My two cents from someone that has taken 3 bathrooms down to the studs and floor joists then refinished. Yes, 2k for this job is a lot in my opinion. But as other posters stated, not much difference in time for 3x5 and one 10 x 20. Once the prep is done, laying the actual tile goes rather quick.


-- Take off floor base molding. If you don't want to replace, you can usually get off w/o ruining.

-- Use a chisel to take up the tile and mini sledge. Once one has been broken / removed, switch an angle with the chisel to a 45 degree angle to the bottom on the next tile. Once the 1st one is out, the rest should be easier.

-- you don't need to take the entire subfloor out. Use a skill saw(hand held circular saw) to cut only the amount of floor you need to repair pipe. Remember to cut enough for the new pieces edges to hit a joist on two sides.

-- I would take out cabinets and toilet as well, and anything else on the floor.

-- Use sharkbites as previous link to do the repair.

-- repair subfloor and retile. Use 1' x 1' or bigger tile. Usually easier with bigger tile. you can screw up a lot of tile and still save a bundle. Youtube and google is your friend on how to tile, how to prep subfloor, etc.

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by SimonJester » Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:47 am

I would try and do this yourself, at least the demo part. As the previous person said you do not need to demo the entire bathroom sub floor, only the area in order to gain access to the leak. This probably means pulling the vanity which is not hard to do. You probably do not have tile under the vanity so once its out of the way you can use that as your starter area to pop up the tiles.

You dont want to smash the tiles you want to pop them up from their grout / thin set. There are tools designed to help with this ie electric chisel.

I would NOT use a sharkbite connection for something going under the floor, hire the plumber to soldier the connection.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by ralph124cf » Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:09 pm

I generally like to hire skilled workers on a time and materials basis. Whenever you get a firm bid, you have a hard time determining if what you wanted is what the worker understood you to want. There is always room for misunderstanding, or "but that wasn't included in the bid".

Most tradesmen enjoy doing good work, but when they give a fixed price bid will inevitably rush. You will probably get a better job done if you hire the time and materials guy, and it may be cheaper because he will not be taking any risks on unknown issues under the floor.

Ralph

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OAG
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Re: How much should a small tile floor (3' X 5') cost? $2000

Post by OAG » Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:08 pm

nordlead wrote:A cheap tile for a 3'x5' area will cost you a grand total of $15. A 4x8 section of plywood and a single piece of 3'x5' 1/4" backerboard will cost you under $50 (tile shouldn't be directly on plywood unless you don't mind if it breaks up, there are other solutions besides backerboard but I'm not familiar with them). Grout and other required materials shouldn't cost too much. I'd say you can do the job yourself for ~$150 + tool rental/purchase (under $100).

So, the real question is, is the labor/disposal worth ~$1750 to tear out and replace the tile? By my estimate I'd learn to do it to save the cost. But, you are paying a premium for him to take two trips, possibly make more cuts per sqft (small job), and not a very long job (more overhead costs compared to actual labor done).
Rent a "Sawzall" from HD and cut/pry the floor out (plywood tile and all as a unit) - eliminates some of the mess of chipping tiles out individually. No way this is a $2K job.
OAG=Old Army Guy. Retired CW4 USA (US Army) in 1979.

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