What's a reasonable labor cost, or range, for installing a tile backsplash (say, in a relatively high-cost part of the country)?
Sorry for all the basic questions -- the more I read, the more confused I get about this.
I'm paying my tile guy $20/hour cash, but he has been working on my house (new construction) for a while, so it's a big job. For a small job like "just" a backsplash, I would expect it to be more.
Thanks, Leilani. I got one estimate today for a flat rate. Ours is a simple job -- just an L-shaped kitchen area with two windows. He proposed around $600 for the splash and $300 for dealing with the windows (there is trim around them that needs to be removed, and then we need to figure out what to do with them so it looks nice). Does that seem reasonable? (Cost of materials of course would be additional to that.)
We got two quotes of 800.00 for approx 60 sf of backsplash in our kitchen. Which we felt was is two high, so we're going to save the money and do it ourselves.
We just paid $13/sq ft and ours was on the diagonal so lots of cutting.
Also some (all?) places have a minimum to come out to do work, usually a half day or a full day. So, depending on the size of your backsplash, it may be a good time to consider other tile work to combine jobs.
lukkiirish-- The price you were given was just over 13.00 a foot. That's actually a terrific price for a backsplash. I'm not in a very wealthy area, and my prices start at 15.00 a foot for something basic, and it's not out of the ordinary for the price to reach as much as 30.00 a foot for something more intricate, in one case, going as much as 50.00 a foot because of granite inlays that took quite a bit of time.
Harriet-- it would depend on what the footage is, what pattern you're going to use, and what material you're going to use (ceramic, glass, stone?). Not knowing any of this, the price you've been given could be either good OR bad. I don't know what he's talking about messing with the windows-- if it's just a matter of taking off the trim and replacing it afterward, that might be a bit steep, unless it includes all new wood and paint. But 600.00 for a splash would be not much more than the minimum one should expect to pay for ANY backsplash, due to what's called "daily minimums".
Thanks for the feedback Bill that's helpful to know because the guy who quoted it is doing some other tile work for us and now I know he's reasonable. I guess that little 18 inch space between the counter and upper cabs gives an illusion of being small since it is 60 sf. We're DIY'ers on most everything and I really wanted to get my feet wet and try to do it ourselves. For some reason tile intimidates my DH and he wanted to hire out to get it done....until he saw how much we could save. Now he's had a change of heart and I'm excited to give it a try!
There's nothing wrong with giving it a shot. Doing a backsplash, depending on how intricate you want to get, can be the most elementary installation or the most advanced installation you could ever do. Either way, you're right-- you'll save yourself a bundle doing it yourself.
Because of the fact that it's up closer to line of sight, and because of the fact that you have to twist and turn to see what you're doing, and then actually do it, it's very time consuming, and back breaking, and everything has to be just about perfect, or it's seen by everyone. Let me show you a couple of unfinished backsplash pics to show what I mean:
Perfection is everything when it comes to backsplashes, which is why it costs so much.
Bill, thanks. We didn't get into any specifics about material or design. The wall area involved is about 22 square feet. I actually don't know if his off-the-cuff estimate was including materials or not. The windows are a problem because they are very close to the counter and to the cabinets.
Here's the one over the sink (sill 3 1/2 inches above the counter):
And here's the other one (sill 2 1/2 inches above the counter):
The bottom pieces of trim, at least, will need to be removed before the granite is installed. I was thinking of having tile wrap around into the window frames, but not sure how far up that should go (maybe even all the way around each window?).
I just got my first quote of $1250 (labor only) for 40 sq. ft. and I'm waiting on my second quote (DC area). 2" border (1X2 marble), 6" mosaic (mesh) and 6" field tiles, marble. While I don't begrudge anyone(especially a craftsman) their labor, I'm tempted to install it myself and splurge for the master bath!
You wouldn't be the first person to do it. Just out of curiosity, the guy who gave you the 1250.00 quote-- by any chance is it Rob Z?
Bill, amazing scribe and cope around the mouldings, may I ask what is the technique you used to cut around the mouldings? I used to do little cuts and then push sideways and use the blade like a sander, it's bad for the blade I know.. I wouldn't be able to duplicate cuts shown in your pictures though!
Oof Bill, your posts usually make me smile, but the picture of those cuts around the windowsill and apron...sent me running for the tylenol.
My reaction to that picture is: if I'm ever in that situation, I'm either painting, or hiring out the backsplash! either that or I'll have to trade in my beloved tile nippers and curved file for more sophisticated tools.
You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I appreciate the photos ALOT. DH will be cutting and I'll be setting the tiles, I guess one thing in my favor is I'm only 4'11! Ha! On a more serious note though, I hadn't even thought about the cuts for the window sill, can I ask what tool you use to do that? Our layout is simple w/out any fancy design work, using quartzite, 3 rows of mosaic on the bottom, a black pencil edging above that as a separator and then 3.5 x 3.5 inch squares on the diagonal the rest of the way up. We have a four switch/electrical boxes to work around, other than that it's just the window sill that will require a special cut. Any other factors we should take into consideration? Sorry, not trying to hijack but any information I think would be helpful to all the posters in this thread. -- Lukki
may I ask what is the technique you used to cut around the mouldings?
I use the force. :-) Seriously-- for small radial cuts like those, I'll do the same thing you do, grinding with the side of the blade. It's only bad for the blade if you really exert alot of pressure on it. If you just push up against it and let the saw do the work, it doesn't hurt it a bit.
Slateberry-- I DO have more sophisticated tools, but that was all done with a wet saw. I save the big guns:
For stuff like this:
Or more commercially, this:
lukkiirish-- One thing that might make things a whole lot easier for you is if you remove the bottom apron from under the sill, tile and grout the backsplash, and then replace it both with construction adhesive from behind, and if you have a pneumatic nailer, finish nails from on top, and if you don't use (I forget the name of them) those screws with the real small heads, almost like threaded finished nails, after predrilling. Either way, install the apron back over the tile, and it'll make for a nice clean look.
Thanks Bill, we do have the nailer, never thought to remove the sill, great fix, big relief to know we can avoid having to cut around the sill. Ours is just a typical colonial kitchen, no fancy woodwork so the sill was our only concern, (of course after you pointed it out-:c) Wow, I the more I see what can be done with tile, the more I love it. Those are awesome pictures!
Bill, beautiful work, as usual. I can only echo your remarks about using the wet saw. Making the intricate cuts around wood trim is not difficult to do...it just takes time and patience. You'll make several trips to the saw to get the cuts "just right." That's OK though...this ain't a race, eh?
That's OK though...this ain't a race, eh?
I don't know about that, in a manner of speaking. :-) Between Jack Hamilton and Trask, they've done a pretty good job of raising the bar!
Bill, the birds set in the tile are beautiful! Where did you install those?
Bill, humm... you really need to spend a few weeks in our area. :) We can keep you busy.. my bathroom is waiting for you . (and no gardenweb, Bill is not soliciting business... this is purely my request).
The guy we used had a minimum charge and added for liners or inserts. We had a liner -- actually 3 pieces stacked as one liner. I think we paid him $600 or $650 for about 36 sq ft. and 17-18 linear ft of liners. Mine is all straight work except for cutting around the pipe for the potfiller.
yandj-- They were for sample boards of my own. They're going to be shown at a booth for a contractor I do alot of work for in a home show next weekend in Portland, Maine at the Cumberland County Civic Center. I've also got two more-- one another loon without the baby hitchiking, and then one of a salmon:
I've also got templates to do a couple of different dogs ( a Dobe, Lab, and a German Shepard), as well as a duck landing, and a few others. I'm looking for someone who can give me a real good silhouette template of a stag head and moose, as well as a collie. The smaller silhouettes would make great centerpieces for entry mats, as well as for shower designs, and the larger ones would do great as floor designs on their own.
Wow - they're beautiful!! Have you considered a golden retriever? :-) I can't provide you with a stag head, moose or collie, but I have a golden retriever.
Actually I have. Goldens are one of my two favorite breeds (the other being shepards). The templates I've gotten so far were created and cut out for me by a local artist and her husband. Each one cost me almost 100.00, and I figured I already had the one of the Lab. Oh yeah-- I've got one other that I made myself a long time ago. I drew it out, made the template, and then cut in the floor myself, and this was before I bought the diamond band saw. The following picture was done completely with a normal wet saw and 4 1/2" dry grinder:
Not Rob Z, IB Tile in Fairfax (who have an amazing portfolio online). Waiting on a quote from Tommy. BTW, if you have any recommendations, I'll take them! Hubby isn't too keen on my install since I make him help me feed my creativity. I'll second the rec to have you come closer. Think of the summer vacations you could enjoy between work details ...
Bill, the eagle looks fabulous!! You have a wonderful attention to detail - I like the colors you used.
rowen_realtor-- shoot me an email, and I'll give you Rob's contact info. He's as good as they get. :-)
yandj-- That job was one of a kind. At the time, I was working on payroll for one of the biggest showrooms in the area, doing most of their custom and high end work. This gentleman was shown some of the previous projects I'd completed for them, and wanted me to design some things for him, all with a native american "flavor". The showroom sent me up to this guy's house with about 3 times the tile I needed in several different colors, and basically gave me free reign. Told me to talk it over with the homeowner and put together some nice design work. That eagle, you'd think would be in the front entry. no no no no no! That was at the foot of his bed:
His kitchen floor is also the very first quilt design I did:
This mat was also OOAK, and has a very definite NA feel:
As well as this transition from one tile to another:
This house was alot of fun to do. It basically gave me a chance to play with a theme and see what happened. Not everything I wanted to do came out. In the middle of that mat, I wanted to do a wolf's head silhouette, but just couldn't make one that didn't look like a cross between Lassie and Gentle Ben! LOL
Keep showing off Bill - you really need to put your show on the road... my bathroom is waiting! It is small... simple but we want it to last our lifetime and no one does tile like you. :) That is just impressive!
Thanks for the tool tips and THANKS for the eye candy!
You're very welcome. :-)
Ask anybody here-- I'm a showoff from way back. :-)
$20 per square foot: includes: sealing stone and installing durrock board: labor only (usually give a discount because they are buying granite countertop) *natural stone installed: 4x4 tumbeld travertine/marble