Wall and floor tilers tile surfaces on jobs ranging from domestic kitchens and bathrooms to industrial premises, swimming pools, shops, hotels and offices. They work with a variety of materials including ceramics, terracotta, stone, granite, marble and adhesives, choosing the most appropriate material to match the proposed use of the area, or working to plans drawn up by the architect or builder.
Tasks include setting out an area to calculate the amount of tiles and adhesives needed; using hand-cutters or machine tools to cut tiles to size and shape; levelling off surfaces with plaster, sand or cement; fixing wall or floor tiles then applying the grout before finishing the area. If the project involves restoration work, tilers may have to repair or remove the previous surface before setting out.
On large projects, tilers work in teams. Most tilers will work on both floors and walls to increase employment opportunities. Some tilers specialise in one or more areas of complex or difficult work, such as mosaics.
Tilers normally work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday, although unsocial hours may be required to meet deadlines for contracts.
Tilers work in a variety of locations, and spend a lot of time bending and kneeling, so the work can be physically demanding. When using adhesives and grouts, personal protective equipment may be required.
A driving licence will be useful, as tilers travel between sites, which can be local or further afield. It may be necessary to work away from home for periods of time, depending on the contract.
To be a tiler you should:
Most tilers work for specialist tiling contractors who provide services to the construction industry, directly to businesses and individual householders. There may be opportunities to work abroad on contract.
With additional training, wall and floor tilers may progress to technician level or become supervisors or contract managers. There may also be options to train as an assessor on tiling training courses. Self-employment is a common option.
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