Wall and floor tilers specialise in laying clay, ceramic, marble slate and glass tiles on indoor and outdoor surfaces for both protective and decorative purposes. This trade has seen plenty of growth in recent years and is a suitable occupation for those that enjoy practical tasks with an element of creativity.
Common tasks and responsibilities
Tasks you can expect to encounter as a tiler include:
- Inspecting and interpreting plans
- Laying out work while measuring and marking surfaces
- Preparing work areas on floors and walls by removing old tiles, adhesive and grout; filling gaps, crack and holes; and ensuring all surfaces are clean
- Applying adhesive to tiles and surfaces before positioning tiles
- Making tiles lie flush with corners, edges, pipes and fittings using tile-cutting tools
- Ensuring all tiles are spaced and aligned correctly
- Grouting tiles and cleaning the surface of excess grout once complete
- Waterproofing tiles with specialised products and techniques
When it comes to education and training, a Certificate III or IV is the most common level of qualification obtained by wall and floor tilers in order to build on the knowledge and skills required for success in the industry. Some choose to upskill with additional courses throughout their career, especially when choosing to start their own business.
Courses may include some theoretical components but will usually take a fairly hands-on approach to education. This helps the individual become familiar with the typical working environment while developing the critical thinking and communication skills necessary to thrive in the industry.
What to expect
Like many other tradespeople, wall and floor tilers are required to perform a range of manual tasks, solve problems with a hands-on approach and communicate with customers face-to-face. The working environment will suit those who prefer practical tasks with tangible results over sedentary roles.
Those who can learn quickly on the job, communicate well with others and have a keen eye for detail will be looked upon favourably in this trade. Creative skills can also be valuable when laying decorative or mosaic tiles to achieve highly aesthetic results.
Employment growth and prospects
Data presented by Job Outlook—a government initiative that compiles national statistics— shows that employment growth in the wall and floor tiling industry has risen to more than 68% from 2013 to 2015, with employment levels surging from 14,500 to 24,000 during this period.
While this growth is expected to slow, forecasts suggest the industry is likely to see a modest but steady increase in employment levels with a projected total of just under 27,000 by 2020. Job openings are predicted to remain average when growth and turnover are both taken into account.