Tilesetters cover interior and exterior walls, floors and ceilings with ceramic, marble and quarry tile, mosaics or terrazzo. They are employed by construction companies and masonry contractors, or they may be self-employed.

Main duties 
Tilesetters perform some or all of the following duties: 

  • Prepare, measure and mark surface to be covered
  • Build underbeds and install anchor bolts, wires and brackets
  • Mix, apply and spread mortar, cement, mastic, glue or other adhesives using hand trowel
  • Set tiles in position and apply pressure to affix tiles to base
  • Align and straighten tile using levels, squares and straightedges
  • Cut and fit tiles around obstacles and openings using hand and power cutting tools
  • Pack grout into joints between tiles and remove excess grout
  • Install tile strips
  • Lay and set mosaic tiles to create decorative wall, mural and floor designs
  • Mix, lay and polish terra surfaces
  • Cut, polish and install marble and granite
  • Remove and replace cracked or damaged tiles
  • May prepare cost estimates and orders.

Employment requirements 

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Completion of a three- or four-year apprenticeship program or
  • A combination of over three years of work experience in the trade and some high school, college or industry courses in tilesetting is usually required to be eligible for trade certification.
  • Trade certification is compulsory in Quebec and available, but voluntary, in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

Additional information 

  • In provinces where there is no apprenticeship, this trade is usually learned through several years of on-the-job training.
  • Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.