Flooring installers and tile and stone setters typically do the following:
Flooring installers and tile and stone setters lay the materials that improve the look and feel of homes, offices, restaurants, and other buildings. Many of these workers install materials on floors. However, they also work on walls, ceilings, countertops, and showers.
Installing floors and tiles requires a smooth, even base of mortar or plywood. Flooring installers and tile and stone setters or other construction craftworkers lay this base. On remodeling jobs, workers may need to remove old flooring and smooth the surface before laying the base.
The following are examples of types of flooring installers and tile and stone setters:
Carpet installers lay carpet on new floors or over existing flooring. They use special tools, including “knee kickers” to position the carpet and power stretchers to pull the carpet snugly against walls. They also join carpet edges and seam edges by sewing or by using tape with glue and a heated carpet iron.
Carpet tile installers lay modular pieces of carpet that may be glued into place. Installing carpet tiles may be an option where standard carpet is impractical, such as in designing a pattern over an area.
Floor sanders and finishers scrape and smooth wood floors, often using power sanders. They then apply stains and sealants to preserve the wood. (For information on workers who install wood floors, see the profile on carpenters.)
Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles, install a variety of resilient flooring materials. Linoleum installers lay washable flooring material of the same name, cutting the linoleum to size and gluing it into place. Vinyl installers lay plastic-based flooring that includes vinyl ester, vinyl sheeting, and vinyl tile. Installers of laminate, manufactured wood, and wood tile floors are included in this category.
Tile and stone setters install pieces of ceramic, marble, granite, glass, or other materials. Tile installers, sometimes called tile setters, cut tiles using wet saws, tile scribes, or handheld tile cutters. They then use trowels of different sizes to spread mortar or a sticky paste, called mastic, evenly on the work surface before placing the tiles. Tile finishers apply grout between tiles after the tiles are set by using a rubber trowel, called a float, and then wipe the tiles clean after the grout dries. Stone setters may cut marble, granite, or other stone to a specified size with a wet saw. They use special adhesives to fasten the stone to the desired surface; in remodeling projects, they may first need to smooth the underlying surface after removing old materials.
There are typically no formal education requirements for becoming a flooring installer or tile and stone setter, although candidates entering an apprenticeship program may need a high school diploma or equivalent.
Certain high school courses, such as art and math, may be helpful for flooring installers and tile and stone setters.