Christopher is a Tile Finisher. He helps Tile Setters apply hard tile and marble to walls, floors, and other surfaces. Christopher tells us what he does on a day to day basis and what he wished he knew before starting his career.
Tile installers, tilesetters, and marble setters install materials on a variety of surfaces, such as floors, walls, ceilings, countertops, patios, and roof decks. Because tile and marble must be set on smooth, even surfaces, installers often must level the surface to be tiled with a layer of mortar or plywood. If the area to be tiled is unstable, workers must nail a support of metal mesh or tile backer board to create a stable surface.
To cut tiles, workers use power wet saws, tile scribes, or hand-held tile cutters to create even edges. They use trowels of different sizes to spread mortar or a sticky paste, called mastic, evenly on the surface to be tiled. To minimize imperfections and keep rows straight and even, they put spacers between tiles. The spacers keep tiles the same distance from each other until the mortar is dry. After the mortar dries and the tiles are set, they apply grout between tiles using a rubber trowel (called a float).
Marble setters may cut marble to a specified size with a power wet saw. After putting the marble in place, marble setters polish the marble to a high luster, using power or hand sanders.
2-4 year apprenticeships are common.
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