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The smart way to find your Tradie

Tiles for wet areas - how to choose

The Facts

Your Builder will have a prefered supplier for tiles. Before you go shopping all over town put together a 'wish file' take it to the prefered supplier and see what they can do. Allow a decent amount of time for your tile selection, a couple of hours at least, remember its not just floor tiles you will need to choose. Coordinating of floor and wall tiles, benchtop surfaces and cabinetry for your Bathrooms, Powder Rooms, Kitchen and Laundry plus the main floor if you so choose is all done at the tile shop. Don't forget to take your plans with you (floor and wet area elevations) The tile supplier will fill in a Tile Selection Sheet in triplicate. You will be given a copy, a copy is sent to your Builder and the Tile supplier keeps a copy. A 'take-off' is then done (this is measuring the tiled areas) and an order is placed. The tiles are then held for you at the the tile warehouse until your Site Supervisor calls them to site.


Tiles come in an almost never ending array of shapes and sizes. The standard tile allowed for by most builders is a 200x200 ceramic tile.Modern white bathrom

The area allowed for tiling in the contract are normally

  • wet area floors (not including the kitchen)
  • one row of skirting tiles
  • hob tiles (under the vanity and around the spa/bath)
  • one row at the back of the vanity
  • up to 1800mm high in the shower
  • kitchen splashback

The display home will most likely have tiling that drastically exceeds your allowance. If you want the tiling as per the display home you could be up for anything from a few thousand to tens of thousands.

Border tiles and listello tiles.

The supply and laying of these tiles is NOT normally included in the contract. Border tiles are bought per tile not per square metre, and the tiler will charge for laying each tile or part thereof. This can add up really quickly and it is difficult for the builder to price with total accuracy until the job is finished.

Charges associated with labour

You will be charged extra if you choose any of the following items

  • Non standard sizes tile – bigger =more cutting, or smaller =more labour
  • Non ceramic tile- vitrified or stone are labour intensive due to their hard brittle nature
  • Rubberised glue required
  • Border tile
  • Listello tile
  • Extra height tiling, (return trip for cornices)

Helpful Hints

If you want border tiles but have a small budget try buying a 200x200 tile with a border already on it. This way you don’t get charged any extra.

If you are going full height with your tiling your builder need to know as different cornices are installed

Be clear on what is allowed in your building contract, tiling can blow your budget really easily, choose carefully and check your adenda for your tiling allowance, and your plans for what areas are tiled

Your Builder should leave a few spare tiles on site for you. These can be used if you need extras to replace damaged tiles in the future.

If you are planning to have something other than laminate on your benchtops make sure you take sample pieces with you to the tile shop. Not all tile shops have all types of solid surfaces on display.

Related Topics

Types of Tiles


Shower screen




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