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Tilesetters  (NOC 7283)
Hamilton--Niagara Peninsula Region
Description |  Titles |  Duties |   Related Occupations
Included Cities in Region | Service Canada Offices

Education and job requirements can vary by region. Workers in regulated occupations require a licence to work legally. Workers in non-regulated occupations do not require a licence, but employers may have other certification requirements.

Employment Requirements

Employment requirements are prerequisites generally needed to enter an occupation.

  • 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 for tilesetters is compulsory in Quebec and available, but voluntary, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.
  • Red Seal endorsement is also available to qualified tilesetters upon successful completion of the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

Regulation by Province/Territory

Some provinces and territories regulate certain professions and trades while others do not. If you have a licence to work in one province, your licence may not be accepted in other provinces or territories. Consult the table below to determine in which province or territory your occupation/trade is regulated.

Table of job opportunities for your chosen occupation at the provincial or territorial level.
Location Regulation
Regulated (compulsory)
British Columbia
Regulated (compulsory)
Regulated (voluntary)
New Brunswick
Regulated (voluntary)
Newfoundland and Labrador
Regulated (voluntary)
Northwest Territories
Regulated (voluntary)
Nova Scotia
Regulated (voluntary)
Regulated (voluntary)
Regulated (voluntary)
Prince Edward Island
Regulated (voluntary)
Regulated (compulsory)
Regulated (voluntary)
Regulated (voluntary)

Education Programs

Programs in the order in which they are most likely to supply graduates to this occupation (Tilesetters):

Essential Skills

How Essential Skills Profiles can help you!
The essential skills profiles can:
  • Help determine, based on skill sets, which career may best suit a particular individual.
  • Assist job seekers to write a résumé or prepare for a job interview.
  • Help employers to create a job posting.

Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.

Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.


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.

  • Read directions on adhesive, grout and mortar labels to learn the most effective way to use the product. (1)
  • May read short notes from co-workers or forepersons to coordinate work activities. (1)
  • read text in a work order to learn about specific client requests, unique work circumstances or other information impacting project completion. (2)
  • May read Tile Council specification guides to review application procedures for certain types of setting compounds or grouts. (2)
  • May read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to locate information about safe handling of a substance. Text may be a paragraph in length and contain technical terms. (2)
  • Read technical training manuals to review procedures not regularly addressed on the job. This might include specifications for swimming pool installations and arc cuts for complex circular layouts. (3)
Document Use
  • Use job specifications to determine if the tiles requested by the client are the same colour as the tiles provided by the supplier. (1)
  • Complete timesheets to provide information to the supervisor about work completed during the shift. They enter the date, job site address, hours worked, and tasks completed. (1)
  • Refer to provincial building codes to remind themselves of specifications such as the maximum length permitted for a control joint. (2)
  • Interpret Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) symbols located on adhesive container labels to learn how to handle the product safely. (2)
  • Read new product specification tables to learn about set times, pressure tolerances, mixing ratios and temperature tolerances. (2)
  • Recognize common angles to complete layout patterns. (2)
  • Read packing slips on boxes of tile to cross reference the quantity, product code, colour and measurements of the package contents with the materials information listed on the work order. (2)
  • May read Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) to learn about a hazardous product and its properties. (2)
  • Interpret sketches and accompanying notations to learn about specific details referred to in a work order. (2)
  • May complete a work statement that includes the work order number, client, job address, materials used, labour time, and GST. Material and projected labour costs are totalled from all component parts listed on the work order, and adjustments made based on actual materials and labour used. (2)
  • May refer to shop costing schedules to locate rates to be charged for activities such as tiling, material delivery, floor preparation, and travel. (2)
  • Interpret shop drawings and floor plans and accompanying notations to make measurements and to identify the areas to be tiled, the type of tile to be used, and the layout pattern to be followed. (3)
  • Read work orders in a tabular format to learn about the tasks to be performed. This includes site information, the materials to be used, the areas to be tiled, the layouts required, the costs of materials ordered, the estimated person hours to complete the job and the project timelines. (3)
  • Complete timesheets to provide information to the supervisor about work completed during the shift. They enter the date, job site address, hours worked, and tasks completed. (1)
  • May write brief memos to co-workers and general contractors to coordinate work activities and provide details about job progress. (1)
  • May keep personal logbooks, noting information such as tasks to be completed, problems which have arisen, directions for reaching a job site, hours worked, and materials which must be ordered. (1)
  • May write a production plan to sequence and schedule tasks. (2)
  • May record in the work order any changes made to the original plan, the reasons for the changes and any recommendations or cautions issued to the client in regard to the changes. If the tilesetter has advised against the revised work plan, a statement that the tilesetter is not responsible for problems resulting from the changes is included. (2)
  • May complete a work statement that includes the work order number, client, job address, materials used, labour time, and GST. They may also need to enter relevant details that had an impact on job costs such as a change in the types of tiles used, a change in layout configuration or increased materials costs. (2)
  • May complete a hazard or near-miss report form to record information about occurrences. This involves writing a paragraph or more and requires some analysis and integration of information. Since these documents could be used in a court of law, clarity, detail and accuracy are important. (3)
Numeracy Money Math
  • May calculate labour costs based on an hourly rate to bill clients for changes to a work plan. (1)
  • Schedule supply pick-ups with suppliers to ensure materials will be on-site when work is to begin. (1)
  • May complete a work statement to provide the shop with the total cost of materials and labour used on a project (plus GST) that should be billed to the client. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Schedule their own daily activities to meet job completion deadlines. They must take into consideration the number of surface areas to be tiled; the kind of setting material being used; the complexity of the layout; and, if working in a commercial setting, the number of people on the crew. (2)
  • Adjust their short term and long term schedules if a surface is not properly prepared when they arrive to begin work. (2)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Use as starting points for layout. (1)
  • Measure the slope of a drain to determine if it corresponds to the slope stipulated in the blueprint. (1)
  • Calculate tile coverage including grout allowances to determine if perimeter tiles must be cut to fit the surface area. (2)
  • Calculate the number of each tile type required, taking into consideration the sizes and shapes of the accent tiles being used, to lay out colour and pattern sequences involving a variety of tile shapes. (3)
  • Measure mark-off points for a curved installation to ensure the curve is even. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the amount of time and number of tilesetters required to complete a job to ensure project timelines are viable. (1)
  • May estimate the cost of the tiles to be used on a job. (2)
  • Estimate the number of tiles, and amount of adhesive and grout required to complete a job to ensure that enough materials are on hand to execute tasks. (2)
  • Estimate how much setting material to mix based on the number of tiles to be laid, the time required to lay the tiles and length of open time (the amount of time before the setting material hardens in the container). (2)
  • May estimate the cost of a tiling job for a prospective client. (3)
Oral Communication
  • Speak with suppliers to verify orders, schedule pick-ups and return unused product. (1)
  • Interact with supervisors to receive directions and assignments. (1)
  • Speak with colleagues and site managers at regularly scheduled health and safety review meetings (called toolbox meetings) to discuss safety issues. (2)
  • May lead a toolbox meeting to identify site safety issues. (2)
  • On large jobs, interact with assistants to organize activities, give directions, and provide instruction. (2)
  • Interact with customers and general contractors to coordinate schedules and arrange access to the work site. (2)
  • Communicate with co-workers and other tradespeople to coordinate work and schedule activities. (2)
  • Discuss with supervisors job-related concerns such as an inadequately prepared surface, supply problems, or scheduling conflicts with other trades. (2)
  • Interact with customers to address their concerns about a project and discuss proposed changes to original plans. (2)
  • May discuss impractical or inadvisable tiling projects with designers and estimators to convince them to alter plans and make layouts more workable. (2)
  • May instruct apprentices how to complete difficult lay-outs and provide on-going feedback as work progresses. (3)
Thinking Problem Solving
  • Often have to work with rooms that are not square. Tilesetters compensate for irregularities by squaring the room using the Pythagoras Theorem and cutting perimeter tiles to fill the gaps. (1)
  • Sometimes are faced with potentially hazardous job conditions, such as a job in an operating gas plant, a job site where there are code violations, or a job where large equipment is moving around. They assess the situation to determine what action should be taken and implement the solution they decide is appropriate. The solution could be to work after operating hours, to report the code violation and wait until it is rectified before commencing work, to call the supervisor to re-schedule the job, or to refuse to undertake the job. (2)
  • Encounter situations where not enough materials have been ordered to complete the job. If the material is in stock, they can have it delivered. If supplies are either unavailable or temporarily out of stock, tilesetters arrange with the client or supervisor to reschedule the job, modify the design to accommodate alternative materials, or re-do the job with materials that are readily available. (2)
  • May discover that grout used is a different shade than grout applied previously. They may opt to do nothing if the two grout batches have not been used close to each other. They may also decide, with input from the client, to dig out the grout from the earlier application and re-grout. (2)
  • Must correctly align tiles with borders or patterns when tiling around corners. This can be challenging if tiles must be cut and walls are not straight. To avoid the problem of pattern misalignment, adjacent corner tiles are cut to ensure pattern continuity. (2)
Decision Making
  • Decide which surface to tile first. (1)
  • Often have to decide how many tilesetters and assistants should be assigned to each area of a large tiling job. They must assess the amount of work to be done, the complexity of the layout, and the number of workers that can be accommodated in each area. (1)
  • Often arrive at a site and find that it has not been properly prepared for tiling. They must determine the amount of additional preparation required, and whether they will assume responsibility for the additional work. (1)
  • Usually work with surface areas which will not accommodate an even number of tiles. Tilesetters decide whether it is possible to adjust grout lines to avoid cutting perimeter tiles. The decision involves considering spacing tolerances, the layout pattern, tile size, and border treatments. (2)
  • Decide which grout width would best complement the tile layout chosen by the client. This decision is often made with the client and involves both practical and aesthetic considerations. (2)
  • Are sometimes asked to perform work under conditions they consider potentially dangerous. They decide whether to take the risk or refuse the job. (3)
Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

For most jobs, tilesetters are given a working drawing or work order to follow. In a commercial job, the tilesetters, with the supervisor, decide upon task sequencing and work priorities. Time management is determined by the project timelines. If more than one tilesetter is on site, they usually decide among themselves their areas of responsibility. The tilesetter's own work plan is dictated by the tilesetting procedure - the steps are well defined and must be completed in an established order. Tilesetters must take into consideration the setting times of the adhesive they are using - setting materials can only be applied for a certain amount of time after mixing, epoxies having the shortest "open time". In a construction setting, tilesetters arrange their work schedules around those of other trades; tilesetters cannot begin their work until most of the other trades have completed their work, and must be finished in time to allow the painters to meet their schedules. In many cases, tilesetters are dependent on other trades to prepare surfaces adequately or they cannot begin work. In a residential setting, tilesetters must organize their work around the schedules of the occupants. (3)

Tilesetters can be called upon to be working forepersons. Working forepersons have additional planning responsibilities such as assigning areas of responsibility to the tilesetters on the job, sequencing tasks and coordinating work with the other tradespeople on site. They also ensure daily production schedules are met. (3)

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember priorities and directives for the day.
  • Remember what safety equipment is required by various worksites if they are working on more than one project at a time.
  • Remember special client instructions not normally associated with a procedure, such as an unusual approach to terrazzo installation, an unusual placement of accent tiles, or an unusual layout pattern.
  • Remember job-specific installation details such as grout colour, layout pattern and special instructions if they are working on several projects concurrently.
  • May have to remember the projected start-up and completion dates of various jobs to allow effective time management and task sequencing.
  • Remember which setting products work best in specific situations and with specific materials.
  • Remember where they left off in projects when they are working on two or more projects concurrently.
Finding Information
  • Contact their supervisor to obtain information about procedures or technical problems. (1)
  • Consult peers to gain technical knowledge and assistance with problems. (1)
  • May consult suppliers to obtain information about a product. (1)
  • Consult clients to obtain information about layout preferences and material selections. (1)
  • Refer to provincial building codes to remind themselves of specifications such as the maximum length permitted for a control joint. (1)
  • Consult shop drawings and floor plans to gain specific information about layouts and site dimensions. (1)
  • May consult technical training manuals to locate information about unfamiliar or forgotten procedures. (1)
Digital Technology
  • May use digitised programmable equipment such as laser levels. (1)
Additional Information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

In a commercial setting, tilesetters usually work with an assistant. They may also work with other tilesetters on the same site although each tilesetter would complete a different tiling project at that site. Tilesetters often work independently (with the exception of an assistant in commercial settings) and are often responsible for an assigned project from beginning to end. In some cases, two tilesetters will work together, one doing the main floor area and the other addressing the more complex and time consuming components. Tilesetters can also be part of a larger construction team including a variety of trades. Tilesetters communicate effectively with assistants, assigning tasks, providing instructions and coordinating work activities. They also coordinate assignments with co-workers and divide areas of responsibility such as who will be responsible for which tiling components of the job. In addition, they coordinate their work with that of the other trades as tilesetters cannot begin their work until most of the other tradespeople have completed theirs. In residential situations, tilesetters coordinate work schedules with the client/resident. Tilesetters maintain close contact with supervisors, forepersons and clients who assign jobs to them, address problems, and perform quality control checks.

Continuous Learning

Technical upgrading is offered by manufacturers when new products or equipment are introduced. Provincial construction associations offer safety training courses which tiling companies sponsor tilesetters to attend. Tilesetters may pursue training at community colleges (management training, computer courses) on their own time and at their own expense, although in some cases, the company will pay for upgrading if the tilesetter is being considered for a management position. One of the most practical ways for tilesetters to gain new expertise is "on-the-job" from other more experienced tilesetters or supervisors.

Apprenticeship Grants

There are two types of Apprenticeship Grants available from the Government of Canada:
  • The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) is a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year, up to a maximum of $2,000 per person. This grant helps registered apprentices in designated Red Seal trades get started.
  • The Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) is a taxable cash grant of $2,000. This grant helps registered apprentices who have completed their training become certified journeypersons in designated Red Seal trades.
[ Source: CanLearn - HRSDC ]
Information for Newcomers

Fact Sheet for Internationally Trained Individuals

Are you an internationally trained individual looking for guidance on foreign credential recognition in your profession in Canada? This occupational fact sheet can help you by providing information on:

  • the general requirements to work in your profession
  • the steps that you can take to find the most reliable sources of information

Construction (PDF Format - Size:711 KB)

Credential Assessment

Provincial credential assessment services assess academic credentials for a fee. Contact a regulatory body or other organization to determine if you need an assessment before spending money on one that is not required or recognized.

The assessment will tell you how your education compares with educational standards in the province or territory where you are planning to settle can help you in your job search.

Please consult the Hamilton--Niagara Peninsula Region and Ontario tabs for more useful information related to education and job requirements.
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