How to become a tiler

A tiler installing ceramic floor tiles.

Tilers are versatile tradespeople. With a foot in both the construction and interior design industries, these skilled professionals work on a range of projects. This includes everything from domestic and commercial installations to specialist renovations and restorations.

So, if tiling sounds like a good fit for you, how do you go about getting started in this industry?

In this guide, we take a closer look at what tilers do. We also outline the main career pathways for this profession in the UK. Finally, we explain the circumstances in which tilers need small business insurance.

What do tilers do?

From bathrooms and kitchens to swimming pools and shopping centres, tiles are commonplace in all sorts of buildings in the UK. However, installing these staples of UK construction requires a specialist skill set. This is where tilers come in.

The primary job of a professional tiler is to position and seal floor, wall and ceiling tiles in both domestic and commercial settings. Tilers may also be adept at both interior and exterior installations. After all, tiles are used for many different features. Although often most associated with interior settings, outdoor patios and terraces can make up a large part of a tiler’s work.

How to become a tiler in the UK?

As is the case with many trade-based vocations in the UK, there is not one set way to become a professional tiler. In fact, there are a number of different entry points into this field. Below, we explore a few of the most recognised routes into this lucrative trade.

Do you need qualifications to be a tiler?

The simple answer is no. Unlike electricians and gas-safe plumbers, there are no tiling qualification requirements. However, the general consensus is that formal qualifications are a sensible option. These training courses combine technical learning with practical work. This gives budding tilers the knowledge and initial experience they need to succeed. But what are the two main types of formal training for tilers? Below we take a look.

Tiling training courses

Gaining a diploma in tiling can be a great way to get into this profession. Many colleges and adult learning providers now offer recognised tiling qualifications. These courses can be completed by both those in full-time education and adults looking for a career change. From Level 1 & 2 National Vocational Qualification diplomas in Wall and Floor Tiling for complete novices to advanced Level 3 diploma courses in Tiling for more experienced individuals, these courses combine classroom-based learning with hands-on practical teaching.

Providing a basic foundation of knowledge on which a career in tiling can be built, these qualifications show employers and clients you have the skills required to do a good job. This can make finding employment in this industry much easier. It can also prepare you to start your own business as a self-employed tiler further down the line.

Apprenticeships for tilers

Another common pathway into tiling is through an apprenticeship. Allowing you to earn while you learn, tiling apprenticeships enable you to combine paid work with an experienced tiler alongside time spent gaining an accompanying qualification. While apprenticeship rates are less than that of a full time tiler, bringing some money home while you learn can make the training process much more financially comfortable.

Apprenticeships in tiling typically take between 30 and 36 months to complete. Like many vocations, the application process to secure a tiling apprenticeship can be competitive. However, the rewards are certainly worth it. At the end of an apprenticeship, successful individuals enter the job market with a whole host of practical experience, a recognised trade-specific qualification, and potentially money in the bank. This can give you a competitive advantage. Indeed, many tiling apprentices are able to secure a job right out of their apprenticeships.

What is tilers’ insurance?

Specialist tilers’ insurance refers to any insurance policy designed to protect those in this industry. After all, as with any trade, accidents can happen when tilers are working. This could include a mistake in your work that injures a third party, for example or an accident that damages a client's property. When this happens, public liability insurance can protect you.

Likewise, some tilers’ insurance policies also include tool and equipment cover. This protects you in the event any of your tools or equipment become lost, stolen or damaged.

While many insurance policies are optional for tilers, this is not the case for employers’ liability insurance. This is to say, if you're a tiler that employs anyone, you are legally obliged to have employers’ liability insurance in place. This includes any employee on a full time, part time, or apprenticeship basis. For this reason, if you are an employer, always make sure your tiler insurance includes employers’ liability cover.

Here at Markel Direct, we offer a comprehensive tilers’ insurance policy. This allows you to combine a number of covers together into a single, tailor made policy.

Business insurance from £5 a month