TILE

Quarry tile.

Quarry tile is a popular flooring material, especially in high traffic areas like a kitchen, bathroom or entryway because it provides a long-lasting, durable surface that is easy to clean and withstands years of abuse. Years ago, these tiles were natural stone that was quarried; however, today the tiles are mostly extruded and fired clay. They are available in natural earth tones and come in many sizes; the most popular are 1/2 or 3/4 inch thick and rectangular in shape, mostly in squares of 3 to 8 inches.

A tiling contractor will install a 10 foot by 15 foot quarry tile floor for $1,212, which includes the labor and material. An experienced do-it-yourselfer can do the job for $515, the cost of the materials, and save 58 percent. The savings are well earned because this is a job that takes considerable time, not to mention a large outlay for the materials. A breakdown of the job includes several phases: preparing the floor, installing a cement backboard as a sound and level base, laying out the placement of tiles, cutting and installing them over a bed of thin-set mortar with spacers for proper alignment, and finally grouting and sealing.

You'll find a selection of quarry tiles at home and flooring centers as well as at tile retailers, where you can usually rent or buy the tools you need: nippers, a grout float, notched trowel and chalk line. You'll need a large sponge, bucket and measuring tape. Invest in a pair of kneepads to protect your shins since most of the job involves working on your hands and knees.

To find more DIY project costs and to post comments and questions, visit www.diyornot.com.

Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$1,212 -- $515 -- 23.9 -- 29.0 -- $697 -- 58 Percent