Employment of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers is expected to grow as fast as the average for all occupations. Job growth and opportunities, however, will differ among the individual occupations in this category.
Overall employment is expected to grow by 7 percent between 2008 and 2018, about as fast as the average. Tile and marble setting, the largest specialty, will experience faster than average employment growth because population and business growth will result in more construction of shopping malls, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and other structures in which tile is used extensively. Tiles, including those made of glass, slate, and mosaic, and other less traditional materials, are also becoming more popular, particularly in the growing number of more expensive homes.
Employment of carpet installers, the second-largest specialty, will experience little or no change, declining by 1 percent, as residential investors and homeowners increasingly choose hardwood and tile floors because of their durability, neutral colors, and low maintenance, and because owners feel these floors will add to the value of their homes. Carpets, on the other hand, stain and wear out faster than wood or tile, which contributes to the decreased demand for carpet installation. Nevertheless, carpet will continue to be used in nonresidential structures such as schools, offices, and hospitals. Also, many multifamily structures will require or recommend carpet because it provides sound dampening.
Workers who install other types of flooring, including laminate, cork, bamboo, rubber, and vinyl, should have little or no job growth because these materials are used less frequently and are often laid by other types of construction workers. Employment of floor sanders and finishers—a small specialty—is projected to grow by 11 percent, which is about as fast as average, because of the increasing use of prefinished hardwood flooring and because their work is heavily concentrated in the relatively small niche market of residential remodeling. There should also be some employment growth resulting from restoration of damaged hardwood floors, a procedure that is typically more cost effective than installing new floors.
In addition to employment growth, numerous job openings are expected for carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. The strenuous nature of the work leads to high replacement needs; many of these workers do not stay in the occupation long.
Few openings will arise for vinyl and linoleum floor installers because the number of these jobs is comparatively small and because homeowners can increasingly take advantage of easy application products, such as self-adhesive vinyl tiles.
Employment of carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers is less sensitive to changes in construction activity than most other construction occupations because much of the work involves replacing worn carpet and other flooring in existing buildings. However, workers in these trades may still experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of these workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity.
Carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers held about 160,500 jobs in 2008. About 35 percent of all carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers were self-employed. The following tabulation shows 2008 total employment by specialty:
|Tile and marble setters
|Floor layers, except carpet, wood, and hard tiles
|Floor sanders and finishers
Many carpet installers work for flooring contractors or floor covering retailers. Most salaried tilesetters are employed by tilesetting contractors who work mainly on nonresidential construction projects, such as schools, hospitals, and office buildings. Most self-employed tilesetters work on residential projects.
Although carpet, floor, and tile installers and finishers are employed throughout the Nation, they tend to be concentrated in populated areas where there are high levels of construction activity.
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience maybe helpful in these occupations, but usually is not needed. For example, a drywall installer could benefit from experience in installing dry wall, but an inexperienced person could learn the job fairly easily.
These occupations usually require a high school diploma and may require some vocational training or job related course work. In some cases, you may need an associate's or bachelor's degree.
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees.
Drywall installers, fire inspectors, flight attendants, pharmacy technicians, retail salespersons, and bank tellers.
In these occupations you can often use your knowledge and skills to help others.
[Back to Top]
For details about apprenticeships or work opportunities, contact local flooring or tilesetting contractors or retailers, locals of the unions previously mentioned, or the nearest office of the State apprenticeship agency or employment service. Apprenticeship information is also available from the U.S. Department of Labor's toll-free helpline: 1 (877) 872–5627.
Additional information on training for carpet installers and floor layers is available from:
For general information about the work of tile installers and finishers, contact:
For more information about tile setting and tile training, contact:
For general information on apprenticeships and how to get them, see the Occupational Outlook Quarterly article "Apprenticeships: Career training, credentials—and a paycheck in your pocket," online at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2002/summer/art01.pdf and in print at many libraries and career centers.
Sources: O*Net data version 12.0
Occupational Outlook Handbook
Department of Labor
[Back to Top]