Is this typical among tile installers?
Early last year I thought about replacing the existing tile and Pergo in my house. I hired one of the big box home improvement stores to come out and measure which cost me $35 but would be applied to the install job. To avoid using names, let's call them Dome Hepot. The tile I was interested in was on sale so I decided to finally get the job done. My local Dome Hepot had some of the time in stock so I went in to get a look at it. I ended up ordering the tile to be delivered to my house. I also talked to the guy in the floor department about Dome Hepot's installation services. Since my measure was over a year old, they required a new measure. That didn't make sense to me but whatever. what's $35 on a job this size? For reference, its about 1,100 sq ft.
When I got the Dome Hepot installation quote, I was surprised. I was told in the store that installation would be $1.97/sq ft and that was the basic install charge in the quote. I was however being quoted an upcharge of $0.75/sq ft for what was described as a basic pattern. This was for laying the tile staggered, where second row of tiles is offset 50% from the first row (think bricks.) A second upcharge of $0.85/sq ft was included for using large format tile. This is applied to any tile being installed longer than 16". With the upcharges, the installation costs ballooned to $3.57/sq ft, more than 80% higher than I was expecting based on my in store discussion.
Hopefully someone can help me to understand these upcharges. Are they typical in the industry? Is there any merit to them?
From the standpoint of a lay person, I don't understand how its so much more difficult to lay tile in a staggered pattern versus laying it where every row is lined up with the row before it. Since I'm using the same tile throughout my downstairs, I don't want a 35' grout line that runs from my kitchen, across the living room, and into a hall. I also don't understand the large tile upcharge. Wouldn't it be easier to lay larger tile? Fewer tiles to align and set plus less grouting.
To be clear, the installation estimate is install only. If there is any slab leveling required, that will be extra. The quote came with a materials list (grout, thinset, whatnot) that I have to buy in store. I also took out other parts that I thought were outrageous. They wanted $2,400 to rip out and dispose of the existing 600 sq ft of Pergo and 400 sq ft of tile floor (I have a dozen Craigslist quotes in the $600 range) and their pricing for moving furniture and appliances was also crazy expensive.