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CTEF Blog - About Tile Education and Installer Certification

Certified Tile Installers Strengthen Brekhus Tile & Stone Professionalism

[fa icon="calendar"] May 15, 2018 8:30:00 AM / by CTEF Blog Team

CTEF Blog Team

Certified Tile Installers Strengthen Brekhus Tile & Stone Professionalism

If you're already committed to delivering the best quality and customer service, how can you strengthen your reputation? In the case of Brekhus Tile & Stone, the solution was simple: ensure that as many installer employees and subcontractors as possible become Certified Tile Installers, and apply to the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) to become a part of the Five Star Contractor program.

Some Background on Brekhus Tile & Stone

Located in Denver, Colorado, Brekhus Tile & Stone specializes in one-of-a-kind custom stone fabrication and installation as well as intricate tile installation for residential and commercial projects across Colorado. It was founded in 1998 and now boasts three locations, a staff of over 60, and the most cutting-edge technology available.

CEO Kym Brekhus is a trained architect with experience in commercial projects who uses her extensive knowledge of design and architecture to integrate the work of Brekhus Tile efficiently and cost-effectively with every construction project. Kym manages operations, estimation, and sourcing for Brekhus. 

COO Jeff Brekhus handles quality assurance, materials sourcing, and work supervision, overseeing crews and concurrent jobs throughout the Denver metro area and western Colorado.

The company prides itself on delivering superior quality craftsmanship and excellent customer service.

  • And, for tile installation, Brekhus has become a proud employer of Certified Tile Installers, the first step to becoming an NTCA Five Star Contractor. 

Brekhus Tile and Stone

Why Become a Proud Employer of Certified Tile Installers?

With the company's strong commitment to quality, being able to verify the competence of its tile installers through the CTI program makes sense, especially since employing Certified Tile Installers is a prerequisite for becoming a Five Star Contractor, the tile equivalent of the Natural Stone Institute Accredited Contractor.

Furthermore, becoming a CTI validates the professional installation skills of installers. It indicates the level of quality and professionalism that Brekhus Tile delivers on every project.

In this 3:36 minute video, CTI Regional Evaluator Coordinator Kevin Insalato speaks with Brekhus Tile & Stone principals Kym and Jeff Brekhus about becoming an NTCA Five Star Contractor and the value of having their tile installers go through the CTI program, which includes both an online knowledge test and site-provided hands-on testing to become Certified Tile Installers.

As you'll hear in the video, Kym refers to project bids increasingly including language specifying Quality Labor and Five Star Contractor requirements, and Jeff talks about the requirements of a 560-room hotel project.

(Note that we've combined two separate videos.)

We certainly appreciate what Jeff shares in the video about the value he has gotten over the years from watching CTEF training and certification programs at industry trade shows! Nothing beats sharing best tile installation practices!

The inspiration for the Brekhus Logo

Before sharing highlights from the CTI hands-on test that took place at Brekhus Tile & Stone in February 2018, we wanted to learn more about the Brekhus logo (see image above).

The logo was inspired by one of Brekhus' large commercial projects: Glenwood Hot Springs Resort & Spa (see photo below).

A Brekhus' large commercial project: Glenwood Hot Springs Resort & Spa

Based on the unique tile work design (seen below) used at Glenwood, Kym created an abstract version and it has stuck ever since!

Inspiration for the Brekhus Tile and Stone logo

An Overview of the CTI Hands-on Test at Brekhus Tile & Stone

On February 24th at the Brekhus Tile facility, Kevin Insalato and Regional Evaluator John Mourelatos tested 11 installers from Brekhus Tile, including eight employees and three subcontractors.

The night before the CTI hands-on test, Kevin conducted an orientation session which included most of the installers taking the test, several Brekhus staff members and project managers.

The night before the CTI hands-on test, Kevin held an orientation session.

 Here you see the test modules set up and ready to go.

CTI hands-on test modules

The day of the test, the installers were busy from 7:09 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. For an installer to pass the test, all aspects of the installation must be completed by 4 pm or the installer will fail.

Brekhus tile installers hard at work during the CTI test.

Once the test is over, the Regional Evaluators grade the installation as you see in the image below. Nine of the eleven candidates passed the test.

Grading the Brekhus CTI hands-on test.

You can learn more about the Certified Tile Installer hands-on test from these two articles:

>> Video Details Hands-on Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Test

>> Grading the Toughest 25 Square Feet of Tile You'll Ever Install (Video)

Jeff Brekhus Reacts to the CTI Hands-on Test 

We asked Jeff a few questions about the CTI program and the hands-on test in particular. 

CTEF: How has the CTI certification process benefitted your installers?

JB: The installers are more aware of their own improvements in tile installation and are more diligent in following this certified process that helps the company succeed.

CTEF: Were they surprised by the hands-on test?

JB: Yes, even our most experienced installers were surprised by the details and intensity of the hands-on test.

CTEF: What did you find interesting or helpful about the orientation session?

JB: The most interesting and helpful part of the orientation was making clear the importance of square, true, and level expansion joints and the detail they carry for great installations.

Ready to Ensure Your Tile Installation Business Delivers Quality Results? 

For the installers who take the CTI test and the businesses supporting them, the payoff is gained by becoming a part of the Qualified Labor pool that provides the consumer, whether residential or commercial, with a choice of the best quality possible. 

It's also about supporting the tile industry and everyone who believes in delivering quality tile installations. 

Are you ready to become a Certified Tile Installer

 Learn More About Becoming a Certified Tile Installer Click Here to Download the CTI Kit. 

 

Images courtesy of Katie Hinkle, Marketing Specialist, Brekhus Tile & Stone.

Special thanks to Daltile for donating materials for the test.

Topics: Certified Tile Installer Program

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