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Meet CTI #1800: Chris Osterritter, Art by Tile

Meet CTI #1800: Chris Osterritter, The Tile Guys LLC, Art by Tile

Are you a CTI? If you've not completed the Certified Tile Installer program, you should reconsider. Don't take it from CTEF. Instead, we invite you to learn from Chris Osterritter CTI #1800 in this article from the Qualified Labor Series.

Introducing Chris Osterritter CTI #1800

Chris Osterritter is the owner of Art By Tile, a tile installation business that services Pittsburgh, PA and its suburbs. He founded the business in 2017, and specializes in tiled showers and bathrooms, backsplashes, floors, and outdoor installations.

When you explore the projects he has completed, you quickly notice beautiful details and carefully scribed elements that produce stunning results.

Chris recently completed the Certified Tile Installer program, becoming CTI #1800. We caught up with him to ask him a few questions, and hope that his experience inspires you to become certified.

Art By Tile, Pittsburgh, PA

CTEF: Chris, tell us a little about yourself and your business.

CO: I got started in the trades at 19 doing anything and everything for a landlord who owned over 30 properties.

I quickly realized that tile was what I wanted to focus on. It paid better than most other trades, and the sense of accomplishment in completing a tile project was unparalleled.

CTEF: Why did you want to seek CTI certification?

CO: I was looking for a way to set myself apart from my peers. I also knew it would lead to many networking possibilities.

>> See Why Should You Take the CTI Test? Contractors Respond

CTEF: What was the test like and do you have any feedback or comments about the process?

CO: The test was a real challenge.

I both over and under estimated the hands on section. The methods and patterns may be dated, but the fundamentals never change.

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

CTEF: How did you get started with mosaic scribe work?

CO: The ability to express art in my work is key to enjoying life for me.

Trying to juggle life, running a business, and doing all the work myself, left little time for creating any art. Scribing brought art back into my life and the business, and it's a skill that my customers appreciate and seek out.

Stunning masterbath installation

CTEF: Chris, could you share details of a recent project you’ve completed? 

CO: The images in this article come from a bathroom project completed in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh.

I focus only on tile work, so all other aspects were completed by Room2Room Renovations. All the prep work features Wedi or Ardex. The back wall was templated, the floor was lots of tedious labeled stone placement.

The space consisted of a master bathroom renovation and measured approximately 10x20 feet.

Originally, this space was a walk-in closet and exercise area (see before photo below).

Before: closet and exercise space

The vision was to convert the closet into a master bathroom with a curbless shower, a free-standing tub, and a double vanity with a coordinating mosaic backsplash.

With this project, I had the opportunity to scribe glass tile to create a vertical waterfall feature in watery-blue tones, and create pebble mosaic areas both around the shower and the tub.

Scribed glass tile insert for shower

In terms of tile installation challenges, this project required a great deal of research and trial/error.

The paper faced glass tile was a real challenge. I had to pre-mount it to a piece of 1/8" Wedi board for scribing. 

As I mentioned, the floor required careful placement of the pebble stones and matching of the stones with the scribed floor tiles.

Carefully placed pebble stone floor

CTEF: Chris, why did you select that project?

CO: It's one that I'm very proud of, and it also shows really well my tile installation abilities and methodology.

Double sink countertop with backsplash

CTEF: Which social networks and groups do you find most helpful for what you do?

CO: I've learned more from the people on Global Tile Posse then from any other single resource.

Tile Mafia has also been directly responsible for my CTI completion. They also do some amazing charity work that has been a blessing to be a part of.

(Note: Global Tile Posse and Tile Mafia are active tile-focused Facebook Groups.)

>> See The Top Tile Associations and Organizations 

Finished pebble floor shower

CTEF: Chris, what advice do you have for someone in the tile business who isn’t a CTI?

CO: Don't be afraid to take the test and fail. I guarantee you will still walk away a better educated and more confident installer.

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

>> See Top 15 Tips for #BecomeaCTI Success

CTEF: What do you do outside of tile?

CO: If I'm not working I'm enjoying the outdoors. Hiking, camping, and mushroom hunting are my hobbies.

I'm very proud of my son (pictured above with Chris and Scott Carothers). He loves helping me install tile and he's the best help I have!

Finished soaker tub with pebble floor surroundCTEF: Thank you, Chris! Congratulations on becoming a CTI.

Are You Ready to Become a CTI Like Chris Osterritter?

We hope you are.

You'll find a lot of great information on the CTEF website and blog, starting with this article about the Certified Tile Installer program.

Thanks for reading.

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