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CTEF Blog - About Tile Education and Installer Certification

Add Credibility to Your Tile Installation Business Says Kris Nardone

[fa icon="calendar"] May 21, 2019 8:45:00 AM / by CTEF Blog Team

CTEF Blog Team

Add Credibility to Your Tile Installation Business Says Kris Nardone CTI #1364

Every Certified Tile Installer has his or her own story for wanting to become a CTI. In the case of Kris Nardone CTI #1364, it had to do with adding credibility to his installation business. 

Kris is next in the CTEF Blog series about Qualified Labor based on an article published in TileLetter.com titled NTCA Starts Kris Nardone on the Path Towards Certification.

Meet Kris Nardone CTI #1364

Based in Kennesaw, Georgia, Kris Nardone is the owner of K_Nardone Custom Tile Work.

With over twenty years of experience as a tile installer and more than 7000 followers on Instagram - @k_nardonecustomtilework - you might think Kris knew all there was to know and didn't need to prove anything.

Instead, he decided during the summer of 2017 to become a Certified Tile Installer at a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) exam at The Tile Shop in his town. Why? Because,

“Being a certified tile installer adds credibility to myself and my business.”

K_Nardone Custom Tile Work

Learning from a Network of Tile Installation Contractors

Kris first learned about the Certified Tile Installer program after joining the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) in 2016 and becoming part of a network of people committed to high standards for installing tile. He says,

“The NTCA gave me a network of people and information that I didn’t have before. I had attended a NTCA workshop in 2017 and met a local CTI exam instructor who also spoke to me about the CTI exam. I spoke to another Certified Tile Installer about the CTI exam. "

As he learned more, he determined that the CTI program would not only allow him to network within the industry but also reflect the essence of his experience and expertise in the tile trade. After all, Kris explains,

“I’ve always used industry standards. If I can be a part of a network of people who help add knowledge to my business and continuously improve my trade then I’m all for it.”

How Kris Prepared for the CTI Tests

Here's how Kris prepared for the two CTI program tests.

He read the CTI Manual several times and looked at social media to make notes.

To the hands-on test, he brought a list of key components that he thought were important to track his day/progress. He had learned from other CTIs that every minute of the hands-on test counts. He added,

"Layout is key! Other than that, I set tile daily. If you can think of it, I can tile it.”

>> See Free Online Training Course

>> See Is Your Tile Layout Centered and Balanced, With No Small Cuts? 

Biggest Challenge? Tile Installation Time Management

Kris' job experience made the book section of the exam relatively easy, but the hands-on portion was another story.

“I thought the hands-on portion would be a breeze in the beginning, and then I heard from other Certified Tile Installers not to underestimate the exam. After taking the test, I know now that it does challenge your skills and knowledge as well as your time management. There are over 200 cuts in nine hours and it will test you mentally and physically.”

Furthermore, the time management aspect of the hands-on test varied significantly from the typical time management employed on a job. For instance, on a typical job, Kris estimates how much time it will take to complete the job and then he pushes himself to complete the job in a timely manner.

At the same time, he is always trying to do the best job possible for the homeowner no matter what it takes.

“The test is a set amount of time to get it right and get it completed. It mentally tests you. Stay focused. Believe in yourself and get the job done.”

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

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

Surrounded by Tile Installation Pride

Kris found that being in an atmosphere of earnest demonstration of a tile setter’s skills inspired him.

“You are working around others taking the test. It was great to see that others take as much pride in their work as I do. Like any job site, if you can work well with others, you’ll get the job completed faster.”

He also discovered a new world of like-minded tile installation professionals,

“Though taking the test, you’ll make new contacts, friends, and learn more about the industry. Those who don’t consider the exam should look more into the benefits of taking the test. It’s there to help you, your career, and the consumer.” 

Customer Assurance for Quality Installation the First Time

Back to why Kris Nardone decided he wanted to be a Certified Tile Installer: to assure customers that they are receiving a quality install the first time…

"I have spoken to customers who have used other companies to meet their deadline or their budget and less than a year later – sometimes a month later or upon completion of install – the tile installation starts failing with cracking grout, unbonded tile, shower pan leakage, excessive lippage, etc.

Hiring a Certified Tile Installer assures the homeowner that the installer is up to date on industry standards and is qualified to set the materials needed.”

We couldn't say it any better! 

Next for Nardone: Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT)

Now that he's a Certified Tile Installer, Kris plans to pursue Advanced Certification for Tile Installers (ACT) testing program. 

He strongly recommends taking the exam to expand setters’ businesses and further their personal development and knowledge.

Ready to Validate Your Own Tile Installation Skills? Become a Certified Tile Installer

Ready to Validate Your Own Tile Installation Skills? 

If you haven't already, consider becoming a Certified Tile Installer (CTI). As a CTI, you set yourself apart from the crowd, receive nationwide recognition through the CTEF website, and know how to anticipate tile installation problems before they occur. Do it right the first time and get paid accordingly.

CTEF makes it easy for your potential clients to find you.  By using the CTEF zip code locator, they can search within 25, 50, or 100 miles of the CTI’s location and be instantly connected.  A real win-win for all involved!

>> See Why Certified Tile Installers Matter to Avalon Flooring

If you need additional reasons to do so, please read Why Should You Take the CTI Test? Contractors Respond.

Are you ready to validate your skills as a tile installer? Become a CTI like Kris Nardone.

Thanks for reading.

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

Topics: Qualified Labor Series

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Certified Tile Installer Mike Corona says,

You don't become a tile installer or a business owner overnight. It takes time, enthusiasm, pride, reliability, respectfulness, a willingness to learn, and dedication. No two jobs are the same; each one has its own unique nuances. As a qualified installer, you need to be able to communicate how to deal with those nuances and qualify yourself to not only meet but exceed expectations. Being qualified will exponentially increase your value and you will have endless opportunities.

Mike Corona CTI #923 Corona Marble and Tile

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Mike Corona CTI #923
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