If you're curious about tile installation certification and the benefits it offers homeowners, specifiers as well as tile installers, you'll want to watch "Certification in Action," a 6-minute video embedded at the end of this article.
The video answers questions such as:
- How do you choose a tile installer or contractor?
- How can you be sure the job will be done correctly?
- Why should you hire a certified tile installer?
These are all great questions that tile industry representatives -- all of whom support the CTEF's Certified Tile Installer Program, the only third-party assessment of a tile installer’s skill and knowledge recognized by the tile industry -- respond to in the video.
Here are the highlights.
Why Have a 3rd-party Assessment of Tile Installation Skill and Knowledge?
Unlike other trades such as plumbing or electrical, tile installation is an unregulated industry with no formalized training or licensing requirements.
What that means is that a lot of tile is installed improperly. This becomes more of an issue as tile sizes trend larger and longer and installation materials become more technologically advanced. Furthermore, tiling a kitchen or a bathroom - or any room in the home for that matter - represents a major investment meant to last a long time. Ripping the job out is a big deal, not to mention a major inconvenience. A much better plan would be to have the tile installed properly the first time.
The best way to ensure that consumers have a choice of the tile installer who meets their needs and uses tile industry standards and best practices is through the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program.
What Does the CTI Program Consist of?
The CTI Program was launched in 2008 to provide a method to differentiate between the excellent and the mediocre tile installers.
The program consists of two tests:
- A written, multiple choice online knowledge test
- A hands-on test to assess the installer's skills and understanding of tile industry standards, whether s/he is current and up-to-date on best installation practices and the latest technology.
The hands-on test is difficult to pass; it requires true skill and experience.
The CTI program is administered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation at locations around the country. It is an industry-recognized certification with the same parameters and sets of performance and installation standards.
When someone successfully completes the program, you know that the Certified Tile Installer has passed a national standard on how to install tile. You know the job will be done properly the first time.
>> For more information, read through the Certification FAQs.
What are the Benefits of the Certified Tile Installer Program?
The Certified Tile Installer program benefits everyone! Having a higher level of quality installation professionals available to the consumer yields happy and satisfied customers who tell their friends. Bad installations hurt every tile company and tile installer, not to mention the homeowner.
It's important to be educated and trained to do the installation job per the standards and specifications and make it aesthetically pleasing for the end user.
Tile Industry Manufacturers
From the perspective of tile industry manufacturers who are selling a full package of installation materials and product performance rather than single bags of setting materials or single pieces of tile, certification is the only way to get the look and performance that consumers desire and deserve.
It means that the installer is using the products properly in the applications they are designed for and installing the tile correctly.
Architects and Designers Who Specify Tile
Whether it is the single installer or the company with a team of installers, certification provides clients or Architects and Designers who specify tile with the peace of mind that CTIs will be installing their job.
Tile Installers and Contractors
Certification is the single biggest point of difference that an installer or contractor can offer consumers. It proves to them that a significant difference exists between the available ceramic tile installers.
The CTI is a confirmation of true craftsmanship and the ability to create something that is going to last a lifetime. This program educates the contractor along with retailers and distributors so that they know the job will get installed properly, without issues. The consumer, whether residential or commercial, will be happy with the installations for many years to come, not just right after it's installed.
The End User of Installed Tile
The end beneficiary of the Certified Tile Installer program is the end user - the homeowner or the building owner - who gets a stamp of approval which proves that the CTI has gone through an education process and represents the best quality labor possible.
Certification in Action - the Video
Watch the 6:05 minute video titled Certification in Action. You'll hear from the following tile industry representatives:
- Scott Carothers, CTEF
- Stephanie Samulski, formerly with TCNA
- Art Mintie, LATRICRETE International
- Brian Knies and Renee Duffield, Tile America
- Buck Collins, Collins Tile and Stone
- Martin Howard, David Allen Company
- Dan Welch, Welch Tile and Marble
Note: We originally published this article on May 24, 2016, and have updated it.