According to Steve Keator CTI #455, being a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) means providing tile installation that truly satisfies the greatest expectations for quality. Steve is the next Certified Tile Installer (CTI) to be featured in the CTEF Blog series about Qualified Labor based on articles in TileLetter.com.
Steve Keator on the Value of Being a CTI
Steve Keator, director of Field Operations for Collins Tile and Stone in Ashburn, Va., can’t say enough about the value being a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) affords his customers.
After installing tile for five years, Keator, pursued CTI certification to advance his education and to increase his skills as a tile tradesman. All of this prepared him for a supervisory position.
Keator took the CTI hands-on evaluation in November 2010 at Daltile in Richmond, Virginia. He found finishing the hands-on portion in the allotted nine hours to be the hardest part.
Keator was grateful for his existing level of technical knowledge; the written test reinforced the necessity of industry methods and standards for producing top-quality installations. Although the CTI evaluation is not a training course, Keator said he "gained a greater understanding of the necessity of pre-sloping and proper weep hole protection, proper mud pan installation, different types of joist systems, substrates and their requirements.”
Keator has advice for installers thinking about becoming a CTI: be prepared. He said,
“Although the [written exam] was open book, I had to be fully prepared and well versed in tile installation technique and knowledge. The manuals are rather large and comprehensive; it was imperative that I come prepared for the exam and was familiar with the information in order to locate references quickly, as needed, throughout the test.”
“As a CTI, the work that I produce satisfies the greatest expectations and quality of work within the industry,” said Keator. “We establish trust and confidence with our clients when they know that our skilled CTIs are capable of performing all work using industry best practices and techniques resulting in superior quality and lasting installations.”
Having CTIs on staff makes Keator's job easier. “I am responsible for maintaining a level of quality control over the tile installations by making sure that industry best practices and techniques are performed within each kitchen and bathroom remodeling project," he said. " This task is easier for me because all of our tile mechanics are CTI certified.”
Why Should Someone Become a CTI?
According to Steve Keator,
“Being a CTI sets me apart from other tile mechanics in the industry. As a CTI, my skill level is proven and I know I am capable of building quality tile installations that will last. This has helped me to personally take pride in my work, as well as to build my career from an installer to a supervisor. I am more marketable with these [proven] skills and provide value to every job I complete.”
In addition to increasing the marketability of Keator and his employing company, he said that being a CTI has instilled an increased the level of confidence in his installers and himself. “I am using industry best practices and techniques," he said. "The fact that our company employs CTIs equates to a highly skilled [and] educated workforce.”
Leveraging Certified Tile Installer Credentials
Collins Tile and Stone leverages the CTI credentials of its employees in all its marketing by promoting CTI credentials and posting the CTI logo throughout its marketing materials, on its website, social media outlets (FB, Houzz, Pinterest), Angie’s List, and in the email signature of all employees.
The company also promotes the fact that it employs CTIs on each business card.
"We promote the CTI logo on our company vehicles," Keator said. "In addition, we cite CTI certification of our installers on every proposal and contract we provide to our clients to establish the high level of expertise of our tile installers.”
Are you a Certified Tile Installer? How do you promote your certification? Let us know in the comments.