Let's Start with Certification
Certification identifies an installer as being a dedicated and knowledgeable professional whose competence in installing tile has been verified to meet specific tile industry standards.
In the case of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program is a rigorous program that tests expertise, how well the installer keeps up with the fast-changing world of tile - from thin tile to very large-sized tile to new installation materials and tools - and how knowledgeable he or she is about tile installation best practices.
The Advanced Tile Installer Certifications (ACT) take tile installation expertise and knowledge to an even higher level.
Both certifications help separate talented and expert tile installers from those who create the type of situations described in How Not to Install Tile on Floors, Walls and in Showers.
What Does Qualified Labor Mean?
These certified tile installers - as a result of their professional certifications and affiliations - are considered Qualified Labor. Qualified labor refers to having the most qualified professional perform the scope of the work you are specifying rather than basing the decision on the lowest price.
The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook committee strongly recommends using installers who have demonstrated their commitment to their craft and taken the time to stay current with the latest materials and methods. Because tile is a permanent finish, the lowest bid should not be the driving factor, but rather who is the most qualified to perform the scope of the work specified.
Certified Tile Installers know where to find the best tile industry resources, have open-line access to industry experts, stay up-to-date with the latest methods, materials and best practices. and regularly refer to the following guides:
- The TCNA Handbook for Ceramic Tile Installation
- The American National Standard Specifications for the Installation of Ceramic Tile, also called the ANSI standards
- The National Tile Contractors (NTCA) Reference Manual
Advice to Architect & Design Students
"Designers can spec certain things – like qualified labor, Certified Tile Installers, and material that falls within ANSI specs.
They should know the work schedules and when things like floor prep will take place and when tile setting will start – and they should be there on the job site to inspect the floor prep and tile install.
They should also ask questions of those involved about what they are doing."
Dan Hecox CTI #1215 Hecox Construction, York, NE[fa icon="quote-right"]
Certification Matters to Architects, Designers, Homeowners as Well as Dealers and Distributors!
Why It Matters to an Architect or Designer
For an architect or designer, having a Certified Tile Installer execute your vision for a ceramic tiled space means that the vision could not only come true, but could also have structural integrity and function as a testament to your expertise and design sensibility.
How good the finished installation looks, how well it performs, and how long it lasts are all in the hands of the installer.
Because tile is a permanent finish, the lowest bid should not be the driving factor, but rather who is the most qualified to perform the scope of the work specified.
Why Tile Installation Certification Matters to a Homeowner
To a homeowner, hiring a Certified Tile Installer that has demonstrated to a third party they have the knowledge and skills to execute a directive according to industry standards gives peace of mind that the installation can be done properly.
Quality installers document their commitment to quality installations. Not only will they control site conditions and properly prepare the surface before tiling, but they make sure to verify their methods and standards with the TCNA Handbook.
Why a Dealer or Distributor Should Care about Certified Tile Installers
For a dealer or distributor, a tile installation certification program, such as the CTI, means you have available talented tile contractors who can properly install the tile you sell. That opens the possibility for your homeowner customers to be delighted for many years to come instead of calling you back for repairs.
After all, installation problems can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars every year in lost time, resources and consumer confidence. Why take that chance? Use qualified labor instead.
Furthermore, dealers and distributors are an important resource for architects, designers, general contractors, and consumers. Helping these clients understand how methods and standards have changed due to tile industry technology advancements and the vast array of tile sizes and materials – as well as the role of qualified labor in successful installations of these new and evolving products – will reinforce to them that you are a trusted resource.
Certification Matters to Tile Contractors, Too!
Why Tile Contractors Care About Ceramic Tile Installation Certification
For a tile contractor to successfully complete the Certified Tile Installer and become a CTI means having a tile industry endorsed third-party validation that proves to homeowners, architects and designers that you offer true craftsmanship and the ability to perform something that will last a lifetime.
Not only does it mean the opportunity to work on the best and most interesting tile installation projects available, but by becoming a Certified Tile Installer you also:
- Distinguish yourself from your competitors. This gets you more business.
- Obtain independent confirmation of your skills. This gives you more confidence.
- Have the credibility of tile industry manufacturers behind your work because they endorse these programs. This gives you more leverage.
- Set yourself apart as “qualified labor” meeting the specification. This allows you to bid and win more high-quality jobs.
- Get included on the distributors list of Local Certified Installers. This gives you local credibility.
Image credit: Argent - A1420 On the Rocks 12 x 24 UPS, A1417 Clean Slate 12 x 24 UPS, and A1413 Under the Sea 6 x 24 UPS from Crossville Tile.