NTCA University Update

By Becky Serbin, NTCA training and education coordinator

We have had several members asking why they should purchase NTCA University.  Here are a couple of testimonials on how others are finding it valuable.  Both Mike, a business owner who has registered some of his employees on his site, and Dan – who is relatively new to the industry – are looking for education. Here’s what they have to say about NTCA University:

Mike Degiusti, Terra-Mar, Inc., Oklahoma City, Okla., a NTCA Five Star Contractor

“For those of you who are looking for more knowledge of the tile trade and business, I encourage you to look at the NTCA University. After months of procrastinating I finally started the program…and was surprised at how much info there was. The program covers a lot of topics. I will say maybe every module is not for everyone but there are definitely some topics for everyone.

“The beauty is one cost for as many employees you have and you can do it as you have time. In fact while I was watching one of the modules yesterday two of my people came in saw what I was viewing and said they wanted to do it.

“Just a side note for those that don’t know me, I am not saying you have to do it to be a good tile setter. I just think you should check it out. I have been in the tile business in every aspect for over 50 years and I learn all the time. It takes a lot to impress me and this program does. Thank you for reading this and I hope everyone has a great year.”

Mike Diguisti

Dan Heinlein, apprentice for Kerber Tile, Marble and Stone, a NTCA Five Star Contractor in Shakopee, Minn.

Heinlein, who happens to be the son of Mark Heinlein, NTCA technical trainer and presenter, recently entered the tile industry after working in the culinary field. He’s been working as an apprentice since December 2016.

Heinlein explained, “I decided to go into tile setting because it’s a field of construction/measuring with decorative/artistic application. To me it seems like a reasonable balance of the two aspects. I decided to take the NTCA courses simply to have a credible background with working experience, and to keep the wheels churning off the clock.

“I’ve been studying NTCA University online, and these certificates are available at the end of each section for the apprentice stages (0-6 months),” he added. “I’ve taken the 0-6months courses, and the other part I’m getting ready to engage in. The first section of courses was really helpful when confronted with the application of grouting knowledge.”

    

 

Dan Heinlein proudly displays all the certificates he’s earned in NTCA University for the 0-6 month courses. 

Dan Heinlein (far right) with father Mark Heinlein (center right) during a recent visit. Also pictured at left are Dan’s sister Megan and her fiancee Colin Pugh.

No matter your skill level or number of years in the business, there is always something new to learn, something you may have for gotten, or you could just be looking for a refresher on a topic.

Interested in NTCA University? Click on NTCA University at the NTCA webpage, www.tile-assn.com, or contact me at [email protected]

Tech Tip: Ask NTCA Technical Trainer Robb Roderick

Q: Are there any standards or situations where it is acceptable to install ceramic tile over gypsum wall board and not a tile backerboard?   

A: There are two methods in the Tile Council of North America handbook for installation of tile over gypsum board. Method  W242 which employs organic adhesive for a setting material. And Method W243 which employs the use of thinset mortars that meet ANSI 118.1 or 118.4 or better.

In W242 (organic adhesive method) in the section preparation by other trades it states ” The maximum allowable variation in the tile substrate is 1/16 of an inch in 3′ with no abrupt irregularities greater than 1/32″. Both methods specify the gypsum board is to be installed according to GA216.  ” Treated with tape and joint compound with bedding tape only( no finish coat) Nail heads, receive only one coat.

In Method W243 (thinset method) it states ” Maximum allowable variation in tile substrate for tile with edges shorter than 15″ the maximum allowable variations is 1/4″ in 10′ from required plane with no more than 1/16″ variations in 12″ when measured from the high point of the surface. For tiles with at least one edge 15″ in length, maximum allowable variation is 1/8″ in 10′ from the required plane, with no more than 1/16″ variation in 24″.

So there are many standards depending on the type of tile and adhesive you are using.

NTCA University Update

Finisher courses benefit anyone new to the industry

By Becky Serbin, Training and Education coordinator

While we work to finalize the 6 – 12 month Finisher courses, let’s take a look at two introductory modules: Bonding Materials, and Grout.  Since both of these products will be used on most, if not all, tile projects, each course will have more in-depth information available in future NTCA University modules. You may want to either just stick with the basics, or group some of the more advanced courses together with the introductory information.

Bonding Materials

The Bonding Materials module introduces the learner to terminology and all types of bonding materials that they may see on the job.  And since the terminology can be confusing due to the fact that contractors can use multiple names to describe a product, we made sure that the ANSI standard and product name are both introduced so that there is no confusion for the learner.   We even explained where to find the ANSI standard on the product so they can make sure they are mixing the correct product for the job.  We provided a description of each bonding material, the types of conditions it is typically used in, if there are any safety concerns that someone should know when working with the product, and basic mixing information.  Although your company may not use all types of bonding materials, we still included everything to make sure that the new learner has a comprehensive overview of what is currently available.

Grout

The Grout course introduces the learner to different types of grout. By the end of the module, he or she will have a basic understanding of when each is used.  Since we all know that grout can make or break the tile installation, we took the time to discuss factors such as joint size between tile, stain resistance, chemical resistance, intended use of space that is tiled, UV exposure, and color that could affect your grout choice.  

The learner is also taught the basics of prepping the surface before grouting, such as removing excess thinset and how to hold a float.  Then in future modules, learners are shown how to mix, apply, clean, and resolve issues for each type of grout.

And here is something else to keep in mind — just because these are called introductory Finisher courses – don’t doubt that these courses will benefit anyone that is new to the industry.  If you have someone working at a counter, physically calling on contractors, or new to the industry in some other position, these courses provide basic terminology and installation techniques that anyone should know if they interact with a tile contractor.

Remember, you can purchase your all subscription access by visiting the NTCA store.  Make sure that you are logged in to get your introductory pricing.  If you purchase this subscription, you will have access to all of the learning content, including anything new that is created through December 31, 2017.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 770-366-2566.

Workshops and Educational Events

The Tile Shop went above the call of duty for this February 9 event, presented by CTEF director of training and certification Scott Carothers in Dunwoody, Ga. It included over 10 key accounts from all over the country, and a tour of the nearby Blanke and Lackmond manufacturing facilities.  NTCA board advisor Dan Welch, NTCA State Ambassador John Roberts, and NTCA training and education coordinator Becky Serbin were also on hand to support the event, during which one new member signed up and nine installers expressed interest in taking the Certified Tile Installer exam in the future. The Tile Shop manager Henry Paz, technical coordinator Dan Holcomb, and numerous other Tile Shop personnel went all out to make this workshop a huge success.  The group is pictured at Blanke’s manufacturing facility.

Southern California State Ambassador Josh Castelli and son

John Wirtz and Amber Fox spoke about the NTCA Five Star Contractor program

About 40 people attended the San Diego Daltile Design Center NTCA workshop. The Southern California crowd expressed a lot of interest in certification. 

On February 21, the San Diego Daltile Design Center NTCA workshop was a hit, with about 40 attendees. Presented by NTCA’s Robb Roderick, it was supported by Southern California State Ambassador Josh Castelli of Christian Brothers Flooring & Interiors, and  John Wirtz and NTCA Five Star Contractor Coordinator Amber Fox who both spoke briefly about the NTCA Five Star Contractor program. Manufacturers iQ Power Tools, Alpha Professional Products and Custom Building Products were also represented.  The Southern California crowd also expressed a lot of interest in certification. 

Sixteen people attended the Mechanicsburg, Pa., workshop.  CTEF’s Scott Carothers stopped in on his way from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to lend his support to the workshop effort.  A second surprise visitor was NTCA vice president Chris Walker who happened to be traveling from New York to Washington with his mother-in-law, and made a slight adjustment to his travel plans to attend and support the workshop. Chris and Scott both provided outstanding commentary on successful contractors and installers joining and participating in the NTCA and challenging themselves with the Certified Tile Installer exam. 

On February 23 – National Tile Day – NTCA celebrated at the Daltile in Allentown, Pa. Jerry Dwyer, Dal’s NE Region VP presented manager Shawn Friel with his 25 year service award and the staff with a tile plaque recognizing Dal’s 70 years in business. Lots of great prizes were given away including trip for four and tickets to a game in a skybox at Yankee Stadium!

(L. to r.)  From MAPEI: Todd DeKorte, ; Becky Perry; and Lou Genzlinger, with NTCA technical trainer Mark Heinlein. While assisting with Mark Heinlein’s Conshohocken, Pa., workshop, Todd DeKorte, MAPEI sales representative for Eastern/Central PA & DE graciously offered show him the brand new MAPEI Distribution Center for the Northeastern U.S.  Unit manager Lou Genzslinger and Quality Control manager Becky Perry gave Mark a comprehensive tour and behindthescene insight of the brand new operation. 

The new van in which Mark and Connie Heinlein will tour the country is fully emblazoned with training and education sponsor logos! 

NTCA University Update

By Becky Serbin, NTCA training and education coordinator

This month we will be reviewing two Apprenticeship courses: the History of Tile, and an Introduction to Trims and Profiles.

History of Tile

The History of Tile course was very interesting to create, and it may not have been finished if we didn’t have the help of the Tile Heritage Foundation in putting the timeline and content together.  The course starts with an overview of world history and the creation of the tile industry as we know today by Herbert Minton in 1843.  The course then moves into reviewing tile styles and trends through different periods of time in U.S. history.  These include the Victorian Era, the Arts and Crafts Movement including American Bungalows, the Hispano Moresque Style – Byproduct of Spanish Colonial or Mediterranean-style Architecture, the Lean Era (a.k.a. Depression Years), the Utilitarian Era (a.k.a. Postwar Period) and finally, the Modern Era.  Within each time period, we take a look at how tiles were being made and have plenty of pictures to highlight the style.  The course then moves into predictions about  where the tile industry could go next.  Even though this course is part of the Finisher Apprentice program, it is beneficial for anyone who wants learn about the history of tile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The History of Tile course is a travelogue through world history and the creation of tile. Photos courtesy of The Tile Heritage Foundation.

Trims and Profiles

The trims and profiles course is also good for anyone who is new to the industry.  The learner is taught about the different types of trims and profiles, where each is used, and why.  It also reviews the different types of official names and job site names for these products.  For example, I learned that a “cove base” is well known as a “sanitary base” and there’s a need for this product to meet health department or building code regulations.  Once all of the ceramic trims and metal or plastic profiles are introduced, the course moves into how to make your own bullnose or trim pieces.

Trims and Profiles reviews the various ways to finish a tile installation, and how to make your own bullnose or trim pieces. Photos courtesy of Schluter and Crossville.  

Coverings courses

If you are planning a trip to Coverings this year, Mark Heinlein and I will be presenting a course on using online education and apprenticeship to improve company performance on Wednesday April 5th at 3:00 pm.  If you haven’t seen NTCA University, this is your chance to see how to use it and the courses that are currently available.

Remember, you can purchase your all subscription access by visiting the NTCA store.  Make sure that you are logged in to get your introductory pricing.  If you purchase this subscription, you will have access to all of the learning content, including anything new that is created through December 31, 2017.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 770-366-2566.

“Tile Installer Thin-set Standards (ITS) Verification” Course has been Updated

San Diego, CA, March 23, 2017 – The University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS) just released an updated version of the popular Tile Installer Thin-set Standards (ITS) Verification course.  Both the USA version and the Canadian version of this course were updated, as well as the Spanish version. 

The updated course offers a comprehensive review of the current industry installation standards, methods, and practices for ceramic tile, porcelain tiles, glass tile, concrete tiles, and natural stone tiles.  

The intent of the course is to teach tile installers, and others, the current installation standards, methods, and practices so we can avoid installation problems and failures.  Industry consensus groups create the standards so that we can avoid reoccurring problems known to the industry.  It is critical that tile installers know the standards, so they can avoid the potential problems and the negative advertising consequences that problems bring to our industry and reputations. 

With the Floor Covering Industry’s growing concern with the shortage of qualified installers, the UofCTS ITS Verification course is an effective and practical solution to being able to train tile installers in a short amount of time.

Besides the industry standards being updated, the updated ITS Verification course has two new lessons and other expanded sections.  

There is a new lesson on Special Tile Applications that includes a detailed section on How to Install the Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels; known as Thin Tile Panels.  The lesson thoroughly reviews the product characteristics, the tools and substrated conditions needed for installing these large tile panels, and the methods for installing these tile panels for both floor and wall applications.  It is loaded with photos, video clips and animations demonstrating how to properly install Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels. 

The Special Tile Application lesson also includes a section on How to Construct Tile Showers that includes Shower pans, Curbless Showers, and Steam Showers.  There is an expanded section on How to Install Glass Tile and Mosaics, and a section on How to Install Tile in Swimming Pools and other Water Features.

There is a new section added to the Preparing Substrates lesson that covers the Tile Layout Process and options.  There is a new section in the Tile Installation Methods lesson that reviews the Types of Tools Used and Needed in a tile installation.

There is a new lesson on Grouting. It covers the types of grout and how to install them, which include cementitious grouts, pre-mixed grouts, and epoxy grouts.  It also shows the different grouting methods from using rubber floats to grout bags. 

The UofCTS ITS Verification course takes about 5 hours to complete.  Students have 24/7 access and can come and go as they please during their 14 days of access.  Tile Installers who complete and pass the course can use the acronym ITS alongside their name designating them as ITS Verified.  This verification is good for two years, at which time they need to take the updated ITS Verification course to continue to be up-to-date on the industry standards and practices, and to continue being ITS Verified.  Like in any other legitimate profession, tile installers need continued education in order to stay current with changes in the industry, and with the changes in industry standards. 

The updated course was created with the latest HTML5 Technology that allows students to access the courses with mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets.

UofCTS also offers two other courses that will educate your employees on tile and stone.  Understanding the Basics of Ceramic Tile and Understanding the Basics of Natural Stone.  Both courses teach the basics in terms of terminology, uses, applications, selection, maintenance, and avoiding problems. But they also have a sales emphasis teaching the employee how to professionally interact with their clients.  This course is good for showroom or sales reps.  It is also good for installers, project managers, or architects and designers.

UofCTS Online courses are available through many key organizations in the tile and stone industry, where members receive special discounts.  Courses can be purchased through CTDA at www.ctdahome.org, through Fuse Alliance at www.fusealliance.com, through Local 18 Tile Union at www.tileunion.org, through NTCA at www.tile-assn.com, through TTMAC at www.ttmac.com, through WWCA at www.wfca.org for member rebates, or at the UofCTS website at www.uofcts.org.

As is clearly understood by successful businesses, the fastest way to increase profits and avoid problems is through education. Once installers or employees are trained, they will become more confident, credible, and effective in their jobs.  With proper training, there will be less costly failures and problems, resulting in more profit and repeat business.  The return on your investment is never ending. 

To see video previews of each of the courses visit the www.UofCTS.org website at https://uofcts.org/online-courses/.

Students have 14 days to complete the course which is accessible online, 24/7. Students can print a personalized certificate when they have passed all lesson assessments with a score of 80% or better.  Upon passing the course the student is provided a link to download a student reference guide that contains all of the key information from that respective course.  Volume discounts are available.

The UofCTS is the training division of Ceramic Tile and Stone Consultants (CTaSC) and is committed to developing training programs for the ceramic tile and stone industry utilizing the latest and most effective technology and learning methodologies. Launched in 2003, UofCTS has enjoyed many years of success with trade and design professionals and is the leading online training University for the Tile and Stone Industry.

NTCA INCREASES EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOP NUMBERS IN 70TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR

The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) will celebrate 70 successful years as a leading trade association in 2017. Each year, the NTCA reaches over 4,000 industry professionals through a variety of educational programs including hands-on workshops, through which it provides training for installers and tile industry professionals on industry standards and how to prevent and address problems on the job. These educational programs are fundamental to the continued success of the association.

Utilizing four trainers, over 140 educational workshops and training sessions are scheduled for 2017, the most training seminars in NTCA history. In addition to record-breaking workshop numbers, for the first time ever, the association will perform training programs in Spanish, to be held in ten locations across the country, where the language is spoken commonly in the construction industry.

A major sponsor of the workshop program in 2017 is Daltile, who will host over 120 programs alone. Additional sessions will be supported by independent distributors including The Tile Shop and Louisville Tile, who are set to host 14 and eight educational events, respectively. “The success of the educational workshops in the first quarter has been so strong, that several independent distributors are working with NTCA to add more events in more locations this year, making it possible that the number of seminars will increase to more than 150 by the end of 2017,” said Bart Bettiga, NTCA executive director.

In addition to workshops and educational seminars, trainers also perform custom-sponsored programs and will complete several this year. To learn more about hosting an NTCA workshop, please contact NTCA assistant executive director Jim Olson at [email protected], via telephone at (612) 788-4726, or visit www.tile-assn.com.

NTCA CONTINUES CAREER DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS WITH APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM

In an effort to provide online training to support tile contracting companies, the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) is in the process of completing the first year of its Apprenticeship Program. The first year, introduced at Coverings 2016, is broken into six-month increments. The first section focuses on introducing the worker to the tile industry, promoting safety in the workplace, the types of tools that will be used on a regular basis, and basic knowledge of mixing materials and how products are used together. The final phase of the first year of the program will go into further detail of installation processes like surface preparation and profiling.

The Apprenticeship Program was developed to attract people into the trade by demonstrating a clear path for them to be properly trained while they are employed and being compensated. The online program is intended to support contractors own training efforts on the jobsite. It serves as related learning for a Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program that a contractor provides, or any additional training for introductory employees including sales people, counter help at a distributor, or helpers. The program can also serve as a refresher course for those who haven’t had training or education in these areas in a while. Contractors can sign up for the program through NTCA University for an all-access subscription and can register any current or future employee.

According to Education and Training Coordinator Becky Serbin, the association will soon begin developing the second year of the program, which will include more in-depth knowledge of grouting techniques, waterproofing, transitioning into a tile setter helper role, and introducing the worker to management courses to provide training for individuals to manage their own finishing crew.

“While the content development has been slower than I originally expected, I have been working with contractors and manufacturers to ensure that the information we are providing can be used to give the next generation of mechanics the tools they need for successful tile installations,” Serbin said. “I’m looking

forward to the next year as we continue to grow NTCA University into a site that all tile installers can come to learn something new, no matter their skill level.”

NTCA is in the final stages of working out agreements with technical colleges about using this program as curriculum for the education portion of their classes. The next steps in development of the apprenticeship program will be a tile setter related learning program which will also be a two-year related training program. The curriculum will continue to be announced in six month increments, and will be available for viewing and purchase online as each course is completed.

Tile setting comes to CEFGA SkillsUSA competition

NTCA is taking part in an important set of career events in Georgia today and tomorrow – the CEFGA Career Expo and SkillsUSA, both taking place at the Georgia International Convention Center March 23 and 24, 2017.

At the CEFGA Career Expo, students can learn about the tile trade and create their own mosaic designs.

The Career Expo, hosted by the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), links students directly to professionals in the areas of construction, utility contracting, highway contracting, electrical contracting, mechanical contracting, energy, tile setting mining and more. The Career Expo consists of hands-on displays that allow students to engage with industry leaders, equipment and materials in order to tap into their unique skills and interests.

Rod Owen, Jr., of C.C. Owen Tile Co., Jonesboro, Ga., — a Five Star Tile Contractor, and Technical Chair for CEFGA – has involved NTCA in this event since 2007.  Becky Serbin, NTCA training and education coordinator, is also onhand at the events today and tomorrow. Attendees can learn about the tile trade and even create their own mosaic designs with tile donated by Interceramic and Daltile.

NTCA’s Rod Owen (second from left) with competitors (l. to r.) Martin Sanchez of Griffen High School, Timothy Crawford of Statesboro High School and Logan Conyers of Leesburg County High School.

New this year, due largely to Owen’s efforts, is tile’s participation in the SkillsUSA component of the event. The SkillsUSA State Championships is a competition that invites students to showcase their skills in a number of construction-related disciplines. This combined event is becoming increasing successful, drawing 6,988 attendees in 2016.

This year, three high school students are taking part in the competition: Martin Sanchez from Griffen High School; Timothy Crawford from Statesboro High School and Logan Conyers from Leesburg County High School. The competitors took a written, open-book test, and will tile floor and wall modules today and tomorrow. The winner will receive a $150 cash prize, and second and third placeholders will also receive awards, $75 and $50 respectively.

Competitors will test their skills at tiling floor and wall modules Thursday March 23 and Friday, March 24.

Schluter donated KERDI-Board and Johns Manville donated GoBoard for the tile test modules, setting materials are supplied by LATICRETE, Daltile supplied tile used in the competition, and tools were donated by Barwalt. Steve Young of Steve Young & Associates, and NTCA’s 2016 Tile Person of the Year, organized the donations for the SkillsUSA materials. Phil Canto, LATICRETE International, Eric Shaddix, Speciality Tile Products, Inc., and Scott Carothers, Ceramic Tile Education Foundation, are the competition judges. An award ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 25.

NTCA hopes to follow up on the success of this program by encouraging members to get involved in their local state competitions and build off of this momentum.

The tile-setting competition was sponsored by C.C. Owen Tile Company, D.W. Sanders Tile & Stone Contracting, and The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation.

 

D&B Tile Distributors to offer reimbursement for CTI test and hotel fees at Coverings

 

 

Due to D&B Tile Distributors’ commitment to professional installation and the industry-recognized Certified Tile Installer (CTI) exam that validates tile installers’ skills, the Florida-based distributor will support its customers who are looking to take the exam at the Coverings show, to be held April 4-7 in Orlando, Fla.The distributor will pay the $295 registration fee for the test and one-night’s stay in a hotel for the installer.

The fee is usually $495 to take the test, but due to a NTCA sponsorship, the fee is $295 for anyone taking the exam at Coverings.

D&B urges its installer customers to take the CTI exam to get the recognition they deserve, and demonstrate to customers that their companies can deliver high-quality tile work correctly the first time. The exam consists of a written test that can be taken online at home and the hands-on test that being offered close to home at Coverings  in Orlando, Fla.,  When both are passed, the installer becomes a CTI and receives a nationally-recognized, industry-backed certificate that consumers trust when selecting a tile installer, as well as a CTI wallet card and logos to use in marketing and signage on trucks, hats, shirts, email and more.

In addition to the distinction of being a CTI, those who pass the exams receive $1,500 in manufacturer’s coupons and are prominently listed and hot-linked on the CTEF website by city and state, and are listed as a CTI in their distributor’s showroom list. CTEF also provides customer brochures that demonstrate the value of hiring a CTI.

Installers can take the CTI exam if they have a minimum of two years experience as a full-time lead installer doing better quality work, and the ability to review written plans, do prep, layout, cutting and fitting, installation, sealant and detail the project without assistance.

To register for the test taking place during Coverings ’17 from April 4-7 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., visit www.ceramictilefoundation.org.

For more information on D&B’s reimbursement program for its customers who are taking the CTI exam, visit http://bit.ly/2lEVSZW or www.dbtile.com.

D&B Tile Distributor president Harold Yarborough is intent on doing all he can to facilitate the taking of the test for his customers, by reimbursing registration fee and one-night hotel room charges . “They don’t have to pass —  they just need to take the test!” he said, making it a nearly risk-free proposition for interested installers. To file for reimbursements, just email hotel and registration receipts to Yarborough at [email protected]

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