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CTEF Focuses on Qualified Labor at Coverings 18: visit at Hall C, Booth #8401


Ceramic Tile Education Foundation

Installation Experience, CTI Challenge and CTEF Education Session Highlight Importance of Tile Installation Excellence and Qualified Labor

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) will focus on tile installation excellence and Qualified Labor demonstrations during Coverings’18, the Global Tile & Stone Experience taking place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia from May 8 through May 11, 2018. The primary venue for the demonstrations will be the new 3,900 square foot Installation Experience located in Hall C, Booth #8401. In the Construction Zone, CTEF will hold the CTI Challenge, and, on May 10, CTEF will also hold an education session about the Certified Tile Installer hands-on test.

What is the Installation Experience?

The Installation Experience consists of several sections:

  • A self-guided, designated pathway that takes attendees through a sequence of rooms with fully-interactive live installations where top representatives will answer questions. They will have the opportunity to speak with industry experts regarding key processes, learning new strategies and experiencing hands-on demonstrations of the most modern of technologies.
  • In the Hall of Failures and the Hall of Excellence, attendees will see firsthand through actual installations the difference between the right and wrong way to perform a tile installation.
  • In the Hall of Excellence, CTEF will demonstrate the important aspects of the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) hands-on test with a cut-away version of the CTI module. Regional Evaluators of the CTI program will be on hand to explain the parameters of the test and answer questions.
  • In the Hall of ACT (Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers), attendees will be able to talk with ACT Evaluators who will answer questions from installers and others interested in the promotion of Qualified Labor as described in the Tile Council of America (TCNA)
  • The Installation Experience concludes with “At Home, With Tile” an area with an expansive seating area and TV screen offering viewers a time-lapsed progress video, highlighting the various construction stages of the projects slated to take place.

The Installation Experience live, interactive installations will include a fully-functioning kitchen; a bathroom with heated tile floor and a fully-functioning stall shower, along with a transformed vintage fireplace. These state-of-the-art projects will involve glass tile, porcelain, gauged porcelain panels, natural stone and other cutting-edge tile products and breakthrough technology installation systems.

Most importantly, as part of the Installation Experience, all attendees will garner new insights on the attributes of Qualified Labor. Representatives will be onsite to define, discuss and demonstrate just what it takes to be a part of this elite group which includes the Certified Tile Installer program and the ultimate group of installers who have achieved the status of being ACT certified.

The CTI Challenge

The “CTI Challenge” is a live event designed by CTEF director Scott Carothers, which is slated to take place between rival teams who are both NTCA members and Certified Tile Installers. It takes place in the Construction Zone located in the Hall of Excellence.

The Challenge will begin Tuesday May 8th and conclude on Wednesday May 9th.  Upon completion, the winners will be chosen allowing attendees to view this excellent workmanship.

Education Session about the Certified Tile Installer hands-on test

On Thursday, May 10, 2018 from 3 pm to 4 pm, Scott Carothers and Kevin Insalato, CTEF CTI Coordinator, will conduct an educational session titled “How to Prepare Yourself or Your Installer for the CTEF Certified Tile Installer Exam.”

The Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Program

The CTI designation identifies the professional installer who has reached a level of proficiency to independently and consistently produce a sound tile installation that displays good workmanship. Certification is the validation of the skills and knowledge of the men and women who presently are installing tile successfully in the United States.

To qualify for the CTI Program, installers must have at least two years of experience as the lead installer setting ceramic tile on a full-time basis. This means having full responsibility for substrate prep, layout, coordinating with other trades along with properly installing underlayment, tile, grout and sealant materials.

“The CTI program is strictly a test of the installer’s skills and knowledge; it offers no instructional classes,” says Scott Carothers, director of training and education for CTEF.  “However, many installers who have completed the CTI tests say that studying the written materials was very valuable and assisted in the completion of the hands-on test and that the CTI Manual provided the correct methods for tile installation which may not have been the way they installed tile in the past.”

The CTI program includes two separate tests.

  • The first is an online open-book exam which is taken at home or the office as the installer’s schedule allows prior to the hands-on test.
  • The second is a hands-on test which is conducted at regional locations across the United States. The hands-on portion of the test begins at 7:09 am and must be completed by 4:00 pm. Installers should arrive at 6:30 am in order to get their tools set up and be ready to start the test at 7:09 am.

Testing proficiency in installing thin porcelain tile is just one of the advanced installation skills that can be certified through the ACT program.

The Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) Program

The Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT) include offers certifications in seven specific areas of tile installation.  An installer may choose to become ACT certified in one or more of these areas:

  • Grouts
  • Large Format Tile & Substrate Preparation
  • Membranes (both sheet and liquid)
  • Mortar (Mud) Floors
  • Mortar (Mud) Walls
  • Shower Receptors
  • Gauged Porcelain Tile and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs

Installers wishing to become ACT certified must be pre-qualified in one of two ways:

  • Be a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) through the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation; or
  • Be a journeyman tile setter who has successfully completed the apprenticeship program conducted by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers

ACT certification in each area is granted upon successful completion of a written online test – designed to measure the installer’s understanding of applicable ANSI specifications and TCNA Handbook details – and a field provided hands-on test conducted by trained, third party evaluators who assess the installer’s skills under real life conditions.

CTEF: Supported by the Ceramic Tile Industry

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which sponsors the CTI and ACT programs is supported by all segments of the ceramic tile industry. CTEF is headquartered in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson University and in close proximity to the offices of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry. The CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge which is recognized by the tile industry.

For information about Coverings and the Installation Experience, visit http://www.coverings.com/the-installation-experience.

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Editorial Director and Senior Writer for TileLetter and TileLetter ARTISAN

Lesley Goddin has been writing and journaling since her first diary at age 11. Her journey has taken her through a career in publishing and publicity, landing her the editor position of TileLetter and its special publications in 2006. Her goal is to educate, inspire, recognize and encourage those in the tile industry -- especially the tile and stone contractor. Other interests include the soft, purring marvels known as cats, labyrinth walking, drumming and percussion, and a range of spiritual, musical and artistic pursuits.

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