Alex Smith (l) of North Carolina’s Installations by Alex, Certified Tile Installer #1500, with CTEF’s Scott Carothers
The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry proudly announces that it has achieved a new milestone for the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program with the certification of CTI #1500.
The CTI Program Combats Poor Tile Installation
Established in 2008 to create a pool of recognized high-quality tile installers and combat poor installation, and with strong support from leaders of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Tile Council of North America (TCNA), and the entire tile industry, the CTI program reached 1000 certified installers in 2014.
Reaching 1500 certified installers in October 2018 means that reaching 2000 CTIs by the end of 2019 is achievable as the program’s momentum grows.
Introducing CTI #1500: Alex Smith, Installations by Alex
Alex Smith has been involved in custom tile installation since 2005. Based in the mountains of North Carolina, he began working in the industry under the guidance of John Buford of the Stone Cavern. He went on to form Installations by Alex and specializes in luxury residential homes. He does a significant amount of work for Bill Dacchille of Dacchille Construction, as well as other contractors and homeowners.
A lifelong artist, Alex was initially trained in concert dance and is currently the board president for Dance Project Inc., a statewide arts organization. “I am honored to be a Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Certified Tile Installer,” says Alex.
“The Toughest 25 Square Feet of Tile You’ll Ever Install”
Not everyone passes the hands-on portion of the Certified Tile Installer program test. In fact, Alex Smith was originally tested in 2015 and did not complete the installation in the allotted time. He explained, “Contrary to my expectation, the hands-on is by far the more challenging portion of the test. I was fairly confident in my quality of work going into the hands-on test. What I was not expecting was the difficulty in completing the assignment in the allotted time frame. Even considering the small size of the area defined by the test, it is rare that I have to complete all phases of an install in one continuous session.”
Why Become a Certified Tile Installer?
Certified Tile Installers detail many benefits to becoming CTIs, ranging from achieving a competitive edge and bragging rights, to improving the tile industry, keeping up with tile industry education and current installation information, to avoiding failures and validating one’s skills as an installer.
For Alex Smith, it’s about providing customers with confirmation that he is Qualified Labor. He said, “Though the national standards have been in place for some time, the lack of an agency to educate and accredit installers has allowed the quality of installation work in the industry to be sporadic at best. The CTI is a tool that I am using to assure my clients that they are not just taking a ‘chance’ with their tile installation project. My CTI helps to validate that I care about the quality of my work and want to provide a product that has a sound foundation for longevity of use.”
Tile Industry Recognized Certification
The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation offers the only tile industry recognized certification test validating the skills and knowledge of the installer. This industry certification will become even more important as consumers, homebuilders, general contractors, specifiers and designers seek qualifications through programs such as industry certification.
The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which sponsors the CTI program is supported by all segments of the ceramic tile industry. CTEF is headquartered in Pendleton, South Carolina, near Clemson University and the offices of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).
To learn more about the Certified Tile Installer program, visit https://www.
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About the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation
The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) provides training education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry. Certification programs include the CTEF Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program which is the only third-party assessment of installer skill and knowledge recognized by the tile industry, and the Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT). For more information, visit https://www.
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.