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I’ve been doing this for over 20 years, and I don’t need to be certified; besides they don’t pay me enough. That’s what I hear from many installers as I travel the country. Yet after 5 minutes, they are asking all sorts of questions and realizing that maybe, they don’t know everything. Is it the intimidation of not knowing and possibly not passing a written or hands-on test that makes installers feel they don’t need to be certified?  

Photos 1 and 2 show installations that were done by installers who have been installing for years. So do they really have 20 years of experience or do they have one year of experience and been doing the same thing for 20 years?

If you’re one of the certified installers who is always striving to better yourself and your business, GREAT JOB! If you are one that feels certification has no benefit for you or your company, I feel sad for you knowing that you are holding back your true potential and ultimately, possibly cheating the end user of a proper installation.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many inspections regarding flooring that are installation related and I always hate to see installers being blamed but, if the installer didn’t follow proper installation guidelines, he or she can’t blame anyone but themselves. Ignorance is no excuse if it is an installation-,related issue.

New technology and installation procedures are constantly changing, and with this change comes a need for proper education and certification of the products and tools.

A good example is laminate flooring; just a few years ago, the techniques utilized for installation of the tongue and groove were glue techniques. Even the glue techniques were different; some wanted a bead of adhesive on the top of the tongue, some wanted it in the groove. Now you have ‘click” systems that have eliminated the need for adhesive. Do you know which type of click system you are working with? Does the plank need to be installed at an angle? Does the plank need to be placed horizontally and tapped in? If you don’t know, you may want to check into some of the certifications and training that the manufacturers and associations offer to educate installers on the types of joint systems that are being manufactured.

There are new carpet backings that require certain adhesives and installation procedures; are you up to date with these backings? Do you understand bow, skew, pattern elongation? You would if you attended a training/certification.

Hardwood finishes are changing to meet EPA regulations; if you’re using only oil-modified finishes, you may want to start learning to use water-based finishes as it appears they will be the finish of the future. There is a learning curve to adapt to waterborne finishes, and manufacturers and associations are more than willing to teach and certify proper techniques.

Thinset is constantly changing; glass tile requires a certain type of thinset in order to bond. If you use the wrong thinset, you may be buying an installation. Ever wonder why the manufacturers carry so many different types of thinsets? Because they all have certain properties that make them work with the type of installation they are designed for. Are you familiar with the multitude of anti-fracture membranes available on the market?

There are several non-profit associations and manufacturers that strive to educate and certify installers to assist in creating a professional and qualified work force. With the economy the way it is for many around the country, why wouldn’t you want to invest in yourself more than ever to give yourself the edge needed in today’s market? By investing in yourself, you’re able to use certification in marketing yourself, thus enabling you with the potential for more income.

Networking, education, certification, an edge over the installer who does not believe in continual education; these are your tools, so take advantage of them and contact an association that wants to provide you with the tools for success!