Steve Wamser, regional manager with ProSource of Wisconsin welcomed the large group of over 75 people to the Installer Appreciation Evening during the cold, wintery night. ProSource provided catered food and product knowledge seminars for all in attendance.
The six speakers shared the latest information concerning materials that are available at the ProSource facility. Scott Taylor of Starecasting demonstrated new wood stair nosing products. Al Mazola from Carpet Cushions and Supplies shared the latest cushion products. Dan Hirsch of IVC demonstrated luxury vinyl click tile flooring. Scotty Lesnick of Shaw introduced the commercial carpet tile flooring. Ben Bruce from Schluter with Dal-Tile demonstrated the Schluter systems. Fifteen door prizes, including an iPad2 and a Schluter shower system, were given to the attendees.
The local CFI Wisconsin Chapter represented by Nate Hall, Gary Goessl and Jay Zurn distributed information concerning upcoming training events and the World Floor Covering Association. Tony Buckhardt of Indiana and Tim Provence of Armstrong highlighted the carpet and resilient training programs that were presented the following days.
“ProSource is excited about the enthusiastic attendance at the workshops by those who represent our stores,” said Bill Kerns, president of Carpet One of Wisconsin and owner of the ProSource Stores. “This certainly speaks well of the quality-minded flooring installers in this area. We have hosted these events for years and will continue to do so to provide our customers with the finest installations in the area.”
On Friday and Saturday, 31 installers attended the CFI Residential Resilient and Carpet Training workshops. The training and certification were conducted by Tim Provence, Armstrong installation and technical manager; Bill Wiese, Mannington technical services and Tony Buckhardt, CFI Master-II from Fort Wayne, Indiana Carpet Cushions and Supplies.
“Every installer is required to perform all of the exercises for the hands-on portion in a specially designed module,” said Provence. “The point system is used to grade the demonstration of their skills. CFI study materials are sent as well as the Armstrong written test. This requires from 4-10 hours of additional preparation for the installers prior to the event. Armstrong is serious about representation by the most qualified installers,” added Provence, who was instrumental in developing the CFI course with many manufacturer representatives.
The resilient training includes a PowerPoint presentation divided into sections that is accompanied by the various skills involvement. The first hands-on session details moisture testing procedures and substrate, subfloor and grade levels. This also includes working with trammel points which is followed by fitting the material in the modules, mixing and applying the embossing leveler, fastening the underlayment and seam cutting.
Installers align the pattern and prepare seams in the resilient flooring, using the double-cut seaming method. The correct adhesive application is demonstrated for the specific product. A discussion follows of the various adhesive types, seam treatments and embossing leveler.
Next, the layout and installation of LVT and SVT with balancing, end point stagger, fitting to irregular surfaces and a discussion and demonstration of transitions, moldings and quarter round. Installers complete the module by installing top set base, inside and outside corners and caulking along the tub wall.
The installers perform repair techniques for different products including minor tears, seam repairs, gouges, burns and a plank or tile replacement. The safe removal of appliances, safety and health issues are also discussed.
“We are evaluating the installers’ skills as they are performing the various tasks,” said Bill Wiese of Mannington. “Each instructor prepares a sheet with a point system scoring method. At the conclusion of the event, the scores are tabulated for an average to determine the installer performance as related to the requirements of the certification. This group performed well above average and showed interest in learning new ideas and techniques.”
“Since the introduction of the CFI Residential Resilient Training and Certification program, manufacturers have worked together to be certain that installers understand the various installation characteristics of their specific flooring materials,” said Tony Buckhardt, past CFI certification chairman and current secretary of the organization. “It is very important for their products to be installed by qualified personnel. CFI, working together with the manufacturers provides the opportunity for training and certification that covers all aspects of this type of installation. The new sixty-plus page manual is distributed for future reference. CFI’s programs are continually updated,”
Materials were donated by Armstrong, Congoleum, IVC and Mannington. Due to the many requests for training, CFI has constructed three crates to be filled with tools and supplies that will be shipped nationwide. Many have been donated by Armstrong, Better Tools, Mannington, Personna, QEP, ShopVac, Traxx, Wagner Meters, and other manufacturers.
“With the rapid growth of resilient products, ProSource was enthusiastic about hosting the CFI course to provide the installers with the latest knowledge and skills training,” said Wamser. “This was a very intensive two-day program that provided input from a variety of manufacturers.”
“CFI is looking for professionals who are proud,” said CFI ceo Jim Walker. “Flooring installation is a true art and provides a true value not only for the dealers, but the customers. This must be made available to customers who purchase flooring and meet their expectations concerning the installation. During the past eighteen years, CFI has provided intensive training for flooring professionals. CFI is proud that we do not need “flooring police” for certified installers because they daily provide installations of which they are proud to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction. CFI continues to gain momentum and strength because of those who wear the CFI emblem proudly.”
During the seaming test, Walker said, “As I tear each seam open, I am looking for cut fibers, incorrect preparation methods, coverage of the latex and sufficient bonding of the seam tape. There is nothing you can do to this seam that I cannot find, even years later. As installers, we leave evidence of the type of work we do, so it must be done correctly.”
Installers who are seeking certification must demonstrate their skills and construct seams in various types of carpet styles, powerstretch and align patterns, upholster stairs without staples, demonstrate direct-glue and double-glue seaming procedures, moisture testing and other techniques. A written test of knowledge and procedures, installation terms and a backing test are also required.
The installers were introduced to new techniques by Walker and David Engelbrecht of CFI Wisconsin. The two-day course provided one-on-one training to enhance the individual skills of the installers.
“We find that those who attend are very serious about promoting their skills and achieving the ultimate in customer satisfaction,” said Walker. “The satisfaction they receive from a job well done is very important to them,”
“Our local chapter has encountered remarkable success with all of the training programs that have been presented, including resilient, ceramic tile, carpet and laminate and wood,” said Nate Hall, President of CFI Wisconsin. “Many of those in attendance today have participated in all of them. Our next chapter meeting will address business management and everyone is invited to attend,”
Due to the success of the programs, CFI Wisconsin, working with the ProSource and the World Floor Covering Association will host a laminate and wood training and certification on July 13-14, 2012. This event will be accompanied by another flooring surface training which will be announced later.
“Because installers were turned away from the first laminate and wood training event due to the lack of space, we are suggesting that installers register early for the next one,” stated Gary Goessl, vice president of the chapter.