Jim and Jane Walker of CFI present an honorary membership certificate to CFI member Jim McClain.

Surfaces 2012 continued its focus on education for installers with a wide range of seminars and demonstrations covering all aspects of the flooring installation trade.

FCI columnist Jon Namba conducted an informative seminar on Proper Substrate Preparation for Hardwood, Bamboo and Laminate. Speaking to a standing-room-only crowd on Jan. 23, Namba addressed the need for proper moisture testing and understanding of product manufacturing tolerances, among other concerns for installers of wood and laminate flooring.

“Installers absolutely must understand the correct moisture testing methods for the flooring to be properly installed,” Namba said.

Tim Provence of Armstrong demonstrates the company’s latest adhesive installation technology at Surfaces 2012.

After the presentation, Namba addressed many individual questions from attendees, who were impressed with the quality of the presentation.

“This was a very informative presentation,” said CFI secretary and FCI columnist Dave Garden. “There was a ton of information presented in a short time.”

“It was a great session,” said installer Rick Jones of Houston, Texas. “There was an amazing amount of information in 1 ½ hours.”

John McGrath, ceo of INSTALL, demonstrates resilient installation techniques in one of the organization’s training modules.

“We had a good mix of people from all areas of the industry, from installers to manufacturers and retailers,” Namba noted.

Later that day, inspector Claudia Lezell of Inspections Too presented an information-packed session on Wood Flooring and Laminate Issues. Again, much of the focus was on the need for proper moisture testing and understanding of manufacturing tolerances.

In addition to the sessions, there were a variety of hands-on demonstrations of the latest installation products and techniques throughout the show, with technical experts available to answer installers’ questions.

Lucky installer Rodney Nance of Locust, N.C. was the winner of a custom chopper presented by APAC adhesives. Nance won the chopper by purchasing a pail of adhesives with the winning sticker at CMH Ellis Distributors in Charlotte, N.C.

Tim Provence of Armstrong demonstrated the company’s latest adhesive technology, which allows installers to move and replace boards in the new Alterna resilient series faster and more easily, saving installers time and money.

MAPEI introduced its new ECO Prim Grip, a primer that allows installers to install tile over existing tile and stone floors without having to scarify the surface.

Between the manufacturers’ demonstrations, the installation seminars on the main stage of the show floor, and the educational seminars throughout the show, this edition of Surfaces offered an abundance of useful information for installers.

Scott Benavent (L) and Sam Biondi (R), national presenter and senior tile and stone installation consultant for MAPEI, demonstrate the company’s latest product, ECO Prim Grip, at Surfaces 2012.

“Until now, I have always felt that installers got ignored at a show like this,” Garden said. “This year changed my mind. The real value, it turns out, is visiting the manufacturers’ booths, most of which had their technical directors present to answer questions from installers. At most booths, the tech person was either a CFI Certified Professional or referred to one for help when needed. This was one more feather in the cap for a trade show like this.”

A variety of installation seminars and demonstrations continued throughout the remainder of the three-day show. Attendees were please with this year’s educational offerings, which had increased emphasis on installation techniques and technology.

“This year’s educational seminars were very well planned,” said Roland Thompson, educational director of the Maryland and Northern Viginia Floor Covering Association. “I’ve come away from all the educational sessions with useful new knowledge that I can apply to my installation business.”

The manufacturers were also pleased with the enthusiasm of the installers in attendance.

Roland Thompson, educational director of the Maryland and Northern Virginia Floor Covering Association, accepts the Howard Olansky Award for WFCA Affiliate of the Year, Large Association.

“What a great show,” said Rita Bockrath director of marketing for Duo-Fast. “We especially appreciated the opportunity to present our new product, Jet Tac Flooring Adhesive, at one of the venues near the tool manufacturer’s area. With standing-room-only attendance, it is evident to us that people come to Surfaces to learn and be exposed to new tools. The enthusiasm generated at this year’s show so excelled last year that every minute was busy at our booth and I am certain it was for other manufacturers also.”

In addition to the manufacturers, leading installation organizations, including the International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association (CFI), INSTALL, and the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) were on hand to answer questions from installers.

“The CFI booth was especially busy with requests for training,” said CFI ceo Jim Walker. “It appears that something is happening out there because the focus on training has been strong during 2011 and continues into 2012. Hanley Wood personnel are to be commended also for the opportunity they present to attendees to receive an abundance of educational training. Attendees voiced their appreciation throughout the show for the information they received. Surfaces is not only a manufacturer-driven event, but one of the largest educational opportunities in the industry.”-John Moore