This year’s “The International Surface Event,” which now includes Surfaces, StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas and TileExpo, was a very busy show. Not only from the seemingly endless number of exhibitors to see, but also the increasing number of hands-on certification courses on the show floor hosted by groups including International Certified Floorcovering Installers (CFI), the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), and the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI). I had the pleasure of being a judge for ICRI’s hands-on certification. You know, it’s difficult enough when having to take a test, but to have to do so in front of so many show attendees adds even more pressure; hats off to those who attended this certification.

Those going through the certification process attended a seminar the day before to gain knowledge about concrete and proper moisture testing procedures following American Standards Testing Methods (ASTM) guidelines. The following day was hands-on testing, including the placement of calcium chloride test kits, relative humidity in-situ tests and hood tests, which measures relative humidity at the surface of a concrete slab.

ICRI testing and certification at Surfaces included knowing how to use calcium chloride test kits, relative humidity
in-situ tests and hood tests.

Ken Lozen, ICRI technical director, stated, “Our experience at the International Surface Event was a success for ICRI. We had a total of 28 participants attend our Concrete Slab Moisture Testing Technician certification program. The certification program is now entering its sixth year, with a total of approximately 650 individuals to date who have achieved Tier 2 - Grade 1 certification. We look forward to further certification opportunities with Surfaces in the future.”

Anyone in the flooring industry can tell you moisture is a big issue. Whether you’re an installer, inspector, or estimator, I highly recommend this certification. Installers, if you don’t understand moisture and testing procedures, it can come back to hurt you financially, especially when every flooring manufacturer has moisture requirements in their guidelines. Inspectors, if you are inspecting installations over concrete substrates then wouldn’t it make sense to be qualified as an independent third-party tester? And for those of you doing the estimating, when the installer arrives on the jobsite is notthe time to be conducting moisture tests. The installer is there to work; when pre-jobsite conditions are not met it hurts the installer and everyone involved with project setbacks, as well as financially since time lost is also money lost.

Thanks to ICRI’s Ken Lozen and Peter Craig for letting me participate in a great program, and thanks as well to the International Surface Event for hosting these programs. They understand the importance of training, certification and education in the installation industry. Do you?