Pendleton, S.C. -- The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) recognized Alex Smith, owner of North Carolina-based Installations by Alex, as the organization's 1500th Certified Tile Installer (CTI) at the Total Solutions Plus conference in Dallas.
Established in 2008 to create a pool of recognized high-quality tile installers and combat poor installation, 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.
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.
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 explains, “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.”
For Smith, the CTI program is about providing customers with confirmation that he is qualified labor. “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.”
For more information, visit www.ceramictilefoundation.org.