Troy, Mich.—In the face of the installation shortage and an aging installer population, Certified Flooring Installers (CFI) is working to attract new and young installers through its education and certification programs. CFI hosts training for installers at all levels, seminars for flooring associated and certifications in residential and commercial carpet, hardwood and laminate, ceramic, and residential and commercial resilient flooring installation. Recently, Dave Garden, CFI-certified Carpet Master II, and Glen Stover, CFI-certified Carpet Master, of Installation Services LLC in Troy, Mich., hosted the five-week residential carpet installation training courses, and included students.

CFI training teaches students everything they need to know to confidently carpet an average three-bedroom home, starting from the bottom up—beginning with tack strips and padding before advancing to installing carpet, seaming, and pattern matching. On the first day, students receive the tools needed to successfully install carpet: a belt and pouch, hook knife, carpet blade, and knee pads. “In this industry, your knees are your money makers,” said Garden. “Take care of yourself and you’ll be able to work in the industry for a long time.” Students gain confidence with their tools through hands-on learning, working first in 3x3 ft. boxes, then in a mock three-bedroom “home,” complete with common features of a home an installer might encounter on a job site such as stairs, transitions, and tight corners. 

Many young installers never realized that flooring installation was a viable career option before they were introduced to it through a current member of the industry and underwent CFI training. Marquis Wright, owner of Mr. Wright flooring in Jacksonville, Fla., who attended CFI’s 2018 annual convention in San Antonio, Texas, was introduced to the floor covering installation industry through his neighbor when he took Wright to his worksite 10 years ago. Now, Wright owns his own installation business with a six-person crew that specializes in hardwood, laminate and LVT. 

Brook Williams, with The Rug Gallery in Cincinnati, worked for a moving company before the Rug Gallery sponsored his five-week residential carpet training. Now, Williams is a lead installer, learning how to install high-end residential carpet under CFI Master Installers. Williams wants to gain certification in all types of flooring and run his own business someday and to become an educator through CFI. 

Other young installers new to the industry come from retail, roofing, and other service-oriented industries, but plan to stay in flooring installation because of the job security and the career opportunities. Carlos Proctor, Installation Services and recent graduate of the five-week residential carpet course, said he liked the floor covering industry because his career was determined by the amount of work he was willing to put into it. He felt the CFI certification significantly lent to his future career security and opportunities. 

What were the most important lessons these students learned through CFI? “Measure twice, cut once” and “respect your blade.” 

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