Daltile in Scranton, Pennsylvania, hosted the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) workshop, “Failures – Could it be me?” on July 11, 2023. About 10 industry professionals attended the AIA- and IDCEC-accredited workshop, which was lead by NTCA Trainer Hank Boyle.

During the workshop, Boyle explored common tile installation failures, why they can be so critical for proper installation, and how to avoid them. He covered multiple best practices for the industry, which are in the NTCA handbook.

To kick off the evening, attendees got the opportunity to network with representative from SunTouch, Custom Tile Installation Systems, Mapei and Schluter Systems while eating dinner provided by NTCA.

“People see what problems are plaguing our industry and how to avoid them, and it reinforces the things they are doing right,” Boyle said.

Some of the leading types of common failures in tile installation are improper or incomplete surface preparation, improper troweling techniques, improper bond coat coverage and thickness, improper use and preparation of setting materials, lack of expansion joins, and improper shower or wet area construction.

“Excessive lippage can be avoided by making sure we have a flat substrate,” said Boyle. 

hank 2.pngHank Boyle, NTCA trainer, demonstrating how to properly mix VersaBond Lite Mortar. Photo: Floor Trends


After Boyle’s presentation, he demonstrated the importance of measuring products correctly. Although this may seem like a tedious step after doing it so often, measuring the products according to the directions saves time in the long run. 

Using VersaBond Lite Mortar by Custom Building Products, he showed the proper way to mix for the perfect installation process. Not measuring your water may lead to more trial and error to get the ideal consistency.

“The training really went well. Everyone that attended worked hard all day and still showed up to actively participate,” said Boyle.

hank.pngHank Boyle, NTCA Trainer, explaining the importance of properly measuring the water to mortar ratio. Photo: Floor Trends


E.J White, territory manager, Schluter Systems, gave a demonstration on how to apply mortar properly using Schluter All-Set. He gave examples of how different techniques may not stick to the Schluter-Kerdi waterproofing membrane as well.

“The NTCA training programs are not specific to a particular manufacturer and just involve best practices, industry standards and industry approved methods making it an unbiased source of knowledge that is important for everyone in the tile industry," Boyle said. "Giving up part of your afternoon/evening for continued training and education shows dedication to the craft and a willingness to change if necessary."

For more upcoming NTCA trainings and workshops, click here.