The Flooring Inspectors Educational Guild Fall Seminar is an opportunity for the inspection community to come together in person and share their experiences and learn from each other, according to Lee Tucker, founder of the Guild.

“Everyone wants to do everything online, and I understand it because it’s so much more inexpensive, but they’re missing golden opportunities,” he said. “When I started [in the business], I went to everything I could. I took everyone I could out to lunch or dinner, and I would sit and listen.”

The Fall Seminar was held at the Dalton Convention Center on October 2 and 3, 2023, in Dalton, Georgia. Attendees learned about ceramic tile examinations, engineered wood inspection techniques, the science behind moisture meters, identifying defects in engineered wood flooring, concrete moisture meter measurements, adhesives and substrates, waterproofing and sound proofing, and flooring standards versus building codes.

The seminar is not just for flooring inspectors. It is for anyone, including flooring installers, contractors and retailers, who would like to learn more about what flooring inspectors are looking for and how to protect themselves against litigation.

“The only way you're going to protect yourself is to come in and look at what inspectors are looking for, and you have to understand what's going on; what are you putting that floor on top of,” said Billy Simmons, certified forensic consultant, ITAC International. “At the Guild, these classes are designed to help protect you because knowledge is power, right?” 

Coming from an installer background, Simmons empathizes with the installer community, citing that the majority learned from someone else—a father, a grandfather—and any bad habits that were instilled then continue to be an issue if education is not sought after. 

“Things change, and in this industry, it's definitely changed,” said Simmons. “Everything from adhesives to going from a 16” on-center framing to 24” on-center framing to issues like deflection. You need to know those things, and this is an excellent opportunity. It's not just for inspectors. [It’s for] installers, dealers, retailers and anyone else; we've had people in our classes that do big commercial jobs.”

Mark Cordle, owner, Echota Home Inspections, led a presentation on the international residential building code in relation to flooring performance and also the National Association of Home Builders warranty standards. 

“The fact of the matter with the building codes is that the flooring installed depends, as far as performance goes, on the structure it's being installed on and if you have problems with this structure, then you are going to have problems with your floor,” Cordle said. 

The second topic Cordle focused on was that builders are now writing into their sales contracts the North American Home Builders Association (NAHB) performance standards as the warranty standards for the home. 

“We've had two situations so far, one in court and one in an arbitration, where the arbitrator and the judge both upheld contract law over anything,” Cordle said. “In other words, if the NAHB said, you're allowed an eighth of an inch gap in wood flooring and the National Wood Flooring Association says no that's excessive, well guess what? You're stuck with the NAHB warranty specifications.”

Cordle urges flooring installers to dig deeper into all components of the home building process that directly impact the floor’s performance. 

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