We can’t believe we are celebrating the 10th year of the Installation Awards, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. This year brought in double the number of entries for an expanded number of categories. In this month’s issue, Floor Trends and Installation Managing Editor Beth Miller shares those dynamic stories of skill, sweat—and in many cases, a lot of patience—via features, images and video. You’ll see projects ranging in scale from a large installation at Epcot at Walt Disney World that used 3D models to create intricate patterns on the floor to an intricate residential mosaic shower installation.
The talent of these installers underscores the need for more industry recruitment and better compensation. The hard work of installation takes a lot of skill, and installers should be paid for that skill. We have grown as industry, allowing for trade-ups of product thanks to better performance, durability, and aesthetics, but as flooring advances and rises in price due to natural market shifts, the financial benefit has not trickled down to the flooring installer. It’s going to take the entire industry to shift that tide—from independent retailers, big boxes and contractors.
Championing the installation community is one of the most important things we can do as a media channel. If you haven’t already read or watched our coverage, I encourage you to go back through our 2023 installation archives. Here are a few highlights:
It was standing room only in the education sessions and demos at the inaugural 2023 Certified Flooring Installers (CFI) and Flooring Contractors Association (FCICA) Convention, where installers came to glean tips and tricks of the trade, elevate their skills, and discuss the uncertainty of business in 2024.
DeGraaf Interiors kicked off the first retailer-led, five-week International Certified Flooring Installers (CFI) training in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Five students received scholarships through the Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF) with the other half of the tuition covered by DeGraaf and another area retailer. The model set a standard that will help other retailers set up similar programs across North America.
John Steier, owner, Steier Flooring, has been putting down flooring for over 20 years. He recently left a 15-year career as a volunteer for his local police reserve unit to write a new chapter—flooring installation training. He tells us what it really takes to be a trainer.
The “Ballin Knows Best” chatbot is designed to answer any question related to flooring installation, flooring products, flooring standards, tools and equipment.
Dale and Don Jarmer, owners of Jarmer Flooring, discuss how their experience in the flooring industry led to the creation of their app, Floor Swap, and how they hope it can help flooring contractors save time and money.
Recently, the Lowe’s Foundation committed $50 million to prepare and train 50,000 men and women for the skilled trades over five years.