They came, they tested and now they’re installing. Having completed a comprehensive written examination of their technical knowledge on Wednesday, a group of the nation’s top installers today went to the mat -- or, more accurately, to the floor –- to demonstrate before a crowd of Surfaces attendees the skills that make them the industry’s elite.

The WFCA 2001 National Installation Contest is the nation's premier floor covering installation competition. Twenty finalists, selected in a series of regional heats, have convened at the Sands Expo & Convention Center to pit their installation finesse against one another. At stake is cash, a range of prizes and the right to claim title as the nation's best installer.

Kevin Twohig works his way up the stairs in his installation vignette.
The contest evaluates contestants according to various installation esoterica -- everything from adhesive selection to personal appearance. Unchanged from the 2000 event are the three criteria by which the competitors are scored: a written exam; repair work; and a hands-on project. On Wednesday, the contestants finished the first two challenges, and today completed the first stage of the hands-on project.

To reach the national finals at Surfaces, the finalists had to qualify in one of the eight regional contests conducted by the WFCA in various sections of the country. Entrants competed in one of two categories, carpet or resilient, under the discerning eyes of the judges.

The tools and materials of the flooring installation trade await the hands of a skilled craftsman.
The installers are judged on a variety of procedures that would apply in a real-world scenario, including: the ability to follow a work order; tool usage; safe working habits; floor preparation; metal fabrication; use of pattern felt; seam layout and placement; and overall appearance, to mention a few.

For years, the WFCA has helped promote and shape the cause of the installation professional. The National Installation Contest, co-sponsored by National Floor Trends and Floor Covering Installer magazines, is just one of the many results the WFCA is able to show for its efforts.

Contest winners will be named at the conclusion of Surfaces tomorrow.

UPDATE -- the winners of the 2001 National installation contest are as follows:

First place, resilient: Mike Suffia of Vacaville, Calif.-based Anderson Carpet & Linoleum.
Second place, resilient: David Rowden of Floor Factors in Portland, Ore.
First place, carpet: Jon Namba of Technical Flooring Sevices in Murray, Utah.
Second place, carpet: Mark Biron of Manchester, N.H.-based Mark Biron Installations.

NFT congratulates this year's installation contest winners!