1000 CTEF Instructor
Owner Dirk Sullivan of Hawthorne Tile, Vladimir Blashchishchin, tile installer 1000, and Scott Carothers of CTEF.

The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) recently certified its 1,000th tile installer.

Since its inception in 2008, the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) Evaluation Program has certified hundreds of tile installers across the country. With an initial goal to extend and expand the existing roster to over 1,000 by the end of 2014, CTEF is pleased to announce that it is has done just that.  

On March 17, during an official CTI test conducted at Daltile in Portland, Ore., Vladmir Blashchishchin was CTEF’s 1000th certified tile installer. A quality-oriented tile installer with Hawthorne Tile in Portland, he was the well-qualified recipient of this prestigious award. 

Too often, consumers choose tile installation contractors based on price alone, which results in lost work for qualified installers, and ultimately, installation failures. CTEF launched the CTI program to provide a means for top-quality, highly knowledgeable installers to verify their skills and subsequently promote themselves to potential clients and employers. 

Certification enables professional installers to provide industry-recognized proof of their abilities, which ultimately helps them get more work. The program was developed in response to the lack of any credible mechanism helping consumers gauge the level of proficiency of prospective tile installers. By encouraging consumers to use only the best-qualified installers, this program continues to raise the quality of installations in the U.S. Making strides toward this goal is important in maintaining the status of ceramic tile as the material of choice..

The Certified Tile Installer Evaluation is a comprehensive testing of the skills and knowledge of experienced tile installers which includes both a multiple-choice exam and hands-on test. Based upon current industry standards and best practices for producing sound installations that exhibit good workmanship, this Certification process is the validation of the skills and knowledge of men and women who presently are installing tile successfully in the United States. Installers, who successfully complete the CTI testing, receive nationwide recognition of their accomplishment by being listed on the CTEF website which provides the contact information of CTI's to everyone from the architect to the residential consumer.  

With increased awareness of the CTI program, the growing desire of installers to elevate themselves above the crowd by getting certified, and the fact that architects are now calling for “qualified labor” on an increasing number of their projects, the CTI designation is poised to grow at a quick pace in the near future.

With Blashchishchin's certification, he will now qualify to participate in the Advanced Vertification for tile Installers (ACT) program. The ACT program was created through the combined efforts of six leading organizations in the tile industry: CTEF; the International Masonry Institute (IMI); the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (IUBAC); the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA); the Tile Contractors' Association of America (TCAA) and the Tile Council of North America (TCNA). 

The intent of the ACT certification program is to provide a level of consumer confidence for tile installation procedures that exceed ANSI standards and TCNA guidelines for floor and wall.  ACT certified installers represent the pinnacle of performance in the tile trade and maintain a level of excellence superior to non-ACT certified installers. However, ACT is not a training program.  Rather, it evaluates the skills and knowledge of tile installers who are either a CTEF CTI or a Journeyman installer through the IUBAC. Currently, certifications are available in five specific areas of tile installation:  

• Large Format Tile & Substrate Preparation

• Membranes

• Mortar (Mud) Floors

• Mortar (Mud) Walls

• Shower Receptors  

By certifying key installers via the ACT program, companies become part of an elite group of contractors eligible to bid projects specifically requiring ACT certified installers.