David M. Gobis, a third-generation tile setter, is the Technical Director for the
Ceramic Tile Education Foundation. A 35-year veteran of the trade, he owned and
operated a successful contracting business for many years prior to his current
position. Mr. Gobis is an author of numerous trade related articles and a
frequent speaker at industry events. He is member of the Construction
Specification Institute, International Code Council, American Concrete
Institute, National Tile Contractors Technical Committee, and a voting member
of The American National Standards for Ceramic Tile Installation and Setting
Materials (ANSI A108/118), American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM)
C-21 Ceramic Whitewares, and Tile Council of America Installation Handbook
While my focus usually is
installation and technical issues, this time we are going to get personal. As
you may know, for many years prior to my current position as Technical Director
for CTEF I was a tile contractor. Through necessity in our area, this included
a retail operation and a warehouse facility for both residential and commercial
accounts. Our business started three years before gas rationing in 1974,
followed by a recession in 1979-80, and experienced several additional
downturns in the mid 80’s and early 90’s.
Training Tribulations [Noun] 1.
Great affliction, trial, or distress; suffering. 2. An experience that tests
one’s endurance, patience, or faith.
What’s that? You say you’ve never heard of training tribulations? After
10 years of fulltime teaching, I can most certainly assure you it is very real.
I can also assure you the triumphs of successful efforts far outweigh any of
the negatives. Education is something one must do to achieve personal
satisfaction and fulfillment. There is no amount of money commensurate to the
effort put forth by those developing and presenting a high quality instruction
to students. That means the program is
devoid of any product other than knowledge. Those who avail themselves of such
opportunities have bestowed upon themselves a gift they can use throughout
their career. This is why I teach.
Time once again to open the mailbag
and respond to some of the questions readers have sent. Whether they ask about
situations that are common or unique, the volume of mail suggests there is no
shortage of questions about tile. That may be a reflection of our industry’s
lack of formal training. To the unschooled, something that would be a minor
issue to a trained pro suddenly looks like a manufacturer’s plot to fleece the
installer and pad the bill. But keep in mind that there are two sides to a
story. With rare exception we only hear one. The opinions therefore are based
solely on the information provided and may not accurately reflect the actual
issue. As always we look for issues that seem the most pressing, and rest
assured we did some judicious editing to protect the innocent.
Today more than ever, the world’s
ceramic tile community rightly insists that its products be considered as an
installed system. They fully recognize that tile doesn’t serve its purpose or demonstrate
its capabilities until it’s not only properly manufactured but installed. This
is also where the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation dedicates most of its
efforts. It should also be extremely important to retailers or contractors who
do business in tile to fully grasp the technical basis for a successful job,
and to understand the critical properties of ceramic tile and the environment
in which the tile will be installed.
last time we used this space for a mailbag it proved very popular. Since that
time I have been collecting more questions and will focus on those with a broad
range of interests in the flooring world.