*This article by INSTALL executive director John T. McGrath, Jr. was originally featured in Coverings Canada.
Simply put, certified floor covering installers are the best installers for the job. And to remain at the top of the trade, installers must make career-long commitments to obtaining the best training available. However, with so many options to choose from, it may be difficult to know how to select the proper courses, led by the most knowledgeable instructors.
Courses Guided by Experts
It’s vital to start with a program coordinated by a leading training organization that is guided by industry leaders, manufacturers, and technical experts. As the most comprehensive floor covering installation training organization, the International Standards and Training Alliance (INSTALL) ensures that its certified installers meet strict standards. The organization has built rigorous programs by leveraging a wealth of knowledge and decades of experience.
With the ability to draw subject matter experts from various corners of the industry, INSTALL has its finger on the pulse of potential challenges installers may face before they encounter them. Solutions are quickly formulated, and new certification standards are reviewed and implemented. This ensures that installers are consistently learning the newest skills, gaining the most relevant product knowledge, and becoming more efficient, bringing peace of mind to their customers that each flooring project is installed correctly the first time.
Whether choosing courses offered by INSTALL or another leading organization that offers expert training programs, it’s vital to find a program that offers real world experience, stays current on industry trends, and keeps safety at the forefront of its curriculum. Let’s take an even closer look at choosing a floor covering installation training program.
Hands-On Training Curated For All Skill Levels
Curated with all skill levels in mind, the most comprehensive training program offerings address real-world applications, from apprentices to experienced installers who may need to hone their skills. It is ideal to look for floor covering programs that re-examine best practices and offer career-long skill building and professional development, no matter where the installer is on their career path.
For instance, many commercial jobsites now specify glue-down carpet installations. To address this installation requirement, INSTALL updated its carpet installation training standard. The course looks closely at specific details, including how to properly prepare the substrate, select the proper adhesive for the material, and apply the adhesive with the proper trowel notch, as well as address the appropriate open time for the adhesive. In addition to being attuned to industry trends, more advanced
carpet installation curriculum will push installers to master higher-level skills in seaming and pattern-matching.
Updated Standards That Reflect Trends and Safety
Manufacturers are continuously making strides in product advancement. To keep pace with these progressions, efficiencies are always being made within the floor covering industry. It’s important to look for floor covering installation training programs conducted by leading organizations that are consistently updating and advancing standards and certifications.
More and more commercial projects incorporate luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and luxury vinyl plank (LVP) installations. As a result of this enormous growth, INSTALL has also made improvements to its resilient flooring certification. Recent advancements to the curriculum include instruction on random pattern LVP and LVT installation—an increasingly common design aesthetic in commercial settings.
In order to prevent flooring failures, before LVP or LVT patterns are laid—just as in any flooring material—the substrate must be examined and properly prepared. All substrate preparation certification courses should address the potential for concrete moisture presence and mitigation, as this is an integral concern. Flooring contractors and installers should look for programs that address proper training in recognizing and mitigating sources of moisture. It’s important to have the most up-to-date knowledge to protect the flooring installation’s integrity and occupant health.
Reputable organizations will offer comprehensive courses that also include training in health and safety. Especially important in healthcare facility renovations, this additional training should include the best methods for protecting installers, patients, and staff, keeping them safe during construction and long after. In the wake of Covid-19, it is particularly critical for a floor covering installation curriculum to include essential instruction on both personal protective equipment (PPE) and patient protective equipment. The knowledge and compliance of these practices are required to receive certification in many courses.
Curriculum Embraces Product Evolution
Technology and products are continuously changing. While this was stated previously, it bears repeating.
Keeping skills relevant with training is imperative and should not be an option. Even seasoned, skilled floor covering installers need to enroll in training courses to stay at the top of the industry. Neglecting to stay current on training can result in inefficient, unprepared installers and lead to flooring failures.
Training organizations that partner with flooring manufacturers can adapt their curriculum to ensure the training covers new product evolution, teaching floorcovering installers about new materials and ideal techniques for installing them. In addition, training organizations that regularly meet with industry leaders to discuss better installation methods and tools will ensure their training is ahead of the curve.
Because floorcovering installation requires career-long training, experts agree that training updates should be taken yearly. Regular enrollment in training courses guarantees that installers are retaining certifications and assures customers that their floor covering team is a safe bet.
Theory of Proper Installation is Highlighted
North America offers a vast number of training opportunities. Choosing a program can seem overwhelming. Installers should select courses held at state-of-the-art facilities focused on the theory and practice of proper installation, that also cover a comprehensive selection of flooring materials. Cutting-edge training programs will focus on fundamental and advanced skills, working efficiently, and include lessons on safety.
Installers can take important steps to further their careers and contractors can help keep their crews and their businesses at the forefront of the trade by focusing on quality floor covering installation training. Plus, they’re reducing the likelihood of costly rework and safety hazards, all while increasing their productivity and quality of work—ensuring beautiful installations that will perform as intended over the long haul.
About the Author
John T. McGrath, Jr. is the Executive Director of INSTALL – the International Standards and Training Alliance, which is the construction industry’s best industry-endorsed floor covering installation training and certification program.
McGrath has helped to increase installation standards and expectations in the flooring industry by playing a leading role in facilitating communication and cooperation among mills, manufacturers, specifiers, contractors and installers. All of these groups regularly come together to review and revise the INSTALL curriculum and certification standards.