To help architectural and design professionals demand installation excellence, the tile industry approved historic new language for its 2012 Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook. This update details the credentials an installer needs to complete a specific project so that the customer can rely on both the beauty and longevity of the tile.
In the past, correct tile specifications have included types of tile, setting materials, methods of installation, and any mention of installer qualifications has been vague at best. However, this new TCNA handbook, “strongly recommends using installers who have demonstrated their commitment to their craft and taken the time to stay current with the latest materials and methods.”
Listed are recognized certifications and programs which give an indication of a tile professional’s qualifications. Also referenced is a Contractor Questionnaire developed by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) which can be used “to aid in evaluating and comparing contractors.”
“Well-established and recognized programs like CTEF Certification, National Tile Contractors Association’s (NTCA) Five-Star Contractor designation, and Tile Contractors Association of America’s Trowel of Excellence distinction allow specifiers and owners to feel confident that their material is being installed by a company which has the expertise and integrity to do the job correctly. They also assure manufacturers that their quality products are being installed by knowledgeable craftsmen who will stand behind their work,” said NTCA and Neuse Tile Service president, Nyle Wadford.
This industry-approved language has also been added to MasterSpec and other systems designed for use by engineers, architects, specification writers and owners.
Most tile installers will tell you they do a ‘quality’ job, but for true ‘quality’ other things MUST be considered:
-How long will the installation last? will it move when the structure breathes? how much use can the surface withstand? will the setting material keep the tile in place when water seeps through? how challenging will it be to maintain the surface?
-What are the consequences of a project’s failure? grout coming up or ‘crunching’ heard each time you walk across a floor? tiles popping loose and creating a trip hazard? down-time and money to re-do the project; or water seeping through the downstairs ceiling?
As TCNA executive director Eric Astrachan said, “For a tile installation with permanence and artistry, specify installers who are passionate about their craft. For a permanent finish, the issue should never be who is cheapest, but rather who is best.”