Experience/Certification Equals Qualified Labor
The Advanced Certifications for Tile Installers (ACT)
The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF)
Journeyman Tile Layer Apprenticeship Program
The National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) Five-Star Contractors
The Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA) Trowel of Excellence Program
Contractors Affiliated with Industry Associations Have Greater Access to More Resources
Asking Your Installer a Few Key Questions Could Save You
Reviews and References Tell the Real Story
What You Need to Know Before Hiring Anyone to Install New Tile Floors and Walls
Four Fast Facts to Help You Hire the Right Ceramic Tile Installer
Start your project right. Use an installer who knows how to make your investment beautiful and last for years to come.
Your ceramic tile installation is meant to be a permanent finish. For that reason, the lowest bid should never be the deciding factor when selecting your installer. Instead, you want to first determine if the bidding contractor has a proven track record of success with the type of work you are requiring and then compare bids based on these qualifications.
Look for at least two years (more is better) of verifiable ceramic tile installation experience in a lead role. Experience as a “helper,” “grouter,” “finisher,” or other single-task positions indicates entry-level experience, and won’t cut it for a full quality ceramic tile installation.
The other piece of information to look for? Certification or organization recognition from any of the following nationally recognized organizations:
Installers with these credentials have successfully demonstrated the knowledge, skill, experience and time-management abilities needed to meet the latest in industry standards and best practices.
When you see an industry association membership designation, know that the contractor is a part of an organization widely recognized as the largest and most-respected in the industry. These experts contribute to developing the industry standards in ceramic tile.
When you’ve got a qualified contractor affiliated with an industry association working on your floors and walls, they bring access to the widest network of ceramic tile professionals to the job. Being part of an industry association often gives these installers access to additional knowledge and experience.
Once you’ve narrowed potential installers down based on the background research above, it’s time to reach out for quotes. When you do, take the opportunity to also ask each one these seven key questions (along with any others you have):
Given my existing floors and walls, please describe the installation process.
How long will the job take, and what could go wrong/cause the price or scope to change?
If this is a remodel project, explain what your demolition and cleanup process looks like?
Can you confirm you are properly licensed, bonded and insured for ceramic tile installation?
Can you provide assurance that the team you are assigning to my project is qualified and trained?
Can you provide a few references from recently completed jobs?
What is your warranty for work provided?
If you don’t get the answers you need, or the installer doesn’t seem confident in answering them, it may be a red flag. A quality ceramic tile installer will always be straightforward about the true cost of quality work.
Don’t just ask for references – check them. And read any reviews you can get your hands on, too.
How was their communication and timing? Was the person they spoke to the one who actually did the work? Are there photos of the finished job? Did the pricing come close to the estimate in the end? Would they hire the tile installer again?
One or two people complaining might just be the exceptions. But if multiple reviews raise the same issues, there’s no reason to believe the installer will complete the work in a satisfactory way for you, either.
Follow these steps and you will have an amazing tile installation that will last for years to come.