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CFI hosts ‘historic’ installation event in Dalton

Volume 26/Number 22; March 18/25, 2013

Dalton—During a historic four-day training event earlier this month, more than 100 installers, dealers, claims analysts and industry associates gathered here to learn how to install flooring “the right way.” The training was sponsored by the International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI).

The event began with a laminate and wood installation workshop taught by CFI’s Bob Gillespie and Danny Sherman along with Armstrong’s Tim Provence as attendees participated hands-on to learn more about installation. The teams of two tested and prepared substrates, installed laminate flooring, then installed various types of wood flooring according to the manufacturers’ guidelines.

“Working closely with the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) and the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) teaches attendees about the requirements of installation,” said Gillespie, who is also an NWFA trainer. “We want nothing short of the best training, and working together promotes this. When it comes to installation, rules are rules and must be followed. Taking shortcuts does not achieve what CFI stresses—customer satisfaction.”

He added another benefit of achieving CFI certification is the opportunity to become NWFA, NALFA and Armstrong certified.

Danny Sherman, owner of Megs Interiors in Atlanta, agreed training is essential for success. “Lack of training can create enormous financial difficulties, and we have found working with CFI helps avoid these types of problems.” As part of CFI’s certification team, he can attest when “installers attend these classes, they leave with a different outlook on installation. They not only receive the most comprehensive training available, but a desire to be the best in their field. For owners, this computes to a business environment comparable to none.”

In the tile workshop, led by Roy Lewis, owner of Eagle Interiors in Phenix, Ala., a floor and wall installation was conducted from start to finish. Participants were given ideas that facilitate their work. “Eyes are opened when we share something that not only increases their value, but eliminates hours of work that can be directed elsewhere.”

Tony Buckhardt of Carpet Cushions and Supplies in Indiana, said the workshop covered every aspect of a tile installation. “There is no other tile training that delivers this much information in a hands-on setting.”

Lead instructor and CFI executive director Robert Varden said the carpet installation workshop offered the opportunity to achieve four levels of certification—Residential I and II and Commercial I and II. “Each level is clearly identified to assure the customer is using a qualified installer.”

Installers are required to construct seams using various tools and methods according to the CFI proven methods of installation, he noted, and “demonstrate the correct methods of power-stretching and trimming; upholster a stair without the use of staples; apply adhesive using the manufacturer’s recommendations, and understand the terms associated with installation and the various carpet backings.”

Armstrong’s Tim Provence, Congoleum’s Joe Cea and Buckhardt presented the resilient workshop. “We share the installation requirements of the various resilient programs from the beginning of the job through completion,” Provence said. “We always work with the mills to showcase their unique installation requirements so installers understand what is expected. In the two-day program, installers work with different products, including LVT, felt-backed, glass-backed, planks and more. We include repairs as well as installation techniques.”

According to Cea, in today’s world, training is a must. “Manufacturers don’t put hours into creating a beautiful product to have consumers disappointed because it was installed incorrectly. CFI helps us provide customer satisfaction and increase sales.”

Varden noted that participation increases by taking the various programs directly to installers who do not possess the skill set required to satisfy the customer. “Often this is because training is not available in their areas.”