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CFI honors recent graduates

CFIForney, Texas—CFI’s floor installation training school is honoring its 5th graduating class, according to Robert Varden, vice president. The CFI Institute offers accelerated training and professional certification to individuals seeking to learn how to install all types of flooring. Graduates of the most recent residential carpet installation class came from across the United States, from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest, New England and the Southeast.

“We created our school and launched the very first accelerated carpet installation training course as part of our commitment to tackle the installation problem that touches everyone in our industry,” said Varden. “Together with WFCA and our many supportive partners, we are working continuously to put an end to a problem that affects everyone.”

Through the proprietary class, CFI can take individuals with no prior experience or knowledge in flooring and, after an intensive five-week course, turn out certified residential carpet installers capable of completing a highly professional job in a standard three-bedroom home.

The next accelerated carpet installation class begins this month at the CFI school in Forney, Texas. In addition to the accelerated carpet class, the school also offers long- and short-term training programs in every flooring product category for students at all levels. For more information or to register for the new carpet installation class or another program visit:

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CFI 2016 convention will offer education, networking opportunities

PastedGraphic-1Dallas—The annual CFI convention is the go-to event for information on new products, tools, techniques and installation training. The show packs everything installers need to know into two days. This year’s highly anticipated program will take place here August 3-5.

The CFI convention attracts professionals from every sector of the flooring industry. It is the show “where all of the business surrounding installation happens”—a uniquely dedicated launching pad for companies debuting their latest offerings.

A few of the standout agenda items planned for this year’s convention include:

ŸCustom vinyl inset workshop: Leading technical trainers from Tarkett, Congoleum and Armstrong team up to present this hands-on workshop where attendees will create custom vinyl insets they can take home.

ŸHand sewing workshop: Presented by the CFI Training Team, stations will be set up for various hand-sewing stitch demos attendees will be able to complete and take home as a reference for future installations.

Inspection trends roundtable: Manufacturers, retailers, installers and inspectors will have the opportunity to present, discuss and answer questions and concerns about the latest trends in inspections.

“Understanding How You Are Wired – The DISC Behavioral Profile” presented by Scott Humphrey, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association: Understand yourself and those you work and live with. Humphrey will identify possible friction points between different personality types and give practical advice on improving relationships with colleagues, family, etc.

CFI has secured special discounted rates at the Marriott Grapevine that includes both the Courtyard and the TownePlace Suites. For more informatio, as well as a full convention program, visit the CFI website at If you have further questions about the convention, call 816-231-4646.


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CFI graduates first class from new training school

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 9.45.52 AMDallas—On March 4, the CFI (Certified Floorcovering Installers) installation training school in Dorney, Texas, presented its first graduating class. The certified graduates came off of five weeks of intensive training ready to begin work immediately.

“I am amazed and gratified by the craftsmanship and integrity of work I have witnessed from our trailblazing graduates,” said Robert Varden, vice president, CFI Division of the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA). “The hands-on training and low student teacher ratio is of paramount importance to the caliber and success of our CFI students. Unlike other training programs, graduates of our highly efficient class had jobs lined up upon graduation.”

Since its opening a number of retailers have contacted the institution with leads on potential students as well as an interest in underwriting scholarships for students who then can go on to work for them with certified installation expertise.

Lonnie Presson, owner of Lonnie’s Carpet Max based in Rockford, Ill., said he was one of the first business owners in line to secure enrollment for two promising students. “Any retailer would be foolish to not take advantage of the training offered by CFI,” he said. “It’s absolutely amazing to think of the impact that this five-week training course had and will continue to have on the lives of the two students I sent to the school.” Presson said he already has contacted the institution about registration for the next round of training.

Interested students do not need any previous installation experience to attend the CFI class. The course offers a comprehensive lineup of all the technical aspects required for basic residential carpet installation. The next accelerated carpet installation class begins at the Forney school on April 4th followed by another offering of the course in Anaheim, Calif., on May 16th. In addition to the accelerated carpet class, the school also offers long and short-term training programs in every flooring product category for students at all levels. For more information or to register for the new carpet installation class or another program visit:

“Our training programs are second-to-none and our graduates deliver on our foundation of raising the level of professionalism and craftsmanship in our industry,” Varden said. The training school is designed as part of an industrywide effort to help resolve the installation crisis. “If our recent graduates are any indication of what the future holds in store, then I know we are all headed in the right direction. I hope you will join our effort and support this vital training and certification program.”

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2015 CFI Convention includes exceptional lineup of seminars, training sessions, product intros

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 11.34.50 AMDallas—The 2015 CFI Convention, scheduled for Nov. 12-14 here, will provide information on new products, tools, techniques and training for installers. Some workshops include Heat Welding Commercial Sheet Flooring led by Rick Herr and Tim Provence of Armstrong, Cost Effective Solutions for Moisture Mitigation led by Michael Lassetter of Traxx and Independent Contractor vs. Employee Issue led by Jeff King, counsel for the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA).

For more information and a full convention program, visit

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Carpetland USA teams with industry leaders for installation event

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 1.38.03 PMDavenport, Iowa—The Carpetland USA store located here hosted a CFI-Congoleum Installation Training Event earlier this month. The two-day, hands-on class was sponsored by the flooring distributor All Tile and the World Floor Covering Association (WFCA).

Joe Cea, installation specialist for Congoleum and CFI senior certifier, and members of the CFI team, Tony Buckhardt and Jay Zurn, demonstrated LVT installation requirements including product knowledge, substrate preparation and the importance of professionalism and customer satisfaction.

“CFI and the installers who represent our stores were all extremely professional,” said Doug Bertrand, executive vice president of Carpetland USA and the Langan Group. “I was proud that the installers worked so hard and completed all tasks that were required to successfully earn their CFI certifications. The comments that I received showed it was well worth the investment and I look forward to scheduling another product category event in the future.”

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Beaulieu of Brazil hosts CFI LVT installation training

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 3.29.11 PMSao Paulo, Brazil—Beaulieu of Brazil hosted the Certified Floorcovering Installers (CFI) installation training May 2-16 here. Sessions were led by Jim Walker, CEO of CFI, and Robert Varden, executive director of CFI. Installers learned how to use new tools, new methods of adhesive application, seaming techniques and more.

“The installers became proficient at the various requirements of seam construction such as running a row, seaming and using a glue gun and black light,” Walker said. “They had the opportunity to elevate the installation standards and be proud of the contributions they make to the industry.”

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CFI: Group heads into third decade with vision for future

Installers learn techniques, business skills

September 15/22, 2014; Volume 28/Number 7

By Louis Iannaco

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.56.11 AMNew Orleans—At its milestone 20th year anniversary convention last year in Baltimore, the International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI) enjoyed a time of reflection, celebration and recognition of achievements earned during its first two decades in existence. Now, members are acknowledging that this is not the time to rest on its laurels as there is still much work to be done.

Among the topics of discussion at CFI’s 21st annual convention held here earlier this month was the status of a proposed ANSI standard for flooring installation, how the industry can attract the next young generation of mechanics and the ongoing focus on proper installation training.

For the first time, the CFI convention was run in conjunction with the Floor Installation Association of North America (FIANA) convention and trade show, held just down the street from the CFI conference (see story on page 18). However, as per usual with CFI, the bulk of the convention schedule placed a heavy emphasis on education.

The seminars covered a range of topics, including “The Science of the Correct Adhesive,” by Tim Provence and Tony Pastrana of Armstrong and Scott Parks of Tri-West; “Moisture Testing— Wood/Concrete: How It Relates to Flooring” by Jason Spangler, Wagner Meters, and “Selling Flooring Installation” by CFI CEO Jim Walker.

CFI certified installer Alania Lagatore, owner and operator of All Over Flooring and assistant manager of Lagatore’s Carpet in Columbia, S.C., said in addition to learning about new flooring installation methods, tools and products while at convention, she was particularly interested in finding out more about hardwood installations. “I’m doing a lot of wood inspections now, and the wood seminar was one of the better ones here regarding problems you can face in the field. It was good to have an expert tell us our allowances and all that goes along with that.”

Lagatore also attended the moisture-testing workshop, noting she always finds attending a seminar on moisture and concrete “beneficial because it’s a scientific issue, and they are finding out more about it as time goes on.”

Another attendee who took advantage of CFI’s workshops is Mary Young, co-owner of Howard Young Flooring in Milton, Fla. “We like to use the different thoughts and ideas we hear here, so we take them back and implement them into our business. It just helps us to become better.”Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.56.54 AM

As a retail and installation company, she said the information she gleaned from the “Selling Flooring Installation” seminar was very beneficial. “[Walker] helped us understand things we need to be charging for and how we should not be giving too much away or leaving money on the table. There was quite a bit of information in that course that we’ll take back and utilize.”

Jake Gregory, director, technical services, Sponge Cushion, likened CFI’s 21st convention to the group’s past events, consistently providing valuable information for those seeking it. “These people are here to learn. [The attendees] always impress me because they’re here to absorb as much as they can. They are the people doing the work on the floor, and we have to depend upon them to do it right. And that’s why they’re here.”

Convention highlights

New products were the centerpiece of the CFI Associate Showcase, which featured the latest from several manufacturers, including Armstrong, Tarkett, Taylor Tools, Personna, Spray-Lock, Pak-Lite, Sponge Cushion, Armor Lock and Wagner Meters. The convention also included a tour of the local USG facility.

“Many of the people who come here do so for different reasons,” said CFI executive director Robert Varden. “Many are here for the education, and our seminars are put on by the best the industry has to offer. My goal at convention is to have all attendees leave with something they can use in their businesses or on their day-to-day installations.

“When we come to convention, we get so energized, but there are times when some of that energy and enthusiasm fades after they leave here,” Varden added. “I want to find a way for them to keep that [enthusiasm].”

To help maintain high morale, Tom Jennings, vice president, member services, World Floor Covering Association (WFCA), told CFI members during the convention’s general session that the WFCA completely supports CFI. “What you do absolutely matters. I always say, ‘Let’s not talk about the bad installers; let’s showcase the impact of good installers.’ You can find anybody to put flooring down; the issue is how to put it down correctly. And because not all installation training is the same, that’s why we support CFI.”

Jennifer Hughes, conference manager, education, Hanley Wood, was responsible for bringing CFI installer training certification to Surfaces, and she continues to recognize the value the group brings to the flooring industry. “They’re so supportive of the industry. We love partnering with them. It has been a great relationship.”

Regarding the ANSI flooring installation standard, which is considered to be a vital step forward for installation and the industry overall, Varden said the document is complete. “All the public review comments have been addressed; it is now in the hands of ANSI. I’m told that process takes about three months, so I’m hoping to be able to have the published document in hand by [Surfaces].” The ANSI S-600 for professional carpet installation is set to cover residential and commercial applications.

FIANA partnership    

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.58.33 AMIn anticipation of CFI’s visit to FIANA’s trade show, Varden mentioned how “neat it is seeing the level of excitement both on that side and the people with CFI. We are really excited about [partnering with them].”

According to Walker, the enthusiasm at this year’s convention hasn’t waned at all. With CFI’s core group showing up in force, as well as several first-timers, CFI’s CEO was pleased with the organization’s convention, which included coupling with FIANA. “It’s an opportunity for installers to meet with manufacturers that, in normal circumstances, there would be no reason to have contact. It gives them a better understanding of the industry, and that’s where we want to take our group; we want to show them the power that knowledge can provide.”

Doug Ray, president and CEO of FIANA, welcomed CFI members to the FIANA trade show. “These guys are our customers. This is an extra bonus for our manufacturers that show here. CFI people are very loyal. The Walkers have been friends of FIANA since day one. We’ve both supported each other. For us to have our conventions in the same city with some synergies working, such as our trade show and the tour of USG’s facility, is a boon for us.”

As far as the future, the top issue for CFI moving forward is determining how to get new installers into the industry. “Installers already in the industry need to clean up their act as far as being professional,” Walker said. “People respect people who look and act professional. We’re trying to teach our people that it takes more to be successful than just the act of installing carpet. You have to be a better businessman and have people skills, which are just as important as hand skills.”

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CFI training event in Dalton

Kansas City, Mo. —  CFI is conducting installation training on all types of flooring during the week of March 4, 2013 in Dalton.  This is an opportunity to participate in carpet, ceramic, resilient, laminate and wood training as well as the CFI Carpet Installation Knowledge and Inspection Workshop. Working together with the World Floor Covering Association, manufacturers and suppliers, CFI provides extensive installation knowledge and skills training. Continue reading CFI training event in Dalton