Over the last couple weeks we at Hamilton Tile have been studying for our Certified Tile Installer test. It's really tough! All this studying has left me motivated to write a little bit about different mind sets in the tile game.
Many tile installers that I see out there fly by the seat of their pants. You ask them why they do things a certain way and they'll say "Well, this is how we've always done it." Or we'll watch them work and shake our heads knowing that they are doing things incorrectly. Often times the most ignorant are the most confident in their position. (look up Dunning-Kruger effect) Ultimately it's no use even correcting them.
So what separates Hamilton Tile from the tiling drones?
We use the 'Handbook Method'
The 'Handbook Method' is an installation method that goes through an application and approval process by engineers and installers far smarter than we are. This approval process makes sure that the installation methods are tried and true. There are rigorous requirements for an installation technique to get into the 400+ page TCNA handbook. Following the handbook ensures a lasting tile installation, which is the most important part of tile and why you chose tile in the first place! We follow this book and do not deviate from it no matter how much a prospective client wants us to...and often times we pass on jobs because of this principled mindset...where the next guy would say "just doing what I'm told for the sake of working" NOT how you have a long term business and happy customers.
TCNA Handbook method requirements include:
- Method is generic and products are available from more than one manufacturer.
- All materials have been available nationally for more than 3 years.
- The system is warranted by the manufacturers of the materials for recommended uses.
- Meets applicable testing requirements
- Handbook committee approves the methods.
Following the Handbook method is extremely important because you can be assured you're project is not being installed according to a whim. "Oh, this is how I feel like doing this today." or "This is how we've ALWAYS done it" (The kiss of death!)
I encourage you to ask your installer if he uses the 'Handbook method'...It's not an end all be all, but its a great way to tell if an installer respects industry norms and standards. If the installer doesn't know what you're talking about, I would recommend moving on.
If you are looking for a skilled installer visit: WWW.tile-assn.com or CeramicTileFoundation.org type in your zip code and they will direct you to someone who is a member and you'll be guaranteed someone who has achieved expert status in the tiling trade.