Competence comes with certification

Over the past year, the number-one problem I hear about time and again in our industry is about the shortage of competent flooring installers.

Lee Senter, CFCRA president

It does not matter if we are talking about carpet, hardwood, laminate or vinyl planks. The second most common worry in our industry is that our installers are getting older and there are just not enough young people taking up the vacated positions as our current installers retire.

Last year at the FCITS inspectors conference I was listening to Robert Varden of the Certified Flooring Installers (CFI) describe their same dilemma. He went on to explain that the CFI had a plan. They would build training facilities, many of them, and they would teach the young people how to successfully and properly install flooring. It was a 10-year plan. So they built the facilities. The problem is, they cannot fill the classes. It looks like the installer shortage crisis is not going to be solved anytime soon in the USA. We in Canada are in the same boat, except we do not even have a plan.

The CFCRA is committed to providing the education this industry needs. One of our board members, Mark Aydin, is committed to tackling this problem and finding some solutions. We want to make a plan and we hope we can get some help and input from the readers here.

We are reaching out to our manufacturing and distributor friends to arrange training to the installers of our industry. To be frank, not only do we need an entire new generation of new installers, we need many of the current crop of installers to improve their skills and understand the products better.

Our carpet installers need to know that wall-to- wall broadloom installed over pad must be powerstretched and that you cannot provide an adequate stretch with a kneekicker. The carpet installers need to understand that the cut edges of broadloom must be seam- or edge-sealed. It’s not because the carpet is made cheaper, it’s because the carpet is made differently.

Our hardwood installers need to understand what proper acclimation of product is, and that hardwood is relative humidity- dependent when it comes to acclimation. They need to understand that the proper fasteners and placement of fasteners is ultra important.

Our resilient and laminate installers need to understand how to measure concrete moisture properly. They need to understand what “flat and level” means. They need to understand that floating floors still need to be installed over flat, level surfaces.

The CFCRA is in the planning stages of providing excellent training in both two- and five-day seminars by some of the most knowledgeable people in the industry. WFCA scholarships and provincial grants can help offset the costs of the training.

We would love your feedback in what you would like to see in the way of training before we finish our planning, so please reach out to us and let us know at sfenton@cfcra.ca or email me directly at leesenter@senterprises.ca.

On another note, we had great success with our Shaw Total Care Solutions program in Toronto and Vaughan. Jim Mannes was the instructor and he certified almost 100 technicians under the program in two sessions. We now have more sessions scheduled now for Montreal on October 3 and Ottawa on October 4. Watch our website for more details or contact Sharon Fenton at the office.

We have two upcoming events both in September. Drew Kern is facilitating a measuring and estimating class on September 18. Len and Annette Hume are hosting a tour of their custom rug facility in St. Catharines, Ont., on September 19 and we will also have a wine tasting tour at the same time! Sounds fun!

The Canadian Flooring, Cleaning and Restoration Association (CFCRA) is a not-for-profit organization which proudly serves the needs of flooring industry professionals across Canada. The CFCRA was preceded by the Flooring Institute of Ontario (FIO) that was formed in 1962.

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