As I’m writing this post on Labor Day (2015), I thought I would talk about the importance of the laborer (installer) to the success of a flooring project.
The installer is key.
The product – whether it be hardwood, bamboo, tile, vinyl, laminate, carpet, whatever – is manufactured. All the buyer has to do really is pick a major, American manufacturer, and they’re pretty much assured of a solid product. (I say American not so much out of patriotism but because, as a democracy, America has a strong regulatory framework and a judicial system that work to protect the consumer.)
Of course, many homebuyers manage to screw up even this easiest part of the flooring process by buying cheap imports that are made of heaven-knows-what and come from who-knows-where in China. But I digress.
It’s the installer who is the wild card in this process. Especially in Ohio, where we do business. In Ohio, there is no certification required to be an installer. All a guy, or gal, has to do is say, “Hey, I’m an installer!” And then they are one.
We recently took on one installer who was 60-plus years old. He’d been installing carpet for 40 years, badly. It wasn’t until the third job that he botched a seam and then declared there was nothing to be done about it. A room of carpet, ruined.
In Cincinnati, there is a small army of these self-proclaimed, untrained “experts” crisscrossing the city in their white, rusting vans, visiting inept installations upon the unsuspecting.
It’s difficult for us to find good installers, and we know what we’re looking for. I can only imagine what a homeowner is faced with if they buy their material and then go looking for an installer.
To combat this plethora of ineptitude, we’ve found that it is essential to use only certified flooring installers. We were first clued in to the wonder of certification when we unwittingly set up an appointment with a certified carpet installer.
This guy came tooling through the door of our office with an iPad tucked under his arm. During the interview, he paged through pictures of his work. “What I really like to do,” he said as he paged through one gorgeous installed job after another, “is to work with patterned carpet. It’s a real challenge on a hallway with a turn, for example, to turn the carpet and then match the pieces so they maintain the pattern. I get a real kick out of doing that.”
We were awe-struck. Really, when you think of a flooring installer, do you imagine an articulate fellow paging through an iPad, declaiming about his favorite intellectual challenge when installing carpet?
It turns out this installer is certified by the International Certified Flooring Installers Association. We’ve been using him for a few years now, and it’s wonderful because we know that he will do the job correctly, and if a mistake should occur, he’ll take responsibility and fix it.
He is inwardly driven to achieve excellence, and he is a joy to know and to work with. In fact, he’s so professional that last year when we had to be out of town during a trade show, we hired him to man our booth.
Since that experience, we’ve actively looked for certified installers. Now, all of our regular installers are or have been certified by one certifying authority or another.
So, on this Labor Day, which honors the working man and woman, we at Floor Coverings International, Cincinnati East, are deeply appreciative of the craftsman or craftswoman who is driven to master their trade and achieve excellence.
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Jim Fitzgerald is the director of marketing for Floor Coverings International, Cincinnati East, Inc. If you live in the Cincinnati metro area and are looking for expert, unbiased help in choosing the type of flooring that is best for you, please call our 24-hour appointment desk at 513-729-7499. If you are in another part of the country, there is probably a Floor Coverings International near you. Go here and click the Book today! button to find a location in your area.