This year marks 40 years that the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) has been in existence. Established in 1947, the non-profit trade association is dedicated to the professional installation of ceramic tile and natural stone.

As the most widely recognized and respected tile contractors’ association, the NTCA strives to provide useful information for industry professionals. About 45 years ago, the association began a traveling workshop series, with a goal to educate as many people and professionals as they could throughout the country. “These workshops began around 1972,” said NTCA director of training, Mark Heinlein, who has been hosting educational workshops around the country for the last two years. “It was different back then. They would travel in motor homes, bring their own chairs and set up these workshops next to their tractors.”

The meetings, which are now hosted at tile showrooms around the U.S., are held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. NTCA trainer, Robb Roderick, hosts other workshops around the country, along with Luis Bautista, the association’s first Spanish trainer.

At the July 13 workshop, which was held at The Tile Shop in Rochelle Park, NJ, Heinlein presented, “Failures: Could it be Me?” to an audience of about one dozen people. “All roads lead back to the installer,” he said. “The manufacturer, sales representative and client all depend on the installer.”

Heinlein explained why installers need to be properly educated in order to complete successful installations that will live up to their clients’, and their own, expectations. The types of failures were also discussed, when Heinlein raised issues of lippage and things to do to prevent such common problems from happening. He also stressed the importance of industry resources that are readily available to every professional today, such as the TCNA Handbook, NTCA Reference Manual and ANSI News.

In response to its members’ requests, the NTCA will be hosting a daylong Regional Training Program on October 5th in New Berlin, WI. “We’ve had several members say that they would like to see more training with actual hands-on experience for the attendee,” said Becky Serbin, NTCA training and education coordinator. “This seminar will have two separate learning tracks from which to choose: Portland Cement Mortar Beds and Gauged Porcelain Tile and Gauged Porcelain Tile Panels/Slabs. We will have several trainers in each track to ensure that installers can get the proper hands-on training for each topic. Both sessions will include instruction, demos and hands-on opportunities so that installers have a chance to actually use the information that they are learning.”

The regional seminar is a trial run for a full roll-out of regional training opportunities to debut next year, according to Serbin. “Currently, the plan is to have two seminars per NTCA region per year,” she said. “Those attending the NTCA Training and Education meeting at Total Solutions Plus will learn the results of this seminar along with more details for next year’s seminar programs.”

For more information about the NTCA, or to register for any upcoming educational workshops in your area, visit