PENDLETON, SC -- The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF), which provides education and installer certification for professionals working in the ceramic tile and stone industry, proudly announces that it has achieved a new milestone for the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) program with the certification of CTI #1500.


The CTI Program Combats Poor Tile Installation 

Established in 2008 to create a pool of recognized high-quality tile installers and combat poor installation, and with strong support from leaders of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA), Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and the entire tile industry, the CTI program reached 1,000 certified installers in 2014. Reaching 1,500 certified installers in October 2018 means that reaching 2,000 CTIs by the end of 2019 is achievable as the program’s momentum grows.


Introducing CTI #1500: Alex Smith, Installations by Alex 

Alex Smith has been involved in custom tile installation since 2005. Based in the mountains of North Carolina, he began working in the industry under the guidance of John Buford of the Stone Cavern. He went on to form Installations by Alex, which specializes in luxury residential homes. He does a significant amount of work for Bill Dacchille of Dacchille Construction, as well as other contractors and homeowners.

A lifelong artist, Alex was initially trained in concert dance and is currently the board president for Dance Project Inc., a statewide arts organization. “I am honored to be a Ceramic Tile Education Foundation Certified Tile Installer,” said Alex.


“The Toughest 25 Square Feet of Tile You’ll Ever Install”

Not everyone passes the hands-on portion of the Certified Tile Installer program test. In fact, Alex Smith was originally tested in 2015 and did not complete the installation in the allotted time. “Contrary to my expectation, the hands-on is by far the more challenging portion of the test,” he explained. “I was fairly confident in my quality of work going into the hands-on test. What I was not expecting was the difficulty in completing the assignment in the allotted time frame. Even considering the small size of the area defined by the test, it is rare that I have to complete all phases of an install in one continuous session.”


Why Become a Certified Tile Installer? 

Certified Tile Installers detail many benefits to becoming CTIs, ranging from achieving a competitive edge and bragging rights, to improving the tile industry, keeping up with tile industry education and current installation information, to avoiding failures and validating one’s skills as an installer.

For Alex Smith, it’s about providing customers with confirmation that he is Qualified Labor. “Though the national standards have been in place for some time, the lack of an agency to educate and accredit installers has allowed the quality of installation work in the industry to be sporadic at best,” he said. “The CTI is a tool that I am using to assure my clients that they are not just taking a ‘chance’ with their tile installation project. My CTI helps to validate that I care about the quality of my work and want to provide a product that has a sound foundation for longevity of use.”


Tile Industry Recognized Certification

The CTEF offers the only tile industry recognized certification test validating the skills and knowledge of the installer. This industry certification will become even more important as consumers, homebuilders, general contractors, specifiers and designers seek qualifications through programs such as industry certification.  

The CTEF, which sponsors the CTI program, is supported by all segments of the ceramic tile industry. To learn more about the CTI program, visit