Floor, carpet and tile installers are responsible for laying floor coverings in offices, homes, stores, restaurants, hospitals and a many other buildings. Tile can also be installed on ceilings and walls. Prior to installing carpet, installers must first perform an inspection of the floor surface that is to be covered. This helps to determine the condition of the surface as well as correct any flaws that might show through the carpet or result in the carpet wearing unevenly.
Carpet, Floor and Tile Installation Job Responsibilities
Installers must measure the area that will be carpeted as well as plan a layout. During this process they must bear in mind the traffic patterns in addition to the correct placement for the carpet seams to provide the best appearance. A padded cushion, also known as an underlay is usually installed for use with wall-to-wall carpet. Installers then roll out as well as measure and cut carpet, making sure that at least two inches of additional carpeting is allowed for the final cut. A knee kicker is used for positioning the carpet, making it possible to stretch the carpet evenly along the floor and the wall. The excess carpet is then cut away. A power stretcher is also used for stretching the carpet. Carpet installers may use a variety of hand tools such as drills, hammers, staple guns, rubber mallets and carpet knives to perform their jobs.
Floor installers are responsible for laying different types of floor coverings such as vinyl, linoleum, laminate, rubber and cork. Prior to installing the specific type of floor they must inspect the floor surface. Any flaws must be corrected prior to installation. Floor materials are then measured and cut. An adhesive may be used to install vinyl or linoleum.
Tile installers are also sometimes known as tile setters. They are responsible for applying marble and hard tile to walls, floors, ceilings, roof decks, patios and countertops. They must utilize measuring devices as well as levels and spacers to make sure that each tile is correctly and consistently placed. In some cases, a tile installer may arrange tiles in a planned pattern using different colors, sizes and shapes. A special tool for cutting is used to cut the tile.
Floor installers typically perform their work indoors. They often have regular hours during the day. In the case of working in offices or stores that are occupied, it may be necessary to perform weekend or evening work. Installers spend a lot of time reaching, kneeling and bending. This type of work requires endurance and can be difficult on the knees. Safety regulations require the use of knee pads. Due to the fact that installer must often lift heavy flooring as well as move furniture, the work can be tiring. Installers may be exposed to a variety of fumes coming from fibers and glues associated with the products they install. They must wear safety goggles for protection.
The rate of growth for this field is expected to grow about as fast as average for other occupations. The largest specialty area, tile setting, is expected to grow faster than average due to the increased level of construction of hospitals, malls, schools, restaurants and other buildings in which tile is commonly used. There is expected to be little to no change in the rate of growth for carpet installers. Due to the extremely strenuous nature of this type of work, there is often a high replacement need in this industry. As a result, many workers do not remain in this type of work for long.
Carpet, Floor and Tile Installation Training and Education Requirements
Most floor installers learn their craft while on the job in an informal manner. Others may attend a formal apprenticeship program, which might include on the job training that is paid and classroom instruction. Individuals interested in this type of career might begin as helpers and assist with simple projects, like installing padding or assisting with the stretching of carpet as it is installed. As they gain experience, trainees may then take on assignments that are more difficult in nature. On the job training is also quite common for tile setters. They too may begin by carrying materials and assisting with simple tasks before moving on to more difficult assignments.
In order to succeed in this career it is important to have good eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, a sense of color and balance and physical fitness as well as stamina and endurance. It is also important to be skilled at solving basic math problems accurately and quickly. With experience, floor installers may move up to supervisory positions. Many employers now prefer installers to be fluent in Spanish and English due to the large increase in Spanish speaking customers and workers.
Carpet, Floor and Tile Installation Salary and Wages
Median hourly wages for carpet installers in 2008 were approximately $17.80 per hour. Tile setters earned $18.85 per hour. Earnings can vary based on geographic area as well as whether a worker is a union member.
Carpet, Floor and Tile Installation Certifications
Certification is not typically required in order to enter this field or advance.
Carpet, Floor and Tile Professional Associations
Professional associations for floor installers include the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen and the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades.