Carpet Installer, Flooring Installer, Installer, Carpet Mechanic, Commercial Floor Covering Installer, Floor Covering Installer, Carpet Installer Helper, Carpet Layer, Floor Coverer, Floor Installation Mechanic
Floor covering installers lay and install carpet from rolls or blocks on floors. They install padding and trim flooring materials.
- A sense of accomplishment when you finish a project
- Autonomy: You can work as much and as little as you want. Project-based.
- Typically you start at 6:30am-3:30pm: Able to do other projects in the afternoon.
- Work with your hands!: “When you are mechanically inclined, the trades are excellent for that.”
“I took my kids to the California Academy of Sciences. I ran that project when it was first built. They love going there and being able to tell people that “my daddy painted this.” To see the pride and joy in their eyes…that they were almost a part of it. It’s about having the pride in the workmanship of being a craftsman.” Robert Williams III, Painter, Business Representative, District Council 16
Carpet installers lay carpet in many types of new and old buildings, including homes, offices, restaurants, and museums. Although installing carpet in newly constructed buildings requires minimal preparation, those who replace existing carpet must first remove old flooring, including any padding, glue, tacks, or staples. In some cases, carpet installers lay carpet over existing tile or hardwood.
- Removes old carpet or flooring to prepare surfaces for laying new carpet.
- Inspects the condition of the surface to be covered.
- Fixes any problems that could show through the carpet or cause uneven wear.
- Measures the area to be carpeted.
- Plans the layout of carpeting to get the best appearance and least wear.
- Installs a padded cushion underneath the carpet.
- Rolls out, measures, marks, and cuts the carpet.
- Fits the carpet so that it lays evenly and snugly.
- Tacks, glues, or staples carpeting to hold it in place.
- Finishes the edges so that the carpet looks neat.
Tile installers, tilesetters, and marble setters install materials on a variety of surfaces, such as floors, walls, ceilings, countertops, patios, and roof decks. Because tile and marble must be set on smooth, even surfaces, installers often must level the surface to be tiled with a layer of mortar or plywood. If the area to be tiled is unstable, workers must nail a support of metal mesh or tile backer board to create a stable surface.
- Manual dexterity: good with your hands
- Hand-eye coordination
- Critical thinking and problem-solving: You will encounter unexpected problems and you will have to figure them out in a timely fashion.
- Attention to detail
- Sense of balance and color
- Time management
- Math: Must solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately.
- Physical strength and stamina
- Installer contractor company: Range from mom and pop shop (4-8) to large shops (200+)
- Home Furnishing store
- Union negotiates competitive rates: For example) In SF Bay Area, $44.87 per hour as journeyman which is the position after you are an apprentice.
- Full medical benefits (medical, dental, vision)
- Access to better jobs and amazing opportunities
Injuries: The most common injuries are cuts from knives and muscle strains from lifting carpet. Some installers also get burns from heat guns used to join carpet.
- Building and fixing things! : working with your hands.
- Being outside in nature.
- Anything mechanical: Working on cars
“Some of us we have more Neanderthal DNA than others. You’ve got to be able to express that in the best way possible. We all have a sense of creativity that can be shown and it’s finding that way to show that creativity. Some people they can do that behind a computer, other people it’s great to be able to build a building. It all comes into that sense of being of whatever makes you feel alive.” Robert Williams III, Business Rep, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 16, Northern California
- Flooring Installers learn their trade through On-The-Job training as helpers or apprentices
- A high school diploma/GED may be needed, but there are no formal educational requirements
- Some students complete an associate’s in business, in case they want to be self-employed
- Apprenticeships are a time-honored way of learning by doing. Most are sponsored by union and contractor associations (see our Recommended Resources > Websites for details)
- Practical education gained from work experience is key. Entry-level apprentices start with basic tasks, learning under the supervision of a seasoned pro over a period of 2 to 4 years
- Some technical instruction is needed, such as basic math, building codes, safety, first aid, and blueprint reading
- Certification programs are offered by organizations such as the:
- International Standards & Training Alliance
- National Wood Flooring Association
- International Certified Flooring Installers
- Certified Floorcovering Installer - Ceramic
- Certified Floorcovering Installer - Laminate and Hardwood
- Commercial Resilient Flooring
Unions and contractors sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:
- Minimum age of 18
- Driver’s license
- High school diploma or equivalent (GED or take an aptitude test)
- Physically able to do the work
- Take courses in high school such as shop, English, math, and art
- Start an exercise routine to build strength and stamina so you can perform Flooring Installation work full-time
- Get in the habit of practicing good safety and wearing proper personal protective equipment
- Have your color vision tested to ensure you can meet job eligibility requirements
- Obtain your driver’s license so you can make it to job sites on time
- Learn as much as you can on your own! Study books, articles, and video tutorials related to the flooring trade
- Volunteer for projects to gain hands-on practical experience
- Get certified in a specialized area to bolster your credentials
- Ask a Flooring Installer if you can shadow them to learn about day-to-day activities and tools used
- 43.3% with HS Diploma
- 3.2% with Associate’s
- 3.7% with Bachelor’s
- 0.3% with Master’s
- 0.2% with Professional
- Finish the apprenticeship program (note: you are working with pay while you are an apprentice)
- Union will give you the signatory list: local union will give you some leads, you start making calls to contractors on the list.
- Contact Job Corps.
- Ask the local union for help: they have a “out of work” list which contractors look to when hiring for projects.
- If taking classes at a trade or vocational school, ask their career center for assistance
- If you’re ready to go pro, start your own business! BLS notes that 30% of Flooring Installers are self-employed
- If you have enough practical experience, start working small jobs on Angi (formerly Angie’s List) or run your own ads on Facebook and other sites
- Estimator: Budgets the job then bids on the job.
- Project Manager: Behind the scenes, paperwork. Make sure request for information is filled out. Money is getting paid. Work in conjunction with Superintendent.
- Superintendent: Takes care of the manpower needs on a jobsite. Materials and workers.
- Foreman: Takes care of the job.
- Lead person: Right hand man of the foreman.
- Person who is best with tools and the union elevates these people.
- Leader/Teacher: someone who knows the craft so well and they teach others.
- Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration
- Helmets to Hardhats
- Home Builders Institute
- International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association
- Finishing Trades Institute International
- International Standards & Training Alliance (INSTALL)
- National Wood Flooring Association
“You can get what you want out of it. Depending on how hard you want to invest yourself into it, how dedicated you want to be. You can just get buy or you can flourish and rise in the industry. It’s all up to the individual.” Robert Williams III, Business Rep, District Council 16, Northern California