Craig Powell on passing on knowledge

November 2019

I enjoy nothing more than getting out on site and being amongst tilers and, thankfully, Tilemaster encourage me to do this.  This enables me to see what is really going on in our industry; something that would have happened naturally when I was tiling and on the ‘coalface’ day in day out.  These days without attending site, to see and ask as to what the tilers are regularly faced with in our ever-advancing trade, I wouldn’t possibly know.

It’s nearly two years now since I stopped tiling full time and in that period it’s not only my speed of tiling that has changed.  Needless to say, the odd weekend tiling jobs that I do now are completed somewhat slower than they were back then.

The knowledge gained from being out on site enables companies like Tilemaster and Kerakoll to keep producing materials that meet the demands of tilers and floor layers, helping them to overcome daily challenges.  It is pointless manufacturing something that works on paper or in a laboratory, but which isn’t useful or even required out on site.

While out on site I get to see some fantastic skilful and knowledgeable tilers and to be involved with specifications for some amazing projects.  And, it’s the skills of some very talented tradespeople that I have the pleasure of watching at work that I want to focus on.  When I watch and speak to these people, I know that our trade is in good hands – but only, in my opinion, if we pick their brains, ask for advice and use their vast practical knowledge, especially in the areas of our trade that are relatively new and unique.

An example of this is the ultra large format ceramic panel.  We have tilers out there that are producing some outstanding work using these materials - but having spoken to a number of them, this has been a very long process involving much trial and error, and resulting in gaining vast experience and understanding of the products and methods.

To make sure that tiling maintains the required standards - and ultimately that customers get the look and finish they want within a safe and long lasting installation - the outstanding tilers we have out there should be asked to be more involved in shaping our future industry.

I know that some of these tilers are passing on their knowledge frequently to others, which is extremely good of them and great for the tilers who are in these circles and have the chance to work with, or be in contact with these people.  But in order to try and improve the whole tiling trade this information and access would need to be readily available to all. We have an opportunity to do this through publications and training but this requires the people writing, or undertaking the training, to have the required and correct knowledge.

This leads us full circle and back to seeking and utilising the outstanding tilers’ knowledge and experience. Without doing this - especially in the UK, where there seem to be very few apprenticeships available in which trainee tilers could have some great mentors and role models - we are running the risk of the next generation of tilers being only as good as the available information  or the person teaching them.

This is why I firmly believe that any information sought or given is correct, up to date and has foundations built on vast experience and results.  We will then all be in a position to sleep well, knowing that the tiling industry will constantly evolve and produce ever increasing high standards.”

Craig Powell works in Technical Support at Tilemaster Adhesives.  For information and technical advice: E:  T: 01772 456831  W:

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