Inspector’s Report: The Path to Certification

Recently, I’ve had a lot of inquiries about the the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA)’s inspector program. Particularly about what the prerequisites are, who’s eligible, and what the benefits are of becoming an NWFA Certified Inspector.

NWFA Certified Inspectors are in great demand. I field several calls a day requesting their services and the NWFA Certified professional search site gets a lot of hits every day. I usually receive calls when people are having trouble finding an inspector in their area. The reason for that is, oftentimes, there are no local inspectors in their area. When this happens, I usually refer them to inspectors I know who do a fair amount of travel. One of the biggest reasons that NWFA Inspectors are in such high demand is that the training required to become certified is quite rigorous.

The steps to become certified include:

  • Be a NWFA member in good standing.
  • Attend NWFA Basic Installation School.
  • Attend NWFA Basic Sand & Finish School.
  • Attend NWFA Intermediate Installation School.
  • Attend NWFA Intermediate Sand & Finish School.
  • Complete NWFA University Installation, Sand & Finish, and Manufacturing online courses.
  • Complete Online Inspector school entrance exam.
  • Attend NWFA Inspector School.
  • Submit and gain approval on two Inspection Report Scenarios with data collected during Inspector School.
  • Sign NWFACP Inspector Code of Conduct Agreement
  • The Basic Installation and Basic Sand & Finish classes can be bypassed if the applicant has three or more years of field experience.
Photos courtesy of NWFA

Aside from the rigorous training, NWFA inspectors are trained to write clear and concise reports that can be used in court if needed. Many wood floor manufacturers specify that that they only will accept reports written by NWFA Certified Inspectors. Another reason they are sought after is that they are bound to a code of conduct. The code provides the involved parties with confidence that the information stated in the report is based on fact and unbiased.

The current format for the inspector school is a full five-day program that covers:

  • Professional and legal responsibilities.
  • Site evaluations and observations.
  • Testing techniques, including invasive and non-invasive tests.
  • Conducting interviews with all the involved parties.
  • Identifying and applying industry standards.
  • Photography.
  • Effective report writing.

The school is comprised of theory and hands-on elements with several mock-ups of common issues that the students will evaluate and write reports on. The final day of the class is dedicated to the hands-on test requirement. There are two different scenarios that the students will evaluate and then write reports on, which they will later submit for grading. Once the hands-on test is successfully completed, they then will be awarded their certification.

Are you interested in becoming an NWFA Certified Inspector? Learn more about the program. Contact Kjell Nymark at 314.288.5848 or or Katie Norton at 636.736.5227 or

Becoming an inspector opens a whole new perspective on the wood flooring industry. Finding the cause of an issue is gratifying in that you can determine the chain of events
that led to the issue accurately when no one else was able to. Often when there is an issue with a floor, it frequently leads to a lot of finger-pointing and the involved parties are at an
impasse. Determining an accurate cause allows the involved parties to come to an appropriate solution.

Inspector school is the pinnacle of training that NWFA provides; it’s applicable to all aspects of the wood flooring industry. As a result, many manufacturers actively seek certified inspectors to hire in their technical and sales departments. Earning inspector certification is a tremendous boost to your credibility and a good way to transition if you are at a stage in your career where you still want to use the knowledge that you’ve acquired, but no longer desire to do the physical work.

Kjell Nymark is the certification and training manager for the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) in St. Louis, Missouri. He can be reached at

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