Two certifications are available from Forbo: Associate Mechanic and Master Mechanic. Apparently certification is now available through the 4-year International Standards and Training Alliance (INSTALL) program. I found an instructive article from last year at carpenters.org.
INSTALL instructors, spread among 25 training centers across North America, will begin linking Forboís Associate Mechanic curriculum with INSTALL skill blocks. With this new partnership, apprentices who successfully complete the INSTALL four-year training will also earn certification as Forbo Associate Mechanics. And, existing floorlayers will be able to earn the designation through journeyman upgrade courses.
INSTALL is the most comprehensive, multi-year floorcovering installation training program in North America. Before an INSTALL instructor can teach the Forbo Associate Mechanic program, he or she must earn a Master Mechanic certification. Wiggins and other Forbo officials recently trained, tested and certified the first group of INSTALL instructors at the UBCís International Training Center. INSTALL instructors in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Tulsa will now begin to teach the Forbo Associate Mechanic program, and Forbo plans to continue training and certifying INSTALL instructors throughout 2004.
"This is, by no means, a rubber stamp. The training is tough," said Jim Schmid, international director of INSTALL. "Because of the level of skill needed and the quality of materials being used, itís necessary to really prove your skills and gain an in-depth knowledge of Forbo materials."
If you are in the market for flooring, you might consider natural linoleum. Made from linseed oil (hence the "lin"), natural linoleum, unlike vinyl "linoleum" is good for both you and the environment. These days, it is also rather artsy. Unfortunately, all this comes at a cost. There are two sources that I know of. Armstrong's Marmorette and Forbo's Marmoleum.
Marmorette is made from "linseed oil, powdered cork and other organic materials". Marmoleum is made of "linseed oil from specially cultivated Canadian flax, wood flour from European trees, rosin tapped from Portuguese pine trees, jute from India and Bangladesh and very finely ground limestone". Natural linoleum is non-allergenic, comes in a lot of fun colors (150+ for Marmoleum!), and lasts 25 to 40 years after which it is completely biodegradable. I found Marmoleum online from Green Building Supply for $31.49 per sq yd. You'll need to buy the special adhesive as well, which runs $123.60 in 600 sq ft/4 gallon increments. I wonder if you can do stairs. I expect installation to come at a premium, though with Marmoleum click, you can do it yourself.
Marmoleum click is a Marmoleum laminate on HDF panels and cork. It incorporates Marmoleum and the subfloor system in a single product, and can be installed on almost every type of floor.
"Although considered 'natural,' linoleum poses a significant environmental burden." That said, it is not as bad as "evil vinyl flooring". Hmmm.
"Since its a natural product with a high wood pulp and linseed content, its not as sound reflective as hardwood flooring. The product is available as sheetgoods or tiles. Seams can be heat welded to create a liquid-impervious floorcover. Colors and shapes can be mixed/cut in togther to create some amazing looks...see the photo attached below for the "area rug" look we created in the VCU Commons ballroom. If you are a regular "This Old House" viewer, then you saw it used as kitchen/ mudroom flooring in the fire-damaged renovation last year. Maintenance can be as easy as autoscrubbing and burnishing or you can apply a sealer/finish for a harder, glossy look."