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Tile installers who are pre-qualified may take the ACT test in Mortar (Mud Floors). Installers pre-qualify for this test in one of two ways:

  • A tile installer who has successfully completed the Certified Tile Installer (CTI) test administered by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation; or

  • A tile installer who has achieved the rank of journeyman tile setter through successful completion of the apprenticeship training program conducted by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.

Historically, a tile installer floated cement based mud on walls and floors before tile was set on these surfaces. The intent was to prepare a flat surface that was in-plane, so the finished produce appeared straight and true. With the advent of new adhesives, many tile installers never learned how, or over time lost the ability, to float a wall with mud. Yet, when out-of-tolerance conditions are found in a wall scheduled to receive tile, the best solution is to install a reinforced mortar bed over the irregular substrate.

The TCNA Handbook provides a number of details to guide the installer. Detail W222, for example, details a one coat method to correct typical out-of-tolerance wall conditions. When the wall substrate is severely out of tolerance, Handbook Detail W221 permits twice the mortar thickness to correct these abnormal wall conditions.​

The ACT for Mortar (Mud Walls) is designed to test the installer's knowledge in these areas and to certify those installers with the skills necessary to properly float a wall. Installers who successfully complete the ACT for Mortar (Mud Walls) test gain the distinction of being an ACT certified Mud Work (Walls) specialist.

The Study Guide for Mud Work offers more information on the scope of this certification test and the certification test for Mud Floors.
For more information on ACT certification and to obtain test dates and locations, visit:

Ceramic Tile Education Foundation 
or call 1-864-222-2131

International Masonry Institute 
(for installer members of IUBAC) 
or contact Teri Indelli (IMI) at 
630-396-3144, or by email 
at [email protected]