- By Dawn Shoemaker — posted 02/04/2014
- During the last decade, many cleaning-industry professionals have noticed that facilities have shown a preference for installing hard surface floors instead of carpeting. A number of reasons may exist for this shift, including the belief that hard surface floors are easier to maintain and less expensive overall. Over the years, however, trends in floor coverings—as well as the care they require—have come and gone with regularity.
To assist building service contractors (BSCs), distributors, and carpet cleaning technicians, Doug Berjer, brand manager for CFR Corp. and Tornado Industries, Inc., sat down to addresses some of the trends in carpet that should be expected in the coming years.
Dawn Shoemaker (DS): What type of carpeting will facilities install more frequently in the near future?Doug Berjer (DB): A trend we are seeing in many facilities is the installation of carpet tiles. There are several reasons for this. Compared to other types of carpeting, carpet tiles tend to hold up well to almost all foot traffic, are relatively easy to install, come in many more colors and designs than they did a few years ago, and are often manufactured using recycled materials. Probably the biggest factor is that if one or more tiles are soiled or damaged, new tiles can be installed rather than replacing the entire carpet.
However, administrators should be aware that although carpet tiles are indeed durable, they still must be cared for properly. They should be vacuumed daily and cleaned every few months with either a multi-surface floor machine or a portable carpet extractor.
DS: How do most facility managers select a carpet cleaning technician? DB: There are too many variables in this decision to give a precise answer. Many facilities have either their BSC or in-house staff quick-clean carpets using shampoo or a similar method. However, facility managers are becoming increasingly aware of the value of selecting certified technicians. In fact, selecting a certified technician, such as one who has achieved certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration (IICRC), is often a requirement to maintain a new carpet’s warranty.
DS: What are the basics when it comes to carpet care in a facility?DB: I can answer that in three words: vacuuming, spotting, and extracting. Most soil is dry soil, and the best way to remove dry soil is to vacuum. All areas in a facility should be vacuumed daily, and high-traffic areas may need to be vacuumed multiple times throughout the day.
Maintenance personnel should remove spots as quickly as possible. There are two main reasons for this. First, the longer a spot dwells on carpet fibers, the harder it may be to remove. Second, spots have a tendency to act as a magnet, attracting and holding other soils. In time, the problem area gets worse.
Extraction—or, to be more specific, hot-water extraction—is a carpet cleaning method in which cleaning chemicals and heated with water are sprayed on the carpet. This mixture is then vacuumed up by the extractor, along with any dislodged and dissolved soils and contaminants, all in one process.
DS: Is there a standard warranty for carpeting, and do all carpet warranties require that certified technicians be selected to clean carpets?DB: Most manufacturers now offer carpet warranties that last for about 10 years. As to the second question and as mentioned earlier, more carpet warranties now insist upon the use of certified cleaning technicians, specific types of cleaning chemicals, and hot-water extraction.
DS: What is the average life span of carpet?DB: This can vary due to many factors, but five to 10 years is fairly common in a facility. Carpet tiles, as mentioned earlier, may last longer if cared for properly.
DS: Do you have any final thoughts on carpet care for cleaning professionals?DB: Do not experiment with different cleaning techniques on your clients’ carpets. We find this most frequently when facility managers ask BSCs to clean carpets. While many of these contractors know the basics of carpet care, they do not realize that cleaning carpets is both a science and an art. A mistake can prove to be very costly. If you are not sure how a carpet should be cleaned or have concerns, play it safe and don’t clean it. Let the facility manger have someone else handle the task.
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