Archive for December, 2013

Carpet Care: Professional Carpet Cleaning Methods

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Professional cleaners use four methods to clean residential carpeting: Shampoo, Dry Foam, Dry Clean and Hot Water Extraction. They seem similar to the do-it-yourself methods, but the equipment and chemicals professionals use are so much more efficient and thorough than rental equipment there is just no comparison. Plus, a professional brings specialized training and an understanding of your expensive carpeting. Certified Carpet Cleaners often perform a walk-through, or “audit,” of your carpet before they begin the work. They will check for weak seams, look for unusual stains, evaluate the wear patterns in the various rooms, possibly check your vacuum, and generally evaluate the overall installation.

Professional cleaners know you clean your carpets to keep them looking good and to maintain their warranties. They know that deep- cleaning carpets also protects your health. Carpet is actually a huge filter in your home. It traps not only dirt, but allergens like pet dander and pollen. It also holds dust mites. Professional cleaners know how to remove these contaminants. (more…)

Flooring Inspection Safari: Swollen Laminate Seams

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

swollen flooring seams

If you have a wood or laminate floor in your home, you must be aware that water is not a friend of your floor. You should quickly clean up spills. You should use only a DAMP towel or cleaning pad when you maintain the floor. And you should absolutely NOT use any type of wet-jet or steam mop on these floors! The story that follows illustrates what happens when excess water meets a wood-based floor.

I looked at a laminate floor that had been sold for use on two floors in a townhome as a “commercial” quality by a big box store. The homeowner complained almost immediately that she saw “bubbling” along one seam near the kitchen in the dining area. She complained for the next two years that more and more seams showed this problem. The installers looked at the flooring and said that the “bubbling” (what we in the industry call swollen seams) was from (more…)

Flooring Inspection Safari: Laminate Flooring Damage

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

laminate flooring problems

Recently, I was asked to look at a laminate floor installation. The complaint came in as “cracking and chipping.”

When I arrived at the ground floor condo and looked around, I could see that the owner was meticulous. Everything was perfectly in place, polished, and well maintained. The floor, which was 2 1/2 years old, looked like it had been installed last week. I glanced around and asked to see the problem areas. I expected to find planks with cracks or perhaps broken corners or edges.

She took me over to a short hallway that connected the bathroom and bedroom. Then she pointed to a 1” angled gash near the end of one plank.

I asked her when she first noticed this condition. She said it was about 6 months ago. That means the floor was perfect for two years. Then a plank suddenly split open all by itself!

I know that a plank won’t spontaneously split open, but I removed the necessary tools and gauges from my tool bag and began inspecting the floor. I checked all the usual things: sub-floor moisture levels; end joint stagger; room perimeter gaps; and flatness. Then I used a five-power lighted magnifier to closely examine the damaged area.

It was clear that something sharp (more…)

Carpet Problems: Carpet Low Lines

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

When you buy a new carpet, you expect it to look perfect and beautiful in your home. However, sometimes things go wrong.

Carpeting is made on high-speed tufting machines. These machines are very complicated and sometimes lines show up in the carpet. These lines can run either lengthwise or widthwise through the carpet. Some of these lines can be removed from the carpet, but others are permanent and will not respond to service.

Last week, I inspected some carpet in a two-story town home that had lines in the upstairs hallway and in two of the three bedrooms. Although the carpet had been installed for over one year, the homeowner had not bothered to call in the complaint. The installer recently returned to repair a seam. When the installer saw the lines, he advised the homeowner to immediately call the retailer. Once the manufacturer (more…)

Carpet Inspection Safari: Cause of Loose Carpet Yarns?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

loose carpet yarns | Glenn Revere, Carpet Expert

I recently looked at a new carpet installed throughout a two-story, four-bedroom home, where the owner had complained she found loose tufts (carpet yarns) all over the house after she vacuumed. She had saved several dozen tufts for me to look at.

There are several reasons why loose tufts appear on a carpet. The causes could be manufacturing, installation, or in-home related. My job as a flooring inspector is to eliminate possibilities and discover the true reason for this complaint.

The owner has a cat. The loose tufts were in good condition — they did not look like the cat had clawed them. I used an ultraviolet light to check for cat urine: negative. I did not smell any urine, either.

I checked the new vacuum. Broken parts or (more…)

Pet Stains on Carpet and Carpet Warranties

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

pet stains | carpet expert Glenn Revere

Studies show that more households have pets than children. So pet urine stains are a big problem. Many carpets have warranties that include pet stain coverage, but many have exclusions when it comes to specific problems. Most warranties state that urine will not stain the carpet fiber. Generally speaking, you should be able to remove urine from your carpet with no leftover stain. But what happens when pets “pee” everywhere in a room and the urine fades (removes) the color? Will your warranty cover this complaint?

I recently looked at a carpet installation with this very problem. The carpet was installed in four isolated bedrooms. An old dog and cat had urinated literally everywhere — along the baseboards, against furniture, and in all the open areas. The older the animal, the stronger (more acidic) the urine becomes. The urine (which contains uric acid) had broken down the carpet dye and left pink/pale orange spots everywhere. There were hundreds of spots, and a (more…)

Carpet Care: Is it Time to Get Your Carpets Cleaned?

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Take a long look at your carpet when you think about cleaning it. Check the color. Does it look dull or gray? Look at the face pile. Are the tufts stuck together? Is soil visible? Is the nap badly crushed? Are there spots you couldn’t get out? Professional cleaning should take care of all these problems.

There are reasons why the mills want their carpets cleaned on a regular basis. Cleaning extends the life of the carpet. Light colors or high-traffic areas need regular attention. You should not wait until the traffic areas are so dirty that they look like a path through the woods. Soil and spots are harder to remove once they’ve been in the fabric a long time. And spots that would have come out fairly easily when relatively fresh-set are sometimes impossible to remove after several months have passed. So don’t wait—call your carpet cleaner as needed to keep your carpet looking good for the longest possible time.

To learn more about carpet buying, carpet care, carpet styles, carpet warranties and more, please subscribe to this blog and check out my book, All About Carpets: Everything You Need to Know. (more…)

Carpet Care: Why Professional Carpet Cleaning Is Important

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Most carpet warranties today require a cleaning every 12 to 24 months in order to keep the warranty in effect. This is no different from a car manufacturer requiring you to change the oil every so many miles or so many months. Some warranties specify the type of cleaning, too. Most mills require professional hot-water extraction cleaning. If you put in a claim, you must show your cleaning receipt.

Professional cleaners will have chemicals and equipment that are not available to the average homeowner. They will also have specialized training and a lot of experience dealing with different types of soiled carpeting. And the results are usually a lot better than doing it yourself. Sure, there are a lot of horror stories about this cleaner who soaked a carpet so badly that it was wet for three days, or that cleaner who left so much residue in the carpet that it was dirty again in three weeks. But these stories are like the evening news. You only hear about the bad stuff. The good stuff seldom makes the news. Carpet cleaners are like everyone else. Most are good. Some are truly excellent at their craft. Using a professional cleaner to help maintain your expensive carpeting is just plain smart. (more…)