Archive for the ‘All About Carpets’ Category

INSPECTION SAFARI: My New Wood Floors Are Scratched!

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Image of Scratched Wood Flooring

Wood floors scratch. That is a fact of life. All wood floors are stained and then a protective finish is applied over the stain. Unfinished wood floors are stained after installation. Then the protective coat is applied. Once installed, factory finished wood floors are ready to use. While these finishes are hard, they are not scratch-proof. And you’ll notice the scratches more with darker colors and less with lighter colors.
I recently inspected a factory finished solid bamboo floor. The consumers, who had self-installed the wood in a hallway and bedroom, complained to the retailer that the walnut finish scratches too easily.
This older home was located in the dusty backcountry. The family sold turkey and chicken eggs from their front yard.
The couple had purchased and installed a light colored bamboo flooring for the living and family rooms a few years ago. They love the look of the hard surface. When they decided to replace the carpet in the hallway and bedroom, they discovered that this particular bamboo floor is no longer available. So after much searching, they decided to buy and install the dark wood floor that I was commissioned to examine.
I noticed many installation related problems, including the fact that they “floated” the floor rather than attaching it to the subfloor, as was required. However, none of the installation problems had anything to do with the scratching.
The floor was badly scratched through the finish in the bedroom near a dresser and the floor of the bed. The consumer stated that the dresser legs have felt pads to protect the floor. The bed rollers are a hard plastic. She further stated that they were “very careful” when they put the furniture back once the installation was finished so that they would not scratch the wood.
I took an uninstalled board out of a box to examine the finish. An improperly cured factory finish will peel off. Sometimes a thumbnail scraped across the board scratches it. Sometimes a plastic putty knife will damage the finish. Sometimes painters tape will pull off the finish. I was unable to scratch the finish of this board using any of these methods.
I noticed that the scratches went through the finish into the light colored wood below the stain. From the location and shapes of the scratches, it was obvious to me that soothing had been dragged across the floor. Careful observation made its apparent that the felt pads under the dresser were full of grit and sand. The plastic wheels on the bed were also damaged by grit.
It was obvious to me that there was nothing wrong with the finish of this solid bamboo floor. The type of deep scratching that I observed amounted to abuse. Any wood floor would scratch under similar conditions.
You must be especially careful to protect darker wood finishes against scratching. I have even seen toenails from a large, active dog badly scratch a dark wood floor.

Carpet Care: How to Remove Halloween Carpet Stains

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

 

halloween pumpkins

I thought it’d be seasonally appropriate to provide some how-to help on removing Halloween carpet stains (e.g. fake blood, hard candy, makeup and more).

Here are some articles I found to help you keep your carpets clean this Halloween!

How to Remove Hard Candy from Carpet

How to Remove Candy, Makeup and Chocolate from Carpet

How to Clean Carpet Stains: Fake Blood, Pumpkin, Candle Wax and More

I hope you have a safe and festive holiday…and that you’re able to keep your carpets clean. (more…)

How to Find and Hire a Certified Flooring Inspector

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

I belong to an association of flooring inspection professionals called N.I.C.F.I. or the National Institute of Certified Floorcovering Inspectors. I wanted to pass along some thoughts to you regarding this extraordinary group and its role in the flooring industry.

Like any industry, the people in the overall flooring business range from mediocre to excellent. Within this industry, there are several hundred flooring inspectors. I am here to tell you that the approximately 135 NICFI members are the best in their field.

In order to be a Certified Flooring Inspector, we must first have some type of flooring experience. Then, at our own expense, we are required to take multi-day, out-of-town classes sanctioned by one of several certification bodies and pass tests in whichever area of expertise interests us: carpet, laminate, wood, ceramic tile, resilient, or any combinations. After passing these in-depth tests, (more…)

How to Find the Best Vacuum Cleaner

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

There are a lot of variables to selecting the “right” vacuum. You can’t buy a vacuum based on price alone. So, how do you find a vacuum that works well with your carpet?

The independent Carpet and Rug Institute tests all types of vacuums. The CRI does not accept money from vacuum manufacturers. Their only aim is to independently help you find the correct vacuum for your needs. You can go to their home page at www.carpet-rug.org. Then click on Residential Customers, then Cleaning and Maintenance, then Seal of Approval Products, and select Vacuums. The Institute has a long list of approved, efficient machines with links to the manufacturers’ websites.

In general, the Institute has found that upright vacuums outperform tank-type or canisters, even when (more…)

Carpet Care: Is It Possible to Vacuum Too Much?

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Q: Is it possible to vacuum too much?

Answer: I’m often asked if a carpet can be vacuumed too much. Today’s synthetic fabrics are made to be vacuumed. Many maintain their appearance only by vacuuming. Normally, most vacuums work well with most kinds of fabrics, but some heavy duty machines teamed with delicate fibers such as wool or soft, fine nylon can cause problems. Strong motors and stiff brushes can distort cut-pile patterns and make Berber-type looped fabrics look fuzzy or stringy. A vacuum brush that is soft to medium in stiffness is the safest for most carpets. If your vacuum has adjustable brushes, it is also better to set the brushes higher rather than lower. You should feel little resistance against the carpet when you vacuum. Some manufacturers suggest that it is better for the brushes to barely touch the pile. This prevents you from beating the carpet to death. (more…)

Carpet Care: How Often Should I Vacuum?

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

I often get asked by clients and friends: How often should I vacuum? Well, here’s the answer.

It is recommended that under average household conditions (four people, one pet), a carpet should be vacuumed at least twice a week — once lightly, once thoroughly.

A light vacuuming means two to three forward and back overlapping passes of the machine in each of the high-traffic areas, with one pass in the low traffic areas.

Regular vacuuming is probably the single most helpful thing a person can do to (more…)

Inspection Safari: A Bamboo Flooring Installation Gone Wrong

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

As an independent, certified flooring inspector, I am commissioned by various parties to look at flooring complaints. Manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and consumers all call me in regards to flooring problems. Many of the “industry” calls are for “routine” inspections. When a consumer calls me, I know the inspection will be anything but routine.

On today’s Flooring Inspection Safari, I take you to a family’s newly remodeled second floor condominium. The family had updated it in advance of the birth of their first child. They wanted to complete all the work, including new engineered bamboo flooring throughout their home, before the baby came home. Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan!

(more…)

Carpet Installation Tip: Always Hire Certified Flooring Installers

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Like any other craft, carpet installers’ skills vary widely. Installers learn their craft by starting as apprentices with a crew. An apprentice might only take up the old carpet and carry tools at first, but slowly learns by watching the others perform their jobs. In this way, the apprentice learns to become an installer.

But hold on! What if the apprentice learns bad installation techniques?

The apprentice doesn’t know any difference between bad and good installations. I have seen apprentices learn from installers who have been doing things the wrong way for thirty years. How do you know that the crew who shows up to install your carpet (after you worked so hard to haul out the furniture!) knows what they’re doing? How do you know that the head of your installation crew wasn’t yesterday’s apprentice? (Note: A lot of retailers hire the lowest bidder and don’t even bother to check the finished job — until there’s a complaint!)

The answer is: always hire a (more…)

Inspection Safari: Carpet Sprouts – Causes and Solutions

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

carpet yarn sprout | carpet expert Glenn Revere

Last week, I inspected a large commercial installation. The complaint came in as “loose tufts and snags”. What I found was something very different: sprouts.

As defined in my book, All About Carpets, “sprouts are long ends of yarns that protrude above the pile surface…Sprouting is a defect only if excessive and unserviceable.”

When I looked across the large, open, glued-down (no padding) installation, it appeared someone had dropped small ball bearings all over this tufted carpet. What I actually saw were random longer loops of carpet pile that were sticking up above the rest of the level loop pile. So what was going on? Had something yanked loops out of the carpet backing? Or was it something else?

Tufted carpet is made by using needles that stitch carpet yarns into a thin sheet of material. As many as 1,000 needles run across a width of carpet. Each needle sets a looped yarn at a predetermined height. For cut-pile carpet, a knife cuts (more…)

The Importance of Proper Carpet Care

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

carpet vacuum

What can you do to keep your beautiful and expensive carpet looking showroom new? Plan to care for your carpet in a number of ways involving both short- and long-term maintenance.

In the short term, regular vacuuming and spotting works wonders to keep the carpet looking good. Over the long term, plan on (and budget for) regular professional cleaning to maintain your investment.

Most carpet warranties require periodic professional (more…)