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6 Benefits of Cleaning VCT

There are at least 6 benefits of cleaning VCT or vinyl composite tiles in commercial buildings. To enjoy these benefits, a professional cleaner must evaluate the floors condition and develope a cleaning or restoration plan. Good communication between the facility managers, occupants and the cleaning company is required to start and complete the job safely. For instance, you should plan the job during times when occupants are less likely to be present. In addition, tape-off, block-off and put wet floor signs down in entranceways and connecting hallways to kke people off of the floor. This helps to prevent slip and fall accidents.

6 benefits of Cleaning VCT

Here are six benefits of cleaning VCT professionally.

  1. It enhanses the overall appearance of your workplace.
  2. It improves the indoor air quality of your work space.
  3. Makes it easier to maintain and harder to damage.
  4. It saves time and money if it is done right the first time.
  5. It can reduces sick leave in your building.
  6. It improves employee morale and job performance.

How do you clean VCT in commercial buildings?

The initial preperation procedures usually begin with the removal or protection of baseboards and furnishings. This is followed by sweeping, vacuuming, stripping and waxing. Professional VCT cleaning and restoration always requires a strict set of :

  • procedures
  • patience
  • expertise
  • equipment and
  • the right final finishes.

There are usually 3-6 coats of finish applied after the floor is stripped. The drying time and floor preperation between coats is very important. Conditions must be controlled during the finish application. Once the VCT floor cleaning is finished there should be at least 24 hour curing time before its use.

To experience the 6 benefits of cleaning VCT by a vendor you can trust call ECO Interior Maintenance. 33 years experience. We will clean & restore any size commercial VCT floor. Free Estimate today.  Satisfaction Guaranteed. 301-261-1966, helpdesk@eco-im.com

 

Types of Commercial Carpet Fibers

Close Up of Beige Wool Carpet Fibers for Types of Commercial Carpet Fibers Blog

Types of Commercial Carpet Fibers

While there are many considerations when replacing or cleaning old commercial carpets, property manages must be aware of carpet fiber types. This is because fiber type refers to the actual material used to manufacture the carpet. The type of fiber will dictate price points, applications, maintenance needs and longevity. There are six main types of commercial carpet fibers:

  • Nylon Carpet Fibers
  • Olefin Carpet Fibers
  • Polyester Carpet Fibers
  • Wool Carpet Fibers
  • Wool Blend Carpet Fibers
  • Synthetic Blend Carpet Fibers

The various types of commercial carpet fibers have various advantages and disadvantages for commercial properties. There is no “one size fits all” solution for property managers when it comes to commercial carpets. Property managers should first understand the various types of commercial carpet fibers, then work with an IICRC Certified company when they need to clean, repair or replace their carpets.

Nylon Carpet Fibers

In general, nylon fiber carpets offer property managers the best performance of any commercial carpet fiber. A synthetic material, solution dyed nylon is both strong and extremely durable. As a result, commercial carpets with nylon fibers stand up well against abrasions and offer great texture retention. Due to their chemical makeup, nylon fiber carpets also respond very well to hot water extraction cleaning. Using this commercial carpet cleaning method will help crushed and matted nylon fibers to bounce back to their original shape. Drying the carpet can be sped up using a fan, air mover or HVAC.

While commercial nylon fiber carpets offer many advantages to property managers, they also have their drawbacks. First and foremost, nylon that is not solution dyed is prone to color loss or staining. Consequently, stain resistant treatments and dye blockers are frequently applied to nylon fiber carpets. Additionally, nylon fiber carpets are the most expensive synthetic carpets.

Olefin Fiber Carpets

Another synthetic product, Olefin fiber carpets are common in commercial properties. This is because they offer a solid combination of performance and affordability to property managers. In terms of performance, olefin fiber carpets are stain, mold and moisture resistant. They also are great for walk off mats because they attract and retain natural and synthetic oils that are tracked inside. All of these attributes are because of their chemical makeup. Olefin fiber carpets are also less expensive than nylon carpets.

Although olefin fiber carpets sound great, they have flaws. Most notably, they have a shorter lifespan than other synthetic carpets. While they are resistant to stains and liquids, they are susceptible to soiling from walk off or spilled oils. This includes oils from human skin, driveways, garages, parking lots and cooking ingredients. Olifin fibers also can be perminently damaged, with what the industry calls a carpet burn, from dragging furniture on top of it. Lastly, olefin fiber carpets require frequent cleaning to prevent soiling.

Polyester Fiber Carpets

Polyester fiber carpets fall between nylon and olefin fiber carpets in terms of price and performance. Similar to the way olefin carpets naturally repel liquids, polyester fiber carpets are inherently stain resistant. They are solid performers and typically cost half as much as nylon fiber carpets. Polyester fiber carpets also come in a wide range of colors. Lastly, they are typically much softer than nylon fiber carpets.

No different than other commercial carpet fibers, polyester fiber carpets have disadvantages. Polyester fiber carpets mat and crush quickly in high traffic areas and do not bounce back well from matting. The lifespan of a polyester carpet can be as short as 5 years. Similar to Olefin fiber carpets, it can be very challenging to remove oil based stains from polyester fiber carpets.

Wool Fiber Carpets

All in all, 100% wool fiber carpets offer the best performance to property managers. They hold their shape, naturally repel stains including oils and are incredibly comfortable. Other benefits include being fire resistant and they can even offer a degree of insulation. Lastly, because they use wool right off sheep, they are 100% all natural, organic and hypoallergenic.

While wool fiber carpets are durable, comfortable and easy to clean, they are the most expensive type of carpet. This is the major reason why many commercial properties do not use 100% wool carpets. In addition to costs, wool fiber carpets tend to fade when continually exposed to sunlight. They also naturally absorb water, making them prone to mold and mildew issues if left in damp unconditioned spaces. The final concern with wool fiber carpets is maintenance.

Since wool is a natural fiber, improper cleaning techniques can damage and sometimes effect wooven backing yarns, changing lenght or width of the wool carpets. Bleach and acids will cause color loss spots. As a result property managers should contact a professional carpet cleaner to maintain wool fiber carpets.

Wool Blend Fiber Carpets

Blended fiber carpets combine one of the three synthetic carpet fibers (nylon, olefin or polyester) with natural wool material. These materials are designed to offer some of the features of natural wool carpets at lower price points than 100% wool carpets.

Property managers must assume a blended fiber carpet will take on the attributes of the materials being used based on proportions. A carpet that is 80% wool and 20% nylon will act like nylon 20% of the time and wool 80% of the time. As a result, the strengths and weaknesses of wool blend fiber carpets is understanding the characteristics of the synthetic materials being used.

Nylon wool blends perform best in terms of durability and lifespan. They are also the most expensive of the three options. Polyester and olefin wool blends typically offers superior performance in high traffic areas .

Synthetic Blend Fiber Carpets

Finally, there are synthetic blend fiber carpets. While wool blends combine natural wool and a synthetic material, synthetic blends combine nylon, olefin and/or polyester. These also follow the 80%/20% rule mentioned above.

The most common blend used in commercial properties is a nylon polyester blend. This offers most of the durability and features of nylon, while being budget friendly. Even though it is rare, property managers would be wise to avoid nylon olefin blends at all costs. These carpets quickly appear dirty, are typically uncomfortable and have frequently crush. In general, blends of all three and polyester with olefin do not exist.

Need help with your property’s commercial carpets? Contact Eco Interior Maintenance today by phone at 410-647-2800 or fill out the form below and a member of our team will follow up!

 

VCT Cleaning

VCT Cleaning usually involves floor preperation followed by stripping and waxing the surface. Depending on the condition, most floors can be restored to their original luster.

VCT Cleaning requires patience, expertise, the right finishes, the right equipment and a strict set of procedures. Following these requirements, in the proper sequence, will save you time and money.

ECO-Friendly stripping agents are typically odorless. Many of the finishes have different ranges in price and in quality. Trusting your floor cleaning company is a essential.

If you want to improve the appearance of your VCT call a VCT Cleaning expert. Eco Interior Maintenance. 33 years experience. Locally owned and operated. 301-261-1966

spot on carpet

Sometimes people try to clean spot on carpet that just can not be removed. Recently I was asked to go inspect a spot that no cleaner had been able to remove. Typically this means that the cleaning process performed by the owner of the carpet or the facilities department did not work. Many times multiple cleaning solutions and methods are used that can either set dyes or distort the carpet.

In this case it was something different. Nothing was going to work to clean this spot out because it was not a stain, spot or spill. Take a close look at the picture to the right. What do you see? Take a look at the door. It has a brass kick plate and door push. Now look at the light sourse in the picture to the left. The light is shining off the brass push plate and kick plate. You will never clean a reflection out of the carpet.

Here is another picture below of how it looks from the other direction below:

In this particular case. The condo board member said excessive adhesive under the carpet was coming through. The property manager was complaining about the cleaning job. The cleaner wasted alot of time and could have caused damage to the fibers tring to get it out and the retailer was brought in to look at a manufactures defect who asked, “Who spilled the bleach?”

Morale of the story: Before you try to clean a spot on carpet out, look for shadows and light reflections first. Stand in the way, turn off or cover up light sourses. Often you will be amazed at what just disappears, or what was never even there in the first place.

** see some common questions on how to remove spots from carpet www.ecointeriormaintenance.com/resources/carpet-cleaning-tips. The Carpet & Rug Institute is another resourses: See www.carpet-rug.org/resources/technical-bulletins-and-papers/#maintenance-of-carpet

 

 

 

Stripping & Waxing Floors

Stripping and Waxing floors and how much it costs?

Many commercial buildings have VCT or Vinyl Composite Tiles in high traffic or heavy use areas. Shoe scuffs, rubber wheels and spills create the need for stripping and waxing floors. The use dictates the cleaning frequency. For instance, an entrance hallway or mail room may need to be mopped daily and a computer cleanroom may only need to be cleaned every 2 weeks. Poor cleaning frequency specifications and mopping procedures, over time, will create the need for the VCT to be restored.

Doing the job correctly takes time, experience, the right equipment and of course the right floor finish.

Preperations include:

Stripping Waxing floors
Before
Stripping & Waxing Floors
After
  • Prepping the area.
  • Removing existing finish
  • Rincing & Neutralizing the floor
  • Sweeping away any debris
  • Applying finishes properly

Quite often an important step is left out, resulting in the need to redue the whole job. For instance, stripping and waxing floors require through sweeping, vavuuming and drying procedures between steps. One piece of hair, tape or foriegn object can create an ugly focal point. Control of the job from start to finish is mandatory.

Saftey signs to protect from slip and falls.

Safety protocols are of utmost importance. One slip and fall can ruin the profitability of any VCT strip & wax job.. causing an increases in your insurance premiums. Using wet floor signs and caution tape to section off work areas is a must. Carefully thought out time management and scheduling will save you headaches and money.

The Cost of Stripping and Waxing VCT Floors

Most of the time 2 to 3 efficient, experienced strip & wax professionals can take care of 2 to 5 thousand square foot a night. The Cost to do this ranges from 40 cents sq/ft to $2.25 sq/ft. This cost is affected by the type of finish, the condition of the floor, the time that it gets done and the amount of space that needs to be restored.

How often do you need to strip and wax VCT?

Commercial kitchens, entrance & access hallways and cafeterias may need more frequent restorations however every 6-18 months would be normal. Proper moping procedures and maintenance with a 175 rpm swing buffing machine will extend stripping and waxing intervals.

It makes sense to strip and wax VCT with an established business. Ask for pictures and referrals. Call Eco Interior Maintenance for your FREE quote today! www.ecointeriormaintenance.com

Strip and Wax Floors

Cleaning LVT

Cleaning LVT
Damaged LVT with Joints not staggered properly

 

Who said that cleaning LVT was easy?

Cleaning LVT or Luxury Vinyl Tile can be a challenge. Many cleaning contractors often struggle to maintain it. LVT  is becoming a popular specification by designers and retailers for flooring in homes or offices. Often it is sold to the end user as a “low” or “no” maintenance floor. Truth is all flooring systems need maintenance.

Soil can build up and cause irreversible damage to the wear layer (the top protective layer of the LVT). Furniture legs and tables that are dragged over the surface can cause scratches that can not be removed or easily repaired. It makes sense to make sure the bottom of furniture legs have felt or smooth plastic tabs.

When LVT planks first arrived many manufacturers did not recommend the use of any aftermarket finishes. Today most manufactures recommend specific products that can be used to clean and protect their floors. Maintaining LVT does not have to be expensive.  Typically it will require more than just a mop and a bucket.

Flooring has to be properly specified. The color, type of material and the type of finishes play a part in its use life . If you can not apply a durable protective finish to resilient flooring the end result may be early replacement.

Commercial Tile & Grout Cleaning

tile grout cleaning

Commercial tile & grout requires special care.

We have all walked into a restroom needing tile & grout cleaning that smells like a monkey cage.  This is usually caused by poor maintenance of the tile floor. A professionally maintained tile & grout floor requires a customized plan that includes proper;

  • training
  • equipment & tools
  • cleaning solutions
  • and professional expertise

Soil, oils, detergents and floor finishes get trapped on tiles and in the grout causing unhealthy bio-films to build up on locker room and restroom floors. These bio-films can be breading grounds for odor causing bacteria.

Locker rooms and bathrooms are typically cleaned using detergent-disinfectants. These tile & grout cleaning agents can sometimes be over used or specified incorrectly causing a residual build or damage to the floor.  Steam, mechanical agitation, pressure and aggressive cleaning solutions are often required to remove build-up. Knowing how to apply restorative tile & grout cleaning agents safely, efficiently and effectively takes years of practice.

Fresh mops and frequently changed out mop water is absolutely necessary. Mucky mop water adds to tile surface soiling and grout degradation. Unsealed grout can be porous enough to soak up cleaning chemicals, causing premature damage to the grout. No matter if you are performing tile & grout cleaning daily or doing maintenance restorations, time consuming final rinses are essential to maintaining clean healthy commercial bathrooms and locker rooms.

Don’t waste no time or money …Call ECO Interior Maintenance ..Washington DC, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland

tile grout cleaningtile grout cleaning tile & grout cleaning

Ripples, Waves, Buckling Carpet

So how did ripples, waves or buckling carpet appear at your home or office?

Carpet ripples, waves and buckling typically are associated with a stretch-in installations over pad. The main reasons they appear are:

  1. Installer does not use a power stretcher during installation. (uses only knee kicker)Carpet Ripple
  2. Carpet was not acclimated in the home or commercial facility before installation
  3. Carpet has padding/cushion that was not installed properly or is the wrong specification
  4. Tack strip/threshold failure because of installation or tack strip specification
  5. Secondary backing latex failure (manufacture related)
  6. Heavy objects rolling or pushed over carpet and pad.
  7. Improper glue use or application (Double glue/direct glue down installations only)
Power Stretcher

A power stretcher is a required tool needed to install a broadloom carpet (12-15 foot wide and comes in a roll). Carpet will on an average stretch 1.5 inches per 12 ft. length. Some installers may be able to get this using a knee kicker however the Carpet and Rug Institute Installation Guidelines require the mandatory use of a power stretcher. Often ripples will appear over time if carpet is not stretched in place, drum tight, during the initial installation. If ripples, waves or buckling appears it can cause delamination of the primary and secondary backing, dimensional stability issues or the necessity to re-stretch the carpet again at a later time.

Carpet Acclimation

According to 9.0 of the commercial & residential CRI 104/105 guidelines, “It is recommended that carpet and installation materials be allowed to acclimate in the installation area for a minimum of 24 hours at a temperature of 65-95oF (18-35oC). Carpet must be adequately protected from soil, dust, moisture and other contaminants. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for acclimation.” This can often be a problem if the carpet is being installed on a really humid day or if it is raining and carpet sits in truck most of day before installation or carpet is cut on driveway then installed.

Carpet padding

If the carpet is too thick, not dense enough or is not installed properly (at least 6 inch offset from carpet seams) carpet ripples, carpet waves or carpet buckles can appear. This again is typically an installation issue. Try to get padding that has at least an 8 lb density and no more than 3/8 inch thick.

Tack-Strip/Transition strips

Tack-strip/Transition strips come in several different shapes and sizes. Some is made for installation over concrete and some for wood. Some is thicker than others. Some accounts for step down levels. An inadequate installation of tack-strip could cause carpet to come loose creating a carpet conducive to rippling, waves or buckling.

Secondary Backing, Heavy Objects or Double glue

There are multiple other ways that ripples, waves or buckling carpet can occur. Most of them are related to installation but occasionally there is not enough latex on the back of the carpet, someone has pushed heavy objects over the carpet or there are glue failures between primary, secondary or double glue down installations.

Fixing Ripples, Waves and Buckling carpet

Fixing carpet ripples, carpet waves or carpet buckling can sometimes be difficult when heavy furniture, polls, vents and corners are in the way. In most cases a professional installer or a repair specialist can fix carpet ripples if they are caught soon enough. Commercial double glue down installations that ripple are not typically fixable. Cost can range from $75 hr to -$300 hr. **Always take pictures and report back to the retailer if you see ripples within the fist year after installation.

Call 410-647-2800 or email Eco Interior Maintenance for more information. helpdesk@ecointeriormaintenance.com

-published by Doug Bradford CEO, LEED AP, SCI

Doug Bradford is one of the founders of Eco Interior Maintenance (DC, N. VA, MD) and Strategic Restoration & Maintenance (Central Florida). With over 30 years experience, some of his accreditation include: USGBC LEED AP, Chairing for 10 years the writing of the ANSI IICRC S100 International Textile Floor Covering Cleaning Standard, Content contributor for the Carpet & Rug Institute, RIA CR, Senior Carpet Inspector, Resilient Inspector and Mold Remediation Technician. He has developed cleaning products that clean, disinfect and protect textiles and hard surfaces for the cleaning industry, has been an instructor, an industry speaker, industry consultant to major corporations & textile manufacturers and has published articles in nationally recognized cleaning magazines.

Senior Living Facility Carpet Care

What is the standard of care for textile floor coverings in senior living facilities?

Senior living facility carpet care protocols are all over the board. It is time to standardize carpet & upholstery cleaning specifications for all those who reside in assisted living health care facilities. Clean pro-actively instead of re-actively.

Senior Living Facility Carpet Care
Dirty Damp Living Condition

As a practicing Senior Carpet Inspector, a Master Cleaner and an industry cleaning consultant I decided dig into this. I have spent years watching different parties try to take the lead in this subject only to see it kicked around by state & government regulators, carpet manufacturers, cleaning franchises, private businesses, real estate investment trusts (REIT’S) and cleaning associations. Who really is responsible for senior living facility carpet care? Are the carpets, upholstery and floors being maintained in a healthy responsible way so that the residents can live comfortably in their most trying years.

None of us are getting any younger and I bet you or someone you know right now is residing in a nursing home, retirement home or assisted living community. With the last of the 28 million “silent generation” (1925-1945) and nearly 72 million “baby boomers” (1945-1964) approaching or past 65, senior living facilities are in demand. No matter if you have an in house cleaning staff or hire an outside service specific cleaning procedures and frequencies should be specified and followed for the health of everyone working or living in that facility.

So why focus on carpet and upholstery maintenance? Simple, because it is one of the things most overlooked when dealing with the sick, disabled or elderly population. Carpet is a very cleanable surface that can provide:

  • insulating warmth,
  • acoustic comfort,
  • slip and fall protection, and
  • assistance in trapping contaminates, soil and spills until they are removed

The problems occur when trapped soil, spills and moisture from food, drinks, tracked in dirt, incontinence issues or bathroom moisture track-off are not properly extracted and dried. This can present many of the components necessary that can cause allergic reactions and enhance the spread of infectious disease. It also can lead to intensify potential health issues in individuals harboring Chronic Immune Disorders, Autoimmune Disease or any number of other debilitating health issues present in occupants in nursing home communities.

There are three types of carpet cleanings that can occur in senior living facilities:

  1. Emergency carpet cleanings from spills or accidents
  2. Customized carpet maintenance of individual rooms requiring higher cleaning frequencies
  3. Scheduled carpet cleanings designed to maintain general appearance & health of common areas

    Carpet Care
    Chemical Dilution Machines

Each of these may require very different carpet cleaning procedures, cleaning solutions and/or cleaning equipment. Many in house staff cleaners wear many hats. Carpet and upholstery cleaning training is often not sufficient. Most would not be able to tell you the difference between sanitizing a surface and disinfecting it, what the dilution ratio is for a cleaning agent or how to properly use the equipment provided.

Often;

  • facility service technicians are supplied with a product(s) and a piece of equipment and are asked to “clean it up”.
  • no maintenance schedule or plan exists.
  • no formal training has occurred, opening up the opportunity for unhealthy biofilm build up.

A carpet and upholstery maintenance plan is usually not in place because many assume you should not clean until it looks dirty. Most property managers have never seen a carpet maintenance plan and have little knowledge of what the manufacture cleaning guidelines specify. This is only the beginning of the problem.

Carpet Care
Hot Water Extraction
Carpet Care
Encapsulation/Dry Compound

Why does carpet fail in nursing homes prematurely?

  • vacuuming frequency and/or type of vacuum is not sufficient
  • there is no maintenance program
  • the funds to carpet clean proactively is not budgeted
  • the expertise to do it right is not available on site
  • the equipment is not working or on site
  • carpet cleaning frequency is not specified
  • proper carpet cleaning systems are not specified

Proper maintenance and care for anything requires a plan of action. With no plan, problems can escalate increasing costs and decreasing use life. With no training or “standard of care”, failure is inevitable. The elderly, disabled and those who can not clean for themselves need professional facility cleaners that follow proper cleaning specifications so that the health of the occupants are not negatively effected. Look for future posts on Standards for senior living facility carpet care.

If any senior living facilities are in need of assistance with in house training or customizing carpet and upholstery maintenance plans we are willing to help. We care about all of these residents. Call Eco Interior Maintenance for a free consultation 410-647-2800. We will travel up and down East Coast if needed.

-published by Doug Bradford CEO, LEED AP, SCI

Doug Bradford is one of the founders of Eco Interior Maintenance (DC, N. VA, MD) and Strategic Restoration & Maintenance (Central Florida). With over 30 years experience, some of his accreditation include: USGBC LEED AP, Chairing for 10 years the writing of the ANSI IICRC S100 International Textile Floor Covering Cleaning Standard, Content contributor for the Carpet & Rug Institute, RIA CR, Senior Carpet Inspector, Resilient Inspector and Mold Remediation Technician. He has developed cleaning products that clean, disinfect and protect textiles and hard surfaces for the cleaning industry, has been an instructor, an industry speaker, industry consultant to major corporations & textile manufacturers and has published articles in nationally recognized cleaning magazines.