Spot cleaning inspections this past week

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I always wonder why everyone I meet asks me the same question when it comes to spot cleaning. The question is- what is the best spot remover?

My response is always the same thing- well what is the spot from?

This week I saw three inspections that all had to do with spots on nylon.

One was a perfectly round discolouration on a brand new carpet. The big box store who sold the product filed claim for pile reversal and never even visited the home to inspect!

One was for “fly contamination” in wool yarns. Yet my burn test showed a blended fiber and the “contamination” sure looked like a burn under the microscope.

Another was for blue spots that appeared after the carpet cleaning. There were over a dozen blue spots and the customer used a spot cleaner provided by the retailer.

Spotters provided by the retailer are all too often the culprit in many cases I inspect. The retailer provides a product that is highly alkaline and leaves a residue. The spots then either lighten up lighter than the carpet after too many applications or leave a residue that causes rapid resoiling.

I wish that some simple education on spot removal could be relayed to all levels of the carpet industry so we could all be on the same page.

I have recently rejoined the Floorcovering Institute of Ontario. May be we could give some free seminars in this regard.

If you have any questions on carpet spot removal or require service on some spots or stains please feel free to email me at or contact us for any carpet cleaning toronto or any carpet cleaning services

CRI Standard for Carpet Installation 2011

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I am surprised how it appears that no  one in Canada is aware that there has been a new standard for carpet installation released in the past year by the Carpet and Rug Institute.

Most carpet mills expect the carpet installers to install according to this standard.

If you haven’t seen it or reviewed it then please follow the following link:

Commercial Carpet Cleaning

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I was up in Ottawa looking at a large commercial carpet claim last week.

The problems were numerous but a couple of the situations I encountered were quite different from those I usually encounter.

1) The carpet was being cleaned using a Tennant machine with Ready Space technology.

Now I had never encountered an inspection that used this cleaning technique before. I had to do some heavy research on the carpet and the cleaning system.

Anyways the Ready Space technology uses a machine that has rollers on it. These rollers are applied to the carpet and soil transfers onto them. The rollers are then cleaned by the carpet cleaning machine!! The idea is that there will be no chemical or water residues left on the carpet allowing to dry quickly and not to resoil quickly. The cleaners were using this system with no chemistry!

The problem as usual was no pre-vacuuming. I just don’t understand why people think that dry particulate soil will be released from a wet carpet? Because it won’t come out very easily.

2) The other issue with the carpeting was the complete absence of nosing along the cut edges of the carpet where it met the stone floors and boot scrapes. I know that in this case the manufacturer required that nosing be on the carpet for the first half inch of transition.  The end users were told by their designers that they had researched the product and were told that the edges could be just seam sealed.

Goes to show that you must read all the pertinent information available on the product, each and every time.

I am known to be a pretty smart guy when it comes to carpet. But even I must reread the specs for each product I inspect. The specs change soooooooo much!

Faulty underpad

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I actually got an inspection this week where I had to turn back the carpet and measure the thickness of the pad in the traffic areas as compared to untrafficked areas.

I walked into the home and saw the two areas the homeowner was complaining about were under a plastic runner in the master bedroom and the pivot spot in front of a desk.

Of course the first thing I say to myself is well of course these areas are going to be bad. But my training kicks in and I say to myself “don’t jump to conclusions”.

I have to have a helper with me to move the furniture around and lo and behold I check the pad and see that indeed the pad in the traffic areas are compromised. I say to my helper (and to myself) “you see, you never jump to conclusions”.

Its funny how often I walk into an inspection and upon first glance I think I know what the problem is only to discover how wrong my first impressions were after following  the proper protocols.

I always ask my customers in my interview for claim history what the previous people inspecting the carpet for the retailer, installer or mill rep did when they “inspected”. Its rare that I hear of anyone so much as get down on the carpet.

I have to wonder why people so often trust these preliminary observations.

Poor Carpet Tile Installation

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Its been a while since I posted. I will definitely be here more often with posts in the coming months.

I want to address the issue of carpet tile installation. It seems that no one is installing them correctly.  

Lets make it clear–the old adhesive must be removed! You cannot apply the pressure sensitive adhesive over the adhesive from the previous installation. If you do the adhesives mix, they don’t dry properly  and when you lay the carpet tiles on the adhesive they trap moisture underneath and eventually the moisture has to escape and it does so by vapour coming out from under the sides of the tiles. Then the carpet tiles curl and the manufacturer gets blamed.

When an inspection is commissioned a person like myself comes out and has to recommend complete removal of the tiles and adhesives. The job has to be started over again. The removal of the adhesive is a long arduous affair. Some times its necessary to bead blast the substrate. This is frequently just entirely impractical, there are work stations on top of the carpet everywhere etc.. Now the worst part– to compound the problem many of these same installers go back and relay the carpet tiles on some sort of epoxy glue. I can’t imagine what it is going to be like trying to remove all those tiles when they are done but it won’t be pretty.  We all know what its like to remove the old vinyl tiles that were epoxied right? They come out in chips the size of quarters.

Its time all materially interested parties start reading the installation guidelines of these products. Many manufacturers will go on and say to cover the freshly prepped floor with a proprietary  sealer. If these guidelines are not followed the installer and retailer will own the floor.

I think a huge part of the problem is that we carpet  inspectors cannot tell the customer whats actually happening so the customer never knows what a poor job was done in the first place. If the customers did know I bet there would be less and less of this nonsense happening.

More on Carpet Cleaning and Warranties

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Last week I saw another case of a carpet not being covered by a warranty where in fact I believe there was a problem. Again this was a case where the carpet was not cleaned within the carpet mill’s care recommendations of between 12-18 months. Now lets remeber if the carpet looks visibly soiled it must be cleaned immediately-NO WAITING. By the criteria  laid out by any carpet warranty A CARPET MUST BE CLEANED WHEN IT BECOMES VISIBLY SOILED.

Most soil in a carpet is dry particulate matter and can be vacuumed out. The majority of the rest of the soil in a carpet is either food or oily soils like-tars, oils, gums, greases, resins and fats. Most residential carpets come with a flurochemical treatment like Scotchgard, Teflon or a proprietary product of the carpet mills’. This flurochemical treatment resists oily soils and typically the oily soil will adhere to the dust etc in the carpet and be vacuumed out. Once the flurochemical treatment is worn off the carpet can become soiled very quickly. It is always a good idea to top up the “Scotchgard” on the traffic lanes of your carpet after they have been cleaned. Some carpets have a strong affinity for oily soils. Polyester and Olefin face fibers in particular attarct oily soils to themselves. It is important to know what kind of carpet face fiber you have and to use a carpet cleaner who knows the characteristics of this face fiber. One way to find an educated carpet cleaner is to go the the IICRC website at

I know a lot of people feel that carpets should not have to be cleaned that often. However there are a couple of very interesting facts that may not have been considered by those people who share that opinion. First off most carpet fibers have been engineered to be made in shapes that actually hide soil in the face of the carpet by the way light is reflected by the fiber. Secondly most of the soil in a carpet is gritty and abrasive yet still too small to be seen by the human eye.

I had to fail a polyester frieze carpet the other day because it had been 22 months since she had bought it to the time of the first cleaning. The traffick lanes were munched up, probably by a combination of soil and the agressiveness of her Dyson vacuum. However if I thought it was just the Dyson had caused the damage then I would have failed the carpet. In this case I could not do it, she had failed to keep up with the care recommendations it was plain and simple.

If any body has any questions about how to keep their carpets clean or how to have them cleaned feel free to email me at

Residential Carpet Warranties

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I met a gentleman a week or two ago who had a 94% olefin and 6% nylon face fiber berber style carpet. The traffic lanes were turning brown. The carpet had been laid down in Jan 2007. The carpet was ready to be cleaned within a year but the lady of the house decided to wait till spring.  A very short time after saying this the woman in question became sick. She died a year later.

So its two years after the carpet has been installed, the man of the house has the carpet cleaned in the living/dining area but omits the attached bedroom from the work order. The carpet gets cleaned again in early 2010. The traffic lanes are not coming clean.

The problem — because the customer waited for two years to get the carpet cleaned they voided their warranty.

Now do I feel its fair? No. However the carpet mill in question was firm and denied the claim.

Its very important for people to read the care recommendations of their carpet. There is usually a timetable for cleaning included in their recommendations.

Also take note–if your carpet is visbly soiled then its time to clean it. A carpet should never be allowed to accummulate soil to the point that it looks visibly soied.

Bow and Skew on Carpet

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I had to run off to a beautiful home in Port Perry the other day to look at a carpet. Its a beautiful home and they have the best of everything in the home.

The carpet installers found a bow in the carpet when it was unrolled. They say it was unfixable even using a powerstretcher. I got to the house and found the carpet fully installed. If there was an unfixable bow in the carpet it should never have been installed. The tolerance for bow or skew with most of the carpet mills is 1.5 inches over a twelve foot width.

As an inspector I am supposed to measure uninstalled pieces if possible. I measure the carpet for bowing and found the maximum bow to be .75 inches.

I feel for all concerned here. The customer does not like the curving pattern of the carpet and wants it replaced. The retailer may have to gobble this deal.

The point of this post is that the carpet mills expect an installer to be able to remedy a bow or skew of an inch and a half or less. Nobody said it was easy.

The use of a mini stretcher or crab stretcher, a powerstretcher and stay nails are the tools that must be employed.

The Evolution of Carpet for Green Buildings

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I have been down in the R&D departments of a couple of carpet mills and seen the latest in carpets. Carpet fibers are being created that reflect light better. These fibers have a whole new set of unique issues. The two most important issues are that if a bonnet system is used to clean the carpet the pattern of the carpet is messed up. This has always been the case to some extend but these new high luster fibers are particularly susceptible. Soapy residues can also have an affect on these yarns.

The commercial carpet manufacturers are becoming more and more adamant that no bonnets are used on their carpets. The statements being made by them are even broader–the carpet mills want no rotary action at all on their carpets. I hope that some of my competitors get the message because they are ruining so many carpets. Its terrible.

Retailers will do almost anything to get a sale

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I had to inspect a carpet last week in an apartment. When I got there the carpet was rippled everywhere. The install had been down for three years and “restretched” three times. I ask the customer for the claim history and he starts yelling at me saying “look, look” and didn’t answer any of my questions. I decide to disengage the carpet and look underneath to look for evidence that the carpet had been properly stretched in the first place. Lo and behold I find the carpet is loosely laid over a laminate floor–no tackstrip , no underlayment. The customer screams again, this time stating that the floor cost him $8K and no one was going to put holes in it to put tackstrip and underpad. Okay, so I can understand that the guy is the type who yells and screams until he gets what he wants—BUT WHY IS THE RETAILER ALLOWING IT, LET ALONE “RESTRETCHING IT” THREE TIMES. What has the carpet business come to? For those people reading this blogpost let it be known that carpet over underpad must be tacked down somehow AND it must be powerstretched 1-1.5% of both its length and its width. Otherwise the carpet will buckle.