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.

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.

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.