3 Top Tips for Flooring Care + Winter Planning

These top tips for winter carpet care and planning will help to protect your employees, building visitors, and long-term flooring investment. They will also provide a cleaner building environment.

All carpets become soiled, especially those in entrance ways where foot traffic is at a maximum. Some facilities maintenance plans are based on a set schedule, while others are only cleaned when the carpets appear to be soiled. As the winter months are soon approaching you will want to start planning for what matting or carpet entryway system will work best for your building.

winter tips for carpet care

Tips for winter carpet care

Types of Carpet Systems – Which One Is Best for You?

There are many ways that soil and debris are brought into a building which is why it makes sense to have a walk off carpet system or matting system in place.

For example, the Steppin Out walk-off collection from Shaw Contract is engineered with a rough texture that traps up to 80% of soil and moisture brought into a facility.

The advantage of these types of systems is that they won’t move, buckle, or pucker which helps to reduce the risk of an employee or visitor falling or tripping. Matting and walk off systems also help to extend the life of a building’s installed flooring as it traps dirt and moisture on an ongoing basis. This offers good protection regardless of the flooring installed and reduces maintenance needs.

Another example is Pedimat Entry Mat Systems by Construction Specialties.

3 top carpet care tips

Pedimat Entry System

The company describes Pedimat entrance matting as “engineered for quiet performance, thanks to the combination of lightweight rails and strong aluminum hinge connectors, allowing them to be rolled up for easy cleaning and maintenance.”

Entrance matting systems are also quite beneficial. They tend to trap a lot more debris and will soil much quicker than carpets that exist on upper floors. The same applies to carpets near exits, loading docks, private staff entrances or any other high traffic areas, which need more protection from debris and moisture.

winter matting

Pedimat Entry System

3 Top Tips for Flooring Care + Winter Planning

A cleaning schedule based on when carpets appear soiled may be missing the mark. A build-up of debris can act as an abrasive, which can affect floor finishes, carpet fibres and materials and cause fading over time.

Winter tends to increase this risk as salt and sand are used around icy entrances. During these months, due to constant exposure of moisture there is also a higher risk for mold, mildew, and bacterial growth.

For winter carpet care and to protect your employees and flooring it makes sense to start planning now.

pedimat walk off systems

Pedimat Entry System

Darwin Fisher’s trusted partner program offers a comprehensive client maintenance package through Toronto-based Interior Care. Established in 1964 and operated by the Linton family, Interior Care is in its third generation, and one of the largest privately-owned specialty cleaning services in Canada.

Staff maintain over 700 corporate offices in Southern Ontario, cleaning more than 10 million square feet of carpet each month. “Our maintenance plans remove embedded dust and allergens not reachable by your daily vacuum service,” says Graham Linton, General Manager of Interior Care.

interior care cleaning Interior Care service technicians are required to maintain their certification status by attending three annual, two-day Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification ( IICRC ) instructed in-class programs. Everyone is required to maintain a passing grade of 80% as part of their ongoing training.

“For top tips for winter carpet care, regularly maintained carpet tile by an IICRC certified firm will ensure a healthier environment for your employees,” explains Linton. This is especially important through Covid. “Regular carpet care (as specified by all carpet manufacturers) can increase carpet investment two to four years past the expected eight to 10-year life expectancy. When ignored, abrasive and gritty soiling wears on fibre which shortens appearance retention and can cause premature wear over time.”

Top tips for winter carpet care:

1.     Determine Traffic Levels and Associated Requirements

This is reliant on several factors including:

  • Office traffic and number of employees
  • Colour of the carpet (lighter carpets show more dirt and spills)
  • Level of appearance required (i.e., a professional law firm vs a gym)
  • The actual location of the carpet that requires cleaning (entrance as opposed to second floor).
matting systems

Building entrance matting systems

2.     Choose the Type of Matting or Walk Off Carpet System Suitable for the Space

  • As outlined above there are many different types of systems available including walk off systems and matting systems.
  • Make a decision about what system is right for your building before winter months where ice and precipitation can increase the risk of trips, slips and falls.

3.     Decide on a Plan – Scheduled Maintenance Benefits

  • It’s wise during winter months to increase cleaning both inside and outside the building. Keeping sidewalks and driveways clear.
  • Increasing carpet vacuuming frequency is important for all entrance matting systems.
  • This may be required daily with higher traffic locations requiring several times a day to prevent soiling and debris build up.
  • Where possible, carpets should be completely lifted and cleaned under neath as well.
  • Daily spot removal where required is also beneficial.
  • Linton’s team will visit the client on location and develop a maintenance plan for monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly service. This is determined by the appropriate level of maintenance required for the specified space.
tips for winter carpet care

Carpet entry system

All facilities should have a carpet care cleaning and maintenance plan in place both during the winter months and throughout the rest of year. Taking a proactive approach keeps carpets clean and healthy and extends the life of carpets. This can also mean that funds that might be used to replace carpets can be used for other purposes—a good idea during tough financial times.

Darwin Fisher and Interior Care supply custom fit traffic matting which has two purposes:

  1. Prevent slips and falls on a wet hard floor
  2. To absorb wet soiling specifically in winter. Each step on a traffic mat removes a high percentage of wet soiling that would otherwise be absorbed into the office carpet tile – another preventative maintenance step to better protect overall investment

See our other news articles outlining how to protect your flooring investment as we profile different applications throughout the remainder of the year.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com

For more information regarding Interior Care, please click here.

Top Ways to Care for Your Luxury Vinyl Tile After Installation

Today we are examining top luxury vinyl tile (LVT) care and cleaning tips as this highly sought after flooring option offers the perfect combination of durability and affordability when properly maintained.

LVT is popular in healthcare settings, schools, and commercial spaces. It has gained traction over vinyl composite tile (VCT) because it is a much lower maintenance application that has a long lifespan.

According to Healthcare Facilities Today for one school, the switch from VCT to LVT saved them $77,941 within 10 years.

Top LVT Care and cleaning tips

Darwin Fisher LVT installation at IMAX

Why is LVT Popular for both Designers and Facility Managers?

Luxury vinyl floors can provide any space with the rich look of natural materials such as hardwood or stone.

“We encounter designers who like to regularly specify LVT on new construction and remodels due to the extensive design possibilities offered in addition to the finishes,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “As it is a low maintenance product, it also appeals to facilities owners and their maintenance management teams.”

LVT

Photo credit: Mannington Commercial

While it is a very forgiving flooring application, LVT does come with a few challenges. Proper maintenance is a key factor and it’s important that the designated care company or facilities team is educated about the application properties and what cleaning approaches are best to use.

Top LVT Care and Cleaning Tips

LVT comes equipped with a wear layer, which can get damaged or scratched with regular wear. As a result, many manufacturers suggest simple protection such as pads under furniture and chairs to mitigate scratches and dents.

As LVT is often textured as it is designed to simulate real surfaces like hardwood or stone, it can be harder to clean. However, these patterns and ridges are helpful in terms of slipping, skidding and offer better slip-resistance over a smoother floor surface such as porcelain or ceramic.

LVT care

Darwin Fisher LVT installation at IMAX Headquarters

Most of the LVT manufactures recommend a regular dust mopping and wet cleaning to maintain the appearance and lifespan in addition to a cleaner that is near neutral pH for regular wet cleaning.

Caring for LVT – Maintenance Schedules

Newly installed LVT may look like it’s made from hardwood, but care and maintenance require a different approach. There are several different ways to care for LVT over the course of its lifespan.

Commercial Flooring TorontoTop LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – LVT Routine Maintenance

For routine maintenance, LVT simply requires a vacuum or dust mop. This will help to prevent debris from grinding into and marking LVT’s surface layer. If there are any liquids spilled, they should be mopped up or wiped away immediately using a cleaner specifically for LVT floors. Wet mopping can be applied daily or weekly depending on traffic levels and precipitation in the area.

Top LVT Care and cleaning tips

Photo Credit: Mannington Commercial, Layers of LVT

The wear layer varies in terms of thickness and it’s important that the thickness be chosen in conjunction with the application at hand or problems can surface in terms of floor traffic and long-term wear.

Whenever cleaning LVT always start in dry mode, sweeping away the loose dirt and debris from your floors prevents it from getting stuck to your mop when it’s time for a deeper clean. A vacuum cleaner in place of a broom also works well if the bare floor setting is used.

Commercial Flooring TorontoCommercial Flooring TorontoTop LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – Periodic Maintenance

This will again depend on traffic, however periodically your LVT should be cleaned using a neutral cleaner and auto scrubber and then rinsed with water.

If required, this can be followed by buffing to remove scuffs. This is one reason that routine maintenance is important as it will prevent the dirt from being ground into the flooring surface by the scrubber.

Following these steps will protect your LVT and keep the flooring properties intact. However, there are certain thing that should not be used when caring for LVT.

Top LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – Chemical Use

According to Multi-Clean, traditional neutral floor cleaners are often recommended for cleaning LVT flooring. “Owing to their mild nature, these conventional products may not provide the cleaning horsepower needed to clean textured LVT surfaces. Dirt tends to collect in the low spots of the textured surface making it hard to clean while detracting from overall appearance.”

However, the company goes on to say that modern technology is allowing neutral cleaners to be strengthened using naturally occurring enzymes that help break down soils.  These bio-enzyme cleaners are still near neutral in pH but exhibit better overall cleaning performance.  Like neutral floor cleaners, the bio-enzyme cleaners don’t leave a significant residue and do not require rinsing. Owing to their better cleaning performance, these cleaners can be classified by UL for slip resistance.

LVT care and maintenance

Photo Credit: Mannington Commercial LVT

In a recent Mannington Commercial article the company states “LVT does not need a floor finish therefore, we see a reduction of chemistry, water, and man-hours in maintaining these floors. In fact, we’ve found we can successfully reduce chemical and water use by 40 percent when the right products and processes are implemented.”

Mannington recommends a microfibre mop as it doesn’t absorb liquids, unlike flat mops or string mops which hold a lot more chemicals, which leads to over saturating the floor. This can leave a residue that the company states can attract more soil and creates a cyclical process, contaminating areas that don’t have foot traffic as dirty water is pushed around.

Top LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – What to Avoid

  • Never use any ammonia-based cleaners as it can end up damaging and cracking the vinyl flooring.
  • Never steam-clean vinyl flooring as the heat can cause LVT to warp
  • Never use anything that is abrasive such as steel wool or harsh scrubbers as it can permanently damage the tile beyond being able to be buffed out. This will also increase the lifespan of the flooring

Scratching of LVT flooring is a real possibility. Applying a rejuvenator to the flooring can hide existing scratches and other blemishes while protecting the floor from further scratching. Best of all, the rejuvenator makes floors easier to clean. The protector is an ultra-thin shield that doesn’t build up on LVT flooring.

While some facilities may apply a conventional floor finish to LVT this is considered an option and not recommended as there can be a build up over time on the finished floor which eventually will affect how it looks and performs.

Mannington also states using the same old chemicals, equipment and techniques aren’t an effective cleaning solution on newer hard surface floors like LVT or resilient sheet vinyl.

LVT

Photo Credit: Mannington Commercial, LVT looks like stone

Mannington offers Quantum Guard Elite and Quantum Guard HP, a proprietary technology that is naturally stain resistant and requires no-polish maintenance that significantly reduces overall life cycle cost and total cost of ownership. “If you’re a facilities manager struggling to see results after cleaning your floor with old techniques, consider switching to the right microfiber pad, water, and a bit of agitation to solve the problem with even heavily soiled flooring products,” states the company.

There are several options when it comes to LVT flooring maintenance depending on a many different factors including traffic. Your reputable flooring contractor will assist you with the best maintenance approach for your specific situation.

See our other news articles outlining how to protect your flooring investment as we profile different applications throughout the remainder of the year.

For a free consultation on your next LVT flooring installation please contact us here.

 

 

5 Reasons Why LVT Popularity Continues to Grow: Research

LVT popularity is increasing due to advancements in design and technology. New sizes, formats and patterns, combined with the fact that it is easy to install and less costly to maintain over time, makes it appealing to a variety of industry verticals.

 Verified Market Research, reports in its Global Luxury Vinyl Tile-LVT Market Size By Type, By End-Use Sector, By Geographic Scope And Forecast,  that  the LVT market was valued at USD 16.11 Billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 37.92 Billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 11.23% from 2021 to 2028.

Commercial flooring contractor Toronto

Verified Market Research – Global LVT Market

The report also states that, “Non-residential segment is anticipated to account for the highest market share. This can be attributed to the increasing demand for Luxury Vinyl Tiles from multiple end users such as hotel and hospitality segments because of the benefits they provide like sophisticated and aesthetic interiors and ease of cleaning. Hospitals also use LVT because they don’t react to chemicals and similar agents.”

Research and Markets reports The Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) Flooring market in the U.S. is estimated at US$5.3 Billion in the year 2020. China, the world`s second largest economy, is forecast to reach a projected market size of US$8.3 Billion by the year 2027 trailing a CAGR of 13.7% over the analysis period 2020 to 2027. Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 7.1% and 8.9% respectively over the 2020-2027 period. Within Europe, Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 8.1% CAGR.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) Flooring estimated at US$19.6 Billion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$38.9 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 10.3% over the period 2020-2027.

commercial lvt flooring contractor

Research and Markets global LVT flooring growth

Why has LVT  increased in popularity? Here are the top reasons.

LVT popularity has also increased as it has become a practical choice across many industries. According to a Floor Covering Weekly  report released on June 28 of this year the top brands and suppliers are as follows.

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring Contractor

Floor Covering Weekly top LVT brands

5 Reasons for the rise of LVT popularity:

  1. The Way It’s Made

LVT products are generally made of moisture resistant PVC or virgin vinyl. LVT is made up of five distinct layers:

  1. Polyurethane coating (sometimes re-enforced with ceramic bead, silica bead or aluminum oxide) to improve durability
  2. Protective clear layer known as the ‘wear layer’
  3. Print film layer (with your chosen design)
  4. Vinyl core
  5. Vinyl backing

This results in a flooring solution that is easy to install, durable and easy to clean and maintain. Typically, LVT wear layers range from 20-28 mm of thickness for commercial installation projects, with thickness selected based on requirements from low through to high foot traffic areas. (i.e. low traffic office space as opposed to building entrance areas).

  1. Affordability by Design

LVT, through technological innovation, is now available in many different finishes, including those that mimic wood and stone. Designers are offered a large array of options at more affordable price points than natural materials. Designers are also drawn to the newly available patterns, colours and variety of designs offered as application pattern technology progresses.

  1. Low Maintenance

Upon initial purchase, LVT is more expensive than vinyl composite tile (VCT) products, however LVT has a lower maintenance cost over time due to its built-in protective layer, offering much more comprehensive and long-lasting protection. The protective layer doesn’t need regular waxing and polishing like VCT. However, this top layer will wear over time and may need to be reapplied for heavy traffic areas.

Each organization’s LVT cleaning and maintenance requirements will vary based on traffic. Inclement weather will also affect cleaning requirements. LVT only requires regular sweeping and mopping to remove dust and dirt which is much easier for cost-conscience maintenance budgets.

Toronto LVT Commercial Flooring

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring LVT IMAX installation

  1. Return on Investment: Durability

LVT popularity is driven also by the fact that it is protected by a clear layer which helps to maintain its appearance over long periods of time. The wear layer varies in terms of thickness. Thickness must be chosen in conjunction with the traffic area as heavy, long-term wear will affect appearance.  It will not expand and contract in humid or dry seasons and is a fraction of the price of stone or real wood. LVT is less likely to scuff, indent or scratch with regular use and wear and tear through foot traffic and furniture movement. This makes it a solid flooring investment choice for the long-term, combined with the fact that it requires very little maintenance.

  1. Acoustically Sound

Studies have shown that elevated noise levels from hard surface flooring can negatively affect the health and well-being of employees. LVT offers better acoustic properties than hard surface flooring like ceramic tile and it won’t chip or discolor.

Armstrong Flooring reports that building materials and furnishings can affect the acoustics of a building in three ways through information gathered on acoustical data:

  • Sound Absorption: They can absorb sound, lowering background noise levels and reducing reverberation within a room.
  • Airborne Sound Transmission: They can serve as acoustical insulation and reduce transmission of airborne sounds, such as voices, between rooms.
  • Impact Sound Transmission: They can serve as impact sound insulation and reduce the transmission of impact sound, such as footsteps, from one room to another below or adjacent to it.
Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto LVT

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring LVT installation at Entertainment One

In healthcare, we’ve seen a trend towards installation of newer finishes like LVT over traditional ceramic. Flooring decisions in healthcare depend on how it will affect patients, safety, indoor air quality and infection control. Floor surfaces also need to be slip resistant and offer smooth transitions from one area to another for staff/patients and related equipment. Part of the reason beyond new finishes and designs, is that these technologies offer sound transmission protection. Dentists and doctors stress the need for soundproofing. Walls, ceiling and flooring materials selected need to help protect patient privacy and hinder sound travel.

According to Verified Market Research “increase in disposable income, beneficial properties of Luxury Vinyl Tile and the increase in construction and remodeling activities are some of the major factors driving the market. The increase in disposable income of consumers had led to changes in their lifestyle choices and preferences as well. Moreover, this has also led to an increase in the number of construction-for residential as well as office space, and remodeling activities. The beneficial attributes of LVT-ease of installation and application, easy to maintenance, cost-effectiveness, resilient to chemical reactions and provides an aesthetic appeal to space make them much more popular for use in residential as well as non-residential construction.”

Many Finishes and Manufacturers

There are a number of different types of LVT products on the market. Many manufacturers offer different performance ratios from one product to another. This includes the surface of the product, to the type of backing used, in addition to thickness of the tiles. Ensure your flooring installer is knowledgeable of the differences, quality and applications that would best suit your environment, including projected wear from foot traffic/furniture, installation, and maintenance and acoustic considerations.

For more information about LVT flooring installation solutions please fill out this form on our website or email us directly at info@darwinfisher.com.

5 Critical Tips for Your Next Carpet Tile Installation

There are five critical tips for successful carpet tile installation. If you are planning a new office space or redesigning an existing one, your organization’s requirements will involve several considerations. Here’s how to make a more informed decision about your investment, ranging from moisture issues to employee health.

1.Carpet Tile and Moisture

The first factor to consider is whether the site in question is newly constructed or a renovation. This will determine the type of carpet tile required and what solutions make the most sense for that area.

For example, under ideal conditions a newly-poured four-inch concrete slab takes four to five months to be fully ready to accept flooring.

Commercial Carpet Tile Flooring Examples Toronto

Darwin Fisher Entertainment One carpet tile installation

As construction schedules don’t allow for the time required for concrete to cure, the carpet tile installed is one that must be able to handle rising water vapour. It’s a good idea to install modular carpet tile products have been designed to manage subfloor moisture vapor through an open-cell cushion backing.

Unlike hard backed tiles, these types of systems allow for water vapour to travel through the open-cell cushion and up the seam. It is then able to naturally evapourate through the edges of the carpet tile as it surfaces. If the water vapour isn’t allowed to evaporate condensation occurs which can lead to various problems including, lifting carpet, mould and mildew and potentially poor office air quality.

If the project is a renovation, properly preparing the floor and removing the existing flooring to lay the new carpet tile is the first step. The job may require grinding the floor and removing existing adhesives.

Products available for various manufacturers can easily be installed over existing adhesives to  completely obscures any surface irregularities, whereas these types of surface issues may show through hardback carpet after installation.

2. Carpet Tile and Reduced Downtime

Carpet tiles can be easily installed and do not require the dismantling of office systems or employee workstations. When installing carpet tile there is no need to lift furniture in contrast to broadloom, ceramic or hardwood flooring.

carpet tile installation

Darwin Fisher corporate office carpet installation

Darwin Fisher’s secret weapon is Levitate, an Office Lifting System that eliminates downtime and disruption while saving money. Levitate is a technology that allows carpet to be replaced with little or no downtime.

Levitate is a series of custom designed mechanical tools which are placed underneath any type of office furniture to lift it smoothly and safely. Once the furniture and workstations are lifted the carpet is easily installed.

Levitate office lifting system enables users to re-carpet occupied office areas providing significant savings in time, cost and eliminates employee disruption and relocation. There is no need for disconnection and reconnection of computers, cables, phone lines or other equipment.

The cost savings that Darwin Fisher provides its clients using this system is in excess of 50% as Levitate eliminates the need for computer technicians, staff relocation, furniture specialists and other budget intensive resources required with other types of flooring.

3. Carpet Tile and Durability

Carpet tile systems provide greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry. If broadloom is chosen and an area is damaged, fixing the spot in question is a much larger and more complicated process in terms of seam and pattern matching. It also makes it difficult to fix if there is no attic stock available.

carpet tile maintenance Toronto

Carpet tile spot removal and cleaning

Once your carpet tile is installed it is easy to change out any specific areas wear and tear areas or to spot clean for spills. This will help promote the longevity of your investment.

4. Carpet Tile and Investment

Yes, you can take it with you when you go. After installation you can protect your investment long term. If there is a future requirement to move locations, carpet tile can be easily lifted, removed and re-installed at a new site. At Darwin Fisher, we’ve had clients move their tile and number the tile so that it can be re-installed the same way it came up it was lifted.

Carpet tile has a long lifespan and if it is well maintained well you can realize a return on your investment for many years to come. Colour matching technology also have gotten much more accurate with time so that if a certain colour of tile is purchased years before and a new space needs to be carpeted there is the opportunity to match the older installation to the newer area.

5. Carpet Tile and Employee Health

Independent research reveals  cushion backing in carpet tile decreases muscle fatigue for the people who stand for long periods.  This helps to ensure employees reap the benefits of  improved comfort and the cumulative benefit may have an impact on overall health.

Commercial carpet tile Toronto

Darwin Fisher IMAX carpet tile installation

More good news for your employees. Acoustically, cushioned carpet tiles are also quieter than hard floors or hardback carpet. As a result, sound is contained and a quieter office space can be realized making for a more relaxing workspace.

For more information about carpet tile installation and how to protect your investment, please contact info@darwinfisher.com