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 Expert Tips for Maintaining Your Porcelain Tile

Porcelain Tile Care + Maintenance Before, During and After Installation

Porcelain tile is a very durable flooring material that is water resistant, non-porous and requires little maintenance day to day. There are three main types of porcelain tile products: unpolished, polished, and patterned/ textured. To maintain appearance and protect your long-term investment, consider the following before, during and after installation.

  • Ensure all construction is completed before final installation as any heavy objects or traffic can damage the surface
  • Ensure you are using materials to cover the tile surface (kraft paper, plywood) during installation of grout to avoid grout residue and related product on the tile
  • Ensure the grout is sealed at all joints
porcelain tile care

Porcelain tile Photo credit: Ciot

Porcelain Tile Care After Installation

Depending on location and daily foot traffic, a simple vacuum or sweeping can be executed. For any stubborn areas a damp mop will also work to remove debris that vacuuming or sweeping missed.

If there are any stains that are not easily removed, spot cleaning is recommended rather than taking any type of detergent or chemicals to the entire surface area.

It is also critical not to use any cleaners with harsh ingredients such as ammonia or bleach to clean these problem areas. Over time it may erode the surface finish of the tile by opening the seal, allowing water to cause erosion to both the tile and the grout used to keep the tiles in place.

“The key characteristic with porcelain tile is the grout lines when cleaning, that’s why we recommend industry approved porcelain tile and grout solutions,” says Graham Linton, General Manager of Interior Care.  “This is important as these cleaners already have the proper PH levels and won’t lead to damage as is the case with corrosive and acidic cleaners.”

porcelain tile installation

Photo Credit: Ciot – Polished porcelain tile

Interior Care is a member of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring’s partner program. Established in 1964, Interior Care offers a comprehensive client maintenance package. Owned and operated by the Linton family, Interior Care services all types of flooring finishes, including porcelain tile, hardwood, carpet tile and more. Interior Care is one of the largest privately-owned specialty flooring maintenance service businesses in Canada. Staff maintain over 700 corporate offices across Southern Ontario.

porcelain tile care

Photo Credit: Ciot

Porcelain Tile Care: Glazed and Unglazed

Porcelain tile care and maintenance for glazed and unglazed tile is similar for moderate to high foot traffic areas:

  • Loose debris and dirt can simply be swept or vacuumed daily.
  • If water is needed to remove dust/dirt, simply damp mop and dry.
  • If a cleaning solution is required for more stubborn stains – test the area, do not use any abrasive materials to remove the stain and allow to air dry.
  • Before the wipe down and air dry it is important to make sure that the detergent used is completely rinsed away with a second wet mop with clean water.
  • Do not let any industrial cleaning solutions dry on their own without removing and cleaning with fresh water immediately after staining is removed. By following this process, water spots and any streaking or residue that is left by cleaners will be eliminated.

Textured or Patterned Porcelain Tile Care

There are a variety of options with textured or patterned porcelain tile. Many of today’s styles mimic the appearance of wood or stone and have textured surfaces which may hold dirt. This can require extra cleaning time and more chemical solutions. This porcelain tile will also need to be cleaned more frequently as a simple damp mop will not easily remove dirt from crevices.

porcelain tile care

Photo Credit: Ciot – Textured porcelain tile.

“The cleaning protocol doesn’t really change much between textured, glazed or unpolished surfaces,” says Linton. “Porcelain is a very durable product. It takes a lot to damage the finish. The area that will require the most attention with textured porcelain tile is the grout.”

According to Linton, the same steps apply as above for polished and unpolished porcelain, however when cleaning the grout, if the wrong chemicals are used it can change the colour. The main difference with textured porcelain tile is that a damp mop will not work when there is soiling in and around this surface. Instead, agitation through a rotary scrubbing floor machine with a soft brush attachment will work best.

“Our challenge is the grout lines that are really porous,” says Linton. “These must be addressed with the greatest of care. There is a grout brush we use that is tapered to a point. We agitate all the grout lines then we mop off. We usually spend more time on the grout than on the tile itself.”

How to care for textured finishes

Photo credit: Ciot

5 Expert Tips for Porcelain Tile Care + Maintenance After Installation: Summary

  1. It is wise to use walk off matting systems or entrance throw mats to prevent dirt and debris brought in by foot traffic, especially in inclement weather.
  2. Do not use oil-based detergents, wax sealants or cleaners that will create a coating or build up on tiles or grout. This will damage both surfaces over time.
  3. Do not use any harsh or abrasive cleaners or materials such as steel wool pads, scouring pads, or any item containing that contains metal. These small particles can rust and stain the grout.
  4. Do not use abrasive cleaners such as ammonia, bleach or acid-based solutions as these harsh chemicals can damage the tile finish and may alter the colour of the grout.
  5. Any cleaning solutions should be free of any type of dyes or colour, specifically for unglazed ceramic tile. It is important to note that these agents may also alter grout colour.

By following these 5 expert tips for porcelain tile care and maintenance, your porcelain floor will be maintained in the best condition possible, increasing longevity, while protecting your investment.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please click here.

For other articles on our maintenance after installation series, please click here. 

For more information regarding Interior Care, please click here.