Walk Off Carpet Systems – Extend Your Flooring Investment While Managing Risk

It’s almost that time of year again. Inclement weather can wreak havoc with your flooring investment. Walk off carpet tile systems provide an aesthetically pleasing solution which protects visitors from slips and falls, while lowering maintenance costs and extending your long-term flooring investment.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Labour (OMA) website slips, trips and falls are among the leading causes of injuries resulting in workers missing time at work in Ontario. Among the common workplace hazards cited, include:

  • slippery surfaces (oily or greasy, etc.)
  • seasonal slip, trip and fall hazards (snow and ice)
  • spills of wet or dry substances
  • changes in walkway levels and slopes
  • unsecured mats

Slips and falls can be costly. Commercial property and casualty insurer CNA  identifies lack of slip resistance as the number one cause of slip and fall accidents.  According to CNA Claim data in a recent article published on reducing slips and falls in financial institutions, “40 percent of slip and fall claims occur mainly on entry flooring. Make sure building entrances are visible and free from obstacles. Water should quickly drain away from pedestrian areas to keep feet dry when entering the building. Snow/ice management is also important.”

walk off entry matting minimizes risk

Photo credit: Unsplash – Sean Pollock

The article goes on to say that, “Mats can also help trap outside walkway dirt and water before they reach your floors and create a possible exposure. To be most effective, purchase floor mats with slip resistant backing and beveled edges. Position the mats flat on the floor and ensure they are cleaned on a regular basis. Lastly, floor mats should cover an area for people to take three to four strides, approximately six to eight feet, before coming into contact with the flooring underneath.”

Why Install A Walk Off Carpet Tile System?

Walk off carpet tile systems vary in design and materials but are generally a carpeted rubber-backed matting system which consists of carpet tiles which have coarse fibers that “scrape” dirt off shoes and carpet also can absorb soil particles and are adhered directly to the interior entrance area of a building (see image below).  They are a better alternative to unsecured mats because they are not only safe, they also protect your long-term flooring investment through providing a soil and moisture capture/barrier. Over time heavy traffic, combined with soil or debris brought indoors can affect and remove a finish from an installed floor or damage carpet life.

“Soil and moisture are the main causes of premature wear and eventual replacement of the installed floor,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fishing Commercial Flooring.  “These types of systems also help building operators avoid the liability of slip and fall incidents caused by slippery entryways in their facilities by providing the higher traction, moisture-absorbing technology.”

walk off entry matting systems Toronto

Why traditional matting systems can pose a problem. Photo credit: Unsplash – Pawan Kawan

Traditional matting systems when combined with hard surface flooring can pose a slip hazard when wet or soiled with debris that is tracked into a building. Area mats and runner matting systems can bunch or ripple.

A Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (ISSA) article states,  “Many facilities still view matting as merely a way to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. While that is one of their key benefits, effective matting systems also keep as much as 80 percent of moisture and soil from entering a facility.”

Keeping It Clean

As walk off carpet tile systems are effective in their ability to “wipe/scrape” dirt, debris and moisture from shoes, this is a key benefit to mitigating trips and falls as dirt and debris does not reattach to footwear and become tracked into the interior of the building. Click here for a recent article where we featured on a walk off carpet tile matting system called Tough Stuff from manufacturer the Mohawk Group.

According to the Continuing Education Centre, Architecture and Construction :

  • The estimated cost of finding and removing a pound of dirt from a building is $600. (ISSA)
  • One square yard of carpet can accumulate one pound of dirt in a week- twice that in inclement weather.
  • 70 to 80 percent of dust, grime, and dirt in a building are tracked in from the outside on people’s feet permanently damaging floors and carpets. (Institute of Industrial Launderers)
  • Fifteen feet of effective, high-performance matting can trap and hold as much as 75 percent of this soil at the door; 30 feet can remove as much as 100 percent. (ISSA)
walk off entry carpet reduced maintenance costs

Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Tuff Stuff Walk Off Entry Carpet System

Walk Off Entry Carpet Systems Lower Maintenance Fees and Protect Your Investment

From a facilities manager perspective walk off systems will save money in maintenance fees as they are easier to clean and maintain. By reducing the amount of dirt and debris tracked into a building floors and carpets will stay cleaner for longer periods of time, needing less care contributing to reduced use of cleaning chemicals. For general maintenance, the modular systems can be easily cleaned by vacuuming. If a specific area becomes damaged, individual tiles can simply be swapped out or repaired.

For information about entry matting system installation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

3 Proven Strategies for Maximizing Your Carpet Investment

Maintenance is an important consideration if you are looking to get the most out of your carpet tile investment. In our last blog post we examined 5 tips for a successful carpet installation, while choosing the right product for your new build or retrofit.

In this article, we will examine how to care for and maintain your carpet tile over its projected lifespan.

Commercial flooring contractor examples Toronto

Darwin Fisher carpet tile installation: Toronto offices

A good rule of thumb is to budget an extra 10-15% stock at time of purchase so that if a specific area becomes damaged or worn, individual tiles can simply be swapped out. This is especially apparent in heavy traffic zones like reception and under desk swivel chairs. Beyond regular wear and tear a maintenance program will also preserve appearance.

The Importance of Maintenance and Cleaning Programs

On an annual basis, there are three long-term maintenance strategies to protect your carpet, image and guarantee your overall investment:

1. If you maintain your carpets as per manufacturer guidelines, your 10-year appearance warranty will be met if any issues arise to the wear/appearance

2. The actual quality of the carpet appearance will last longer extending the life of your investment

3. A maintenance plan protects the image of your company on a monthly basis, rather than a once a year cleaning. Visible soiling and staining are reflected for the remaining 11 months and can cause damage

For general maintenance, modular systems can be easily cleaned by vacuuming. The backing commonly found on carpet tile allows for ease in spill and soiling removal. Staining is confined to the fibre rather than absorbent backing common in broadloom carpet. However, these simple steps may not be enough.

Commercial flooring cleaning and maintenance

Photo credit: Interior Care

Darwin Fisher’s trusted partner program, offers a comprehensive client maintenance package through Toronto-based Interior Care. Interior Care, established in 1964, is owned and operated by the Linton family. Now in its  third generation, it is one of the largest privately-owned specialty cleaning services in Canada. Staff maintain over 700 corporate offices in Southern Ontario, cleaning in excess of 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.

All employees at Interior Care are certified. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC) is an established certification body for the textile cleaning industry. Its standards are endorsed and a requirement of carpet manufacturers worldwide.

Toronto Carpet tile installation

Darwin Fisher carpet tile installation: IMAX Headquarters

Interior Care service technicians are required to maintain their certification status by attending three annual, two-day IICRC instructed in-class programs . Each individual is required to maintain a passing grade of 80% as part of their ongoing training.

“Regularly maintained carpet tile by an IICRC certified firm will ensure a healthier environment for your employees,” explains Linton. “Also, 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.”

Scheduled Maintenance Benefits

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 office.

Commercial Flooring Cleaning and Maintenance Toronto

Darwin Fisher carpet installation: Entertainment One

This is reliant on a number of 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 or a training centre)
  • The actual location of the carpet that requires cleaning (entrance as opposed to second floor)

In addition to regular carpet care, seasonal weather patterns can require front entrance matting systems. 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.

Stay tuned for future articles on 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.

Don’t Risk It! 8 Things to Ensure You Hire A Reputable Flooring Contractor

Reputable commercial flooring contractors  have a proven track record in delivering a variety of solutions for distinct commercial spaces. Professionals with this expertise understand the challenges and demands of different types of projects spanning from renovations to new builds. They will be able to handle all aspects from design right through to installation. Your contractor will be the one who will offer options, point out pitfalls and educate you so that your project is a success.

There are eight key things to look for including the firm’s longevity, past history, product knowledge and overall service offering.

1. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Shows Project Work and Shares References

Finding a contractor is more than a Google search that offers options nearest you. A firm with a good reputation and references to share is a good first start.

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring| LVT

Get references

You will want to ensure that they are adept at surveying the location in question and how that relates to the type of flooring to be installed. They will examine any possible flooring concerns through an initial onsite meeting.

2. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Stays on Time and on Budget

Your contractor will help in evaluating product performance/cost ratios to ensure a budget meets all the targets of a project.

Darwin Fisher Commerical Flooring | project management

Stays on time and on budget

Proposals should provide line item budgets that capture the detail of site preparation and installation factors, post installation maintenance and the many details that make a job unique. This approach ensures the tracking of the status of the project as it moves through the implementation cycle which will be important for staying on time and within budget parameters.

3. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Manages Resources On Site

Ensure your reputable commercial flooring contractor uses qualified installers and will designate a project manager that will be on site to monitor the project as it unfolds. A seasoned team is required to work with other on-site trades to ensure efficient co-ordination of activities. There are complexities associated with scheduling when combined with working with a variety of different trades that can affect day to day outcomes.

Toronto flooring contractor

Project management on site

When there are no gaps in communication it will help to alleviate problems before they occur and allow your contractor to suggest alternatives and recommendations. This ensures that your requirements are efficiently and effectively executed.

4. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Has Good Product Knowledge

Toronto flooring contractor carpet tile

Solid relationships with manufacturers

It’s important for commercial flooring contractors to have positive and long-standing relationships with the manufacturer’s brands they carry. True flooring specialists will have in-depth knowledge of the products that they install. They will make recommendations for your specific project and advise what type of products will offer the best performance. For example we deal with Mohawk Group, Mannington Commercial and Milliken , amongst other manufacturers.

Understanding the challenges associated with life expectancy, appearance retention and ongoing maintenance are issues that require consideration. Installing the wrong product can create many issues. Prior to installation, a good flooring contractor will help with providing product characteristic data which will help to mitigate future problems – from the sub floor to surface.

5.  A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Minimizes Disruption and Downtime

Reputable commercial flooring contractors will look for ways to minimize or eliminate downtime and disruption.  Darwin Fisher offers technology called Levitate –  an Office Lifting System that allows carpet to be replaced with 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 raised the carpet is quickly and easily installed without disruption to employee workstations.

6. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Has A Warehouse to Help Lower Costs

Having a warehouse is also an important value add. The flexibility and functionality of a warehouse helps improve customer service, lower costs and offers the availability to have the right products delivered, at the right place and time. It can also be used to  store products that need longer lead times when being shipped from overseas. It is also helpful if there are several iterations of a larger project which require the phasing in of a variety of flooring materials, and longer-term storage is needed.

Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor Toronto

Has a warehouse to help lower costs

7. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Understands Manufacturer Warranty

Inquire about after sales and installation service. Reputable contractors with good relationships with manufacturers will be registered and understand warranty information as an authorized dealer.

8. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Stands Behind Completed Work

Your contractor should  be with you every step and long after the project is complete. If there are any issues after installation, a good contactor will stand behind their work and remedy the problem.

Go further than a simple Google search. Ensure your chosen contractor has  experience, longevity, is financially stable and can offer an array of past projects and references. This will ensure your satisfaction and project success.

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

 

 

Project Management: 6 Step Flooring Process Delivers Minimal Disruption, Quality Installation

Sound project management mitigates the devil in the details when it comes to flooring.

For over 16 years we have executed very large, complex projects to small installations. Our proven process ensures your installation experience is seamless, while offering minimal disruption to your employees. As we continually work with end users, general contractors, property managers, interior designers, and architects our project management process is comprehensive.

6 Key Project Management Steps for Successful Flooring Installation

  1. Assessment

Our seasoned staff understands the intricacies involved with many different types of corporate flooring environments. We first assess the needs of your project via an onsite visit. This helps us mitigate the possible issues that can arise by examining the flooring surface. We then determine the preparation and materials required.

Project Management and assessment

Photo by sps universal on Unsplash

“The biggest concern our clients want us to address is the associated logistics,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “We offer minimal disruption to our clients through our project management expertise. This includes understanding the details of site preparation, installation, and post maintenance issues that make each job unique. We thoroughly investigate each challenge, pairing it with a solution customized to fit our client’s exact needs.”

  1. Scope and Materials

Once we have collected all of the requirements, we recommend products that are optimal for your site. We then provide a detailed plan with an associated budget related to project execution. We use software which creates a graphic representation of how the materials are applied to the floor plan. These colour coded plans help our clients to easily conceptualize what is being proposed.

Project management and flooring

Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

  1. Budgeting and Planning

Our software then allows us to produce line item proposals for our clients. This is used to track the status of the project as it moves through the implementation cycle. This is especially critical when timelines are constantly moving or when the circumstances associated with a specific installation change. It’s also an important tool for closely tracking a project and costs when there are fluctuating changes due to other trades on site.

Project Management and budgeting

Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash

As part of this process, product performance/cost ratios are provided to clients to ensure that the budget meets all project parameters. After the product is chosen, verification samples are provided to confirm the product is representative of what the designer/client requires. This eliminates any material errors before work starts.

  1. On-Site Project Management

When the project is initiated, materials are ordered and delivered to the warehouse. See why this is important in our previous blog post and how it helped our client – Pusateri’s Fine Foods.

We’ve made our warehouse an integral part of our operations as it not only acts a place to store product but offers a location to prepare and ship orders. Inventory management is important as it offers a wide array of benefits. This provides extra value to our customers as it allows for the right product to be available and delivered to the right place, at that right time.

Project management

Photo by Michael Browning on Unsplash

Darwin Fisher projects are generally turnkey but if delays are encountered, including equipment, electrical and plumbing problems, project timelines can become offset. The warehouse ensures a project will run smoothly as it provides the flexibility to have both materials and experts on site at a moment’s notice.

Once the project begins, we continually make sure our project managers are on site to offer proactive solutions should any problems arise. Our seasoned staff work with all on-site trades/contractors assigned. This ensures transparent co-ordination of activities, while meeting schedules and budget demands. We are always there to answer questions and to make sure the project is running according to plan. By continually being an onsite resource for our client, any issues can be dealt with quickly.

  1. Post Installation

Once the project is complete, we accompany our client on a site walk through to ensure all project specifications are met. Our goal is to have our client completely satisfied with the final result. To see examples of our client work please click here.

  1. Warranty

Our clients are then provided with the flooring maintenance requirements and warranty manuals for all products installed. Although, the project may by complete, our after-service commitment to our clients is ongoing to ensure the highest quality and customer satisfaction for partner network.

For information on your next commercial build or renovation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com