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Q. We are thinking of using a wood floor for our upcoming roll-out, but we are concerned about the cost of the product and long term performance. What are your thoughts?


A. There are several ways to look at this. read more
If you are intent on using real wood, the new factory applied UV cured aluminum oxide impregnated urethanes perform extremely well vs., the urethane applied on site. Using an engineered wood floor can lower you purchase cost. In some circumstances, engineered floors perform better than solid wood floors.
If you are just interested in the visual of wood, there are many options available. The newer introduced porcelain tiles replicate wood nicely, and their costs have been decreasing. While once at the higher end of the cost spectrum, they are now on the lower-mid price range of products in the wood visual category.
Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is another great option. The range of colors, sizes, and species visuals available is quite extensive. Performance is enhanced with the urethane coating applied at the factory that provides a durable finish.
Laminates are also an option, but I would need to discuss this with you. While they provide many benefits, there are some site condition concerns that must be discussed so that if you decide to go this route, the product will perform to your satisfaction.


Q. The LVT floor that we installed almost 2 years ago is coming up. When you look under the loose pieces, the glue on the floor looks like it is wet but not sticky. What do you think is the cause? 


A. Can you tell me more about the site- is the slab on or below grade? read more
What color is subfloor? Are you sure there is no leak or water source? How do you maintain the floor? When was the last time it was professionally maintained?

Q. The space is on the second floor of the mall, and we have leased this space for 8 years. I do not think there are any pipes anywhere nearby, and there are no overhead leaks. The slab has white floor patch. We had the floor stripped and resealed 4 months ago, and since then, just had it damp mopped and spray buffed.

A. First, LVT should not be installed over "white" patch or gypsum. read more
Manufacturers recommend that LVT be installed over Portland based patches such as Ardex, and they are gray. They perform better as they are less likely to disintegrate from impact or intrusion of moisture. Part of the issue may be the degradation of the patch and allowing for the patch to come apart and no longer being able to secure the flooring.

If there are no sources of water through the slab from overhead, then it is likely due to maintenance. Stipper not only dissolved old polish, but if it is not diluted to the proper concentration, and/or too much of it is used and left on the floor, the stripper will seep through the joints of the tile. It will then begin to dissolve the adhesive holding the floor. Even though it was then mopped or vacuumed away, enough stripper and moisture could remain below the tile and continue to dissolve the adhesive.
Once the floor has started to loosen as the adhesive is compromised, successive floor washings (especially if too much water is used) water will seep underneath and cause more adhesive to degrade and more tile to loosen. The cycle continues and accelerates.
You may be able to do a spot repair, or you may need to replace the entire floor. I would suggest trying to pry up some tiles in areas that you feel are still looking good. If they do not release easily, you may be able to do spot repairs. If the tiles in other areas come up easily, then the issue is likely throughout, and doing spot repairs is just a Band-Aid procedure. You will likely need to replace the entire floor in the near future, which would be throwing good money after bad.

Q. We are having problems with our carpet. The carpet in the front of our stores and the heavily shopped areas is being replaced every 3 years or so. We are gluing it down, but we are getting bubbles and ripples in it after about a year. The carpet is unraveling. It mats down easily and it never really appears to come clean. The carpet in the other areas performs much better. We do steam extraction cleaning, with the heavy trafficked areas being cleaned every 6 weeks and the other areas every 3 months.


A. If you are not using the manufacturer's adhesives and are not installing it properly, then this may be the issue.. read more
But, let's assume that the carpet is being glued down properly, and you are utilizing the manufacturers recommended adhesive. If the carpet is unraveling at the seams, then the installer may not have properly applied seam sealer on the edges. The seam seal locks the end yarns into the backing, Once an edge begins to come loose, the beater bar of a vacuum can then continue to pull the yarn more so.
If the carpet is coming loose after a year in the heavily trafficked areas, then the maintenance may be the cause. If too much steam/hot water penetrates into the carpet and through the backing, then this can dissolve the adhesive. Once dissolved, the carpet can come loose and ripple.
If the carpet is matting, there are several causes. One could be an improper construction. I always recommend a carpet constructed of a premium branded yarn system, as some mill extruded yarns do not perform as well. I would suggest a minimum 28 oz. face weight, 10 stitches per inch and 10th gauge (100 stitches or yarn tufts per square inch, and a pile height of 1/4" or so. This results in a very dense construction. I would also suggest utilizing a high performance back that provides greater tuft bind to avoid the edge ravel or zippering.
Another issue that may be causing matting and the carpet never looking clean is the maintenance. Using too much "soap" in the steam extraction process, and not extracting it completely, may be the cause. "Soap" and/or other cleaning agents are fat or petroleum based lipophilic agents- they attract dirt. When applied to the carpet, the dirt is attracted away from the yarn and to the soap. The soap is then removed, with the dirt. If the soap is not completely removed, the remaining soap residue will attract dirt. The more times the carpet is cleaned, and the more times the soap is not removed, the increased build-up of soap attracts even more dirt.
Soap build-up will also cause the fibers to become saturated with either these fat or petroleum based components. As we all know from our own experience, if too much soap, towels feel soapy and slimy, they are not as fluffy, they feel and look matted. This is exactly what is occurring in the carpet.
I would recommend asking your maintenance company to do a steam extraction with water only. Do not add anything to the water used. The goal is to extract the residue of any existing soap. This can help with the existing matting/dirty looking issue until you are in the position to replace the carpet with a properly constructed carpet.
You may also want to think about using a hard surface walkway aisle if your design allows. This will not only direct your clients' traffic to the desired locations, it will also take the abuse from the heavy foot traffic.