So, when you assess your cleaning job, especially in a residential non glue-down installation, you need to determine the quality of the installation of the floor covering/carpeting. In today’s ‘build’em quick environment’ many building contractors do not request that the carpets are properly installed. The installer may just kick in the carpet and this will cause installation issues later during the life of that carpet.
When I was having the carpet I purchased for my first home upgraded, I made sure the seller put on the invoice that the carpets had to be power stretched when installed. The installer came out and began to perform the install with a knee kicker only. I said, “What are you doing, these have to be power stretched.” He acted like he didn’t know what that was. Then he made excuses that the power stretcher could damage or move the wall. Nonsense. I basically said do it or get out of my home. He went to the van and brought back a large case containing the power stretcher and properly installed my carpets, applying an even distribution of tension around the edges as it was attached to the tackless strip. Think of a drum or a cylinder head on an engine block. They are now 16 years old and still look incredible with no ripples! If the carpet has a loose install, when moisture comes in contact with the backing, it can swell causing the ripples.
So, when you as the cleaner go out to price and clean, try doing this. Walk to the center of the room and grab the carpet and pull it up. Let go and if it floats back the install is compromised and this carpet may swell and cause ripples when it is pre-sprayed and/or cleaned. If on the other hand, when you let go it snaps back, then you have a good install. If it did float back, make the customer aware of the issue and let them know the carpet could ripple but it’s temporary. You might even note it on the invoice. It’s education now, an excuse later, after the cleaning. Good conversation up front often prevents bad feelings and unmet expectations after the job is complete.
By John H Klucznik
Founder of Bonnet Pro & Key Floor Care & Restoration