The Move Towards Luxury Vinyl Tiles and What It Means for Flooring

While carpet, area rugs, hardwood floors and ceramic tile flooring have traditionally been some of the favorite flooring choices for homes and businesses, it’s clear that the trend for flooring is moving to a new and different kind of flooring. This move is demonstrated in the announcement from Shaw Industries, one of the largest carpet and rug manufacturers in the world, that they are moving away from area rug production to invest over $100 million in luxury vinyl tile (LVT) floors. Shaw Industries CEO Vance Bell says “The economics of the rug business today simply does not allow for future growth or encourage future investment,” indicating that the money in the flooring business has shifted from soft floor coverings, to cost efficient and appealing luxury vinyl tiles. But what are luxury vinyl floor tiles and what is the importance of these luxury tiles for homeowners and businesses?

What Are Luxury Vinyl Tiles?
Luxury vinyl tiles are resilient, hardworking and truly beautiful, however, they are not a premium product in the way stone, marble or granite flooring would be considered premium. In essence, LVT floors are imitators, designed to impersonate with a high level of accuracy the look and feel of a luxurious stone, marble, granite or wood floor, while actually being composed of vinyl.

Luxury vinyl tiles are the result of advanced computer technology that allows the production of a vinyl flooring that very closely matches not only the look, but the feeling of premium flooring choices like stone, marble and granite. The production of these vinyl tile squares involves a computer “seeing” and copying what real marble or granite luxury floor tiles look like, and then making a photographic replication of that image onto the vinyl floor tiles. This results in an incredibly realistic product, of much higher quality than flooring imitators of the past.

How Are Luxury Vinyl Tiles Used?

The quality of luxury vinyl tiles can vary depending on the compositions and the manufacturing country (manufacturers in Asia, the United States and Europe all have their own manufacturing procedures and technologies). Luxury Vinyl Tiles that are composed of 100% vinyl are often used in commercial flooring, and have an additional protective layer (the mil layer) added to the vinyl to enhance the durability in commercial settings.

Luxury vinyl floor tiles used in residential settings may not be 100% vinyl and may not have an extra mil layer. However, it’s important to ensure your vinyl tile floor has a sufficient mil layer in order to make it more durable and easy to clean.

How To Care for Luxury Vinyl Tile Floors?
LVT floors do not need to be sealed or finished and many manufacturers strongly recommend against this. LVT floors are resistant to spots, stains and moisture, and sealants and finishes will merely end up peeling off the floor with wear.

Luxury vinyl tile floors are prone to soiling over time however, and need targeted care to maintain their finish and beauty. A professional floor cleaner is best able to remove soiling and staining from luxury vinyl floors using a neutral cleaning solution and a wet/vac system to remove all moisture along with the soiling and dirt.
Of course when it comes to cleaning floors, prevention is better than cure, so using a ‘high-performance’ matting system to help keep LVT floors looking great can be very effective. These ‘high-performance’ mats last for many years and are more effective and durable than conventional mats. Having the right matting and seeking professional floor cleaning care for your luxury vinyl floors helps to retain their appearance and functionality.

For more information on luxury vinyl floor tiles and their care, contact Diablo Carpet and Floor Restoration.

3 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cleaning an Area Rug

With hardwood floors being a common feature of many homes, many homeowners have placed area rugs on their floors to add warmth and comfort, as well as style and atmosphere. Area rugs can be valuable and beautiful additions to your home, but it can also be difficult to know how to clean your area rugs according to their specific needs.

There are so many stunning area rugs available to homeowners today – Persian rugs, Afghan rugs, Pakistani rugs, Wilton rugs and Chinese rugs – and all of them require specific and detailed care in order to maintain their integrity and beauty. Here we look at 3 factors you need to consider when performing area rug cleaning in order to protect your investment and bring life back to your area rugs.

Material Matters

Many homeowners know that effective and specific oriental rug cleaning is important to keep valuable area rugs clean and in good condition. Unfortunately, many homeowners often don’t know what type of area rug they have or what cleaning method is most beneficial. Area rugs can be sourced from a variety of locations such as discount stores, department stores, online, from catalogs, furniture stores, carpet retailers, and fine Oriental rugs dealers, and the care instructions you receive when purchasing can vary. Area rugs area also made from a rage of different materials, including both natural and synthetic fibers and a combination of both.

Before cleaning your area rug, ask yourself whether you know exactly how to appropriately care for your specific type of rug. The best carpet cleaner knows how to identify each type of area rug, and what specific care is needed for each rug type. A professional carpet cleaner knows that blue weft yarns in Persian rugs can bleed, that Afghan rugs shrink like crazy, that many Pakistani rugs have post production side cords that can tear off during cleaning, that Stark wire Wilton rugs must be blocked because the jute foundation yarns shrink, and spot cleaning chemically washed 90-line Chinese rugs can cause color damage. Not being aware of any one of these carpet cleaning factors could spell disaster for your area rugs.

Inspection is Critical

As discussed above, the details that go into effectively cleaning each type of area rug often require the experience of a professional rug cleaner. In fact, carpet cleaning services will often require that the area rug undergoes a professional carpet inspection before rug cleaning is conducted so that the safest and most effective cleaning method can be applied.

Carpet inspections can provide crucial information when it comes to caring for your rugs. Not only can a professional quickly identify your type of rug and the best cleaning method for the rug, they can also diagnose any specific issues your rug may have and apply the best repairs and solutions for your rug’s needs.

Professional Is Best

Because of the amount of work and detail that goes into cleaning an area rug correctly, seeking the assistance of a professional carpet cleaner to clean your area rugs is often the best solution, particularly for heavy duty or in-depth area rug cleaning. While regular maintenance and vacuuming can easily be done at home, more thorough cleaning is best left to the professionals, especially for those more sensitive or precious carpets.

With these tips you can keep your area rugs clean and beautiful, while protecting your investment and creating a more attractive, fresh and healthy environment in your home.

The Difference Between Carpet Fibers: What You Need To Know

Carpet offers a soft, comfortable and attractive flooring choice that is very popular in American homes, and there are a range of different synthetic and natural carpet fibers to choose from. Each carpet fiber type offers different characteristics and requires different methods of care and cleaning to provide beautiful results in your home. Here we take a closer look at 4 of the major carpet fiber choices available in the U.S., their strengths and weaknesses and how to clean your carpet fiber type more effectively and safely according to it’s characteristics.

Nylon

Nylon is one of the most popular choices of carpet fiber, with over 65% of the carpet in the U.S. being made from nylon. The advantages of nylon fiber carpet include its durability and performance, with resiliency that will allow it to spring back, and amazing abrasion resistance that gives a guarantee your nylon carpet will last longer than any other fiber. Nylon carpet fiber is also easy to clean. It hides dirt well, giving a spotless look and feel even between cleans, and responds very well to most professional cleaning methods and treatments, drying in no time and springing back to its original condition.

One of the issues with nylon carpets is that they are often acid dyed for their coloring, which can make them susceptible to issues with bleaching, fading and stains from acidic substances like urine and spilt drinks. A professional carpet cleaner can help to safely remove stains from nylon carpet and provide the ultimate care for this popular flooring choice.

Olefin (Polypropylene)

The demand for Olefin carpet fibers is one of the fastest growing today due to its low price. Because olefin is dyed before it’s made into a fiber, it’s extremely stain resistant to dye-related stains.  However, it is also made from oil based chemicals which makes it very susceptible to great and oil stains.  In fact, you should avoid having it in the dining room or hallways leading to the garage.  In addition, olefin is more crush and heat prone than other carpet fibers, and even the friction of furniture being dragged across it can be enough to cause damage.

It’s also very resistant to water, which makes it challenging to clean.   As a result, cleaning the carpet can be tricky and will require professional carpet cleaner to get them out.

Polyester

The popularity of polyester carpet goes up and down, however because of the beautiful color options available for this carpet and its relatively low cost it’s still frequently chosen today. Polyester carpets offer excellent stain and fade resistance, and it’s quick drying so it’s easy to clean.

However, polyester carpet is susceptible to crushing, pilling and shedding, and isn’t as resilient as other fibers. Oil based stains can really wreak havoc on this carpet fiber but it responds well to professional carpet cleaning and can even be enhanced by stain removal treatments.

Wool

Wool remains the premier and traditional favourite of carpet choices, but it’s price is out of reach for many. While the synthetics aim to mimic the qualities of wool, none can get all of them right, and wool retains high quality and performance for resilience, durability, color and response to cleaning.

However, wool is very expensive and requires maintenance, particularly mothproofing. It has a tendency to wear down as well as being slightly more prone to stains, so it’s ideal if wool carpet cleaning is conducted by professionals. Because wool can hold a lot of moisture it’s also prone to shrinking, as well as mold and mildew which can cause odors, so odor removal may also be necessary for wool carpets.

With this guide to 4 of the most popular carpet fibers, you can choose the right carpet for your home, and the most effective cleaning technique for your carpet choice.