By Bill Treiber, Technical Sales & Education Manager, Moldings Online Inc.
Floor covering care and maintenance encompasses all of the installation components of the floor. Although the main concern for the end-user is generally the floor itself, other components like moldings, treads, risers and vents must also be considered. The majority of accessories used with flooring will be comprised of wood, vinyl, metal, or rubber. Below is an approach to proper care and maintenance.
- Remind your flooring customers to always follow cleaning recommendations and instructions. Inform them of the consequences if they do not.
- Most customers are looking for the correct methods of installation, proper care and cleaning solutions to maintaining their surfaces. Be confident and clear on what methods to use for proper maintenance.
- Pay special attention to frequency of cleaning. Mention the sequences required prior to the application of your cleaning solution if required.
- Follow all recommended industry standards for environmental controls such as temperature, moisture and surface preparation.
- Have a toll free phone number and customer service email address available for your customers. Overall, be accessible!
Providing the proper knowledge to your customers is important. To ensure customer service and product success, I would recommend having a program in place that keeps your team up-to-date on the latest advancements in the industry. Also:
- Make sure to document failures and make a strong effort to communicate to your customers and their end users about any changes or updates.
- Give lists of do’s and don’ts. Test the products you recommend.
- Make improvements consistent with any new materials used in your product lines.
For the Retailer: As a salesperson, it’s important to learn the manufacturer’s recommendations first hand. Practice the cleaning and maintenance of the products you sell. Care and maintenance is just one of the criteria a manufacturer will tell you about. Knowing the limitations of the product in terms of location, environment, and intended use are equally crucial.
For the Installer: Understand each manufacturers recommendations, question any on-site job variance; make sure everyone on the project is aware of all variances and recommended installation techniques; differentiate the various mediums used for flooring versus the actual trims, vents, treads and risers; and lastly, knowing who the manufacturer for each product is important in ensuring the correct techniques are being used.
Sometimes, the accessories may have been purchased from the same company as the flooring, but the accessories may be made of a different material. If this is the case, then get the most accurate care and maintenance guidelines available – the manufacturer is a great place to start. Here’s a quick checklist for success when completing a job:
- Clean the floor upon completion
- Use the manufacturers recommended cleaning methods and supplies
- Confirm that a care and maintenance program has been communicated to the end user
- If required – train the appropriate person(s) regarding care and maintenance
- Follow up to ensure the proper materials and techniques are being utilized
- Educate the end-user on the care and maintenance process
For the End User: Follow the care instructions. If you do not follow the care instructions and a failure occurs, then it will be much more difficult to receive compensation for a potential claim. More importantly, when instructions are followed, the end product is much more durable and reliable because it was done correctly.
Do not be surprised if the flooring company leaves you a complimentary cleaner kit with instructions for proper care and maintenance. If you don’t receive one, then certainly ask for a kit or at least ask where you can obtain one. In the end, you are responsible for maintaining your floor.
In closing, there are plenty of home cleaning remedies out there for all different kinds of flooring. Though some of them do work, you may be compromising the durability of the product by using harsh chemicals or household items. Once again, keep the manufacturers recommendations for care and maintenance handy to ensure longevity for your floors.