Don’t Forget To Look Down

by Katie Lee

3 reasons why floors need special care.

By Bob Clarke

They say you can tell someone’s character by their shoes — are they shiny or shabby? The same can be said for floors. The rest of your facility can sparkle, but if your floors or carpets look worn or dirty, they can send the wrong message to visitors, customers and employees.

Hard surface floor and carpet care should be on your periodic cleaning schedule because it makes good business sense in the following three ways. Also included below are best practice tips for how to sustainably maintain several types of floors.

1. Improve Your Image: We’ve all seen the difference between a dirty carpet and a freshly cleaned one or a scratched floor and a refinished one. Wow, right? Refreshed floors and carpets go a long way in improving the aesthetic of your space.

Whether you have stone, wood, laminate, carpeting or other flooring material, is it stained, scratched, shoe-marked, worn, dull, cracked? You might not even realize how bad it has become. But with the right deep cleaning and restoring methods, the existing flooring can often be preserved and renewed for far less cost than replacing.

2. Accident/Illness Prevention: Taking a close look at your exterior and interior floors and stairs, you may find areas that need maintenance or repair, such as uneven tiles, torn or rippled carpets, or broken pieces that could be dislodged. In addition, mold and mildew in carpeting can cause illness. All of these pose safety risks that should be addressed…and could go unnoticed without the extra attention paid during a deep cleaning.

3. Extend Floor Life: Deep cleaning, restoration and/or sealing floors can extend flooring material life and, thereby, save money in the long run.


Of course regular maintenance preserves life, keeping the carpet looking fresh and reducing the chance for fungal growth. But occasional deep cleaning is also vital. A deep, restorative cleaning removes trapped soils. Hire an expert to do it. They should spot clean first, using appropriate methods and products for the type of stain and fiber. Vacuuming or pile-lifting comes next, because removing dry soil and separating pile produces better results, faster. Normally hot water extraction is best for cleaning as this is usually the most effective method recommended by carpet manufacturers. The process includes pre-spraying with detergent, applying water under pressure and extracting water with a heavy vacuum. Air blowers should be used if needed for drying, and then the nap should be set.


Though stone is quite indestructible, it is still susceptible to stains, scratches, cracks and other damage from normal wear, the environment and improper cleaning. Luckily, stone floors can usually be returned to their natural beauty, and it typically costs less to properly maintain than to replace them. Let an experienced professional look at your situation and recommend how to renew your stone. The process might involve cleaning; grinding, sanding, honing and/or polishing; buffing; sealing; stain and scratch removal, repairing, resetting or replacing tiles; and re-grouting.

Once the stone’s uniform clarity and reflectivity are restored, you and your visitors will doubly appreciate it. With continued proper care, the surface will keep its luster and be better protected from further damage.

Wood and Other Surfaces

Not only will the buildup of dirt, grit and grime dull  your floor, it will cause long term maintenance problems. In addition to daily cleaning, periodic care is needed. Depending on the surface, special brushes, buffers, and cleaners will be used for heavy dirt removal. Woo d floors will need refinishing over time, depending on wear and tear. Once repaired, sanded, re-stained, and coated with a protective finish, the wood will look and perform like it did when it was new.

Entryway Matting

If you don’t have special matting at your entrances, this is something you should seriously consider. Because most contaminants enter buildings from the outside on people’s feet, trapping dirt as people enter the building is a key preventative maintenance measure. The rather small investment will pay for itself because floors will be protected and require less care. If you do have matting, periodically have it inspected and deep cleaned.

Beauty Takes Effort But Pays Off

Specialty cleaning and restoration is a science and an art. It requires a service provider that uses the most effective techniques, along with sustainable practices and products, to ensure the best results on your specific materials and finishes.

Don’t let your building be like a person wearing elegant clothing with scuffed shoes. Taking care of your carpets and floors protects your investment, your image and anyone stepping foot into your facility.


— Bob Clarke is senior vice president, sales, of ABM. Clarke brings more than 25 years of experience in the facilities services industry.

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