Too many property owners and facilities managers are unaware of – or apathetic to – the importance to human health of a proper maintenance programme for carpets, warns leading South African carpet supplier, KBAC Flooring.
KBAC says there is alarming ignorance regarding aspects such as:
- Choosing the right type of carpet for specific areas and applications;
- Appointing competent installers
- Selecting experienced and professional cleaning specialists, and
- The correct scheduling of carpet installation in building contracts.
In recent years, the situation seems to have deteriorated, is the view of three key members of the KBAC sales team, Ian Duncan and Werner Gouws (Senior Contracts Managers), and Dave Keefer (Business Development Manager).
Ian says property owners does not seem to realise that a rigid and well-planned carpet maintenance programme can substantially extend the life of a carpet. “With proper cleaning and maintenance, carpets can last 10 years – or even longer. In the workplace, neglecting carpet cleaning can also adversely affect the health of employees. By regularly extracting pollutants from carpets through proper maintenance, the quality of the indoor environment is improved and the level of staff exposure to fungi, mites, and germs is vastly reduced,” he explains.
“When it comes to carpet maintenance, there is a limit to what a supplier can do. Manufacturers’ maintenance manuals are supplied to clients after installation but it is then up to them or their facilities management to decide on maintenance. KBAC provides advice on the selection of a reputable maintenance contractor but there is unfortunately a growing tendency to cut costs by employing the cheapest cleaning company. Then, if the carpet wears badly or loses its attractive appearance, the supplier and the carpet’s quality are blamed,” Ian observes.
Dave Keefer, KBAC Business Development Manager, says most soil is transferred onto carpets by foot traffic. “We therefore advise that effective, specialist dirt barrier matting should be installed over a suitably expansive area at external entrances, goods lifts, loading docks and adjoining hard areas. The special tough barrier matting, usually specified by the interior designers and often featuring corporate logos, should be maintained and serviced daily. At shopping malls with heavy foot traffic, the matting might even have to be cleaned several times daily. Once the barrier matting is dirty, it is no longer effective.
“The specification of the correct type of barrier matting helps to prevent dust and moisture reaching the internal carpets, cuts the cost of a maintenance programme and undoubtedly prolongs the life of the carpeting and promotes health,” he adds.
As part of preventative maintenance, interior designers should ensure that carpets with colour appropriate to traffic areas and local soiling conditions are specified. Medium colours, tweeds and patterned carpets hide soiling, while lighter colours can mask it, says KBAC’s Werner Gouws. “Another major challenge to carpet durability is the almost complete disregard for correct scheduling of carpet installation in building programmes,” he feels.
“Too often carpet fitting has to take place in the midst of dry wall installation, painting, wall-papering, and electrical installations, to name but a few of the finishing trades. Building contractors, keen to stay on schedule to avoid penalties, display carpeted offices as a token of completion – with all involved ignoring the fact that other internal installations may be incomplete. The dust generated by sub-contractors’ heavy foot traffic on new carpets and the cutting of dry walling, for example, can ruin new carpets. You can imagine the damage that a month of such building operations – taking place on and around carpet installations – can cause to the flooring.
“Carpet installation should be the final phase of a building project but it’s almost always is scheduled for far too long after a building project has been signed off,” Werner laments.