How Does Sand Get Under Carpet?

How Does Sand Get Under Carpet?

People who replace carpeting or carpet padding are usually surprised to see a thick layer of what looks like playground sand underneath the carpet. A bit of sand is inevitable, but too much of it can cause premature carpet wear. How does this happen? Is there any way to minimize the problem?

Let’s Dig Into This Sand Problem

The layer of loose granular material under your carpeting is not quite the same as sand on a beach, in the desert, or in a playground sand box. All kinds of additional components can be found in the dusty stuff under carpeting, including the following:

  • Airborne dust particles(road dust, pollen, pollution, etc.) can come in through open windows. Carpeting acts like a filter, trapping the particles, which eventually accumulate and settle.
  • Pet and human hair and dander, composed of skin flakes, gets trapped in carpet fibers.
  • Insectsusually do not live in carpeting. They can get trapped in carpeting or die and fall down to the floor.
  • Microscopic organismscan actually live and die on almost any surface, including carpeting.
  • Carpet adhesive, over the course of time and in certain conditions, can become very hard and brittle. Foot traffic breaks up and dislodges little bits of this material.
  • Textile fibersfrom paper products, clothing, draperies, upholstered furniture, and carpet pile can settle in and under carpeting.

Without proper carpet care, all these components settle down to the lowest level in and, eventually, under carpeting.

Are Hard Floors Better?

One might imagine that the sand problem can be resolved by getting rid of carpeting altogether and installing a hard surface, but there are other factors to consider.

If sand remains on a hard surface, it will be unpleasant underfoot, give the floor a dirty appearance, and eventually result in dullness and scratches. If sand remains in carpeting, it will result in premature wear of carpet fibers. People tend to notice sand on a hard surface whereas carpeting disguises the problem. Either way, the sand problem must be addressed.

Hard flooring must be swept and mopped often and periodically professionally cleaned.

Carpeting must be vacuumed often and periodically professionally cleaned. Carpeting, unlike hard flooring, dampens sound, feels soft underfoot, creates a cozy, welcoming atmosphere, and can improve indoor air quality. Dr. Michael Berry, an environment and public health educator, writer, and science advisor, noted in the Journal of Cleaning, Restoration and Inspection that “six different field demonstration studies over the past twenty-five years indicate that a properly designed and scheduled carpet cleaning program that emphasizes extraction” will ultimately improve indoor air quality.

Tips to Avoid and Remove Excess Sand

At home, remove shoes, if possible, before entering. For residences where shoe removal is not preferred and for commercial properties, place high quality mats at entrances. Excess sand and grit will be deposited on the mats instead of your carpeting.

Vacuum upholstery and carpeting often, and if possible, use a rotating brush. The bristles help dislodge embedded particles from textile fibers.

Avoid using DIY carpet cleaning machines. The wrong type or the wrong amount of cleaning solutions can result in residue on carpet fibers that will act like a dirt magnet. Improper cleaning methods can drive sand further down into the carpet pile and backing.

Have your carpets professionally cleaned every six month to a year, adjusting the frequency according to the amount of traffic in and out of your home or business. Professional technicians use powerful and effective cleaning equipment and methods to remove sand from carpeting and achieve the best possible results.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Can Skin Soap Damage Natural Stone?

Can Skin Soap Damage Natural Stone?

If you have marble or other natural stone shower walls or tub surrounds, the skin soap you use can damage, stain, or diminish the appearance of your stone, especially if your stone is porous or calcium-based. With an abundance of skin cleaning products on the market, from bars and scrubs to foams and gels, knowing which ones to avoid using around your natural stone can be tricky. This article provides the details you need.

The Safest Soaps Are pH Neutral

The pH scale is a range of 0 to 14 to describe how acidic or basic, or alkaline a substance is. When something is pH-neutral, it is 7 on the pH scale. Soaps that are less than 7 are acidic. Soaps that are greater than 7 are alkaline. The safest soaps for both human skin and natural stone are pH-neutral, and do not contain detergents (synthetic cleaners), surfactants (surface active agents), dyes, fragrances, sulfates, and other additives.

What is soap, anyhow? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,

Ordinary soap is made by combining fats or oils and an alkali, such as lye. The fats and oils, which may be from animal, vegetable, or mineral sources, are degraded into free fatty acids, which then combine with the alkali to form crude soap. The lye reacts with the oils, turning what starts out as liquid into blocks of soap. When made properly, no lye remains in the finished product.

The easiest way to determine whether your skin soap is ordinary, pH-neutral soap is to purchase skin soap specifically marked on the label as pH-neutral. You may also purchase a digital pH meter or litmus paper to test soap.

Acidic Soaps Can Cause Etch Damage

One of the most widely recognized acid etch marks is what many people refer to as “water marks” on a kitchen countertop, because when acidic drink spills go unnoticed a little too long, the etch damage left behind can have the same circular shape as that of condensation left behind from a glass. Acidic soaps used for cleaning your skin can cause the same type of damage in the shower as in the kitchen.

Acids in skin soap chemically react with calcite or other minerals in the stone that are sensitive to acid, causing a white discoloration and roughening the surface of the stone. This damage cannot be wiped or washed away using regular cleaning methods. Your professional stone restoration technician may attempt to remove very mild etching with a polishing powder. Deep etch removal, however, will require honing and polishing.

Basic (Alkaline) Soaps Can Cause Etch Damage

One of the most widely recognized alkaline etch marks is a white spot on glass after going through a dishwasher with an inadequate rinse cycle. Similarly, regular use of soaps with a high alkaline content can etch the finish of your natural stone.

Alkaline etch damage cannot simply be wiped or cleaned away. Your professional stone restoration technician may attempt to remove alkaline etch damage with a mild acid, but since acid can also cause etch damage, chances are your stone will need to be honed and polished.

Soap Dyes or Fats Can Stain or Discolor Natural Stone

Some soaps contain dyes or colorants to give the product a more attractive appearance. If stone is porous, it can absorb dyes, especially blue, green, or turquoise dyes, causing the surface to darken or become discolored.

Some soaps are made from a high fat source, like coconut oil. An abundance of this ingredient can, over the course of time, act like a natural color-enhancing or darkening agent.

If a small area of your stone is stained, poulticing can draw the discoloration out of the stone. Visit our Stain Management App under the Resources tab for poultice ingredients and instructions, including a how-to video. If discolorations or stains persist or if they cover a large area, your professional stone restoration technician may be able to use a combination of honing, polishing, sealing, and enhancing to mask or diminish the problem to your satisfaction.

Soap Scum Can Diminish the Appearance of Stone

When minerals in your water interact with soap residues and surfactants, a thin film of soap scum can form on your stone. The best way to prevent this is to keep the shower clean. Use a squeegee to wipe your stone down after a shower, and clean your stone once per week with stone-safe, neutral cleaner.

Feel free to contact us regarding any specific questions or concerns you may have about your soap and your stone. To protect the finish of your natural stone shower walls or tub surrounds purchase soap that is safe for natural stone. Your skin may thank you, as well.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Man-Made Quartz vs Natural Stone Countertops

Man-Made Quartz vs Natural Stone Countertops

If you have been considering stone countertops, there are many high quality materials on the market today that will improve the value of your home. This article will help you familiarize yourself with the differences between man-made quartz stone and natural stone before making a decision. As you plan a kitchen or bathroom renovation or new construction, it’s important to remember that your countertops and vanity tops will be the surfaces in the room that are both most prominent and most utilized. You’ll want to choose your material wisely, for aesthetic reasons and for intended use.


Quartz is an engineered stone made of crushed or powdered quartz crystals, pigments, and a binding material, such as resin. Quartz is sometimes confused with quartzite, which is a popular natural stone. Slabs of quartz are made to look very much like marble, granite, or other types of natural stone, but because they are manufactured using very specific processes, one slab can look exactly like another.

Over the past few decades, engineered stone products, also known as quartz surfaces, such as Cambria, LG Viatera, Vicostone, and countless others have skyrocketed in popularity. This comes as no surprise, since quartz offers many practical advantages over natural stone, including resistance to scratches, chips, cracks, and etch damage.

Natural Stone

One would imagine that with all the advantages quartz affords, people might choose it over natural stone every time. But this is not the case. Natural stone has many advantages over quartz. For homeowners who want a unique material, each slab of natural stone, like fingerprints and snowflakes, is truly one of a kind.

Marble, granite, soapstone, and other popular countertop materials are easier to repair than quartz, because they do not contain colored resins. Your professional stone restoration technician can fill in natural stone chips and cracks, remove stains, hone and polish away etches, scratches, and dullness, and completely refinish and renew your surfaces with greater ease and at less expense than quartz.


Quartz is nonporous, which means it is inherently resistant to bacteria and viruses, does not stain easily, and does not require sealer. However, there are certain substances that can stain quartz, including paint removers, oil-based soaps and products, permanent dyes and markers, and certain chemicals, such as bleach and degreasers.

Some types of natural stone will not require sealer. Highly polished stone may not even take an impregnating sealer. But, if sealing is recommended, know that sealing represents an inexpensive, preventative measure against stain damage, because it buys you time to wipe up spills before they become stains. Other sealing options for natural stone include color enhancing sealers that enhance the natural colors already present within a stone or sealers for certain types of stone, such as slate or flagstone, that achieve a variety of finishes, from soft matte to a glossy or wet look.


When it comes to sustainability, one could make an argument for or against both quartz and natural stone. Quartz is very abundant, so it does not need to be shipped as far as natural stone. However, the production process for natural stone produces less carbon emissions than that of quartz.


Prices on quartz and natural stone tops for kitchens and baths vary widely, depending on many factors, from the type of material and finish to the design and edge selections. Quartz is a very dense, uniform material, making it conducive to elaborate designs and edges. Both quartz and natural stone are more expensive than laminate or other budget-friendly materials, but the perks of using a high quality material can far outweigh the cost. If your budget is limited, consider purchasing quartz or natural stone but opting for simpler design and edge selections.

Your countertops and vanity tops should be aesthetically pleasing and ideal for intended use. Whether you choose quartz or natural stone, these are both high quality materials that will improve the value of your home.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Tips for Products Commonly Used on Carpet

Tips for Products Commonly Used on Carpet

There are many products on the market today that people commonly use on carpet, from deodorizers and powders to stain sprays, protectants, and antistatic treatments. Some of these products may adversely affect carpeting. Here are some tips for avoiding carpet damage or premature wear.

Powdered Carpet Deodorizers

The most common cause of carpet damage and premature wear is dirt and grit. Any kind of abrasive particles, such as those found in the ingredients of powdered carpet deodorizers, act like tiny shards of glass that break and sever carpet fibers. Although the majority of powdered deodorizers are vacuumed up, some of the powder residue will inevitably remain in your carpeting. That’s part of the reason why the scent stays put long after you vacuum. The perfumed grit is activated when it is jostled around by foot traffic, and although it masks the odor problem, it doesn’t resolve the problem at all — and it creates a new problem. So when you sprinkle that pleasant scent, remember that you are, in effect, sprinkling damage and premature wear all over your investment.

How to Deodorize Your Carpet

Carpet odors are caused by contaminants, such as pollen, dander, food crumbs, and the like, that are trapped in your carpet fibers and backing. Thoroughly vacuuming your carpets on a regular basis, even when the carpet does not look dirty, and having your carpets periodically professionally cleaned should help keep odors at bay. You may also consider that the source of odors is something other than the carpet. Try using a HEPA filter in your HVAC system and make sure your home is properly ventilated, leave shoes in a mudroom or outside, keep your pets clean, and investigate any other potential odor sources.

Baking Soda

Nahcolite is a mineral commonly known as baking soda. Sprinkling your carpet with baking soda is essentially the same thing as sprinkling your carpet with minerals or sharp little rock ingredients. The potential abrasive damage is comparable to that of powdered carpet deodorizers. Baking soda is popular for DIY cleaning, and rightly so, because it can be highly effective, but it is not ideal for regular use on carpets.

If you choose to use baking soda on your carpet, we recommend that you only use it mixed with water to spot clean a small area. Once you are finished, you will also need to clean the treated area to remove any residual mineral particles. Apply enough plain water to moisten the treated area (do not saturate), blot dry with paper towels or a white cloth, and repeat this process several times. Once the carpet is completely dry, vacuum the treated area thoroughly.

Pet Odor Treatments

Sometimes, even after thoroughly cleaning a pet accident, odors persist. The uric acid in pet urine binds tightly with absorbent substances like carpet fibers and backing, and in the worst cases, the padding. Foot traffic or any change in humidity can reactivate the odor. The best way to get rid of persistent pet odor is to have your carpet professionally cleaned. Ask your carpet cleaning technician to do a spot treatment in trouble areas. If a pet accident penetrates too deeply into carpet padding, the odor can only be removed if the padding is replaced.

Spot Cleaners

If you choose to use a spot cleaner for your carpet, be sure to select one that is appropriate for your type of carpet by comparing details from the carpet manufacturers information with the spot cleaner product label. Use the appropriate amount, because too little can be ineffective and too much can leave a film that attracts and traps dirt and contaminants. This extra layer of residue can be unsightly and cause premature wear.

Anti-Static Treatments

The ingredients in anti-static treatments on carpet fibers can act like dirt magnets. Use a humidifier instead.

Harsh Chemicals and Abrasive Cleaners

Any product not specifically designed for carpet cleaning and care can cause damage. If you are going to use a chemical or cleaning product not specifically designed for carpet cleaning, be aware that you are taking a risk. White vinegar, mild dish detergent, peroxide, and OxiClean™ may be appropriate in some circumstances, but always test the product in an inconspicuous area first.

Carpet care products can cause carpet damage or premature wear. Follow the tips in this article to help preserve the life of your investment. For more information on carpet care, download our free Carpet and Interior Textiles Care Guide, and we are always just a phone call away.

Glossary of Natural Stone Finishes

Let’s Talk About Natural Stone Finishes

Natural stone comes finished in many ways. It doesn’t start that way from the quarry and it doesn’t always have to stay the way it is after it is installed.

The appearance of all natural stone is rough when it is first quarried. The surface is then altered to any number of finishes. (The name of the finish often explains how the finish is produced.) When selecting stone, understanding your options will help you to choose the best finish for the look you are going for and for your intended use.

Fabricators and stone suppliers almost always purchase stone that is already finished, so when you purchase new stone for an installation, the finish you see is the finish you get. Most of the time.

Professional stone refinishing can often alter the finish of stone using various methods, even after it is installed.

With this in mind, the following glossary of finishes will help you understand natural stone finishes, which ones are best for various purposes, and what options you have to change certain finishes.

Your Finish Options

Following is an overview of the most popular finishes, how they are achieved, and where they are most appropriate.


Natural stone with a polished finish has a glossy, mirror-like quality that showcases the colors, veining, and other unique characteristics of natural stone. If your highest concern is that the stone has an elegant appearance, a polished finish is a good choice. A polish can be achieved by using a specialized abrasive technique. Diamond-infused pads mounted on a machine rub against the stone, similar to sandpaper on wood. Industry professionals describe this process as honing and polishing. Progressively finer grit pads are used until a highly reflective polish is achieved. Polished finishes may not be slip resistant and are most appropriate where a slip and fall hazard is not a concern.

Honed, Satin, or Matte

Natural stone with a honed finish is softer and velvetier in appearance than a polished finish. The words honed, satin, matte and other descriptive terms are used interchangeably to describe a finish that is not as reflective as a highly polished finish. A honed finish can be created using the same specialized abrasive technique as that of polished stone, except that the level of desired polish is achieved sooner, with less polishing. Honed finishes are often requested where slip resistance is desired, however, a honed finish is not a guarantee that the surface will be slip resistant. Some stones are slippery even when honed.

Brushed / Antiqued

If a textured look but a smooth touch is desired, a brushed finish, also known as an antiqued finish, may be a perfect option. This type of finish is achieved using wire wheels and brushes that create thousands of microscopic scratches. The end result is a natural stone finish that looks like it has beautifully and uniformly aged over centuries of time and use. A brushed finish is an excellent choice in a setting where slip resistance and ease of maintenance is desired. Most brushed finishes will be a little more difficult to clean than honed or polished finishes.

Textured / Hammered / Tooled

Unlike smooth honed and polished finishes, textured finishes, also known as hammered or tooled finishes, have varying degrees of roughness, depending on the methods used to fashion the texture. For example, a flame heats the surface of granite to create a flamed finish. With a sandblasted finish, abrasive media is sprayed under high pressure across the surface of the stone. A tool that looks like a meat tenderizing hammer is pounded on stone to create the pockets and ridges of a bush hammered finish. With a cleft finish, the stone is simply split, and the naturally uneven break is the finish. Textured finishes hide imperfections and camouflage minor surface damage like scratches and etching, so they are ideal for areas with excessive traffic. Textured finishes are not ideal for countertops or surfaces that need to be cleaned often, because the uneven surface will snag sponges and cleaning cloths. These finished are most appropriate for exterior stone installations such as sidewalks and pool decks.


A combination of finishes may be used on a single stone surface to achieve a custom finish. For example, a logo or pattern can be sandblasted onto polished stone by protecting certain polished areas and sandblasting other areas. A similar process might involve applying acid to stone that contains calcium carbonate, causing chemical reactions that will roughen the surface of the stone. A custom finish is a great option for creating a focal point or showcasing a natural stone feature.

Impregnators, Enhancers, and Topical Coatings

There are a variety of sealers, coatings, and enhancers available that can also alter the look of stone. Be sure to consult with your PRO as using them may not always be useful or beneficial, and in some cases will result in problems.

Impregnating Sealers

Contrary to popular belief, impregnating sealers do not give stone a shine or change the texture or appearance of stone in any way, except if an impregnating sealer also happens to be an enhancer. Impregnating sealers are designed solely to fill the pores in stone to inhibit spills from staining.


The colors inherent in some natural stones can be heightened and intensified with enhancers. If you desire stone with a wet look (think how the color of jeans darkens when wet), enhancers will achieve this while also offering different levels of shine. Most enhancers do not inhibit staining unless the enhancer is also an impregnating sealer. Enhancers are often considered permanent, because once they are applied, they are extremely difficult to remove, but enhancers do tend to fade or are slowly removed over time with cleaning.

Topical Coatings

Unlike impregnating sealers that penetrate beneath the surface of the stone and don’t affect the look of the stone at all, sealers that stay on the surface of stone are referred to as topical coatings. Although these coatings protect stone against stains, etching, scratches, and other surface damage, they can be problematic. In general, coatings themselves can be damaged, turn yellow, and attract dirt and contaminants. Many topical sealers on floors look great at first, but once the appearance of the coating diminishes, it must be completely stripped and reapplied. Another consideration is that stone on floors needs to breathe. Coatings can trap moisture, resulting in damage to the stone itself, such as cracking, flaking, and spalling. In some situations a topical coating might be suitable, but you will want to consult with your stone restoration PRO to be sure.

Stone Restoration Technicians Can Change Finishes

When all is said and done, if you are not happy with the finish of existing stone floors, countertops and other surfaces, let’s discuss it. We can evaluate your stone and may be able to alter the appearance more to your liking. We routinely refinish shiny, polished stone surfaces to a honed (matte or satin) finish and vice versa, apply decorative textures, enhance colors, and apply specialty treatments.

How to Get Dye Stains Out of Carpet

Dye stain? No worries. Dyes can be removed from carpet.

Dyes are found in many foods, drinks, and other items, such as magic markers, health and beauty products, cleaning solutions, and decorative items. When dyes end up on your carpet or upholstery, they can be difficult to remove if improper methods are employed. Here are our PRO tips for getting dye stains out.

Blot. Blot. Blot. Then Blot Even More.

Use a white cloth or paper towels to blot as much of the dye as you can. Follow this with putting a few drops of cold water directly onto the dye stain. The water will help dilute remaining dye. Continue with blotting, using a clean section of the cloth or towel each time. Do not rub! Just blot, drip a little water, and blot some more, over and over until no more of the stain is transferring to the cloth or towel.


Don’t forget to test: Of course, your stains don’t always cooperate by appearing in inconspicuous areas, but do keep in mind that it is always recommended that you first test any cleaning solution on a portion of carpet or upholstery that is out of the way, such as a closet or the under side of furniture. Do not use these methods on wool, leather, or silk carpeting or rugs.

The following methods are great for dyes and a host of other tough stains. You will likely need to repeat the process several times to completely remove the dye. Stain removal takes patience and persistence.

The Dish Soap and White Wine Vinegar Solution Method

  1. Pour two cups of warm water into a bowl. Stir in a tablespoon of white vinegar and another tablespoon of dishwashing liquid.
  2. Dip a sponge into the bowl and wring out well. Then begin applying the solution directly onto the dye stain. You should see immediate lifting of the stain, but continue blotting until the stain has lifted completely.
  3. Follow with blotting the area with clear water, then blotting dry with a clean white towel or paper towels.

Peroxide and Dish Detergent Solution Method

  1. Pour two cups of warm water into a bowl. Stir in half of a cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide and a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid.
  2. Dip a sponge into the bowl and wring out well. Then begin applying the solution directly onto the dye stain. You should see immediate lifting of the stain, but continue blotting until the stain has lifted completely.
  3. Follow with blotting the area with clear water, then blotting dry with a clean white towel or paper towels.

OxiClean™ Carpet & Area Rug Stain Remover

  1. Spray enough of the product to saturate the dye stain.
  2. Allow the product to dwell for 10 minutes.
  3. Blot the area dry with a clean white towel or paper towels.
  4. Follow with blotting the area with clear water, then blotting dry with a clean white towel or paper towels.

Let your carpet and upholstery cleaning PRO help: On your next scheduled cleaning, show your technician the area. Any remaining stain residue can be treated and cleaned.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

Pros and Cons of Prefab Countertops

If you are selecting a surface for your kitchen countertops, you may be considering going with prefabricated rather than custom cut slabs in order to save money. It’s important to understand that your investment decision involves more than just price. There are many factors to consider, from material selection and quality to design options and other considerations. Here are the pros and cons of prefabricated countertops.

Material Selection

Each type of countertop material has its own unique qualities. The most appropriate material selection will depend on your particular needs. Suppose you rarely cook or entertain, and you are more concerned about how the stone looks than how it holds up to use. You could get away with choosing a highly polished marble. If you are looking for a way to add value to your home for potential resale, granite is a widely popular choice.

PRO Prefabricated countertops are available in a variety of colors and textures.
CON Manufacturers of prefabricated countertops may not offer the countertop material you prefer, and your material selection may be more limited than if you were to select a slab.

Material Quality

Low quality materials may be cheaper, but as the adage goes, you get what you pay for. Take Chinese quartz, for example. It is more likely to have discolorations from resin pooling on the surface than quartz sourced elsewhere. Problems with other types of countertop materials occur, depending on region, methods of quarrying and transport, and other factors.
PRO Prefabricated countertops responsibly sourced from reputable suppliers and manufacturers can be of the same level of quality as countertops custom cut by a fabricator.
CON Prefabricated countertops may have dye lot variation from one countertop to another. If you are buying more than one countertop, you might see a slight difference in color.

Shape, Size, and Edge Options

Kitchens come in all shapes, sizes, and designs, and so do countertops. Choosing countertops that perfectly suit this very important space in your home is one of the most important home design decisions one can make.
PRO If you happen to find prefabricated countertops that meet your specifications and satisfy your design expectations, you may save a few bucks with this option.
CON Prefabricated countertops have zero flexibility when it comes to dimensions and edge options. What you see is what you get. In addition, seam placement may be problematic with prefabricated countertops.

Cost Considerations

The two major factors that determine the price of having new kitchen countertops installed are the cost of the materials and the amount of time the job will take from start to finish, which translates to labor cost.
PRO Because prefabricated countertops are standard sizes that are ready to install, prefabricated pieces generally are about half the cost of slabs, which require more preparation prior to placement.
CON If your prefabricated tops do not come with holes for the sink, faucets, cooktop, or other features or if the dimensions of your kitchen cabinets do not exactly match those of prefabricated countertops, you will need to hire a stone fabricator to customize your tops. This basically defeats the purpose of buying prefabricated tops. You would be better off with a custom cut slab.

If you decide to purchase prefabricated countertops, be sure to ask your contractor to include all labor expenses with your quote. With prefabricated countertops you may not save as much money or get the quality workmanship that you expect.

3 Tips for Comparing Stone Restoration Bids

Choosing a stone restoration contractor by comparing bids based only on price can be a costly mistake. There are other important factors to consider before you make a decision. Here are three tips for comparing stone restoration bids.

1. Does your contractor understand your particular type of stone?

Although there are similarities between marble, granite, travertine, and other types of stone, there are also differences that require specific restoration processes. Janitorial and cleaning companies may provide valuable services but their technicians are rarely properly trained, qualified, or experienced when it comes to natural stone restoration. Even some stone restoration companies may have little or no experience with your specific type of natural stone. Be sure to ask what your prospective contractor knows about your stone. They may offer the cheapest price, but in the wrong hands, your stone could end up with poor quality results or problems such as dimpled or wavy surfaces.

2. Are there hidden costs not included in the bid?

Basic stone restoration involves honing to remove surface damage and polishing to restore the finish of the stone. Your prospective contractor may not have included other procedures necessary to make your stone look brand new again in the bid. For example, does your stone have deep scratches, chips, or cracks? If the bid only includes honing and polishing, the contractor is not legally obligated to do special repair work. Does your stone need to be sealed? If so, check if sealer application is included in the bid.

3. Will the contractor be able to accommodate your schedule?

Scheduling is important for many people, but especially for business owners and property managers. In order to minimize disruption to the normal routines of employees, guests, and patrons, it’s important to know that your contractor can provide a plan of action that includes a start and finish date, and if necessary, work during the least busy hours or make special accommodations, such as keeping sections of flooring open for traffic while they work. Be sure to communicate your needs and confirm these details before accepting a bid.

Once you’ve taken the time to select contractors and gather bids for your stone restoration project, follow these tips to make an informed decision so that you will be happy with the entire experience, not just the price.

This article is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of SurpHaces PRO Partners.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines Aren’t Worth It

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines Aren’t Worth It

Fresh, clean carpets create a welcoming atmosphere. Whether you are a renter who wants to retrieve a deposit, a landlord looking to spruce up a rental property in between tenants, or a home owner who wants to make their home fresh and clean, wall to wall carpeting should be professionally cleaned. Before you make the mistake of renting a carpet cleaning machine to save a few bucks, read on to learn why DIY machines may not be a good choice. DIY machines are heavy, awkward and messy. But more importantly they are not as effective as professional carpet cleaning and using them could result in problems.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines Are Heavy

Carpet cleaning machines are heavier than vacuum cleaners. No matter how lightweight a machine may be, carpet cleaning machines all require water, and water is heavy. If you choose to rent a carpet cleaning machine, be prepared for a pretty intense workout.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines Are Awkward

Carpet cleaning machines are more difficult to maneuver than vacuum cleaners. If you are cleaning stairs, hallways, closets, and other tight spaces, carpet cleaning machines may be especially awkward to use. If you have knee or back trouble, this could be problematic.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines Are Messy

Carpet cleaning machines can be messy. Canisters and attachments get coated with soiled water residue and detergents, and hair and debris collects in brushes. The machine must be thoroughly cleaned before it is returned.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines May Not Be Effective

Even if you find a machine powerful enough to achieve a deep cleaning comparable to professional carpet cleaning equipment, this is no guarantee that you will be able to achieve the desired results. Professional carpet cleaning technicians are trained in proper cleaning methods and the appropriate kinds and amounts of cleaning solutions for particular types of carpeting and soiling levels. All of these factors matter when it comes to achieving the best possible results.

In some cases, carpets may even look worse after improper cleaning with a rented machine than they did before cleaning. That’s why many landlords require tenants to sign an agreement to NOT use a rented carpet cleaning machine to clean carpets.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines May Leave Carpets Too Wet

Dry time is very important. Mold and mildew problems can happen when there is excessive moisture left behind after carpet cleaning. With machine rental carpet cleaning, if too much moisture remains, the carpet padding can stay wet long after the carpet itself has dried. Professional carpet cleaning removes most of the moisture and requires minimal drying time.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines Are Noisy

Vacuum cleaners are notoriously loud. Rented carpet cleaning machines can be twice as loud as vacuums.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines Are Time-Consuming

When you factor in the amount of time it takes to select a machine, wait in line, check out, loading and unloading in your vehicle, setup time, cleaning time, cleaning the machine, loading and unloading again, and returning the machine to the vendor, DIY carpet cleaning can take a whole weekend. Since time is money, you may not actually save money in the long run compared to hiring a professional carpet cleaner.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Machines Don’t Come With a Professional Technician

Sometimes spot removal, odor control, and other special considerations will require the knowledge and expertise of a professional carpet cleaning technician. If you choose to rent a carpet cleaning machine, it will be up to you to figure out how to resolve certain problems.

If you want fresh, clean carpets, renting a carpet cleaning machine to save a few bucks is not really worth the trouble. Professional carpet cleaning is affordable, easy, and effective.

Slab Selection and So-Called Imperfections

Natural stone countertop selection requires a bit of due diligence by consumers, from preliminary research and measurements to selection and the final slab inspection. When it comes to slab inspection, the most important thing to remember is that what you see is what you get. Here’s what you need to know before you make a final decision on a slab purchase.

Naturally Occurring Stone Features

Sometimes during slab inspection, clients find what appears to be small imperfections, such as fissures or spots. These naturally occurring stone features have no effect on the structural integrity of the slab.

Fissures, which are similar in appearance to a crack, are a result of geological or environmental forces, crystallization of minerals, and other conditions, whereas cracks are a result of man-made stresses, such as transport from the quarry to the fabricator or from fabricator to a residence or commercial facility.

Spots on a slab, like shade variation, veining, and other natural characteristics, are a common feature of natural stone. Naturally occurring spots are not stains, which are a result of something spilled on stone.

If the slab you intend to purchase has one of these stone features, you have a few options. You can embrace the fact that your countertop material is a completely unique product of nature and appreciate its perfectly imperfect appearance, you can select a different slab, or you can consult with your fabricator on other options.

Your Countertop Layout

Depending on the layout of the countertop design, fabricators may be able to cut slabs for inconspicuous placement of a portion of the slab. Because your countertop will need space cut out for the sink and faucets, it may be possible to avoid it altogether so that the spot or fissure ends up in the scrap material. If you have an area you want to avoid, ask for a layout to determine whether this is an option for you.

Once you find a slab you love, inspect it carefully to be sure it is the most appropriate choice for your countertops.