Stone Fabrication. Stone Restoration. What’s the Difference?

If you are considering natural stone as a material for your kitchen or bath plans, whether new home construction or a renovation project, you will need to know the difference between a stone fabricator and a stone restoration contractor, and you will need to enlist the services of both. Here are the details.

Why the Confusion?

In the stone industry, from quarry to countertop, different types of companies practice different specialties. Some companies are concerned only with supply, others with design and installation, and others with repair and maintenance. Some companies may focus solely on commercial properties while others specialize in residential properties, and some may service both. Although stone fabricators usually do not do repair and restoration work and restoration contractors usually do not do new installation, there are occasionally some companies that do cross over work from one specialty to the other.

Stone Fabrication

Most people know that when it comes to natural stone countertops, fabricators offer a wide variety of options for countertop edges, backsplashes, decorative trim, and more. What many people don’t know is that fabricators rarely do anything with the face of the stone. Occasionally fabricators repair minor flaws in a slab face or provide a custom finish if they are properly equipped to do so, but for the most part, fabricators specialize in cutting and shaping natural stone.

Highly skilled technicians make a rectangle slab of stone conform to your creative vision, matching the specifications of each element in your kitchen design, from cabinets, sinks, and cooktops to faucets and other features. Fabricators finish edges so that they have a clean, elegant appearance that matches with the surface finish. Once stone is installed, a fabricator may wipe down countertops to remove dust or construction debris or apply a sealer, but any other work involving the face of already-installed stone, for example, changing the finish from honed to polished or vice versa, will require the services of a professional stone restoration contractor. Basically, homeowners can expect the appearance of the face of the slab to remain unchanged from the slab selection phase to when they see it as the newly installed top.

Stone Restoration

Natural stone restoration contractors help maintain the like-new appearance of already-installed natural stone, such as countertops and vanity tops, as well as walls, tub surrounds, fireplace surrounds, hardscape, and other stone surfaces. Their services may involve repair, restoration, or maintenance.

Over the course of time, countertops will eventually show signs of wear. Acidic substances in food and drinks may cause etching, heavy use may result in fine scratches and dullness, or a dropped heavy object may cause a chip or crack. Most of the time, an experienced stone restoration contractor can resolve stone problems, repairing damage and honing and polishing to restore the finish. Stone restoration contractors may also provide maintenance services, such as regularly scheduled visits to clean, buff, and seal stone.

With proper care, a stone restoration contractor can help your natural stone last a long time. When stone replacement services are required, whether it is because of a remodeling decision or out of necessity due to irreparable damage or failure, then it will be time to consult with a stone fabricator again.


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

The Problem With Carpet That Hides Dirt

Carpet in living rooms, hallways, steps, and other high traffic areas can soil quickly. Some colors and styles of carpeting look clean longer than others. Chances are you have heard the well-intended but ill-advised suggestion to choose carpeting that hides dirt so there will be less vacuuming required and you will not feel the need to get it professionally cleaned as often. Why is this bad advice? Here are the details.

Carpets That Hide Dirt

Two factors to consider when it comes to how long a carpet looks clean are color and texture. Keep in mind that we are not talking about the actual cleanliness of the carpet but only how clean it appears to be. Carpeting with speckled patterns, crazy designs, or dark colored carpeting will hide dirt more than solid or light colored carpet. Certain textures with loosely distributed fibers, such as a low shag or Berber, will allow dirt to fall down below the surface, whereas other textures with densely distributed stiff fiber bundles, like cut pile carpet, will keep dirt on the surface longer.

The Cost of Less Vacuuming and Fewer Professional Cleanings

One might imagine that having carpets that stay looking clean longer would be a good thing, but hiding the dirt means you are also hiding the devastating long-term effects of dirt.

Think of dirt as tiny shards of glass. The sharp edges slice along the carpet fibers every time someone takes a step. Over time, the carpet fibers weaken and break. If you allow premature wear to be the norm, you can count on spending more money, because any money you save with fewer professional cleanings will seem insignificant once you are forced to replace your carpet a lot sooner than expected.

If you want to get the most mileage out of your investment, treat carpet that hides dirt like carpet that doesn’t hide dirt.

Carpet Care Tips

The best way to keep carpets looking clean is to actually keep carpets clean. If you keep your carpet looking clean by hiding the dirt, even professional cleaning won’t be enough to resolve the problem once premature wear becomes apparent. Whether your carpet hides or advertises dirt, it can look clean with proper care.

Vacuum regularly, especially high traffic areas. Vacuuming slowly and evenly to remove the most ground in soil. Place high quality, heavy-duty mats at entrances to reduce the amount of grit and grime tracked in from outside. Have your carpet periodically professionally cleaned, whether it looks dirty or not. Professional cleaning loosens, dislodges, and extracts dirt particles and contaminants that a vacuum can’t remove.

Our Carpet Selection Suggestion

Do not choose your carpet based on how well it hides dirt. It may seem counterproductive, but carpet that does not hide dirt may actually be a better choice. Like the adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil,” the dirty-looking carpet gets proper care. Go for the solid or light-colored carpet if that is what you really want. Regardless of your carpet selection, proper care is what really matters.


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

Bookmatched Slabs as a Focal Point

Stone and Tile Slabs as a Focal Point

One fundamental element of interior design is the focal point. Bookmatched slabs take the focal point concept to a stunning new level of elegance. This article explains how to best incorporate bookmatched slabs as a dramatic focal point in your home’s design scheme.

Practical Benefits of Slab Applications

Slabs lack grout lines, which means they drastically reduce the cleaning and maintenance associated with grout lines. As such, they are especially appropriate for applications in wet areas, such as shower walls, bathroom vanities, walls surrounding baths or hot tubs, kitchen countertops and backsplashes, and more. In some cases, with proper substrate preparation, slabs can be installed directly over existing materials. Matching patterns and veins at seams can be challenging. The bookmatching technique is a convenient way to avoid mismatched seams.

Bookmatched Slabs

Bookmatched slabs command attention in the best way. The symmetry of this design feature conveys a sense of order, softened by the curves in the stone veins. Gorgeous bookmatched slab designs are achieved by the strategic pairing of neighboring natural stone slabs, nearly identical in appearance or engineered stone slabs, which are truly identical. The two pieces are placed next to each other, forming a symmetrical, mirror-like pattern. The appearance of the matched slab design resembles an open book, hence, the term bookmatching. When this process is repeated, four slabs are aligned resulting in a pattern that moves in four directions. This X or a diamond pattern is called quadmatching or diamond matching.

Best Places to Incorporate Bookmatched Slabs as a Focal Point

For many years, natural stone or quartz slabs have been a favorite material among designers for creating a focal point for commercial and high end residential properties, and over the past decade or so, large format tiles, such as gauged porcelain tile panels or slabs have also gained popularity. A focal point in interior design can be achieved through a variety of means, from artwork or furniture arrangement to a window with a great view or an architectural feature. Bookmatched slabs are becoming more common as a focal point because of the increased availability of large format tiles, panels, and engineered stone slabs with distinct veins and patterns.

Here are the best places to incorporate bookmatched slabs:

  • Facing the main entrance. Nothing says “welcome” more than a space designed to create a positive impression. A feature wall is a great place to showcase the colors and patterns of exquisite natural stone or beautifully engineered slabs.
  • Accent walls. Take advantage of the style and mood created at the entrance and continue it throughout the home or property with matching accent walls.
  • Exterior living spaces. Finish up the unified look with bookmatched slabs as an accent wall on a covered patio or outdoor kitchen.
  • Fireplace surrounds and fire features. Dramatic features in and of themselves, fireplace surrounds and fire features can be downright breathtaking when they are created using bookmatched slabs.
  • Fountains and water features. Like fireplaces, even the most unassuming fountains and water features tend to make an impression. Bookmatched slabs can accentuate this phenomenon.
  • Backsplashes. Select stone or tile that will hold up against cooking mess and cosmetic splatters for kitchen and bathroom backsplashes, such as granite or quartz. Bookmatched backsplashes create an unexpected work of art between your countertop or vanity top and other wall features, such as cabinets, mirrors, shelves, or windows. For an extra dramatic flair, continue the backsplash all the way up to the ceiling.
  • Shower walls and tub surrounds. Whether you have an open shower, a walk-in shower, a built-in tub, or a stand-alone tub, bookmatched slabs are an aesthetically pleasing, functional option for spa-like bathrooms. As mentioned earlier, fewer grout lines are a big plus.
  • Horizontal applications. Table tops, bench tops, bar tops, countertops, vanity tops, window sills, and other horizontal applications can all be bookmatched for an unexpected touch of style.
  • A statement piece. Like a window, a wall mounted shelf, or an architectural work of art, bookmatched or quadmatched slabs, large format tiles, or panels can be assembled to create a large, stand-alone feature that does not necessarily go from floor to ceiling.

If you are looking to incorporate the timeless elegance of geology into your interior design as a focal point, you cannot go wrong with bookmatched slabs.

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

Resolve Dirty Grout Problems Once and For All

My grout is always dirty!

Tile is pretty easy to clean. Grout, on the other hand, can be notoriously difficult to clean. Once grout is clean, keeping it clean on a regular basis can also be quite a chore. If your grout looks dirty or seems to be a dirt magnet, there are real, lasting solutions available.

Why Grout is Hard to Clean

Grout is porous, which means it absorbs dirt, grime, spills, and other unwanted substances. Sometimes these contaminants can be removed using routine cleaning methods, such as sweeping, mopping, and occasional scrubbing. When contaminants become deeply embedded within the pores of the grout, regular cleaning methods will not produce the desired results. At this point you have two options: aggressive DIY methods or professional cleaning.

Aggressive DIY Methods

Before you start scrubbing grout lines with harsh chemicals, there are a few things to consider. To what lengths are you willing to go to get results? Plainly stated, it may be possible to remove discolorations using DIY methods, but that does not necessarily mean it is advisable. Harsh chemicals can be dangerous to the health of anyone who inhales the fumes, including children and pets, and can damage your floor or the surfaces surrounding your work area.

Begin with the gentlest methods. For example, you could sweep, apply a mild cleaning agent recommended for your type of flooring, allow enough dwell time to soften the buildup, scrub with a soft bristle brush, and then mop with a damp mop. You don’t want dirty mop water to be left to dry in the grout lines. Let the floor dry thoroughly before you decide whether your grout lines are dark, because wet grout is darker than dry grout. If your grout lines come clean, that’s great. You did it!

If your grout still looks dirty and you do decide to use harsher chemicals, be sure to select products specifically formulated, or stated as safe for, your type of flooring and follow all the safety recommendations. We have seen many cases where homeowners or professional cleaning or janitorial services did a little research, learned that sulfamic acid solutions and floor strippers can produce good cleaning results, and tried these solutions themselves only to find that they had inadvertently damaged the floor or surrounding surfaces.

Professional Cleaning

Professional cleaning can flush out contaminants that get trapped in the grout, sanitizing your floors and giving them a clean, fresh appearance. Most of the time, professional deep cleaning will produce the desired results. Qualified professional stone and tile restoration contractors know how to select and appropriately use chemicals to achieve the best possible outcome without causing damage.

Why Grout is Hard to KEEP Clean

Once your tile and grout floors are clean, whether you did this yourself or had a professional do it for you, within a few weeks, you may notice the grout lines starting to turn dark. If dirt and grime are simply coating the surface of your grout, simply sweep and damp mop to remove the discolorations. If the grout lines still look dark, it is because the pores in the grout are filling up with contaminants again, and those contaminants have seeped down below the surface.

Why Grout Sometimes Looks Dirty When It’s Clean

Sometimes, when grout is permanently stained or has an uneven appearance due to improper mixing of grout during installation, neither aggressive DIY methods nor professional cleaning will produce a completely uniform, clean appearance. The floor may be sanitized, yet still have a “dirty” appearance.

How to Keep Grout Lines Looking Fresh and Clean

Replacing your grout with epoxy grout is a possible solution to dirty grout problems, but not a very practical one, since grout replacement is a hefty, and more importantly, avoidable expense.

If the pores in your grout keep filling up with contaminants, clear grout sealer can provide a lasting solution. Note that clear grout sealer will not change the color of your grout, but it will help preserve the color of your grout. It fills up the pores so contaminants stay on the surface where they can be easily removed.

If your grout lines have permanent stains or blotchy spots, grout color sealer would be your best option, because it has all the benefits of clear sealer and more. A good, quality grout color sealer will cover stains and spots, creating a like-new look. The coverage is so good that, if you desire, you can actually change the color of your grout from dark to light or vice versa. Grout color sealer prevents stains and inhibits the growth of bacteria and mildew, and it lasts for years.

If you are not sure whether to have your grout clear sealed or color sealed, you want to learn more about what to expect with professional services, or you want to schedule services, contact us. We resolve dirty grout problems.


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

How Many Dust Mites Are In Your Home?

How Many Dust Mites Are In Your Home?

One common cause of poor indoor air quality is allergens produced by dust mites. Indoor air pollution can cause annoying allergy symptoms, or worse, for people with asthma. Read on to learn more about dust mites, the symptoms dust mite allergens cause, and how to reduce the number of dust mites in your home.

About Dust Mites

Dust mites are microscopic pests attracted to human dander, a substance found on carpets, upholstery, and other surfaces throughout homes, but especially on mattresses, where humans sleep seven or more hours on average every night. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 100,000 dust mites can be found in just one square yard of carpet and a mattress that gets typical use may contain 100,000 to 10 million of them.

Symptoms Caused by Dust Mite Allergens

Allergy symptoms triggered by airborne dust mite fecal pellets range from sneezing and runny or congested nasal passages to cough, darkness under the eyes, and other symptoms. For people with asthma, symptoms are more severe, including wheezing and difficulty breathing.

How to Reduce the Number of Dust Mites

The only way to completely rid your home of dust mites is to move out. In other words, dust mites are very likely to be present in an inhabited home, but there are steps you can take to reduce their numbers. Let’s begin with bedding, the place these tiny, bug-like creatures prefer most.

Bedding Suggestions

Avoid down pillows and wool blankets, opting for cotton or synthetic materials, instead. Wash your bed linens once per week. Use mite-resistant covers on pillows and mattresses. If you have kids who love to sleep with stuffed animals, purchase washable toys.

Dehumidify Your Home

Dust mites thrive in humid environments. Make sure humid areas such as bathrooms and kitchens are properly ventilated. If necessary, run a dehumidifier to control indoor moisture.

Vacuuming May Not Be Enough

Vacuuming your mattress, carpeting, upholstery, and other textiles has traditionally been the go-to method for removing dust mites and the dander that serves as a food supply for them, however, a study by Woolcock Institute of Medical Research concluded that vacuuming in an inconsistent or incomplete manner will only serve to redistribute dust mites.

Suggestions for improving results of vacuuming include using a vacuum with:

  • rotating brushes in the head
  • proper suction
  • fully functional seals and gaskets
  • HEPA (high efficiency particulate air filter) filtration
  • By all means, vacuum often and vacuum thoroughly, but be aware that vacuuming may not be enough.

We Provide Deep Cleaning Services

Professional carpet and textile cleaning equipment and solutions can remove more dander and dust mites than vacuuming alone. Our highly trained and skilled technicians are very methodical and thorough, deep-cleaning from the folds and crevices in mattresses and upholstery to the corners and baseboards of carpeting for a fresh, clean, healthy living environment. Let us help you give bugs the boot.


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

Red Wine Stains

Are all those carpet care tips you find on the internet correct?

Arming yourself with accurate information for treating red wine stains can make all the difference between successful stain removal and a permanent stain.

Carpeting can be a fresh, soft, beautiful part of interior design, but carpet with permanent stains can make even the cleanest carpets seem dirty and unsightly. Of all the types of carpet stains, one of the most difficult to remove is red wine. When red wine spills happen, your carpet will need immediate attention in order to prevent a permanent stain. Before you search for one of the latest internet remedies, you should know that there is a lot of incomplete or incorrect information circulating online. Let’s take a look at what’s out there.

Treatments Found on the Internet

Club Soda

Some people claim that the bubbles in club soda will help lift a red wine spot. While club soda can be used as a carrier to blot up wine spills, it is no more effective than regular water.

Plain Water

Most of the time, plain tap water can be very useful for blotting up red wine spills. However, in certain regions “hard water,” or water with a high mineral content could possibly leave some mild discoloration. If you know you have hard water or you want to be extra cautious, use distilled water, which has no minerals.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mildly abrasive alkaline substance. Baking soda can be used to absorb wine from carpet if the spill is fresh. Baking soda’s abrasive properties can result in fiber damage and breakage with foot traffic if it is not completely removed from carpet, so, if you choose to use baking soda, be sure to thoroughly vacuum once the area is dry.

Soap or Detergent

Soap can leave sticky residue on carpet fibers that will attract dirt. Certain types of soaps can de-color or discolor certain types of carpet. If soap is used, it should be tested in an inconspicuous area first. If no discoloration occurs, it should be diluted before use and then cleaned with water afterward.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a popular green household cleaner, but it can leave behind odors and de-color or discolor certain types of carpet. Test in an inconspicuous area first. In addition, it should be diluted before use and then cleaned with water afterward.

OxiClean

Known for its stain removing properties, OxiClean is often recommended for removing red wine spots. OxiClean Carpet Spot and Stain Remover is made specifically for carpet. Do not use this product on carpets made with wool or silk. Test in an inconspicuous area first.

Our DIY Spot Treatment

For red wine spills, as well as many other types of spills, the spot removal method is pretty simple. Use dry, white, clean cloths or paper towels to blot the spill and absorb excess liquid. Moisten with water and repeat until the entire spot is gone. If this doesn’t work, use a manufacturer-recommended spot cleaner or try our DIY how-to.

First Step: Blot, Blot, Blot!

If it is a new spill, use a white cloth or paper towels to blot as much of the red wine spill as you can. Follow this with pouring a bit of cold water directly onto the wine stain. Doing this helps dilute what remains of the stain. Continue with blotting until no more of the stain is coming out then follow with cleaning methods.

Cleaning the Spill

(IMPORTANT! 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.)

The Dish Soap and White Wine Vinegar Solution Method

This method is great for red wine and a host of other tough stains.

  1. Pour two cups of warm water into a bowl. Add a tablespoon of white vinegar and another tablespoon of dishwashing liquid.
  2. Dip a sponge into the bowl and wring out well. Begin applying the solution directly onto the wine 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.

If spot cleaning fails to remove the red wine discoloration, call your carpet cleaning pro right away. The longer the spot remains on the carpet, the more likely it is to turn into a permanent stain.

Note: Home remedies are not guaranteed and may, at times, make spots/stains appear worse or make spots/stains that a trained professional is capable of removing into more permanent issues.

Spot Cleaning Pitfalls

Here are a few pitfalls to consider as you spot clean.

  • Note that thorough rinsing can be very difficult to accomplish using DIY methods, because the carpet can become too wet, which can cause odors and other problems. Focus on keeping the cleaning activity limited to the area affected, taking as much or more time to remove excess moisture as you do for the actual spot removal.
  • Avoid vigorously scrubbing the carpet. Carpet fibers can become damaged or break off if the cleaning methods are too aggressive.
  • If you purchase a product made for removing spots from carpet, read and follow the instructions.
  • Keep your carpet manufacturer’s warranty valid. Read and follow your manufacturer’s warranty instructions on required carpet care.

If your attempts at red wine spot removal fail, don’t give up! Leaving the spot will only increase the likelihood that it will become a permanent stain. Professional carpet cleaning solutions and equipment can achieve a deep level of clean not possible with DIY methods. In most cases, professional methods can safely and effectively get the red wine spot out and leave your carpets clean and fresh. The main concern with red wine spills is to take care of it right away.

Note: Home remedies are not guaranteed and may, at times, make spots/stains appear worse or make spots/stains that a trained professional is capable of removing into more permanent issues.

Countertops: Your Essential Guide

Countertops: Your Essential Guide

Thinking about purchasing new countertops? You’re going to love the SurpHace BUZZ magazine Kitchen Countertop edition!

When you begin to consider which countertop material for your new kitchen, you will want to educate yourself on all your options before you make your selection. After all, you’re going to be living with them for a long time and there are so many wonderful choices to consider. Look to the special edition of SurpHace BUZZ magazine that is dedicated to kitchen countertops. In addition to the regular articles–Did You Know? Ask Our PROS, and the ever popular Kid’s Page (which in this edition includes a fun how-to video)–our PROS present incredibly useful information and tips in:  Countertops 101: The Complete Guide to Kitchen Countertops.

In it, topics covered to help you in your decision process include…

How Do You Intend to Use Your Kitchen?

Although color, budget, and texture/finish are important considerations, your material selection ought to be based on how you intend to use your kitchen. An elegant, high-maintenance material might be a perfectly reasonable choice for a kitchen that gets very little use. Durable, low-maintenance materials are appropriate for kitchens where there is constant cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and eating. You might consider selecting more than one type of countertop material for designated purposes like baking or heavy meal prep.

Countertop Materials

There are so many so many choices for countertop surfaces today, from concrete and laminate to metal or natural stone. Some materials are easier to maintain than others. With proper care, most materials can last many years. The appearance of some materials can be renewed once use or damage have taken a toll, while other materials will have to be replaced.

  • Concrete countertops can look as elegant as natural stone. Look for a specialist with a reputation for excellence for concrete countertop installation.
  • Laminate countertops are an attractive, stain-resistant option for a limited budget design. With proper care, laminate can last a long time, but damaged laminate cannot be restored.
  • Porcelain countertops are a great choice as they give the look of marble without being porous or acid sensitive. However, damaged porcelain can be difficult or impossible to restore.
  • Recycled glass countertops are resistant to UV damage, chips, cracks, and stains. They are difficult, but not impossible to restore.
  • Solid surface countertops are made with acrylic or polyester plastic. They are a good option for interior areas where there is no direct UV exposure but not suitable for outdoor kitchens.
  • Metal countertops are a fantastic alternative to more traditional countertop materials. Fabricators can make seamless, custom integral sinks with metal countertops. Metal tops are non-porous, which is perfect for food prep, with the exception of metal tops containing lead. Options include zinc, pewter, copper, bronze, and brass.
  • Stainless steel countertops are, hands-down, the absolute best option for outdoor kitchens and are also appropriate for indoor kitchens with modern, retro, or industrial designs.
  • Wood or butcher block countertops can be sanded for brand new look. Wood tops are porous and should be sealed, but even sealed countertops can warp with excess water exposure. Wood is not suitable for exterior applications.
  • High end countertop options include gemstone, exotic stone, precious metal, petrified wood, and other types of exotic stone.

And a Special Section Dedicated to Natural Stone…

Natural stone countertop choices include granite, marble, limestone, soapstone, slate, quartz surface (engineered stone), and quartzite. Some types of natural stone are more suitable than others for kitchen countertops, depending on a variety of factors.

Natural Stone Selection

If you are looking for tops that can hold up to serious use, there are a few simple tests you can do with stone samples:

  1. The Scratch Test reveals the softness of the stone.
  2. The Dye Test can help you identify “Doctored Stone.”
  3. The Lemon Juice and Oil Test demonstrates whether the stone is prone to staining and etch damage.

Learn more about these tests and various types of natural stone in the full article, as well as how to work closely with your fabricator to select the most appropriate stone or other material for your kitchen countertops. Learn about slab selection, resined slabs, why fees go beyond square footage, what you should do before the slab is cut, and edge options that are available to you.

Caring for Your Stone

Some of the topics covered include…

  • Educating yourself on some essential do’s and don’ts
  • Troubleshooting – Common problems and what to about them

Don’t miss out on any issue of SurpHace BUZZ magazine. Be sure to subscribe to be notified when a new issue is published.

Demystifying Carpet Cleaning Walk-Throughs

Demystifying Carpet Cleaning Walk-Throughs

Before and after carpet cleaning services, our technicians do a walk-through, that is slowly and purposefully walking through your home or business, asking questions, and sometimes stopping to measure and jot down technical notes on a clipboard or mobile device. This article demystifies the walk through process, letting you know what to expect and why.

Why did you contact us?

On the surface, this may seem like a no-brainer. You want to have your carpets cleaned, because, obviously, carpets get dirty. Our technicians have good reasons for asking this question, especially if you are a new client. Maybe your previous carpet cleaning company did not meet your expectations. Maybe your carpet warranty only remains valid if you have your carpets professionally cleaned. Knowing what motivates our clients to schedule services helps us customize our services to best suit your needs.

Sometimes technicians may ask this question of existing clients, especially if carpets are cleaned at periodic intervals and it has not been that long since the previous visit. If there are odor problems, your carpet is seeing more traffic than normal, or you have other concerns that bring us to your home or business more frequently, again, we may be able to customize our services to best suit your needs. Knowing why you reached out to us gives us important clues about the condition of your carpet.

What are we looking for?

  • Electric. Home and business owners are usually quick to point out spots, spills, and problem areas. Any information that clients provide is helpful, and we appreciate that. However, there are other things your technician considers during the walk through. For example, sometimes electrical outlets are already being utilized or are not exposed because of furniture. Knowing where to plug in ahead of time helps us protect your belongings.
  • Protection. Speaking of belongings, we also make note of furnishings, cabinets, the flooring adjacent to our work area, window treatments, and other care considerations. We like to know ahead of time what level of protection will be required so that we clean your carpets and leave everything else untouched.
  • Lighting. We pay attention to whether there is adequate lighting and plan accordingly by either bringing additional lighting or showing up during a time when the natural light is best. This is especially important for jobs involving a lot of spot removal.
  • Space. We always use extreme care to avoid damage to walls, doorways, furniture, and other surfaces surrounding our work area. Making note of narrow hallways, aisles, and tight spaces enables us to plan our cleaning route so that our equipment stays well clear of your valuable property. We also measure, because we want to get accurate square footage to make sure you get fair and competitive pricing.
  • Manufacturer’s guidelines. Certain types of carpet have very specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Our technicians are highly trained and skilled at inspecting and identifying carpet types and selecting the most appropriate cleaning solutions and methods for your carpet fiber. If there are any questions about your particular carpet, we may ask you to provide the manufacturer info.

We may ask about your habits.

Our technicians may ask questions about your eating, drinking, and cleaning habits. We promise we are not trying to be nosey! These questions are completely normal and play an important part of our decision making process as we customize your carpet cleaning plan. For example, if you use hair spray near an area with carpet, we may need to pretreat this area in order to completely remove stubborn residues. We may also offer suggestions on how to avoid premature wear and keep your carpet looking fresh and smelling clean between professional cleanings.

We may need to clarify expectations.

During the walk through, we will point out any areas of concern, for example, shedding, buckling, fading, and provide the opportunity for clients to ask questions. There are some problems with carpet that cannot be completely resolved with professional carpet cleaning. The walk through is when both technicians and clients can ask questions and clarify expectations. Our goal is to give an honest evaluation of your carpet and what you can expect us to accomplish, and then provide the highest quality services to achieve the best possible results. Below are details about the most common concerns.

  • Spots and Stains. Most spots from pet accidents or food and drink spills can be removed if they are treated right away. Please refer to our free, downloadable Carpet and Interior Textiles Care Guide for more information. If you are unable to remove a spot, contact us right away so we can tend to it before it becomes a permanent stain. Sometimes clients are busy or don’t notice a spot right away, though. Although professional carpet cleaning can minimize the appearance of permanent stains, permanent stains are called permanent for a reason. For example, if you spill bleach on a dark carpet, it removes the dye in the carpet. Cleaning the carpet will not replace the dye.
  • Traffic Patterns. Over time, traffic patterns develop in carpet, because the fibers of the carpet can become bent or broken when abrasive materials on the bottoms of shoes cut into carpet fibers. Cleaning will help lift the carpet pile and minimize the appearance of traffic patterns, but it will not repair damaged carpet fibers or replace missing carpet fibers.

When we take the time to walk through your home or business, before and after carpet cleaning, we are paying close attention to how we may best serve you and meet your needs and making sure you know exactly what to expect from us.

Limestone Selection and Care

Limestone Selection and Care

The castle-like, serene palette limestone offers makes it a popular choice for homeowners in renovation projects or new construction. This article provides valuable information for anyone considering having limestone installed, as well as anyone with an existing installation. Read on to learn where limestone works best, why limestone is not suitable for wet areas, and how to care for limestone.

Limestone: Suitable for Many Applications

Limestone is an organic sedimentary rock that forms from the accumulation of shell, coral, algal, and fecal debris — a stone of choice for many applications such as interior flooring or walls, fireplace surrounds, backsplashes, in living rooms and recreation rooms, and more. There are many different types of limestone. One of the most popular is travertine, which is often used in exterior installations, such as pool decks or hot tub surrounds.

Most types of limestone can safely be used anywhere that it will not be exposed to excessive amounts of water. Certain types of limestone can be used for kitchen countertops or bathroom vanities, but like almost any natural stone, limestone is susceptible to etching, scratching, and staining. With proper care and periodic professional attention, it can stay looking great indefinitely. Reputable suppliers, fabricators, and installers know, because of positive feedback from owners, where various types of limestone have been installed with great success.

About Limestone in Wet Areas

Stone and tile professionals have noticed problems with limestone installations in showers and other areas that get excessive water exposure, such as staining and deterioration, or in some cases, complete disintegration of the stone. Unfortunately, the blame for these problems is often misplaced on suppliers, fabricators, or installers, even though the material is sound and has been installed within industry guidelines.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Iron. Limestone contains iron and other minerals that can oxidize and cause stains that worsen over time. Since iron is part of the mineral makeup of the stone, these stains can be impossible to remove.
  2. Porosity. Limestone, even when sealed, is typically very porous. Water enters the pores of the stone and reacts with the setting bed, which contains salts. When the limestone dries, the salts recrystallize, causing pressure that can result in the stone spalling, that is, peeling, flaking, or breaking on the surface of the stone. In steam showers, water vapors can enter very tiny pores that liquid water cannot. The steam then condenses in the pores causing the stone to deteriorate.
  3. Solubility. Limestone contains water-soluble materials, such as calcium carbonate and organic matter. When the water-soluble materials in limestone are constantly exposed to water, the stone can dissolve or disintegrate.

The Natural Stone Institute, the leading trade association in the industry, has a system for designating the soundness of a stone. It recommends that only class A and B stones be used in interior wet areas. Limestone falls into a C class, at best. Many stone types fall into the D classification. For more info on this classification system go to The Natural Stone Institutes website at https://www.naturalstoneinstitute.org/.

In a nutshell, it is not a good idea to use limestone in wet areas.

Let’s Look at Water

One may question the idea that limestone is suitable for areas that do not get excessive water exposure given the fact that limestone is often used for exterior installations without having any issues. This is true, but there is a big difference between the amount of water used in a bathroom shower and the amount of rain on an exterior installation. A bathroom shower, on average, produces over 8,000 inches of water per year. To put this in perspective, the rainiest area on earth is in China, which has 321 inches of rain per year. A shower has over 26 times that amount. That is a lot of water!

Don’t Replace Your Limestone!

If your limestone is already installed and you are having problems, don’t replace it! Most limestone problems can be resolved with professional stone restoration and repair. For example, if your limestone has a highly polished finish, you may opt to switch to a honed finish, which requires less maintenance. Limestone can be professionally cleaned for a fresh, clean look, and sealed to inhibit staining. Etches, scratches, and dullness can be virtually erased with professional honing and polishing. For regular day-to-day care, use a stone-safe, neutral cleaner, and follow the care instructions in our free, downloadable Stone and Tile Care Guide. Contact us for answers to your limestone questions and specific recommendations for caring for your limestone.

How to Remove Chewing Gum from Carpet

How to Remove Chewing Gum from Carpet

For people who love soft, clean carpets and rugs, removing clingy, sticky chewing gum may seem like a nightmarish and impossible task. Fortunately, in most cases, getting gum out of carpet fibers can be easier than one might imagine. Here are a few methods to try.

Note: It is important to get the gum off of the carpet as soon as possible, otherwise it could be harder to remove later.

Warning: Always test products and cleaning methods in an inconspicuous area first, to see whether they will damage or remove dye from your carpet.

Freeze It

The ice and spoon method is the most common way to remove gum from carpet. Alternatively, if you do an online search for “gum freeze spray” there are many products that you can use instead of ice. Here’s how.

What You’ll Need

  • Ice or gum freeze spray (specifically marked safe for carpets on the label)
  • Spoon or dull utensil
  • Carpet-safe cleaner (specifically marked safe for carpets on the label)
  • White cloth or paper towels

Directions

  1. Place a few ice cubes directly onto gum stain. Allow them to sit long enough to freeze and harden the gum. Or, spray the gum with gum freeze spray until it becomes hard and brittle.
  2. Use a utensil with a dull edge such as a spoon or butter knife to pop the frozen pieces off, or if it doesn’t come off all at once, to remove as much as possible.
  3. Repeat steps one and two, as needed, until most of the gum is removed.
  4. Test carpet-safe cleaner in an inconspicuous area.
  5. Spray the affected area.
  6. Gently rub the area with a dry, clean, white cloth or paper towels.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6, as needed.

Rubbing Alcohol or Methyl Salicylate

Rubbing alcohol breaks down the polymers in chewing gum. Methyl Salicylate, aka, wintergreen oil, is actually an ingredient in chewing gum. It can loosen gum from carpet fibers.

What You’ll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol or methyl salicylate
  • White cloth or paper towels

Directions

  1. Apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol or methyl salicylate to the affected area.
  2. Allow the solution to remain for a few minutes.
  3. Remove the solution with a dry, clean, white cloth or paper towels.
  4. Repeat steps 1 through 3, as needed.

WD-40 and Dish Soap

An alternative method, if neither of the above methods have proven successful, involves WD-40 and dish soap. The WD-40 loosens the gum from the carpet fibers. The dish soap gets the WD-40 out of your carpet once all the gum is removed.

What You’ll Need

  • WD-40
  • Soft bristle brush
  • White cloth or paper towels
  • Sponge
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water

Directions

  1. Apply a generous amount of WD-40 to the affected area.
  2. Allow the solution to remain for a few minutes.
  3. Use a soft bristle brush to remove the gum from the carpet fibers.
  4. Wipe the affected area with a dry, clean, white cloth or paper towels.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 5, as needed.
  6. Once all the gum is removed, remove the WD-40 using a clean, white cloth and warm soap water.
  7. Finish up by cleaning the area with a clean, white cloth and warm water (no soap). This last step is to remove any soap residue, which could attract dirt.
  8. If the area is too wet to quickly air dry, use clean, dry, white cloth or paper towels to soak up excess moisture.

We’re Here to Help

Most of the time, people are able to remove gum from carpet using DIY methods, but for certain types of carpet, particularly clingy gum, or gum that has been on the carpet for a while, these methods may not work. Though you may be tempted to pry out the gum or scrub it out with harsh chemicals, this can result in damage to your carpet or rug fibers, perhaps even spreading the gum to a wider area. Instead, give us a call. With our professional cleaning solutions and specialized equipment, we have great success getting gum out of carpet.