Proper Carpet Selection and Maintenance
By: Stephen Hanig
Many churches prefer their sanctuary, office, and common areas to be partially or fully carpeted. This is because carpets muffle noise, providing a serene, comfortable setting for churchgoers and staff. However, selecting the right carpet—one that can withstand foot traffic, hide soiling, and be cost-effective—and knowing how to maintain that carpeting once it is purchased does require doing some homework.
The following suggestions can help church facility managers to better understand the issues surrounding proper carpet selection and maintenance. However, in regards to carpet selection specifically, nothing can replace a knowledgeable carpet distributor or sales professional who can suggest carpeting that will best meet your specific needs.
This affects both how the carpet looks and how it performs. Extremely dense carpets can last for years. High-density carpets are sometimes more costly than others; however, since they also last longer and perform better, they actually save customers money over time. Several different methods are used to determine carpet density, and a credible carpet salesperson can be invaluable in deciphering this information.
Carpet Fiber Systems
Today, most homes and facilities use carpets made of olefin (polypropylene) and nylon. In recent years, nylon has become the fiber of choice in most settings. Nylon carpeting is available in a variety of colors and designs and resists staining. In fact, both of these synthetics offer most of the benefits of wool (although not all) and tend to be less expensive as well. In addition, they can usually be cleaned using a variety of cleaning methods, from shampooing to hot water extraction.
For instance, one church selected a light blue carpet because managers believed it would look best in their facility. However, within a few months, soiling was noted on the new carpet, and managers found they had to clean them every three to four months. This soon became quite costly.
These administrators learned a hard lesson: the color of carpeting is important, but it should not be the primary concern. Carpeting should be selected based on how well it will perform and hold its appearance over time. Very light and very dark tones tend to reveal soiling, such as the light blue carpet mentioned earlier, while patterns, tweeds, and “heathered” (muted) tones tend to hide it.
The key to carpet maintenance is regular vacuuming with a high-performance vacuum cleaner. This can remove as much as 80 percent of dry soils, according to The Building Office Managers Association (BOMA).
Carpets should also be cleaned one to three times per year depending on use. A variety of carpet cleaning methods are now available. Some facilities use “dry” cleaning systems, in which a powdery chemical is sprinkled onto the carpets, “agitated” into the carpet fibers by a machine, and then vacuumed, removing the cleaning chemical along with soils in the carpet. Carpets can also be shampooed or bonnet cleaned.
However, most experts view these methods as interim cleaning methods at best. The most thorough way to clean carpets, according to experts, is hot-water extraction. Selecting the right extractor—typically a portable machine, which works well in a church facility—is very important. Some of the things managers should consider when selecting a portable extractor are:
Stephen Hanig is vice president of sales and marketing for U.S. Products www.usproducts.com, and HydraMaster, www.hydramaster.com, both manufacturers of professional carpet, floor, and restoration cleaning equipment.