Carpet Installation and Maintenance
By Lew Migliore March 2011 - Flooring
Selecting the right product is important, but getting it installed correctly is essential to preventing premature replacement. It is dangerous to take installation for granted. Be aware of the importance of the substrate on which the carpet is to be installed, the method of installation and the qualifications of the installation contractor and installers. You could have selected the perfect carpet for your needs, done everything right, only to have a catastrophic failure and substantial financial loss if the substrate conditions compromise the installation or the installation was done so poorly that the carpet was destined to fail from the outset.
Of course, aesthetic considerations are important for carpet selection. Ask yourself if the fashion fits the function. Pretty isn't always practical, but you can get great appearance if you match the fashion to the function. The wrong color in the wrong place can create costs on your maintenance budget you didn't plan for. The wrong construction can turn a beautiful carpet into a flat, ugly mess after just weeks of traffic. Either way your new investment becomes an immediate expense.
This brings us to maintenance. From the first consideration of the carpet, you should be looking at and planning how it is going to be maintained. This obviously should be an ongoing and daily process from vacuuming to spot treatment, to prohibiting certain types of foods in the space or eliminating damaging influences from outside being brought inside, like ice melt products. The right carpet will fail prematurely with the wrong kind of care. Proper care can and will extend the life of the carpet far beyond what may have been originally expected.
Modular vs. Broadloom
One question that often comes up in carpet selection is whether to use modular carpet or broadloom. Modular carpet is particularly well suited for high traffic areas such as airports, terminals, public spaces and office space. Broadloom carpet is stylistically the more versatile of the two as it can be a plain solid colored level loop or an elaborate woven or tufted pattern product. Modular carpet is easier and faster to install and replace. Sections of space can be renovated more easily with carpet tile, eliminating the need to shut down operations. Broadloom carpet, on the other hand, requires more time and effort, both human and mechanical, to install and replace, and it can't be done without totally disrupting and shutting down the operation of the space being worked on. The less invasive the work the less time and money is wasted.
When selecting carpet, plan for the long run. Identify expectations for life expectancy, performance and appearance retention to find the appropriate product. Then ensure that it is correctly installed and maintained. Research the products you have in mind and find out if they have any inherent characteristics that may jeopardize your investment. This is the time to find out and make another selection before you are saddled with a decision you may regret for years.
Lewis Migliore is president of LGM and Associates, which offers technical flooring services. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.