Tuesday, September 29, 2009

CRI Finds Success at BuildingsXchange

BuildingsXchange
Werner Braun and I just completed our second foray into the event called BuildingsXchange, or, as I prefer to call it, speed-dating to impress. And once again, if you don’t mind me digressing back into my sports writing days, it was another home run!

The program is unlike any other that we participate in here at CRI. It is held every September in Park City, Utah with top facility executives with real needs coming together to meet with experienced solution providers like ourselves.

These are private hour-long meetings in an intimate setting and the meetings are pre-arranged. Every executive who meets with us has seen our profile and saw something in it that piqued their interest enough to sign up for a meeting.

Facility execs meet one-on-one with a filtered field of solution providers that are thoroughly briefed on needs and initiatives. It is our duty to come well prepared with solutions that challenge conventional wisdom and hopefully make their carpet purchasing decisions such a wonderful experience they always come back for more

One of the things that we know is most appealing to them is the fact CRI is unlike any of the other solution providers in that we don’t actually have a product that we are selling to these facility executives. We offer them intelligent and fact-based information; introduce them to our signature programs; and, in the end, always, but always come away with some builds ourselves.

There are only so many hours that can be utilized during this two-day event so the fact CRI was once again inundated with requests for meetings leaves us feeling as if we are doing something right here. Over the course of BuildingsXchange, we met with two major universities, six hospital and/or healthcare networks, and five corporations who own and/or manage millions of square feet of hospitality networks.

The hospital systems we met with were particularly productive in that we learned a lot about some of the new Medicare rules that are shaping the way hospitals are going to be operated in the future. The new buzz word in the medical field is hospital acquired infections. In other words, the germy things that produce stuff like staph infections in patients being cared for in hospitals. New legislation going into effect makes it so that any patient who comes down with a hospital acquired infection will be the sole financial responsibility of the hospital from the point the patient becomes infected. Talk about health care reform! We’re talking millions and millions of potential lost dollars for these hospitals.

Obviously these systems are taking a real look at how they operate and the things that can be done to prevent germs and spread of disease. We were asked several pointed questions about carpet’s role in a hospital, specifically about being able to sanitize them (fancy word for clean and maintain!). One of the major items on our agenda with all of the executives we met with was our Seal of Approval Program and what it means to their ability to sanitize (lol).

We came away with this new information and instead of our mills having to sit back and answer questions on this new legislation, now we can move forward with being proactive. One of the things that really resonated with the hospital execs was something that Werner said almost flippantly: “A floor is going to get dirty no matter whether it is a hard surface or a soft surface. We walk on it and it gets dirty. That’s what it does.” The key, of course, is proper cleaning with the right products, the right equipment, the right technician, and the right routine.

We offered up quite a bit of information to help these folks in specifying the right carpet for the right application through our Texture Appearance Retention Ratings (TARR) system, and to a person, they all got excited over these new tool in our arsenal. The TARR gives architects and designers a lot of freedom to deal with our member mills by simply asking that a carpet product, say for a hallway, has to meet a certain TARR rating which our mills can then show them the all products that meet that spec. In the end, the customer gets a carpet that it expects will last a certain number of years in durability and this ensures that it will.

A couple of other items that we brought back from Utah for consideration were a request to rate the walk-off mats that buildings utilize in entry ways as preventative measures. After all, not all walk-off mats are created equal. We were also asked about rating adhesives which we found interesting and will pass along to the Issues Management team to dissect.

Again, this was a great meeting and one we plan on doing again next year. What better way to talk to meaningful decision makers than to do it face-to-face!

~ James

P.S.: Here is a link to my previous post about BuildingsXchange: Talking Carpet During BuildingsXchange.


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Thursday, September 24, 2009

CRI Seal Of Approval Case Studies

CRI Seal of ApprovalWe are organizing our Seal of Approval [SOA] Success Stories on the CRI Blog.

Not all cleaning products clean equally well. The Carpet and Rug Institute's Seal of Approval Program testing and certification program identifies products, equipment, and service providers that clean carpet right the first time. Not all products clean well enough to earn the Seal of Approval distinction, so look for the blue and green CRI Seal of Approval as proof that you are purchasing or using a quality product.

As we publish these case studies, we'll add a link here, too.

Here's what we have so far:

Dalton Golf and Country Club: CRI SOA Success Story - published 9/3/09
Connecting with Carpet Cleaners at Connections: CRI SOA Success Story - published 9/9/09
Clean Carpet Begins at Home - CRI SOA Success Story - published 9/11/09
The Jet Stream Grill, Part 1: CRI SOA Success Story - published 9/16/09
The Jet Stream Grill, Part 2: CRI SOA Success Story - published 9/17/09
Mohawk Carpet Care Kit: CRI SOA Success Story - published 9/22/09
Jet Stream Grill SOA Success Story on YouTube - published 11/10/09
Carpet Cleaning Standards: CRI SOA Success Story - published 1/19/10
Carpet Cleaning Standards - Part II [with Gary Asbury from Professional Testing Laboratories] - published 1/21/10

What’s Your Story?

Do you have a Seal of Approval success story? If so, James Beach and I would love to hear from you.

~ Bethany



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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mohawk Carpet Care Kit: CRI SOA Success Story

Mohawk FloorCare Essentials Carpet Care kitContinuing with the Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval Success Stories series: CRI Member Mohawk Industries Multiplies the Message on Cleaning and Maintenance.

Case #4 Mohawk Carpet Care Kit

Earlier this year, when Mohawk rolled out a reformulated and rebranded version of their popular line of FloorCare Essentials cleaning and maintenance products, they did more than just enhance the products with new packaging and a more effective, all-natural formula - they threw in a little something extra: for the first time, a copy of CRI’s Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies is included inside each Mohawk FloorCare Essentials Carpet Care Kit. (For an earlier post on the Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies books click here.)

I discovered this news quite by accident one day when I received a voice mail that had been routed to my phone by mistake. The caller left a message saying he wanted to order several thousand of the CCTfD booklets. I followed up, first to make sure the caller connected with the person here at CRI who could help him with his publication order, but my ulterior motive was to find out who was ordering so many books. I was pleased to find out it was Mohawk.

Mohawk FloorCare Essentials displayMike Zoellner, who is Mohawk’s Vice-president of Marketing Services, won’t take credit for the idea of putting the CCTfD books into the cleaning kits, but I bet he had something to do with it, because Mike also lends his considerable leadership skills to CRI in his role as chairman of the Market Issues Committee.

In any case, he says the idea came about as a way for Mohawk to “support CRI by recognizing a good resource and use the tools we create in the CRI committees.” He notes that the booklet allows member companies to use CRI according to its mission – to create value for its members by gathering and promoting science-based information on carpet and rugs. Cleaning Tips for Dummies is a perfect example of that.

The new carpet cleaning kits are in stores now – any retailer can arrange to have a Mohawk FloorCare Essentials display in their store.

Thanks to Mohawk for supporting CRI and, more importantly, getting the science-based facts about carpet care and cleaning to consumers!

Watch this 1-minute video showing the new Mohawk FloorCare Essentials Carpet Care Kit. [Subscribers, please click on this link to watch the YouTube video of Mohawk FloorCare Essentials.]





~ Bethany

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Jet Stream Grill, Part 2: CRI SOA Success Story

Jet Stream GrillContinuing where I left off in The Jet Stream Grill, Part 1: CRI SOA Success Story, I share with you Part 2.

From Part 1 - Our Success Story destination was the Jet Stream Grill, a restaurant located in Chattanooga, Tennessee that is owned by Chattanooga TV meteorologist Neal Pascal and his wife, Linda.

Timing was this past Sunday, when I got up close and personal with some of the dirtiest carpet I have ever seen. I went on location with a film crew and an SOA-certified cleaning crew to make a video showing how, even in the worst situations, Seal of Approval products and equipment perform beautifully.

I had visited the Jet Stream Grill a few weeks earlier, and noticed then that the carpet was in real need of a cleaning. In fact, the first night I visited the restaurant, in the dim, “atmospheric” lighting, my impression was that the carpet had a custom-designed “jet stream” pattern in it. A few steps later I realized what I was seeing was dirty foot traffic lanes leading from the outside and kitchen entrances and winding throughout the dining area.

Bethany agitating very dirty carpet The Jet Stream Grill’s problem was not so much that the owner didn’t have the carpet cleaned; it was simply not cleaned often enough. In addition to the inadequate maintenance schedule, the restaurant also lacked adequate soil prevention in the form of walk-off mats at the kitchen and outside doors.

The work started around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, as soon as the last diners had left. First, Tony Gladson and Edward Hooker from Spectra Product Care vacuumed the entire carpet, then applied an SOA-certified pre-spray.

Next, they gave the carpet a thorough going-over with a counter-rotating brush agitator machine that worked the cleaning solution down into the short, cut and loop commercial pile, lifting the tufts as it went.

When they finished, I was impressed at the amount and color of dirt that came off that machine. Not to mention grossed out.
Clean Jet Stream Grill carpet
Then they extracted, using their truck-mounted Steamway Legacy 2100 Powermatic. Once more around with the agitator machine, and we were done. When Neal stopped by on his way home from doing the weather, Tony gave him a suggested schedule for deep and interim cleanings and a plan for walk-off mats.

very clean Jet Stream Grill carpetFor my part, I helped vacuum and use the brush agitator. I even used the wand extractor a little bit. Tony and Edward left no stone unturned – they removed gum and other stuck-on dirt, and trimmed any loose tufts they saw. I discovered that commercial carpet cleaning is hard, hot work, and I was amazed at how Tony and Edward stayed in such good spirits and never seemed to get tired. I was so wiped out you could have mopped the floor with me by the time we finished.

The photos show you before [that's the one of me with a serious carpet agitator] and after.

So, in answer to the original question we asked ourselves at the onset of this CRI SOA case study - Can This Carpet Be Saved? - the answer is YES!

Do you have a Seal of Approval success story? If so, James Beach and I would love to hear from you.


~ Bethany


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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Jet Stream Grill, Part 1: CRI SOA Success Story

Jet Stream GrillAnother CRI Seal of Approval Success Story: Carpet Cleaning Improves the Atmosphere at the Jet Stream Grill

Case # 3 Jet Stream Grill
This story is so good we are breaking it into two parts. This is part 1.

I have talked a lot on this blog about the importance of carpet cleaning and maintenance, but up until now, my direct experience of carpet cleaning has been limited to having the carpet at my house cleaned by a Dalton-area Seal of Approval Service Provider, and having the carpets cleaned at my office in the CRI building. I always know when the cleaners have been there because they leave extractor wand marks in the carpet that look like rows of Christmas trees. But I rarely see the cleaning crew themselves because they come at night, like elves.

That all changed this past Sunday, when I got up close and personal with some of the dirtiest carpet I have ever seen. I went on location with a film crew and an SOA-certified cleaning crew to make a video showing how, even in the worst situations, Seal of Approval products and equipment perform beautifully.

Our destination was the Jet Stream Grill, a restaurant located in Chattanooga, Tennessee that is owned by Chattanooga TV meteorologist Neal Pascal and his wife, Linda.

Here’s a preview of the video we shot. [Subscribers, please click on this link to watch the short video previewing Carpet Cleaned at Jet Stream Grill.]

And, here's the nitty gritty of what enabled us to create this success story.

Using this equipment:

15” Whittaker Lomac® Agitator
2-gallon manual pump sprayer
Windsor Sensor XP 15 Commercial vacuum

At these settings:
  • Water temperature 180° F
  • Water pressure 450 psi
  • Vacuum pressure 350 cfm at the carpet face
  • Water used 120 gallons

And these cleaning products : Shaw’s R2X Carpet and Rug Stain and Spot Remover and ForceField SoilBlaster Pro PreSpray (approximately 3 gallons).

    There's lots more coming soon about the day and the fantastic camera crew we worked with. More pictures, too. All in Part 2.

    What’s Your Story?

    Do you have a Seal of Approval success story? If so, James Beach and I would love to hear from you.

    ~ Bethany


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    Friday, September 11, 2009

    Clean Carpet Begins at Home - CRI SOA Success Story

    Kristin's carpet and Diesel the dogAnother Seal of Approval Success Story: Carpet and Rug Institute Consultant Kristin Smith Takes Her Own Advice

    This is so exciting - The CRI blog has a guest blogger! Her name is Kristin Smith, and she is a Vice President in the Creative Studio at Ogilvy Public Relations. Kristin has been working with CRI for the past six years with their marketing, communications and advertising programs. She played an invaluable role in helping launch CRI Seal of Approval Indoor Air Quality testing and certification program, which is now celebrating its 5th Anniversary. Always a big fan of carpet, Kristin shares her first-hand experience about how using SOA-certified cleaning products, vacuums, and Service Providers help keep hers looking great.

    -----------------

    There is a cautionary tale about the shoemaker who never had time to make shoes for his own children. I must admit that until recently, I was very much like the shoemaker. For the past five years, whether it’s during casual conversations with other moms at the playground or sitting around a corporate conference table, I have expounded the benefits of effective carpet cleaning and faithfully promoted the Seal of Approval program. But I have never had my carpets professionally cleaned.

    I have not been totally remiss with my personal carpet cleaning responsibilities. With three kids, a very large Old English sheepdog and one lovable, but messy husband, we’ve had our share of dirt, spills and other daily disturbances affect our carpet. Fortunately, these are usually easily remedied with a little water, some light dabbing and a good run from my trusty Seal of Approval Gold-certified vacuum. When that didn’t work, relying on my stash of Seal of Approval cleaning products quickly cleaned even the most stubborn stains – especially of the doggy variety, if you get my drift.

    As I was surveying my cozy home one day, I realized that my carpet just wasn’t looking as good as it once did. It was a little dingy and didn’t feel as soft and springy underfoot. And with a gasp, I realized that I had committed the number one carpet cleaning foul: not getting my carpet professionally cleaned. I promptly checked out what SOA providers serviced my area and set up my appointment. (BMR note: SOA Service Providers are listed by area and zip code on the CRI web site.)

    So how do my carpets look now? After the cleaners asked me to walk around the house and point out any problem areas, they got right to work. They were knowledgeable, courteous and fast. Within a few hours my carpets were looking like new. Stubborn stains were removed (and haven’t come back), my toes once again wiggle comfortably into the carpet pile and my house smells fresh and clean.

    So, I’ve learned a few lessons. I will start to take my own advice and get my carpets cleaned every year to year and a half. Plus, I’m going to make this round of carpet cleaning last! I’ve added new door mats, have the kids and hubby remove their shoes before coming into the house, and make the dog use the back door! And everyday, I smile at my freshly-cleaned carpet. Now if only I could tackle the rest of the house…

    You can see for yourselves in this 2:35 minute video the before and after of my carpet cleaning tale.

    --------------------

    Thanks, Kristin, for this wonderful story – and I agree, Diesel the doggy steals the show!

    ~ Bethany


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    Wednesday, September 9, 2009

    Connecting with Carpet Cleaners at Connections: CRI SOA Success Story

    Dalton Public SchoolAnother Carpet and Rug Institute Seal of Approval Success Story

    This week, a group of CRI staff is attending Connections, a large tradeshow for the multifaceted cleaning and restoration industry(for background on Connections, see the May 21, 2009 blog post). CRI President Werner Braun is scheduled as one of the featured speakers, and the meeting offers CRI a chance to listen to the carpet cleaning professionals and get their feedback on CRI’s Seal of Approval Program.

    CRI started the Seal of Approval program as a way to continually raise the bar on quality and performance for cleaning products, equipment, and service, the idea being that setting high standards is a great way to have positive impact – in this case, on the entire carpet cleaning industry.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, the SOA program turns five this year. In light of that important milestone, and in salute to the cleaning professionals at Connections and elsewhere, I offer another Seal of Approval Success Story that shows that effective carpet cleaning and successful education go hand in hand.

    Case # 2 Dalton Public Schools

    The Dalton Public School system has always placed high value on providing a clean environment where children can learn at their best. Located as they are in the world’s carpet capital, the Dalton Schools reflect the influence of the local industry in their widespread use of carpet throughout the system’s educational facilities. In addition to carpet in school classrooms, carpet is used to reduce the ambient noise in hallways and add additional sound insulation in media centers and music rooms.

    The Dalton Schools use carpet in some unique ways as well. For example, two elementary schools have carpeted gymnasiums. The tight, level-loop construction of the commercial carpet used safeguards the system’s smallest students, allowing them to participate in rough-and-tumble play while reducing the likelihood of injury.

    Dalton Public SchoolAt one time, all the carpets in the system’s schools were maintained by school personnel, but as the system grew, DPS facilities management found that outsourcing carpet maintenance was more efficient and cost-effective.

    CRI met with school leaders to talk about the importance of using the proper cleaning products and equipment to improve carpet’s cleanliness and appearance, as well as preserve the school’s investment by extending the useful life of the system’s carpets. Shortly afterwards, the Dalton Public Schools signed a contract with a local CRI Seal of Approval Service Provider who specializes in large commercial and industrial installations.

    The partnership has worked very well. DPS Maintenance Director Belinda Parrish developed the school system’s regular maintenance schedule, which includes professional cleaning twice a year, during winter and summer breaks. In between, classrooms are vacuumed every night and hallways and other high-traffic areas are vacuumed twice a day. DPS invested in new, SOA-approved vacuums to ensure that cleaning staff had the best tools available to do their jobs right. On site “spotting teams” respond to spills and stains immediately, using SOA-approved spot cleaning solutions. And, each school is equipped with an SOA-approved Predator spotting machine to handle larger problems between cleanings.

    Ms. Parrish routinely emphasizes to school maintenance staff the importance of their role in improving the quality of education. “I tell my staff, ‘children may not always remember their teacher, but they always remember the custodian.’” She adds, “Clean, safe schools enhance teaching and learning. A clean environment is as important to a student’s success as a good breakfast.”

    What’s Your Story?

    Do you have a Seal of Approval success story? If so, James Beach and I would love to hear from you.

    ~ Bethany


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    Thursday, September 3, 2009

    Dalton Golf and Country Club: CRI SOA Success Story

    Dalton Gold and Country Club carpetFive Years In, Seal of Approval is Making a Difference - Stories of Success from CRI's SOA: Dalton Golf and Country Club

    This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval testing and certification program for cleaning products, equipment, systems, and service providers. CRI started the Seal of Approval program as a way to continually raise the bar on quality and performance for cleaning products, equipment, and service, the idea being that setting high standards is a great way to have positive impact – in this case, on the entire carpet cleaning industry. Here at CRI, we see the Seal of Approval difference every day, in success stories like this one, and others.

    Case #1: Dalton Golf and Country Club

    Not every country club is lucky enough to be located in the carpet capital of the world, but the Dalton Golf and Country Club is. Seven years ago, when DGCC underwent an extensive remodeling, a local hospitality carpet manufacturer stepped up and offered to design something really special just for the club – a custom design complete with coordinating borders, special colors, and a distinctive medallion with DGCC’s logo for the entrance way. The membership was delighted with the club’s new look, and so was club manager Patrick Joyce.

    However, about five years later, Joyce had a problem. “The carpet started looking drab,” he said. “There were definite traffic patterns.” The club looked to their regular carpet cleaning contractor for a solution. After several unsuccessful attempts, where Joyce said the carpet was left “not clean and still damp,” the cleaning company owner told Joyce there was nothing more he could do – the carpet would have to be replaced.

    Joyce was dismayed. How could he justify the expense of new carpet just five years after it was installed? The installation costs alone for the 15,000 square-foot space would be $30,000, not to mention the embarrassment of having to admit to the local manufacturer that their beautiful, custom-made carpet had worn out well before it was supposed to.

    Joyce asked the Carpet and Rug Institute for advice. CRI contacted a local Seal of Approval Service Provider who specialized in large-scale commercial cleaning. The SOA-certified firm volunteered to clean some test sample areas from the most heavily soiled sections of the carpet.
    The results were remarkable,” said Joyce. “The difference was night and day - even though the carpet had been cleaned just two days earlier by the other firm.”

    And the carpet’s improved appearance has not been short-lived. Nearly one year later, the carpet still looks great. “They [the carpets] look better every time they are cleaned,” Joyce said.

    What’s Your Story?

    Do you have a Seal of Approval success story? If so, James Beach and I would love to hear from you!

    ~ Bethany

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    Tuesday, September 1, 2009

    Carpet Works In Basements

    Masland's UpbeatBasement Makeover Advice is All Wet.

    Earlier this week, I had a conversation with Walter Arnold, of Kelly Floor Covering in Seaford, New York. I called Mr. Arnold to discuss an ad he had sent me that appeared in Newsday, a large newspaper serving New York City and Long Island. The ad was for a local home improvement company and the headline read, Around the House: A Basement Makeover. The ad targeted people who were looking to renovate their basements in environmentally-friendly ways, and it made various suggestions for paints, wall and floor coverings, etc. About carpet, the ad said:

    In carpets, opt for natural/woven/non-VOC blends over synthetic/tufted ones for lower eco-impact and more durability.

    Mr. Arnold, who has more than forty years’ experience selling carpet in the Long Island area, was astounded that a home improvement professional would offer the public such bad advice. “They’re suggesting people put wool carpet in their basements,” he told me, then asked, “Have you ever had a wet wool sweater that you lost and then found again about a week later?” suggesting that before too long the basement would smell like a wet sheep. I love hearing from people about the carpet issues that concern them, and I really appreciate Mr. Arnold bringing this one to CRI’s attention.

    Is using carpet in a basement a good idea or not? I asked independent carpet expert and technical consultant Lew Migliore for his views on the subject.

    CRI: For some people, using carpet in a basement is a real concern, because they are afraid that the carpet will encourage the growth of mold and mildew. Are they right?
    LM: It’s understandable that people might be wary of using a textile floor covering in an area like a basement, but the truth is that all carpets manufactured with synthetic fibers - nylon, polyester or polypropylene, for example - are inherently immune from mold and mildew.

    CRI: How is that?
    LM: To support mold growth, certain specific conditions must exist: humidity consistently above 60%, temperatures between 50 and 90°F, continued darkness, a pH of 3 to 8, and a food source. As a form of thermal plastic, carpet cannot, in and of itself, be a food source for supporting the growth of mold and mildew. Things like dirt and food that get trapped in the carpet fibers can become a food source, but the carpet alone cannot.

    About the other factors that promote mold and mildew, frankly, if a building has a humidity reading that stays above 60%, there’s a lot more to worry about than the possibility of mold or mildew in the carpet. Under such moist conditions, other surfaces, like drywall, wood, and natural fiber materials will be prime targets for mold and mildew to grow on. Mold spores are everywhere – they are present in 100% of building interiors and unless moisture is controlled mold will grow – but this has nothing to do with the carpet per se.

    In terms of indoor temperature, temperatures on the floor where carpet is installed are normally too cool and dry to pose a threat. The pH of carpet installed over concrete is predictably not at a level conducive to mold growth. In fact, in the forty years since carpet mills started using synthetic backing materials instead of natural fibers like jute, synthetic carpet has not generated or perpetuated complaints for mold or mildew.

    CRI: What about installation?
    LM: Carpet installed in a basement directly over concrete can be laid using either the direct glue-down method or a stretch-in over cushion. Virtually all adhesives used in the industry today do not support mold growth. There are also anti-mold cushions available that actually prevent the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. Any carpet placed on these kinds of cushion is protected from potential threats that originate from beneath the carpet. Of course, moisture that comes up from beneath the slab does pose a problem, but it’s not related to the carpet.

    CRI: Where does basement moisture come from?
    LM: Sources of moisture that would perpetuate the growth of mold or mildew in a residential basement include: leaks, “sweating” or condensation off cement block or poured walls, over-wetting from cleaning by an uninitiated operator or do-it-yourselfer, an unbalanced humidifier or HVAC system, or moisture in the substrate. The most likely sources of moisture coming up from the floor are either moisture in the concrete slab itself or moisture vapor emissions coming up from beneath the slab.

    CRI: Water in the concrete?

    LM: Moisture in a concrete slab comes from two sources: water of convenience, which is the term for the water necessary to mix the cement to a workable consistency, or free water, which is essentially water that doesn’t combine with the dry cement, but instead roams free inside the slab and constantly tries to escape. Water vapor that comes up from beneath a concrete slab usually comes from failing to install a low-permeance vapor retarder directly below the slab. Not using a barrier to stop the moisture sets the stage for problems.

    CRI: Why so many problems keeping basements dry?
    LM: Moisture-related flooring problems are common today for a number of reasons. One of the biggest causes is rushing the job – concrete isn’t given sufficient time to dry to an acceptable level for installing floor covering. Often, the vapor barrier beneath the slab is missing, inadequate, or positioned incorrectly. Moisture protection should be placed directly below the concrete, and it should be from10 to 15 mil thick so it won’t tear. One good product is Stego Wrap vapor barrier, but there are several others available. Anything less can be compromised too easily.

    CRI: Anything else to consider?
    LM: A properly working and balanced HVAC and air filtration system, plus an owner knowledgeable in their efficient operation are of prime importance in preventing conditions that propagate the growth of mold and mildew in the living space. Maintaining carpet by vacuuming frequently with a high-efficiency vacuum that may also have a HEPA filter will keep carpet free of dust and dirt and free of substances that can infiltrate carpet and become food sources for mold and mildew. Cleanliness of all surfaces, not just carpet, is key to preventing mold and mildew growth in any space.

    CRI: Would you say that carpet is environmentally friendly?
    LM: Sure. Carpet is recyclable - nylon carpet can be recycled into new carpet or other plastic products such as automobile parts. PET polyester carpet is made from recycled water and beverage bottles. The carpet industry is one of, if not the most conscientious industry relative to recycling and waste control. Work is continually being done to find more uses for recycled carpet and to keep it out of landfills.

    CRI: Okay, Lew, I’m sold. Synthetic carpet is a good choice in a basement.
    LM: There is no reason for carpet not to be used below grade, or above grade, in residential or commercial applications. In fact, with the right cushion, carpet is actually the best flooring material to use as it adds comfort to the space, provides thermal insulation, and helps thwart sound and noise. Carpet is also safer for young children to play on, as a fall on carpet is much less threatening than a fall on hard surface flooring. Carpet breathes, which means that small amounts of moisture vapor under the carpet will have a chance to dissipate into the air, instead of being trapped under a non-permeable material like sheet vinyl flooring, for example. Simply put, there is no logical, rational, reasonable, or viable reason not to use carpet in a reasonably dry basement area.

    Thanks, Lew – I’d say that about covers it.

    - Bethany

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