Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Washington State Carpet Recycling Proposes Makers Pay Cost

Jennifer Mendez, CRI VP for Government Relations
Jennifer Mendez

Washington State Considers Carpet Recycling Mandate

Jennifer Mendez, Carpet and Rug Institute Vice-President for Government Relations, says recently-proposed legislation that would create an extensive carpet collection network in the state of Washington would cost the carpet industry millions of dollars.  Jennifer, who has appeared previously on the CRI blog, monitors the legislatures in all fifty states and the federal government for laws that could affect the carpet industry in either positive or negative ways.

In an interview that aired January 20, 2012 on the flooring industry news site floordaily.net, Jennifer told Floor Focus magazine publisher Kemp Harr that Washington’s senate bill SB 6341 calls for carpet manufacturers to bear all the costs of reclaiming waste carpet in the state, including having manufacturers pay for carpet collection facilities in every one of the state’s 39 counties. By contrast, there are currently 99 carpet collection facilities in the entire U.S. This article from floordaily.net has more information about the bill’s requirements - see Carpet Makers May Get Hit by Washington State.

The current bill, which is similar to a bill considered last year in Washington, is being positioned by its sponsor as a “jobs bill”, citing the many green jobs that will be created by its passage. According to Jennifer, the cost to the carpet industry would reach, “into the millions.”

From this point, the bill will be considered in committee. CRI has already voiced opposition to the bill in testimony in Washington prior to the bill’s introduction and will continue to work to have the bill defeated.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Carpet Color Inspiration for 2012

Carpet Color Inspiration for 2012 - Forecast

2012 Color Forecast: Look to Carpet for Color Inspiration

In his December 9, 2011 column titled A makeover in your future for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun talks about a an article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune on color forecasts for 2012, titled Color Trends for 2012  and how we can look to carpet to help us ring in the new year in colorful new ways.

“On the subject of New Year’s resolutions, what about this one: Next year, I will update my home’s atmosphere with new carpet, paint and furniture, and as 2012 approaches, the Carpet and Rug Institute wants to help you do just that — beginning with your floor.

Floor coverings are one of the most dominant fashion statements for an indoor setting. Colors and patterns in a carpet can create a distinctive atmosphere, serve a practical purpose and send a message.

Color selection of carpet is as diverse as the imagination can provide. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune discussed the color trends for 2012. Beige will be vamped up with shades of teal, dusky red, plum, charcoal and dark navy, and there will be a shift from pale neutrals toward deeper tans and taupe.

The New Year will also bring quiet colors such as neutral Earth tones, like blue and green, which help create a soothing effect or a corporate look. Warmer colors, like variations of rose, mauve and shades of orange, create a mood of energy and vitality. Also, don’t be scared to experiment with metal shades, like gold, silver and bronze.

There are other components to consider when sprucing up your floor for the New Year, such as colors that mask wear and tear. Mid-range colors and multicolor blends are best for hiding soil near entrances. Medium and darker colors, tweeds and textures are good at hiding soil in high-traffic areas. There are also new stain and soil resistant technologies that help to make today’s lighter color carpets much easier to clean, allowing for more design options.

Carpet is also being produced to coordinate with other interior finishes such as laminates, upholstery, natural stones, wall coverings and paint, and many carpet manufacturers will produce custom colors and constructions to meet individual specifications for design coordination.

So if you’re still undecided about your New Year’s resolution this year, it isn’t too late to decide that a little home or business makeover is just the pledge you need to start off 2012. New colors and bold textures can add beauty and style to help represent a company’s desired corporate culture or a home’s inviting environment. Say goodbye to beige, and hello to 2012 — and gold, charcoal gray and mauve.”

Thank you, Werner!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Multi-use Carpet: From Basketball to Banquets

Multi-use Carpet: From Basketball to Banquets - St. Therese of Carmel

This Carpet’s Got Game: Church’s special carpet works for formal dinners; shooting hoops

It is an old proverb, but very true – “necessity is the mother of invention”. I found a story on the Floor Covering News website titled B Carpet creates flooring with a purpose about how B Carpet, a Carpet and Rug Institute member manufacturer of commercial and hospitality carpets, has filled a need for one California church: the Georgia-based company designed and produced new carpet for a multi-use parish hall that serves as a banquet room or basketball court – whichever is needed. Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“The parish hall at St. Therese of Carmel near San Diego needed a true multi-purpose facility, used for school athletics, assemblies, plays and musicals, as well as parish dinners, receptions, Christmas programs, religious education, and more. To meet these diverse needs, a somewhat unexpected flooring choice was selected: carpet that even basketballs can bounce on, as if it were a wood floor.

The custom carpet from B Carpet was created to be extremely dense, with low pile height, to allow for a surface hard enough for the school athletic program, but with a design stunning enough for theatrical performances, receptions and other church functions. ‘We chose this particular carpet because of its ability to add beauty to the look and feel of the hall, accommodate the multi-purpose use of the facility, and provide durability and easy maintenance,” says St. Therese director of operations John Carney.”

The custom design was undertaken by domusstudio architecture.  It looks similar to stained glass in a cathedral, and the intricate pattern is perfect for hiding stains – a major concern in a multi-purpose area with such heavy use. With its custom-designed carpet, the space at St. Therese is able to host dinners, stage performances and sports event without any of the functions being compromised.

Now, St. Therese of Carmel just needs a good cleaning and maintenance plan for their beautiful new church – luckily, the Carpet and Rug Institute has plenty of information about that,  plus lists of high-performing vacuums, cleaning solutions, extractors, cleaning systems and service providers from our Seal of Approval program

Congratulations, B Carpets and St. Therese of Carmel!


Image courtesy of Floor Covering News.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Before Installing Carpet, What To Look For?

My Carpet Just Arrived Today. What Should I Look For Before Installing?

Carpet Question Corner - Carpet Q and A - 19th in a series

"My Carpet Just Arrived Today. What Should I Look For Before Installing?" is the nineteenth in a series of banner ads developed to run on the flooring news website Talkfloor.com. The banners ads contain great information for consumers, from choosing the right carpet, to safeguarding a home’s indoor air quality, to keeping carpet clean and beautiful as new. Today's is about what to do and look for when your carpet arrives.

Let’s go over the questions – and pay careful attention because there will be a quiz. ;-)

Carpet Question Corner #19: My carpet just arrived today. What should I look for before installing?

Check your new carpet (texture, color and style) to make sure there are no visible defects before installation.

Also, take a look at your subfloor. Any damage that has been done by insects, water or other problems need to be repaired prior to carpet installation. New carpet has to be installed over a structurally sound subfloor, or you risk damage down the road.

Visit carpet-rug.org and criblog.org to learn more.

How do you answer consumers when they ask you about what to look for before installing the carpet? What resources do you recommend to help them?

Let me know in the comments!

~ Bethany

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Prediction: 2012 Better for Carpet Sales

2012 Will Be Better for Carpet Sales: Indications are good, says industry expert

In his January 6, 2012 column titled, “Things are looking up for floorcovering”,  for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun discussed a brighter future for the carpet industry in Dalton, Georgia.

In the column, Mr. Braun discussed a recent article written by well-known flooring consultant Lew Migliore, that confirms that the carpet business in many parts of the country, including the corporate, retail, hospitality and health care markets, is picking up.

The December, 2011 Commercial Flooring Report, states that many larger markets, including Boston and Washington, D.C., are seeing steady increases in building demand, and that architects, general contractors and flooring contractors are reporting sales are moving towards or surpassing levels seen before the downturn.
As consumers feel more optimistic with their money and spending, the hospitality world has also picked up. According to Lew, “Las Vegas hotel bookings from a recent report have escalated to the high single digit figures … predications are for business to increase up to 13 percent over the next year or so.”

The good news continues with the health care market. It is one business that has not slowed down over the years. Nursing homes and multipurpose care facilities built to accommodate the aging “boomer” population are in great demand, but as Lew points out, “These facilities cannot be cold and uninviting; they have to have a homey, inviting and comfortable feel with as little hint of a medical establishment as possible.” 
The medical field is also one of the fastest growing businesses in the economy. There will always be a need for more medical facilities, including doctors’ offices, hospitals and nursing homes.

 It’s a Happy New Year indeed to hear such good news that our hometown industry will make big strides in 2012.”

Thank you, Werner


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Carpet in Basements: 3rd Most Popular Article!

Carpet in Basements: 3rd Most Popular Article!
Here is the third installment in my series of the top three CRI Blog posts of all time (or, since we started publishing in April, 2009).

* The #1 blog article is about clean carpet, allergy and asthma symptoms.

* #2 article is about carpet and formaldehyde.

* Who would guess that the #3 most-read article on the CRI Blog would be about carpet in basements?

Titled, Carpet Works In Basements Basement Makeover Advice is All Wet, the article is a response to home improvement company ad that said people who were looking to renovate their basements should look for wool carpet. The ad has been sent to me by Mr. Walter Arnold, of Kelly Floor Covering in Seaford, New York, along with this comment:

 “They’re suggesting people put wool carpet in their basements. Have you ever had a wet wool sweater that you lost and then found again about a week later?”

I decided to ask independent carpet expert and technical consultant Lew Migliore for his views on the subject. Here’s the gist of what he said, although there are more details in the original article.  

"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: 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 again to Lew Migliore for rounding out the top three CRI Blog posts. He’s #1 with me!

Which has been your favorite CRI Blog article?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Preparing for Carpet Installation: 8 Tips

Preparing for Carpet Installation: 8 Tips

Carpet Question Corner - Carpet Q and A - 18th in a series
"What Preparations Do I Need to Make To Have Carpet Installed?" is the eighteenth in a series of banner ads developed to run on the flooring news website Talkfloor.com.

The banners ads contain great information for consumers, from choosing the right carpet, to safeguarding a home’s indoor air quality, to keeping carpet clean and beautiful as new. Today's is about the preparations needed prior to having carpet installed.

Let’s go over the questions – and pay careful attention because there will be a quiz. ;-)

Carpet Question Corner #18: What Preparations Do I Need to Make To Have Carpet Installed?
Make sure that you know what services your installer will provide and what you need to handle yourself. For example, there may be an additional charge to move your furniture. Keep these things in mind before hiring an installer.

Here are things you’ll want to do:
  • Remove all breakable items from areas being carpeted and detach and store wiring from TVs, stereos, VCR/DVD and computers.
  • Determine who will remove and dispose of the existing carpet and cushion.
  • Check recycling options in your area.
  • Think about carpet placement.
  • Ask that seams be placed in less visible areas, but don’t expect seams to be invisible.
  • Before installers arrive, complete other remodeling projects you have planned in the room, such as painting and wallpapering.
  • Vacuum the old carpet to avoid the possibility of airborne dust and dirt.
  • And after the carpet and cushion is removed, vacuum the subfloor.
Visit carpet-rug.org and criblog.org to learn more.

How do you answer consumers when they ask you about how to prepare for having carpet installed?  What resources do you use to help them?
Let me know in the comments!

~ Bethany

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Science, Carpet and the Seal of Approval

Science, Carpet and the Seal of Approval by Werner Braun

Werner Braun on The Science Behind the Seal of Approval

In his December 16, 2011 column titled Science backs up our Seal of Approval for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun explains the scientific methods and testing that add credibility to the CRI Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning equipment and solutions.

“CRI has long been interested in understanding how well vacuum cleaners and hot water extraction units clean carpet. Since 2000, CRI has worked closely with an independent laboratory to evaluate carpet cleaning machines and cleaning materials.

To gain more insight about the cleaning process, CRI partnered with a company making special analyzers for the U.S. space program. In 2001 NASA was investigating a way to conduct quality control for critical aluminum alloy parts used in the space shuttle program. Representatives of KeyMaster Technologies Inc. in Kennewick, Wash., visited NASA Marshall Space Flight Center to demonstrate its X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer.

The instrument, which was about the size of an electric drill, quickly determined the identity and amount of chemical elements in many materials. The XRF unit bombarded the material with X-rays and analyzed the radiation emitted from the sample. Since each element produces emissions with a specific wavelength and intensity, the analyzer determined the identity and amount of each element in the sample. This technology was a breakthrough for NASA.

So how do space and rockets translate to cleaning carpets? The XRF device determines how much foreign material is removed from carpet after cleaning. Using this technology, CRI’s testing laboratory is able to measure the exact amount of soil being removed from the carpet being cleaned, helping us determine what works best and what does not.

CRI’s investment in all this science means one big thing for you: There’s no need for trial and error and throwing hard-earned money away on products that don’t work. If you are looking for a good vacuum cleaner, cleaning solution, deep cleaning carpet extractor, or deep cleaning system — if it is Seal of Approval-certified — you can be confident of getting something that works.

Because at the heart of CRI’s Seal of Approval program is science; that is, extensive research and testing to determine and identify effective cleaning solutions, equipment and service providers.”

Thank you, Werner!

~ Bethany

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Indoor Air Quality: Hard Surface vs. Carpet

Indoor Air Quality: Hard Surface vs. Carpet
I ran across an article titled "Asthma: Carpets vs Timber Floors" on the popular Treehugger.com blog about research published in Australia from a doctor who found that frequently vacuumed carpet is actually better for indoor air than hard surface floors.

The blog article begins, “Just as everyone is pulling up their carpets and sanding back the exposed floorboards out comes new research to say ‘Whoa’. According to Dr Heike Neumeister-Kemp, from the School of Biological Science at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, all is not be as we first suspected.

The research, which says that, “regular maintenance of carpets using high efficiency vacuuming could help in reducing airborne fine particulate levels and maintain a stable fungal spora within the indoor environment,” uncovers some myths about vacuuming and floor surfaces.

“Seems that ‘mould and bacteria spores, and fine particles, PM 10 and PM 2.5 - that's the little one that can go in your lungs’ after falling on hard timber floor are being disturbed by air movement and sent back up into the air (and throats). Whereas vaccums with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters lift and clean carpet fibres, so they can hold such particles out of harm’s way.”

Here is a link to the original research study titled "Reducing airborne indoor fungi and fine particulates in carpeted Australian homes using intensive, high efficiency HEPA vacuuming".

In case you need a reminder about hard surface vs. carpet, this article titled "Improving air quality from the floor up" explains that the choice of flooring affects indoor air as follows:

"... It has long been recognised that carpeting can improve indoor air quality by capturing and holding fine dust tightly and keeping them from becoming airborne again, therefore minimising their circulation in the so called ‘breathing zone’... With a regular carpet the fine dust concentration in the air is four times lower than with hard flooring, resulting in a cleaner breathing zone and therefore improving the overall air quality."

Which would you go with for indoor air quality? Hard Surface or Carpet? You know my answer!

Thanks, Treehugger, for sharing some good news about vacuums, carpet and indoor air quality.

For a list of high-efficiency vacuums, go to the CRI website for the list of Seal of Approval vacuums.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Keeping Carpet Clean During the Holidays

Keeping Carpet Clean During the Holidays
In his December 2, 2011 column titled Keeping it clean this holiday season for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun offers some valuable carpet cleaning tips for the most wonderful – and often messiest - season of all.

“One of the biggest challenges of the holiday season is keeping things clean. With all the people coming in and out of the house, and the chances of food and beverage stains hitting your carpet doubling, we here at the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) want to make sure you can handle any holiday situation thrown your way.

Consider it my holiday secret that I’m sharing: “Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies,” a how-to guide that offers easy carpet cleaning tips.

No, I’m not calling you a dummy this holiday season, but this small guide by household management expert Elizabeth Goldsmith can help you save time by zeroing in on the best cleaning techniques, products and equipment you’ll need to get the results you want.

So what can you do to prepare for when those pesky spills happen?

Knowing what carpet is made of will give you clues about what cleaning solutions will work best. Natural fibers absorb more moisture than man-made fibers, therefore drying takes much longer and the risk of tracking soil is far greater.

Now that you’re prepared, let’s say a stain has happened in your home. The No. 1 rule for removing spots and stains is acting quickly. Many spills can be removed when immediate action is taken. The longer you wait, the higher the probability that a spill will become a permanent stain. No carpet is completely stain proof. So to knock out spots, give them a one-two punch.

Step one: You must absorb the spill. Blot liquids with a dry, white absorbent cloth or plain white paper towels. Warning: Use of a printed or colored material may transfer in dye to your carpet. Start on the outside of the spot to prevent the stain from spreading. Blot until barely damp. Semi-solids like food spills may need scooping up with a spoon. Solid, dried bits can be vacuumed up.
Do not scrub. I repeat: Do not scrub. Scrubbing can damage the carpet because fraying and texture change is the likely result.

Step two: Treat the spot or stain. Use a CRI Seal of Approval (SOA) carpet cleaner. Check out www.carpet-rug.org  for a list of SOA spot removers and cleaning solutions. Make sure to add one to your shopping list before an emergency arises. Though these have been laboratory tested, make sure you have pre-tested any cleaner on a hidden area of your carpet.

It’s important to follow the product’s directions carefully. Generally speaking, apply a small amount of the cleaner to a white cloth and work in gently, from the edges to the center (remember to blot, not scrub). You may need to do that several times to remove the spot.

So don’t be lost this holiday season when your famous cranberry sauce spills onto your favorite rug. Instead, get “Carpet Cleaning for Dummies.” It’s available for $2 and can be ordered online (www.carpet-rug.org) or by contacting CRI’s Publication Department at (706) 428-2114.”

Thanks, Werner!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Truth About Carpet and Formaldehyde

Truth About Carpet and Formaldehyde

Second Most Popular Post on CRI Blog: Carpet and Formaldehyde: Debunking Urban Legends

Here is the second in my series of blog “top CRI blog posts”. Last time, in Asthma, Allergies, Carpet and Flooring: Advice From Carpet Cleaner, I spotlighted the all-time most popular article on the CRIblog, a synposis of an article written by Indiana-based carpet cleaner David Gruttadaurio called  Great Carpet Advice for Asthma/Allergy Sufferers.

The #2 spot on the CRI blog hit parade goes to an article titled, Carpet and Formaldehyde: Debunking Urban Legends. It’s my response to an article Is Your House Making You Sick? that bashes carpet for being a source of formaldehyde. The original article, which still appears on a website called The Nest, had been sent to me by several different people who were extremely put out by the article’s inaccuracy and just plain ignorance. Worse yet, the story had been picked up by a wire service and appeared in newspapers around the country. Here’s what it said about carpet:

“Beware: Chemicals in your carpets: Carpets and carpet cushions can contain VOC’s and emit formaldehyde, a colorless, pungent-smelling gas. According to the EPA, formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer in animals and may cause cancer in humans. Health effects include eye, nose, and throat irritation; wheezing and coughing; fatigue; skin rash; and severe allergic reactions.

Take care: Look for carpets made from natural fibers with little or no chemical treatment. Shaw Floors sells a variety of eco-friendly colors and styles for both wall-to-wall and area carpeting. Also, purchase carpets with natural fiber backing that’s attached with less-toxic adhesives.”

Whenever I mention the enormous amount of misinformation about carpet and formaldehyde flooding the internet today, my colleagues from the manufacturing side of the carpet industry look at me with disbelief. “But that’s a non-issue,” the director of operations of one major carpet manufacturer said to me. “We haven’t used formaldehyde in more than forty years.”

In spite of that fact, and in spite of the carpet industry’s internationally-recognized Green Label Plus Standard for Indoor Air Quality that establishes carpet as a low-VOC product, the wave of misinformation continues.

You can read my response to the carpet-bashing article here. It gives the history of the development of the Green Label Plus standards for carpet and adhesives and the Green Label standard for cushion. It points out that GLP carpets and adhesives are recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States’ Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), green building program where they earn project credit. It mentions that the State of California accepts GLP-certified carpet for use in their High-Performance Schools, that GLP carpet is also accepted by the American Lung Association’s Health House program, and that GL cushion is recognized by the EPA, state of California, and many other regulating bodies.

It links to the thousands of GLP-certified residential and commercial carpets, carpet adhesives, and Green Label-certified carpet cushions listed on the CRI website and points readers to the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Technical Bulletin on carpet and formaldehyde.

Finally, the second most widely-read post on the CRI blog challenges the intelligence of the author who said carpet was a major source of formaldehyde emissions. Touché!

How many of you see information on the internet and elsewhere linking carpet with formaldehyde?

Why do you think that is, and how do you combat it? I’d like to have your ideas.  

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