In another blog post, we ran through a range of related cleaning and maintenance services sometimes performed by carpet
cleaning companies. These included area rugs, upholstery, as well as various hard-surface floors, including ceramic tile & grout;
vinyl tile, hardwood, and natural stone such as marble. But it doesn’t have to end there. In recent years manufacturers of
cleaning, maintenance and refinishing equipment and products have been hard at work in their research labs, coming up with
products and systems which enable companies primarily identified with the cleaning of carpets to add specialized services. These
would be defined as services traditionally performed by professionals in other areas. Some of these include wood floor
refinishing, marble floor honing and polishing, and odor neutralizing.
We have already pointed out that the fully equipped carpet cleaner ought to have no particular difficulty cleaning his customer’s polyurethane-finished wood floors. The sanding and full refinishing of wood floors, however, is still best left to professionals in this area. They have the training, the experience, and the heavy-duty equipment required to sand off multiple layers of finish as well as the skills needed to apply a variety of stains and finishes.
But there is a kind of gray area which falls somewhere midway between simple wood floor cleaning and all-out refinishing. This
is the area of recoating. Recoating a previously finished wood floor may be the best and the most economical choice when that
floor has lost some of its original lustre, and has light scratches here and there as well. In recent years there have appeared
in the marketplace systems specifically intended to allow the carpet cleaning professional to offer a quality level of services
designed to upgrade the look of wood floors. All of these are one form or another of what we referred to above as recoating.
With recoating, you intentionally avoid removing all of a wood floor’s polyurethane finish. With the aid of a floor machine
(rotary or oscillating), a sanding screen, a floor pad (usually maroon in color), or even a specially formulated liquid “sander”, the carpet cleaner can perform the first step of a recoat job. This first step is to both clean and abrade just the top surface of
the floor’s polyurethane finish. This process accomplishes two things. First, slight, shallow scratches in the urethane’s
finish can be removed. And second, the top surface of the urethane is slightly etched, or roughened. This etching or roughening
is necessary to assure a strong bond between the floor and the single new topcoat that the carpet cleaner will apply to the
Different recoat systems work differently from each other. If you think this is a service you would like to offer, make sure
that you research each system you are evaluating before doing an actual job. Certain questions arise:
1. Can the coat of new finish which you are applying be used over both water-based and oil-based poly finishes?
2. Is the finish you are applying as the topcoat a self-levelling product, or is a high skill level required to assure your
providing your customer with a flat, smooth, and streak-free look?
And how about those heavily used floors for which a recoat approach is simply not going to give her the shiny, unblemished
new floor look that she is seeking? Have you taken steps to be able to refer your customer to a wood floor sanding
professional, with whom you have established a well-defined working relationship? In this situation you should be able to earn yourself a referral fee of between .25 and .50 per square foot of wood floor sanded and refinished.
Natural Stone Floors Such as Marble
Just as there are companies which now offer wood floor recoating kits to carpet cleaners, there are also those that will enable
you to perform various levels of marble floor refinishing. While the traditional, old-school marble and stone floor
refinishing professional, with his super-heavy marble grinding equipment, might “poo-poo” that very thought that someone other
than himself can work on floors such as these, that may no longer be totally true. Some of the traditional janitorial
supply houses are now offering kits and systems that will enable carpet cleaners to polish and even to hone natural stone floors.
One of these, a company called Innovative Surface Solutions, makers of Monkey Pads and Cheetah Pads, is worth investigating if work
of this type appeals to you. Marble floor restoration work for carpet cleaners is still in its infancy. But for the individual
with confidence in his or her ability to add relevant skills, and to keep ahead of the more cautious “pack”, an additional
income stream could be the result.
The carpet cleaner will find him or her self on jobs where the customer is seeking to have the appearance of the carpet renewed,
but also wants to have the service professional eliminate the odor associated with the soiling. The odor source may be urine-related, such as from dogs, cats, or even people with incontinance problems who reside there. The odor could also be from other
bodily fluids, such as vomit. It might also be the result of mold growing within the carpet, the pad, or elsewhere in the home.
If mold is the culprit, a high level of skill, usually referred to as mold remediation, is required. The professional who
removes mold has taken one or more courses in how to do this, and may also be required to hold a state-issued mold
remediation competency certificate as well.
The carpet cleaner facing body waste-related odor issues should know the principles involved in treating odor appropriate
to wet or dry carpet cleaning techniques, and have the products on hand to treat the problem as effectively as possible.
There might also be house-wide odor issues as well, sometimes the result of years of occupants cooking or smoking tobacco products
on the premises. There is a variety of misters and foggers available to help neutralize such odors. The carpet cleaner who
desires to further develop his business by helping people deal with such problems will need to educate and equip himself with
both the devices and the chemicals which could get rid of all or much of this odor. So-called disaster restoration companies
will have crews of cleaners available who can come in and wipe down all of a home’s or building’s interior surfaces. This is
how the worst of the odor jobs are usually handled.