Over the last 15 months, houses, condos, and apartments have served as make-shift offices and schools as we adapted to what was called the new normal. Living rooms became Zoom studios. Couches became office chairs. Bedrooms became individual classrooms. As everyday life slowly starts to return to the original normal, people are finally getting the opportunity to spend time outside of their dwellings.
Of course, things are still far from normal. One issue we are dealing with is how the pandemic disrupted supply chains and labor for a wide variety of products. Everything from 22,000 New Ford Trucks sitting in Sparta to a chicken wing shortage to a lumber shortage.
With that in mind, I wanted to highlight the important role that regular maintenance plays in helping your carpets last longer. Tips noted in 5 Simple Steps to Make Your Carpet Last Longer include trying to keep dirt from entering your home, regular vacuuming, and professional carpet cleaning.
While it’s normal to think about cleaning in terms of health and aesthetics, there is a “mechanical” factor at play related to how your carpets wear. As discussed in Carpet Cleaning Myths and Truths:
Every day, dirt and debris are tracked into your home. Some of this is removed by regular vacuuming (assuming you are vacuuming on a weekly or semi-daily basis), while some settles down between the carpet fibers. Little bits of fine grit might not seem like that big a deal until you consider that when you bind little bits of grit to a piece of paper, it becomes sandpaper! If fine grit can be used to take the paint off metal, it’s not hard to imagine it grinding against the fibers of your carpet with every step.
In other words, the tiny bits of debris lurking under the surface are slowly breaking down the individual fibers that make up your carpet. And given the amount of time spent indoors over the last year, that adds up to a lot of wear and tear.
The maintenance aspect is important as replacing carpet is not only expensive and involved, but this is also an area being hit by a combination of pandemic disruptions and increasing demand. Here are a few examples:
- NAFCT Enters Fight Against Installation Shortage – The National Association of Floor Covering Technicians (NAFCT) noted: “A shortage of qualified installers is an ongoing challenge that continues to plague the flooring industry. In an effort to address and alleviate this and other issues impacted by a lack of skilled labor, the newly formed National Association of Floor Covering Technicians (NAFCT) has entered the industry with a goal to improve the flooring industry through training.”
- FCEF Discusses Installer Shortage at Recent Board Meeting – The Floor Covering Education Foundation (FCEF) held a meeting with representatives from all aspects of the flooring industry – trade organizations, suppliers, training professionals and retailers – and noted the following: “We all agree that a solution to the shortage of installers is essential to the industry’s continued success.”
- Labor shortage creates backlogs – An article in Floor Covering News notes: “Some retailers are booking eight to 10 weeks out on carpet due to the dearth of carpet installers.”
- Flooring dealers gearing up for explosive Q2 – Another article in Floor Covering News notes: “Following a strong start to 2021, flooring dealers see no reason for a slowdown as they enter the second quarter. In fact, many say the best is yet to come as the residential sector in particular continues to fuel a surge in business.”
What’s more, the disruptions extend to other flooring options as well:
- Flooring Distribution Delays: COVID-19’S Effect – The Master’s Craft Flooring Company notes: “Unfortunately, hardwood flooring distribution is not exempt. The primary problem facing the wood flooring industry is the delay of prefinished flooring shipments from overseas. Ever since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Asia, there have been major logistical issues worldwide.”
- Expect Longer Lead Times For Unfinished Flooring – The Master’s Craft Flooring Company notes: “This has led us to where we are today: all widths and grades of White Oak, and 2-1/4″ Red Oak are extremely difficult to find right now, and many distributors have completely run out of flooring, quoting lead of 8 weeks or longer.”
- Wood Flooring Industry Faces Supply and Pricing Challenges – Hardwood Floors magazine notes: “A new analysis from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) states that rising softwood lumber prices have increased more than 250 percent since April 2020, causing the average price of a new single-family home to increase by nearly $36,000. In the wood flooring industry, softwood may be used for cores for engineered wood flooring, as well as for subfloors. Meanwhile, hardwood prices are being attributed to labor shortages, transportation problems, and uneven supply and demand.”
While pandemic-related disruptions will eventually work themselves out, it’s a good to time to think about what you can do to extend the life of your carpets so you are in control of when you replace your flooring. If you have been diligent about a vacuuming routine, kudos! If not, here are some carpet cleaning tips that might get you started. And, if it has more than 12 months since your last professional carpet cleaning, you should consider it. The hot water extraction method is what major carpet manufacturers recommend, and in some cases require as part of their warranties.
Elliott S. Fishman, Co-Owner
Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.
About Elliott S. Fishman
Elliott Fishman, along with his son Brian, is the owner and operator of Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc. We serve the residents and businesses of Greater Cincinnati to include West Chester, Mason, Maineville, Loveland, Wyoming, Fairfield, Indian Hill, Montgomery, Hyde Park and Anderson Township. Elliott started this company in 1984, based on the belief that it takes Extra Effort to make each job a success. The father/son team puts the extra time, extra care, and extra effort into every task they undertake – no matter how large or small the job. Extra Effort’s quality equipment, trained technicians and safe products have made the company a top choice for residential and commercial carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, water damage / water extraction, fabric protection, odor control and spot removal.