Floor Care Knowledge Base

Below you will find information on various topics related to hard floors, carpets, and general floor care advise. For specific care and maintenance instructions, please consult with your floor covering retailer and/or manufacturer. If you have any specific questions on Soniclean products, please visit our support center.

Carpet Overview

Carpet is a type of flooring that is made from weaving a natural or synthetic fiber into a primary backing material. Carpet comes in a large variety of styles, patterns, and colors. Due to its cushioned surface, carpet absorbs sound, adds additional warmth, and offers you a non-slip surface. Carpet even improves indoor air quality by trapping particles, dirt, and debris in carpet which keeps them out of the air you breathe. With advancements in carpet manufacturing technology, carpets are more durable, easier to clean, and softer than ever before.

Carpet Fiber Types

Wool Nylon Triexta(SmartStrand) Polyester
Pros Most durable fiber type. Inherently stain resistant. Extremely durable fiber. Great coloration. Very durable. Solid fiber with built in stain protection. Sustainable fiber with no VOCS. Good color clarity. Inexpensive. Good stain resistance.
Cons Typically, more expensive than synthetic fibers. Typically, prone to staining unless a stain guard/fiber coating is applied. Can be expensive, but there are many cost-effective options. Not very durable.

Carpet Strands & Styles

You can think of carpet fibers as the individual filaments that are bundled together and twisted to make the carpet strands. Carpet strands, yarn or tufts, are all used interchangeably to refer to this “twisted bundle” of carpet fibers. Some common carpet styles are:

image of carpet fibers and carpet styles berber saxony cut pile loop pile

What is Soft Carpet?

Denier is the reason why some carpets are softer than others. Denier is the thickness of the fibers/filaments that comprise the carpet strands. You can think of denier in the same way as the “thread count” of a bed sheet. A carpet made of a high density of fine filaments will be much softer than a carpet made of a low density of thick filaments. But does more softness mean less durability? Even though the fiber filaments are super fine, there are a lot of them. The more filaments per square inch, the stronger the carpet will be.

soft carpet versus regular carpet_fiber density comparison

Carpet Padding

A firm and resilient carpet cushion forms the foundation for your carpet. The right cushion acts as a shock absorber to increase comfort and extend durability of carpet. It also improves acoustics and provides increased insulation, making a room quieter and warmer.

When selecting cushion, check the carpet manufacturer’s requirements for thickness and density.

Vacuuming Carpets

Regular, proper vacuuming habits can help ensure that your carpet looks and feels its very best for many years. Using the wrong vacuum on your carpet, or vacuuming incorrectly or to often can actually cause more harm than good. Here are 4 tips on how to vacuum your carpet properly.

1. If you only vacuum in one direction, you're not removing all of the dirt and dust. Some of it can hide under carpet fibers, and vacuuming in both directions—north and south, and east and west—will ensure you thoroughly extract the dirt and debris from your carpets. For best results, alternate the direction that you vacuum every other time you clean your carpets. For example, if you vacuum Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, vacuum from north/south on Monday, east/west on Wednesday, and back to north/south on Friday.

2. Take your time. Vacuuming slowly will allow your machine to suck up more dirt and dust, and ultimately get your rugs and carpets much cleaner. Slow vacuuming allows the brush and the sonic bar to agitate the carpet properly and efficiently extract the dirt and debris from the carpet pile.

3. Don't wait until you can see the dust to start cleaning. Dirt can pile up underneath the fibers at the bottom of the rug long before you notice it. Set a regular vacuuming schedule and stick to it.

4. Clean your room from the top down, and back to front. This is one of the main techniques taught to those who work in the hospitality/cleaning industry. If you dust after vacuuming (clean from the bottom up), your carpets and rugs will be immediately be replenished with a thin layer of dust, making all of your hard work moot. Foot traffic can deposit dust and debris from your shoes onto the carpet. If you vacuum the farthest corner of the room from the doorway back toward the doorway, you can make your vacuuming routine far more efficient. Plus, if you have thick carpets that leave footprints, this technique will leave your room looking pristine and devoid of footprints.

Shedding & Sprouting

THE FIRST FEW TIMES you clean your new woven floor covering you may become concerned over the apparently large amount of “fluff” which your vacuum cleaner has picked up. This is a very natural condition in all new floor coverings, especially with carpets made of 100% wool or wool blends. It is brought about in two ways. Carpet yarns are composed of different lengths of fibers. Regardless of how thorough the carpet manufacturer is in the shearing process, a few the short fibers obstinately remain in the face of the carpet. These loose fibers migrate to the surface and are picked up by your vacuum cleaner. Also, due to atmospheric conditions, the moisture content of the carpet might be somewhat low. This condition may give slightly more than normal fluffing.

However, as your carpet starts to re-absorb moisture from the atmosphere and has been thoroughly vacuumed a few times, the tendency to fluff is greatly lessened, if not virtually eliminated. The initial loss of this fuzz does not harm the carpet in any way. Don't think that your floor covering is slowly "coming apart". However, using a vacuum with a stiff brushroll can permanently damage the carpet fibers and cause the carpet to look worn after a short period of time. Our best recommendation is to consult with your carpet retailer and/or carpet manufacturer on which vacuum cleaner is recommended for your specific type of carpet.

OCCASIONALLY yarn protrudes above the pile, due to extra-long tufts or pieces of backing material or stray tufts of a twist-weave fabric unravelling. In loop pile fabrics, extra-long tufts may appear. Using scissors, clip these ends level with the pile surface. NEVER PULL THEM OUT! With good quality carpets, sprouting is not cause for alarm. It does not indicate a defect. The life of the carpet is in no way affected.

Regular Carpet Care

Factors such as the number of people or pets in your household should determine the frequency rate of cleaning. All areas should be thoroughly cleaned with a vacuum cleaner at least once a week and twice if the occasion demands. Be sure to pay more attention to vacuuming frequently traveled areas such as in front of doorways.

This cleaning should also include those rooms which receive very little traffic, in order to remove any dust deposited by the air.

Periodic Carpet Care

THIS TYPE OF CARE AND CLEANING consists mostly of maintaining the general surface appearance of the carpet at times other than the daily or weekly schedule. Typically, carpet manufacturers like Mohawk recommend that you have your carpet professionally cleaned every 12-18 months.

Soap solutions are to be avoided because of slow drying and the deposit of residual solids which tend to collect dust rapidly. Ammonia, acidic, or alkaline solutions may change or remove colors and are to be avoided. Any cleaning material containing chlorinated solvents are usually harsh and are not recommended for use on carpets. For wall-to-wall installations, where it is impractical to remove the carpet, very satisfactory results can be obtained by "on location" cleaning methods such as spot cleaning. The yearly cleaning of such an installation should be entrusted to a professional cleaner who uses proper equipment per the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations. You can visit the Carpet & Rug Institute’s website or contact your carpet manufacturer for detailed information on professional cleaning recommendations.

Never shake small rugs by gripping them at one end and snapping at the other. Never beat any floor covering on a flat surface or suspended over a line. This subjects the fabrics to undue strain which may result in breaking the backing yarns, and the consequent loosening and possible loss of the pile tufts. It may also result in the breaking of the carpet fringe.

When vacuuming carpets, especially white or pastel carpets with a vacuum cleaner, be sure that all parts of the vacuum cleaner which come in contact with the pile surface are free from dirt and grease. This can be accomplished using a cloth lightly moistened with warm water on such parts, before the cleaning is started.

Identification labels should be left on your rugs or carpets for reference purposes. If the corners of your floor covering begin to curl, some manufacturers recommend carefully applying a hot iron to a damp cloth on both the face and back of the carpeting at the corners. Be sure to consult with your carpet care professional before attempting this curling remedy.

Hardwood Floors

Hardwood has been used as a primary flooring material for centuries. Traditionally, hardwood flooring came in thick planks of solid lumber but today, a but thanks to modern technology and improved manufacturing processes, hardwood and engineered hardwood floors are more resilient and durable than ever before. Hardwood floors are an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a flooring option with a warm aesthetic.

Solid vs. Engineered Hardwood

solid hardwood versus engineered hardwood

The difference between solid and engineered hardwood is its core. Solid hardwood is one piece of ¾” wood that is milled with a tongue and groove. Engineered hardwood has layers of wood that are stacked in a “cross-grain” configuration and topped with a thinner piece of solid hardwood. Both solid and engineered hardwood come in a variety of species, stain colors, and styles.

SOLID WOOD ENGINEERED WOOD
Aesthetics Beautiful, natural look, no two pieces are exactly alike. Wide variety of wood types and finishes Beautiful, natural look, no two pieces are exactly alike. Wide variety of finishes. Especially great for wide plank floors
Materials 100% wood - solid 100% wood - composite
Durability Varies by wood type, thickness, width, and finish Varies by veneer type and thickness, board thickness, and finish
Good for pets? Not recommended Not recommended
Expansion and Contraction Prone to expansion and contraction Very stable, minimal expansion or contraction
Moisture and Temperature Resistance Sensitive to moisture and temperature fluctuation Sensitive to moisture and temperature fluctuation, but less so than solid hardwood
Care and Cleaning Frequently sweep or vacuum, occasionally mop with approved cleaner and damp mop Frequently sweep or vacuum, occasionally mop with approved cleaner and damp mop
Refinishing/Sanding Can be sanded and refinished multiple times May be sanded and refinished once, twice, or not at all depending on the thickness of the veneer

How Hard is a Wood Floor

Laminate Floors

Laminate flooring is like luxury vinyl planks in its appearance and method of installation. But the critical difference is that its core is made from wood byproducts bonded with resins. The top surface is a hard, transparent plastic wear layer that covers the printed design layer. It is a floating floor that comes in planks with a locking system, and it must be installed over a laminate pad. Laminate flooring is a great, economical floorcovering options with a wide variety of colors and styles. However, since this product typically has a wood-composite core that could be affected by water damage, it is typically not recommended for bathrooms floors or areas with high humidity. Laminate flooring is best cleaned first with dry methods, such as with a dry mop or a vacuum cleaner. If you need to wet-clean laminate flooring, you should use only a damp mop that feels almost dry to the touch.

laminate flooring graphic

Vinyl Floors

Vinyl flooring is an attractive, durable, and floorcovering material that is available in sheets, planks, and tiles. The base layer is made of a partially or fully synthetic core make of a wood-plastic composite (WPC) or a stone-plastic composite (SPC), which is then coated in PVC vinylr. The resulting sheet is printed and embossed with a surface print layer and covered with multiple wear layers. Many fully synthetic sheet vinyl, vinyl tile, and luxury vinyl flooring options available today are 100% waterproof. In full bathrooms and damp locations such as basements, vinyl flooring materials excel over laminate materials. Sheet vinyl that comes in 12-foot wide rolls often requires no seaming, making it an excellent choice for a truly waterproof floor. Vinyl flooring's most attractive feature is that it is so easy to care for and clean.

SPC vs WPC viynl floors graphic

Ceramic vs. Porcelain Tile

The major difference between porcelain tile and ceramic tile is how it’s made. Both tiles are made from a clay mixture that’s fired in a kiln, but porcelain tile is made from more refined clay and it’s fired at higher temperatures. This makes it denser and more durable and resistant to water damage and staining than ceramic tile. That’s why porcelain tile is more expensive than ceramic tile and generally considered to be higher quality as well. If you’re looking for the best tile flooring options, porcelain tiles are likely the best option for you.

Natural Stone

Natural stone is one of the most stylish and fashionable materials you can use for your flooring. You can install natural stone indoors or outdoors and the four most popular options are: Marble, Granite, Slate, and Travertine.

 

Marble

Marble

Marble is formed when limestone crystallizes as a result of high pressure and high temperatures while underground. Like all-natural stones, marble must have a protective sealant applied before use, and must be maintained and reapplied regularly for full protection. Marble is susceptible to staining, so it’s important to clean up spills immediately to avoid potential damage.

Pros: Beautiful colors and veining. Natural variations in the stone creates a unique, organic look to your home.

Cons: Prone to staining, will show wear quickly from acid-based products.

 

Granite

Granite

Granite is one of the hardest natural stones, which is why it is a popular option for kitchen countertops. Granite is formed from cooling magma underground. Because the cooling process is very slow, granite builds both strength and hardness as it goes through the process. Its made up of a variety of minerals, including quartz and feldspar, which give it its attractive granular composition and texture. However, because granite is very hard and unforgiving, when installing it as flooring, the subflooring must be completely level and have the strength to support its heaviness. If the floor has bumps or even tiny valleys, granite tiles will crack easily.

Pros: Beautiful color, hard surface that takes wear and tear from normal family life.

Cons: One of the heaviest flooring choices and must be installed with care.

Slate

Slate

Slate is formed deep in the earth as shale, and under the right combination of heat and pressure. Slate tile has a duller and slightly more uneven look than its other natural stone predecessors, which also makes it the tile of choice if slip resistant flooring matters to you. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns, often providing a rustic or modern look and feel. It is more stain resistant than other stone choices, takes water well, and is highly durable. Slate can be cracked if laid on an uneven subfloor, or if a heavy object is dropped on it.

Pros: Dark, earthy color pallets with a natural, rustic look. Tends to be more resilient than other stone.

Cons: Tiles can be uneven due to the layering quality of the tile.

Travertine

Travertine

Travertine has a similar composition to limestone or marble and is composed of a sedimentary rock called calcite. Travertine is a porous stone with natural holes. In order to protect it, it must be sealed prior to grouting and again after installation for protection. It will soak up liquids and will stain if left untreated. It is also susceptible to stains from acidic foods. Travertine is a softer stone, which means may be more prone to scratching and showing wear and tear.

Pros: Elegant flooring options in a wide variety of colors. Durable and can be polished for a glossy look.

Cons: Typically more expensive than other stone options. Susceptible to staining and etching.

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