FAQs

Q

Do you charge an estimate fee?

A.

No. There may be an occasion, under special circumstances, that we may ask for this, but only if we tell you up front.

Q

How much dust will be created during the restoration of my natural stone floor?

A.

There is no dust created during the restoration process, because we use diamond abrasives and water.

Q

My marble floors had a beautiful shine when new. How can I restore that new shine?

A.

If your floor is not deeply scratched, surface polishing may bring back an acceptable shine. However, existing scratches may remain. If your floor has worn badly, a complete restoration is warranted. This decision should be made between you and us.

Q

I have Marble floors in my kitchen. We spilled vinegar and now we have a light spot. I believe that it is the sealer (polyurethane coating?) that got discolored. What do we do?

A.

When acid (vinegar) comes into contact with marble (calcium carbonate), it causes a chemical reaction. The result is called etching. Natural stone sealers penetrate the stone and do not prevent this natural reaction. If you do in fact have a polyurethane coat on top of your stone, then you have a different problem altogether. If the stone is etched, we can refinish it.

Q

Is there routine, daily or weekly maintenance I should be performing on my marble floors?

A.

The #1 culprit of damage to marble floors is dirt, (grit, sand & dust). The best treatment for your floor is a dry, untreated microfiber dust mop or vacuum, used every day when possible. Damp mopping is recommended on a weekly basis and whenever there are visible spills.

Q

How long will it take my carpets to dry?

A.

Drying time depends upon you and the weather. We generally say until the next day. If you follow the simple steps we recommend it often takes as little as four hours. If you don't, it can take from one to two days. If you need super-fast drying times, let us know before we start, there are things we can do to speed the drying time. Just understand that this is at the expense of lost cleaning power. We can also put an air mover on the walkways as we clean and get those areas pretty much dry before we leave. Most people prefer not to use an air mover, though, because it really blows around any papers that are around. Heavily soiled carpets may take longer to dry due to the extra cleaning involved. Drying starts from the base of the fibers and works its way up, so the last to dry is the very tippy top—the part that you feel with your hand.

Q

Do we have to stay off the carpet after it has been cleaned?

A.

No, you don't have to stay off of the carpet. We give you surgical bootie covers to wear during the damp and drying phase. Washing off the soles of your shoes before stepping on the carpet will also work. We ask that you avoid colored socks or bare feet. Some suggestions for passing the time while the carpet dries—Go out to dinner, have a nice night, and come home to a carpet that is dry or at least "dry enough" to walk on; Plan a day of shopping; Plan a playdate; Have the dog groomed.

Q

Do you move furniture?

A.

Yes, we are happy to move furniture. It's up to you what you would like to have us move. Preferences range from just a few things to most things, so we'll ask you what you want moved before we start.

  • Our pricing is dependent on what you want moved- we charge a little less when we are not moving things, as it's a time saver; We charge a little more because of added time to move, clean, then protect and preserve your decor and belongings
  • Some items may be fragile or compromised or weakened. Please let us know if anything is rickety. We don't want to risk damaging anything we move.
  • For example, the mirrors attached at the backs of dressers are very flimsy and there is no way to hold them while moving the dresser, so they very often fall and break, so we don't want to move those—unless, of course, you detach the mirror before we get there.
  • Lamps and table top items make it difficult to move furniture. So please clear off furniture we will be moving. Also, if dressers are going to be moved, it's helpful to have you take out some of the drawers.
  • There are some types of beds we don't move, because some are extraordinarily heavy, or they have legs or wheels that can be damaged when moving them across carpets.
  • We will not move china cabinets, large wall units, big heavy desks, most pianos or grandfather clocks
  • If you have a lot of furniture for us to move, please let us know in advance so we can send an extra technician if we are able to. In some cases, there are other considerations to be made in advance like storage, special moving equipment we might require and need to plan ahead for.
We are happy to move anything that won't damage your carpet, our technicians, or the object being moved. In other words, we'll move anything within reason.  

Q

Is it ok if you work around furniture?

A.

No problem. There is even a slight savings when we don't move furniture, because it is a time-saver and we pass that on to you. But, we will discuss the options and decide what's best for your situation

Q

What if we move the furniture before you arrive?

A.

That's ok, too. Just make sure to ask us to leave your protector blocks and tabs so you can reset your furniture soon after the cleaning. (Don't reset furniture on wet carpet without tabs or you can cause damage to the carpet.)

Q

How long have you been in business?

A.

My wife Wendy and I started SPARKLE Surface Care (originally Classic Services or known as Classic Carpet Care) in 1982. Actually, I started working along side of my dad as a kid.  I helped him clean at Shawnee High School, where he was a custodian.  Then I cleaned during my college years. At that time Wendy & I built a commercial bldg cleaning business, with all phases of floor care.  We were known to maintain dealerships, law offices, banks, health clubs. Eventually we began specializing exclusively in technical floor, hardwood, stone, carpet and fabric care.  Since 96' we have focused on all these services in both residential homes and commercial buildings.  

Q

What experience or special training do you have?

A.

We have more than 33 years of experience and counting! We have been IICRC certified Master Cleaners for decades and we participate in on going service industry training.  Our staff also is certified.  And, we have had specialized training by a world reknowned Stone Care Expert.  Add to that a NWFA Certified Sander and Refinisher.

Q

What carpet cleaning methods do you offer?

A.

Truck mounted steam extraction is usually our first choice, but there are circumstances when another cleaning method, or even a combination of two or more cleaning methods is best. So, we also offer hot water extraction, dry foam, shampoo, dry bonnet cleaning (similar to Chem Dry's original method) and we offer the latest craze in commercial cleaning—encapsulation cleaning. Most oddball cleaning methods are gimmicks. Many carpet cleaners mistakenly think that if they offer a different cleaning method than competitors customers will flock to them, when in truth, as we at SPARKLE Surface Care understand, most people just want a clean carpet and don't much care how it gets done. There are companies offering cold water extraction—which we think is just stupid. Chem Dry has switched over to truck mounts that are, unfortunately, decades behind. There's a guy using a machine called a "widget" which is basically a brush he uses on your carpet—we're not sure why he thinks it's going to make people flock to him. There are plenty of guys who just go out and rent the same machine you could get at the supermarket or have one of their own. Yep, there are all sorts of carpet cleaners using nutty methods to clean carpets around here and we've seen and tried them all. SPARKLE Surface Care uses the methods that we know actually work. And if a new one comes out that works better, we'll learn that too. In a heartbeat. Our goal is to offer you the best method for your situation and we'll tell you what will work best for you. For most people, it's truck mounted steam cleaning, but for some that just won't work well. For example, if you are in a high-rise condo, we can't always get the hoses up to your home from the truck mount, so in those cases a portable hot water extractor is usually best. Some places need to be cleaned with extreme quietness, like apartments in a retirement home, and in those cases a bonnet cleaning method works best. We offer the method that best suits your situation.

Q

Are your carpet cleaning products safe for children & pets?

A.

Great news!  As carpet cleaners we have switched whenever possible to a natural, organic, non-toxic kid & pet friendly formulation that does a fantastic job of cleaning when used with our truck mount steam extraction.  In fact, it is plant based, derived from Thymol (the herb Thyme). which has wonderful cleaning properties and Citric Acid and other medicinal cleaning properties.  The result- it out cleans other detergent formulas!!  Even if it is ingested it is safe. We are happy to provide you an MSDS sheet if you request one.  Also, we even have had formulations prepared by our supplier's chemist if there is a specific reason.  For instance, if someone has a scent concern, we have 2 options for them.  Also, for very concerned folks we offer steaming with just water, although there trade offs with that.  Some soiling will not come out as effectively if we are not using the above mentioned solutions or others when we are cleaning. Yes, our cleaning products are safe for everyone—human or pet, and we have never had an incident. However, it is good to keep children and pets out of the work area.  Between the equipment, the hoses and such, it is just safer to have them out of the work area.

Q

Why is steam from truck mounts better for cleaning?

A.

The bottom line is it kills germs and dust mites, and cleans many, many times better and faster than other methods. It has been proven in laboratory research under a microscope to out perform all other methods. It has also been designated to be the only method that restores the carpet to its cleanest state by the teams who wrote the cleaning standards that guide our industry (the mills, the EPA, the cleaning industry, etc.) and written into industry standards as such. It is so much better there is no comparison.

The technical explanation

Every eighteen degrees we raise the temperature of the cleaning water above a certain point doubles the water's cleaning power. The standard heat we use for our cleaning water is eight times greater than that base point. In addition, the vacuum power of a truck mount engine is much greater than that of a machine you plug into the wall. This not only allows us to suck up more soiling, but it gives us far more water lift, meaning we can flush the carpet with more water for q quick and thorough wash while leaving the carpet dryer.

Q

Should I have my carpets protected?

A.

Yes. Protection for your carpet serves multiple functions:

  • Laboratory research has proven that it extends the life of the carpet and protects your investment.
  • It promotes soil release, which means more dirt vacuums off your carpet and more dust is removed by vacuuming, reducing dust and pollutants in the air and helping with allergies and asthma.
  • It helps with spots and spills. Protection increases the possibility of thorough stain removal, both when you are doing it yourself and when we are treating it for you.
  • It is a "sacrificial barrier" for your carpet. So as you walk on your carpet, it is the protective that is gradually worn down before wear begins on the carpet itself.
  • It's similar to changing the oil or waxing a car you care about: it helps maintain your carpet in better condition for a longer period of time.
Statistically it is true that  22% of your carpet "uglies out" because of neglect that forces homeowners to replace it.  Traffic Lanes are the 22%.  If homeowners cleaned those high traffic areas and protected them they would extend carpet life and protect their investment in them! In a nutshell the Carpet Mfg's actually study carpet performance closely.  They even pay people to walk on carpet samples to test longevity and appearance. (folks walk on carpet squares for 50 minutes of every hour, and it is compared to carpet squares without protectant  that are tested the same way.)  It is without a doubt, proven that carpet protectant extends carpet appearance and carpet life.

Q

Do you include deodorizer?

A.

Deodorizer is defined as a pleasant smell designed to mask another smell.  Our baseline products have a mild deodorizer built into them.  Other companies charge you separately for deodorizer, giving them a way to "up charge" you.  This is non sense.  Also, deodorizers are temporary, just like after you shower, it dissipates over time. For stronger odors, we have specialized natural products at an additional cost.  And for other odors such as pet odor, musty odor, cigarette or cigar smoke, deceased animals, defrosted freezers, soured milk, other odor control measures may be required, also at an additional cost.

Q

Do you remove dog or cat odor?

A.

We'll get it out one way or another. If nothing else, the affected area can be replaced. If the affected area is carpet we can attempt to clean it topically. If it is saturated into the carpet we may need to pull the carpet up and treat the surfaces underneath. Some times the odor is deep rooted and we have to go to other measures to remove it. If that's the case we may prescribe an odor remediation plan, and you can decide if you want to do that or replace the carpet and /or pad. If it is wood, and discolored, we may be able to address the discoloration and odor with bleaching. If it is deeper rooted we may need to replace the affected boards, and sand and refinish the contiguous area. We will let you know your options and the scope involved to fix the odor and or discoloration for you.

Q

Do you remove dog or cat stains?

A.

If there is any company that can get them out, it's SPARKLE Surface Care. If we can't remove it, it is because it cannot be removed. We use special spot removers specifically designed for this purpose. If it doesn't clean out, we will tear it out. Urine damage, feces or vomit damage on carpets reeks havoc on carpet or upholstery. Urine damage on hard wood typically appears as black marks, usually round marks. And, the urine soaks deep into the boards. Often they need to be bleached to attempt to save them. Not uncommon that it is necessary to replace the affected boards. Or, perhaps they can be saved if the floors are refinished and the stain is dark enough to mask the dark urine spots. Let us know about your pet stains and we will give you a free estimate with options to fix them whenever possible.  

Q

With pet odor is it possible to find where it is coming from?

A.

Yes. We have special probes and lighting that illuminate the urine areas. A black light is useful for this, it will "light up" just like posters do with a black light once popular back in the 60's and 70's.  This will allow us to focus on the problem areas.  Be aware, that male animals may mark, so walls, furniture bases and upholstered fabrics or window treatments may be involved.  If this is an on-going problem for you, you may want to purchase a black light, usually available at pet stores.

Q

What about pet or urine odor, can you remove it?

A.

Pet or Human, one way or another.  Be aware it can be costly and complex to remove.  First thing is the only way to guarantee lasting success is to remove the source.  If this is a loving pet and member of the family it can be difficult.  If you don't remove the source you do stand the risk of future contamination and odor.    With that said, the odor is the result of the ammonia salt crystals that embed in surfaces.  Once the water content in urine evaporates the salt crystal is left behind. Often, especially with a repeat offender situation, the more urine the deeper it absorbs thru, to the carpet backing, padding, sub-floor surface and beyond.  So cleaning topically, or the fuzzy surface of the carpet in not sufficient.  The technician must locate the urine and remove it as deep as it goes.  When this happens the carpet needs to be disengaged, cleaned on the back side.  The carpet pad needs to be cut out. The sub-floor surface needs to be inspected, disinfected and even sealed to lock the odor in.  Once all this is done the carpet can be reinstalled.  Also, other surfaces may be involved as well such as walls, baseboards, upholstery, even furniture. In some cases it may just be better to replace the affected area.  Feel free to call us for a free odor inspection.

Q

Can you get bleach stains out?

A.

Not the way you think.  Bleach causes dye loss. Dye loss is a condition where the surface of the fiber or fabric has been stripped of dye.  An easy way to explain it, if you drop bleach on blue jeans you know what happens- right?  Ok, now throw the jeans in the wash and wash them.  Will it put the blue back in?  NO, of course not. The same thing applies to bleach stains on carpet.  I can clean them but the stain will remain.  The way to correct this problem is to cut it out.  In many cases an installer can re-section the area, either using a small cookie cutter type tool, or a larger area as need be.  The trick is to have extra carpet to use.  If you don't have an extra piece, sometimes they will take a piece of "donor" carpet from a closet and swap it out.  That way you don't see it, and the repair is fixed.  If that is the solution you may decide to swap a piece of laminate in the closet, so it is uniform in appearance.

Q

What is the difference between a spot and a stain?

A.

A spot is defined as removable foreign material from a surface.  A stain results from when the foreign material strips the dye from the surface, as in a bleach stain, or difficult dyes actually affix to the surface.  This would be say red based stains such as Hawaiian Punch, blood stains, iron stains.  Other nuisance sources can be medications, dye from pet bones, iron based formula, chocolate, lattaes. Still others can be baby formula, coffee, teas, mustard based spills, hair dyes. To sum it us, stains are permanent.  Your only option is to cut them out which an installer may be able to do for you.

Q

Why are red based spots difficult to remove?

A.

Well think to laundry care.  Hawaiian Punch, spaghetti sauce, benedryl and cough syrups, coffees, teas, all of these can be difficult or impossible to remove.  Same is true for carpet and upholstered fabrics.  In fact, it is true that carpet manufacturers use Red Dye No 4 to dye carpet.  That is the same dye used in Hawaiian Punch.  You know why?  It works really, really well.  In the business when we deal with red based spots we prepare the customer to expect a lightening of these spots, as in what shade of pink will you be willing to settle for. If it can come out we will get it out.

Q

What happens if we have a blood accident on carpet or upholstery?

A.

Run to the phone and call a professional.  After you get them scheduled to come out asap, take wet terry towels or white paper towels, squeeze some water on the blood. Then take an unused plastic bag & place over the contaminated area.  Keep it wet until the professionals arrive.  Once it dries you loose your chances that we can remove it.  Also, the hotter the liquid the faster it absorbs deeper down thru the carpet, backing & padding.  Be prepared that we may have to return & repeat the process, or vary the technique.  At 98.6 degrees it usually pools under the carpet face.  Fingers crossed on this one!  Time is of the essence!

Q

What do I do if we have a Vomit or Diarrehea accident?

A.

Run to the phone and call a professional. After you get them scheduled to come out asap, take wet terry towels or white paper towels, squeeze some water on the blood. Then take an unused plastic bag & place over the contaminated area. Keep it wet until the professionals arrive. Once it dries you loose your chances that we can remove it. Also, the hotter the liquid the faster it absorbs deeper down thru the carpet, backing & padding. Be prepared that we may have to return & repeat the process, or vary the technique. At 98.6 degrees it usually pools under the carpet face. Fingers crossed on this one! Time is of the essence!

Q

My Hardwood, Pergo or Engineered Wood doesn’t need refinishing, it just needs cleaning can you do that?

A.

Yes we have the perfect service for that.  It is best described as a "zamboni" for wood.  Called the Dirt Dragon, it is a wood floor cleaner machine that is designed to clean, rinse and squeegie dry the wood in one pass with the machine.  As a periodic treatment, the floors are cleaned and rinsed of dirt, grime, oils, residues from cleaners and more household pollution that impedes the floors brilliance and lustre.  Some times it is just what the Doctor Ordered!

Q

Do You Work Weekends?

A.

We can by appointment.  While we do not schedule weekends routinely, we do accommodate clients whenever possible.  Sometimes we realize that weekends are the only option that works for our residential clients.

Q

We are a commercial client, will you work evenings or weekends when our business is closed?

A.

Yes of course, we realize commercial clients need services when they are not open for business.  We can schedule work on a weekend, or we can plan to arrive at the tail end of the work day as well.  Some clients are closed on Mondays, some don't have public hours certain days, while others close early.  We try whenever possible to schedule when it is best for you.

Q

Why Do Spots Come Back After Carpet Cleaning?

A.

Couple reasons.  If the spot went through the carpet to the backing it can "wick" back and reinfect the face fiber.  The hotter the liquid, the more volume, the better the chances for wicking.  For instance, hot beverages such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, any biological accidents strike thru the carpet to the backing.  Once the water content has evaporated, there remains other ingredients that when slightly moisturized during cleaning it will evaporate up to the face fiber- reinfecting it with more discoloration.  Blood is especially prone to this.  If wicking occurs often a touch up will improve it. Another reason spots reappear, right away after it dries is because it is a stain that has been camouflaged by the damp carpet.  Once dry the stained fibers (either from dye loss, or dye "added") do not obscure the permanent stain.  Additional touch ups will not correct this problem.  Scissors may.    

Q

Is Our Wood Floor Sanding, Repairing, Refinishing and Installation Right for You?

A.

    • Is it comforting to know in choosing us you will be working with a company who invests in superior equipment all the way around, commercial grade stains and quality finishes to do the best possible job for you?
    • Would you appreciate that we conduct our work carefully and work to preserve and protect what we are working on and everything within your home and outside as well?
    • Would you prefer that your floors are refinished with dustless technology? By dustless we mean we have invested in technology so most all our offending sanders have a vacuum system attached to it to collect the dust created from the sanding process?
    • Is it assuring to know the procedures will be executed in a professional manner, according to industry standards written by the NWFA?
    • Is it also assuring to know that lead technician is a true craftsman who executes his work with precision and an eye for excellence and quality?
    • Would it delight you that the technician, besides earning a wage, is rewarded, and gratified when his clients are not just happy, they are thrilled, excited and in love their floors all over again?
    • Are you weary of a bottom line estimate that seems too good to be true? And do you wonder why they are so much less? Why are hardwood refinishing prices wildly different?
    • If given the opportunity, would you prefer to have your hardwood floors refinished using more environmentally friendly, less harmful chemicals and perform as well or better than the old chemical formulas?
    • Would it be good to know you can count on superior results using finishes that aren’t harmful and look beautiful, perform well, and are resilient?
    • If we did our work without bringing toxic and carcinogenic chemicals into your home, would you prefer that option or insist upon it?
    • Are you aware that some chemical finishes will result in harmful voc’s that linger for days?
    • Are strong VOC (like paint, stain or polyurethane) smells a problem for you?
    • Do you have odor sensitivities? Like are you bothered by lingering smells in your home for days, weeks or more?
    • Are you looking for a fair price for quality work rather than cheap shoddy work for a low price? (Check out this case study.)
    If you answered yes to any of the above, then our wood floor services are right for you. Learn more about our wood floor services.
 

Q

How Do You Charge For Carpet Cleaning?

A.

We charge by the square foot, and take into consideration the soiling level and movement of furniture. Our prices are fair and competitive for a quality job done by a professional company.

Q

Why are hardwood refinishing prices wildly different?

A.

WHY ARE HARDWOOD REFINISHING PRICES WILDLY DIFFERENT? It comes down to you get what you pay for. Some refinishing bids are cheap, others more expensive... Why is this? Choosing a hardwood floor refinishing company can be a dicey process. Some guys will provide an estimate that is half the cost, while others will provide a comprehensive estimate for a thorough job. Frankly, a professional job that will yield superior results will take extra time. Here are some pitfalls that the cheap guys do to do inferior work:

  • The cheap guys usually don't invest in dustless sanding technology (which costs extra).
  • Little to no effort will be given to contain the work area with plastic walls, protect your home and décor, and be respectful with their equipment in your home
  • They won't use Hepa filter air scrubbers to collect any airborne dust
  • They may not remove your quarter round trim and doors to closets
  • About half the sanding will be done. Often, they begin with severely aggressive grit, then skip the in between grits. They jump to the end grit. (The NWFA Standards require beginning with a 36 or 50 grit, depending on how thick the finish is, then 36 to 50, or 50 to 80. Next the floor is sanded with a 100 grit, then buffed before staining.)
  • Sub par finishers start with a 24 grit, then skip all the in between grits and go to an 80 grit, buff and done—so you don't get a flat, smooth surface; it will be rougher
  • They may lack the most critical skill of how to gently glide the drum sander in a constant motion, so you are left with divots and dips either in isolated areas, or as a divot consistently in a line. This task should only be done by professionals who do it often, otherwise you will have obvious damage and unevenness to the floor.
  • They make take shortcuts with the edge sanding, so the stain will be a different color than in the middle of the floor
  • The corners may lack the appropriate sanding
  • They don't invest in a "finish sander," such as a Trio Sander, that will produce a superior result in the sanding, taking the floor to furniture and cabinetry grade sanding, instead of the lesser grade "floor standard grade of sanding."
  • All in all the floors will be rough, not smooth and flat, like a baby's cheeks.
  • The sawdust and sanding material collected from the machines may not be cared for properly and could ignite. Bags of the sawdust with the finish and poly they remove from your home can catch fire if not stored properly, particularly during the summer months
  • They typically don't "water pop" the floor, which is a spray of water that reveals inconsistencies in the sanding, giving the tech time to fix them before the stain goes on.
  • They may not cover bright windows so when the sun beats down thru the glass those areas dry faster and will look different than the rest of the room. For instance, often swirl marks are not visible to the naked eye, but once the stain goes on they are visible plain as day, when its mostly too late to fix it. They are a classic example of shoddy work and will be more easily seen if you choose a darker stain.
  • They may not vacuum well, or "tack" the floor to remove excess sanding dust before the finish coats. If they don't, you may see gritty particles, hairs and "junk in the finish"
  • Careful attention may not be given to applying the finish coats. It is a careful task. When not done with finesse, care and concern for proper execution you may see heavy drips, or even waves that cannot be connected.
  • They often will "cut" the finish coats with paint thinner to spread the finish product further. Your floors won't get the proper protection. You will pay less, but you get a floor refinishing that will not perform and endure well moving forward.
  • And sometimes they will rush the finish that will yield white, cloudy patches, indicating the floor was not dry enough for the next coat
In the end, not having an understanding of the differences between a less than competent (cheap) company vs a quality service, can leave you at a loss to decipher the difference in one estimate compared to another. It is suggested that ahead of choosing who to use that you consider what is important to you. After all, you don't want to have to pay once, then pay again, or be left with an expensive bill for poor workmanship on your floors. All in all, quality results come down to the utilizing a company that has invested in superior equipment with dustless technology. It comes down to your service provider protecting and preserving your home and décor in the preparation phase. It comes down to them containing the workspace, being neat and organized and constantly cleaning up of the area while the work is being done. The difference is in the care and concern of execution of every task being done thoroughly and properly. And it matters that the refinishers have a close eye on the results of the sanding, ahead of the stain application. Then it matters how the refinisher thoroughly cleans all the dust and debris up, before he lays his coats. Next it is important that the same hand application is does to achieve a uniform stain process. And it certainly matters how the stain is applied, how the seal and finish coats. A careless eye overlooking every detail will assure you get a less than professional result.

Q

Are there harmful chemicals in your water based hardwood floor finish?

A.

No. We purposely abandoned the polyurethane finishes because of how harmful some of the catalysts are in the blends. Our water based finish takes a derivative of whey, a by-product of cheese making, and uses it as the binding agent in the finish. There is no offensive or lingering odor, if anything it reminds you of a baking smell. The result, you get a safe, non toxic finish that has a high "commercial rating" for performance, far exceeding the residential rating. It is safer all the way around.

Q

What is Harmful In Many Polyurethane Finishes?

A.

How dangerous are isocyanates?
Isocyanates include compounds classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause cancer in animals. The main effects of hazardous exposures are occupational asthma and other lung problems, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.
Unfortunately many polyurethanes contain this dangerous compound. In fact, when my husband began finishing hardwood he had 3 dangerous reactions of throat closing proportions while using it. Once so toxic it caused my husband's eyesight to become so off balance, and so disoriented he had to drive to the emergency room. It was absorbed thru his eyes and skin despite a respirator, a tyvek suit and googles over his glasses. Speaking to a fellow floor refinisher who used it he was contaminated by it and while driving drove in to a toll booth because he was intoxicated from it.
How dangerous are isocyanates? Isocyanates include compounds classified as potential human carcinogens and known to cause cancer in animals. The main effects of hazardous exposures are occupational asthma and other lung problems, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.
With concern while all that happened I called my supplier, whose owner, a chemical engineer confirmed this is a nasty compound. While effective as a polyurethane, it also is so toxic it causes medical problems in about 14% of the people working with it.
Many polyurethane finishes have this component in the blends. Not for us. We can't use it, don't want to expose our refinish guys using it. And, we don't want to bring it in to our customers' homes using it.
There are safer formulas that are much more user friendly.  We care about our clients, their families, our staff and ourselves. If this is important to you we can tell you more about the much safer finish processes we use

Q

How Does Our Floor Stripping & Waxing Differ From Traditional Janitorial Efforts?

A.

We combine old and new technology that the janitorial industry does not typically invest in or use. After the stripping and scrubbing process we use our truck mount steam cleaner to deep steam rinse the floor. This technology hands down does a superior job in rinsing compared to janitors with simply a mop and a bucket. The truck mount hard surface wand creates a steam chamber, releasing hot water as close to boiling as possible as a strong Psi, then re-collects it in to our waste tank. The result, the hot water further breaks down the wax-stripping slurry, so the floor is much cleaner then mopping it up before laying down coats of wax.

Q

What is Dustless Hardwood Floor Refinishing Technology and How Is It Different From Older Systems?

A.

Lets get this straight, we are still sanding floors, and the sanding and saw dust can either be left to blow into your home, getting all over everything, or it can be contained thru dustless technology. Dustless technology is nothing more than effective collection systems that captures the sawdust generated from sanding, and contains it in a disposal system to remove it and keep it from blowing wildly thru your house. To explain further, the sanders that we use are engineered to a vacuum system and into bags or disposal tanks, so we minimize the sawdust.  There are a variety of styles, but most all offending sanders have this. When you are working with a competent professional company they will have invested extensively in this technology, which increases their cost to do business. The benefit to you, along with routine vacuuming and tacking, you will have a cleaner floor and cleaner surfaces, and cleaner air space within your home. If this is important to you, you should insist on only hiring a hardwood floor refinisher who uses this technology.  

Q

What Other Precautions Can Hardwood Floor Refinishers Do to Minimize Dust While Finishing My Floors?

A.

Professional companies concerned about dust minimization may also (depending on the circumstance) erect "zip walls", and some with zippers for ease of access to contain any extraneous dust to just the workspace. Some times it is not practical because of how the rooms are built, but more so than not we use them. A zip wall is an artificial wall of plastic that is erected to seal off a wall space. Some times they are full size walls, and some are half walls. When needed the zippers are installed to allow the refinishing team access to the work area, and also gives ease of access to the homeowner while the work is being done. Our company also often uses Hepa Filtration- "Air Scrubbers" while we are sanding. This forces the air thru the airscrubber in the entire air space several times a day. This technology is utilized in medical applications, clean room environments, and restoration and structural drying and decontaminating applications. Either or both technologies are extra measures taken to assure a cleaner refinishing process. Likewise when these systems are part of the refinishing process they are brought on board at an additional cost, both as an investment of the technology, and the extra labor needed to set it up and utilize it. When vetting out a refinishing company it would be good to ask if the use this technology. If they do, you most likely will find their estimate to be similar to the other competent refinishing companies, and far different from the cheap estimates provided by the shoddy refinishers that flood this industry.

Q

How Often Should I have My Carpets Cleaned?

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It depends from house to house.  Generally Carpet Mfgs recommend or require every 12-18 months.  Some warranties require that you get professional cleaning within a certain time, or you void your warranty.  We say as a general rule of thumb high traffic rooms, steps & hallways benefit from yearly or twice yearly cleaning.  Such things as the number of people living in the house, kids, pets, eating habits, entertaining, all have an impact on the carpets.    Actually the more you clean properly, the better.  You will not get premature traffic lanes that are actually wear the fibers down.  You will keep it looking better for longer before replacing it.  And, actually it is healthier.  Carpet has a filtering benefit which can reduce airborne particulate, when it is clean.

Q

Is it ok to use my steamer on my wood floors?

A.

Go ahead & listen to the folks that make those handy dandy steamers.  But take it from the 'horses mouth'-  according to the National Wood Flooring Association you SHOULD NOT USE A STEAMER ON YOUR WOOD FLOORS!  Yes it will clean, but quickly or in time it will violate the finish & cause "milkiness".  Milkiness equates to destroying the finish.  Everyday cleaning should be a swiffer type mop with a daily cleaner, preferably "Squeaky" (which we will hook you up with). If you want a deep clean we offer a wood floor cleaning process that is safe & effective- deemed a zamboni treatment for wood floors, it does a superb job without risking damage.

Q

Why is my stone shower floor rough, even painful to stand on?

A.

Natural stone surfaces in a wet environment can emit "efflorescence," or a rough crusty like coating that can be unpleasant to stand on. Explained this way, imagine going into a wet cave that has stalactites and stalagmites with water dripping from them. This is a similar condition a stone surface can develope. And, removal of them, or control of them developing again requires a stone restoration procedure, usually beyond the skill of a DIY type person. While stone can be a gorgeous element in your home, proper care and periodic maintenance may be needed to keep them looking and performing to expectation.

Q

Do traditional polyurethane coatings have harmful ingredients in them?

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Yes, many common and popular finishes have a harmful ingredient, known as isocyanate. Isocyanate is an ingredient in the catalyst that is activated to cause the finish to bond. Not only does it have strong voc's (volatile organic compounds) that are toxic, it is also a known  carcinogenic compound. According to an industry expert, approximately 11-14% of tradesmen working with it have physical reactions that prohibit them from working with it. Chris, the owner of Sparkle Surface Care has experienced physical reactions multiple times, including odd swelling, and more. After 3 experiences using a popular finish having this ingredient, we stopped working with it all together. Not only that, we had a colleague, who did not work for us, tell us that he became intoxicated with it and drove into a toll collectors booth. And to top it off, Chris, using another chemical composite absorbed into his body despite wearing a tyvek suit, gloves, a respirator, glasses and goggles. His vision was impaired so badly he could not drive, and ended up in the emergency room until he recovered. We prefer to work with Vermont Natural Coating's finish system, which uses whey as the binding agent. It is clean water certified, and does not expose anyone before, during or after the finish "coating" process. When used, it is a commercial rated finish that performs beautifully, and is completely safe.

Q

What Services Do You Offer For Commercial Bldgs?

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Having a long history doing various services for commercial clients, we pretty much do specialized cleaning for most surfaces that a commercial bldg may need, to include the following:

  • Stripping, Steam Rinse & Waxing Commercial VCT Floors
  • Steam Clean Ceramic Tile & Grout
  • Power Wash Bathroom Walls
  • Steam Clean Natural Stone Floors
  • Natural Stone Restoration- includes repairs, de-lippage, re-honing, re-polishing
  • Steam Rubber Flooring (Gyms, Dealership Showrooms, Indoor Play Centers)
  • Steam Clean Vinyl Floor
  • Auto Scrub Wood Floors
  • Strip Wood Floors
  • Clean Carpet
  • Clean Upholstery
  • Refinish Hardwood Floors
  • Install Hardwood Floors and Luxury Vinyl Plank/Tile
  • Periodic Maintenance Plans For VCT Floors
  • Monthly Hi-Speed Burnishing