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Tuesday, September 25 2012
Cleaning & Sealing Exterior Tile & Grout Surfaces:

We have spent a great deal of time on this website discussing the importance of cleaning and sealing your tile and grout lines in your home. But what about those exterior tile & grout surfaces? If you own a home or have rental property you probably have some type(s) of exterior hard surfaces such as: concrete pathways, flagstone patios, cool decks around your pool, slate patios, brick or stone fireplaces, BBQ pits, etc. These exterior tile & grout surfaces add beauty, comfort, and increase property values, but they can also be a pain to clean and protect.

Because these exterior tile & grout surfaces are exposed to the great out doors they can become quite dirty and difficult to clean. These surfaces, unlike indoor floors, are constantly being exposed the sun's harmful rays, animal poop, dirt, leaves, etc. It doesn't take long for a build up to show and possibly mold and mildew to dominate your once beautiful exterior surfaces.

The nice thing about cleaning an exterior hard surface is that you don't have to worry about baseboards, carpeting, wood floors, or scratching the paint. Often times these surfaces can be cleaned with a broom, leaf blower, and a power washer. If you are using a cleaning agent (soap) make sure to select something that won't kill your plants and NEVER use acid. People think that acid is a cleaner and it is NOT. Acid is used, and sparingly I might add, to remove stains that can not be cleaned other wise. The problem with acid is that it will etch (scar) your stones, concrete, and grout. You want to use a alkaline cleaning solution with a stiff brush. After you have power washed the surface you can use your leaf blower to dry out the surface before applying a sealer. NOTE: NOT ALL SURFACES SHOULD BE SEALED. It is also important to point out that a power washer can damage your exterior surfaces IF you do not know what you are doing.

Cleaning, Sealing, and Restoring your exterior tile & grout surfaces can be time consuming and may cost you some money if you do not already own the proper equipment. If you do not have the time or the patience for this type of work you may want to consider hiring a professional. Here at Liberty Floor Solutions we are experts at cleaning exterior tile & grout surfaces. The best time of the year to clean exterior surfaces is in the Fall and the early Spring before it gets too hot or too cold. I hope this has been helpful to you, please email me if you have questions or concerns.

Michael Hull



Posted by: Michael Hull AT 09:39 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, September 22 2012
Best Way to Clean Commercial Grade Carpeting:

Here at Liberty Floor Solutions we are famous for our tile & grout cleaning. What most people are not aware of is that we are darn good carpet cleaners as well. Recently I had a DIY (Do It Yourself) call from a local guy who wanted to know what was the best way to clean his commercial grade carpeting. He wanted to DIY the project in hoping to save some money. I compliment him for taking the time to research the subject and I was honored that he respected my opinion enough to give me a call. He said that of all the websites he visited I was the only one that truly educated him and that is what motivated him to phone me for my help.

If you are not familiar with commercial grade carpeting it is different from your typical residential style carpet. First, the loops are much shorter and the backing is a type of rubber so that the floor can be glued to the floor. That's right you glue commercial grade carpet to the concrete floor or to the wood subfloor. You do not have a padding under the carpet. Second, all commercial grade carpeting is a nylon carpet whereas residential carpeting can be made from wool, nylon, or polyester. And finally it was designed for more foot traffic making it a more durable carpet. 

When cleaning commercial grade carpets you have (5) choices: 1). Hot water extraction or steam cleaning;
2). Encapsulation, this where a chemical is sprayed on to the floor and is swirled around until the dirt appears to disappear; 3). Bonnet cleaning, this is where you would have large bonnets on a spinner (a machine that spins) and you trap the soil in the cotton bonnet; 4). Chem Dry, this is where a chemical is sprayed over the carpet and it is rinsed using very little carbonated water; 5). Dry cleaning method is when you spread this stuff over the floor that is damp and feels like saw dust, you rake it in and the vacuum it up.

Of all the methods mentioned above there is ONLY ONE method that will NOT void your carpet's warranty and there is ONLY ONE method that the carpet manufactures recommend and that is the same method that we use here at Liberty Floor Solutions - HOT WATER EXTRACTION. The reason why they only recommend this method is because it is the ONLY PROVEN method for flushing the dirt, oils, and yuk from the carpets. When performed by a competent professional it works every time and dries in a timely manner. Because there is no padding under the concrete it dries much faster than residential carpet.

As a DIY person you are NOT going to be able to rent a machine capable of TRUE Hot Water Extraction. After explaining all of this to my DIY caller it became obvious to him that it would be more economical to hire me than it would be to DIY. His time was too valuable and the cleaning job was too important to leave into the hands of an amateur. I hope this article is useful to you. If you have a cleaning question please contact me at paddle@frontiernet.net. 

Michael Hull
 



Posted by: Michael Hull AT 10:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, September 15 2012
Pet Urine on Travertine Floors:

Almost a week doesn't go by when someone is calling me, emailing me, or checking my website because Rover went pee on their travertine tile & grout floor. Depending which expert you want to believe we Americans love our pets. I recently read one study that stated that Americans have over 130,000,000 pets in their homes, and that is a lot of pee.

Travertine tile & grout floors are considered "soft stones" because they etch very easily and they contain calcium carbonate. When I use the term etch I mean "scar," these acidic liquids like coffee, tea, lemon, citrus juices, and of course pet urine are all examples of acidic liquids that can etch and/or dull your once beautiful stone. Dog urine, for example, has a pH level of anywhere from 5.5 to 7.5 depending on the size of the dog, what the dog eats and drinks, and what type of medication the dog takes, if any. It is believed that small dogs have the most acidic urine probably because of what they eat and what medicines they take. If you recall your high school chemistry 7.0 on the pH scale is neutral, anything below 7.0 is an acid and anything above a 7.0 is an alkaline. If you clean your travertine tile & grout with a high alkaline cleaner you can and will dull the stone.

So, what can you do to protect your travertine floors? First let me recommend that you clean your floor with a pH neutral cleaner and then seal the floor with a high quality sealer. Sealers are made from acrylic polymers or sticky plastic. This sticky plastic is a non-slip protective coating. Some sealers will enhance the color of the stone and give it a more 'wet' look while others are almost untraceable. This is when a real expert is going to come in handy. Not all sealers are alike. There is a lot of cheap stuff out there that can cause more problems than they solve. The second is to dust and clean your floors regularly using a pH neutral product. Dust is like sand paper and will wear down your sealer and stone at a fast pace. Mopping your floor at least once a week and removing the grease, oils, and dirt will also go a long way into maintaining your floor.

Thirdly keep some white terry cloth towels handy with a little dish soap in a spray bottle. If Rover should have an accident IMMEDIATELY BLOT up the pee and then spray surface with dish soap. The soap, which has a pH level of 8.0 will neutralize the acid in the pee and prevent etching. Rinse thoroughly with clean water, again BLOT, BLOT, BLOT. Avoid rubbing because this may spread the pee and cause more damage to the stone. The longer the pee stays on the floor the better chance it has to eat through the sealer and etch the stone. If your stone has already been etched you will need a professional tile & grout cleaner, who specializes in travertine, to help restore the stone. If the pee has been on the travertine for an extended period of time you should test the floor to see if the sealer is still present and working. If you do not know how to test your sealer please give me a call or email and I will walk you through it.

Travertine is a beautiful stone and with a little bit of effort you can keep it that way for years to come.

Michael Hull

Posted by: Michael Hull AT 03:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, September 05 2012
My Carpets Feel Sticky After Cleaning:

Almost without exception we have someone visit our website, send us an email, or give us a call, on a weekly basis, asking the question, "Why do my carpets feel sticky after cleaning?" Mind you we did NOT do the work but they still contact us wanting to know why?

When speaking to these individuals we often find two scenarios - the first is that they rented a Rug Doctor, or similar machine, and tried to clean it themselves, or they hired a low budget carpet cleaner from Groupon or Living Social. What usually happens is that the "cleaner", whoever that might be, left the soap in the carpet and that is why it feels sticky. Have you ever washed your hair and not gotten all the soap out? It feels much the same way as carpet does that has not been properly rinsed. My children, when they were younger, had this happen to them more than once when they were learning to bath themselves.

When carpets are cleaned with a solution the chemicals in that solution usually consist of an alkaline, a degreaser, and a surfactant. The alkaline is what breaks down and attracts the dirt, the degreaser emulsifies the oils, and the surfactant makes the whole thing slippery so that the dirt will more easily leave the carpet fibres. Usually the pH level of the cleaning solution is somewhere between 9.0 to 10.0. Carpets are pH neutral or 7.0. If you do not successfully extract out all of the soap you will leave your carpets in a high alkaline state and they will "dirty" faster. The end result is that you will have carpet that will feel sticky to the touch, will dirty faster, and you will not like what happens to the bottom of your feet when you walk around in your bare feet.

To remedy the problem you need to call a reputable carpet cleaner who uses HOT WATER EXTRACTION. Any other cleaning method will only make matters worse. You need to let the person know exactly what is going on, who cleaned the carpets, when it was cleaned, so that they can better diagnose how to solve the problem. A reputable cleaning company will use a "rinsing agent" along with hot water extraction to solve your problem. A rinsing agent is similar to a cream rinse that you may use on your hair. A conditioner rinses out all of the soap and leaves your hair soft and manageable. The same thing happens when you properly rinse a carpet. Here at Liberty Floor Solutions we use a rinsing agent every time we clean. People consistently tell me that our cleaning job not only lasted longer than their previous cleaners but the carpets felt soft to the touch when dry.

I hope this has been helpful to you, if you have questions please feel free to email me at paddle@frontiernet.net. 


Michael Hull





 
Posted by: Michael Hull AT 08:41 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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We provide professional tile, grout, carpet cleaning services for home and businesses in the following California cities: Sacramento, West Sacramento, Elk Grove, Wilton, Galt, Lodi, Stockton, Laguna West, Rancho Murieta, Mather, Rancho Cordova, Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Rescue, Cool, Carmichael, Fair Oaks, Orangevale, Antelope, Roseville, Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin, Natomas, Citrus Heights, and Slough House. We will travel to other areas.

 

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Providing tile, grout, travertine, carpet cleaning professional services to Sacramento and Elk Grove California : carpet cleaning - grout tile cleaning - travertine tile cleaning - carpet steam cleaning services