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When Are Hard Surface Inspections Needed?

It may not seem like hard surface inspections are as important as carpet maintenance, but wood, marble, stone and resilient flooring needs regular attention to keep them looking their best. Professionals trained in this discipline are able to identify flooring problems and know just how to fix them. However, before technicians can thoroughly treat resilient or wood flooring they must be certified to do so. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the leading agency in the world for training technicians in this industry. For this reason, consumers often look for technicians with IICRC certification when they need help with their floors.

Resilient flooring is made from vinyl, linoleum, cork or rubber and has a little give when placed under pressure. Wood flooring is typically not grouped in this category because it doesn’t give, though it retains its shape well even after long term wear. Both resilient and wood materials, though, can benefit from hard surface inspections. One of the most common misconceptions regarding these floors is that they can be installed and do not require regular maintenance. However, while they don’t retain soil to the degree that carpet does, they can lose their finish or be permanently scratched if grit is allowed to remain on the surface. They may also buckle or crack if exposed to an overwhelming amount of pressure or heat.

 Inspectors that work in this field are like flooring detectives. They are responsible for investigating any problems a residence or business has with their flooring and determine the cause of the defect.  Inspectors must be open-minded when approaching every job. They are expected to listen to the home or business owner intently and consider all details on hand. These professionals require advance knowledge of the materials they will examine and must be able to identify them on sight. This is particularly important because subtle differences in flooring and subflooring may call for very different solutions.  Inspectors must also be familiar with the origin of the flooring and the method of construction. Local climate, especially the ambient moisture level, can greatly alter the integrity or performance of the material, so this is something the professional must keep in mind.

Hard surface inspections are normally scheduled when a flaw in the flooring results in a dispute between the manufacturer and owner. The  Inspectors decision on the cause of the problem and its required fix will have a large say in the mediation process. For this reason, these  Inspectors are expected to be unbiased, professional and extremely thorough. The best way for a technician to learn these traits is through extensive training offered by the IICRC. The Institute offers several courses through approved schools that are dedicated to the examination of various flooring surfaces, including marble, wood, stone, vinyl and linoleum. Students in each course will learn how to identify the composition of the floor, and how to best diagnose and treat common problems. Inspectors will also be taught the particulars regarding manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, cleaning, and best practices for inspection. With these skills, a professional can immediately step in as an unbiased source of knowledge capable of handling disputes in the industry.

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