Q&A: Smoker Smell

I just moved into a new apartment. The previous tenant smoked, and I can’t get rid of the smell! How can Sunshine Home Maintenance help?

Nicotine is a tricky substance to get rid of. To really get rid of tobacco odor, you need the right equipment and materials. Fortunately, Sunshine has you covered!

Sometimes we walk into a place where the owner has been smoking for over 40 years—the smell is in everything! The first step is to get rid of everything you can from the previous tenant—drapes, rugs, wallpaper—and then washing and sealing the large surfaces, like walls, doors, baseboards, and trim.

Carpets are very susceptible to nicotine permeation. In some cases, steam cleaning followed by a deodorizing spray may be enough to remove the offending odor. In more extreme cases, though, the only solution may be to tear out the carpet and replace it.

Hardwood floors, on the other hand, are easier to salvage. Our procedure for wood floors is to sand them down, scrub with steel wool, recoat and seal. While we’re at it, we can give attention to other problem areas on the floor, such as burns or discolorations, and take steps to fix them.

The end result not only smells better, but gives your apartment a new lease on life!

Q&A: Pet Odors

I just moved into a house, and the carpet smells like pets. Can Sunshine Home Maintenance help me?

Yes! The first step we take is to vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove hair and dander. Then we steam clean the carpet. Our truck-mounted professional steam cleaning unit is far more powerful than any consumer-grade system—not only does it leave the carpet looking cleaner, but the steam attacks the source of the bad odors—the germs themselves. Finally, we apply a topical deodorizing spray which leaves a floral smell that dissipates after about a week, completely removing any remaining pet odors!

Extreme cases call for extreme measures. For instance, if a pet repeatedly returned to the same area to urinate or defecate and the area was not promptly treated, the stain may have penetrated down through the padding. In this case, the only solution may be to replace the carpet.

If you are the owner of an indoor pet, we recommend getting your home cleaned at least twice a year to prevent pet odors from becoming a nuisance.

Q&A: Tile & Grout Cleaning

What kind of tile and grout services does Sunshine Home Maintenance and Flooring offer?

We are experienced in cleaning and sealing all types of tile and stone flooring – we do floors, walls, counters, shower stalls, you name it! Our equipment includes a truck-mounted steam cleaning unit, scrubbing and polishing machines, and old-fashioned hand scrubbing for hard-to-reach areas.

Why hire a professional like Sunshine Home Maintenance and Flooring?

A deep steam cleaning done once yearly by a professional will extend the life of your tile and grout and keep it looking fresh and clean. If our technicians spot any cracked tiles or grout, they can provide a free estimate for fixing the problem area.

Rich, David, and Michael Paul Gilbert are the owners of Sunshine Home Maintenance & Flooring with over four decades of experience in home and commercial cleaning. To schedule your free consultation, call (415) 457-4363.

Q&A: Wood Floor Polishing & Maintenance

How often should wood floors be serviced by a professional?

Wood floors are a major investment that can last for several decades, if cared for properly. To keep them at their best, we suggest once a year, minimum. If you have kids, pets, or high traffic, twice a year may be necessary.

What methods do you use to maintain flooring?

We have a wide variety of tools at our fingertips, such as polishers, buffers, and high-speed burnishers. We use these on solid wood flooring with urethane coatings, wax finish, oil finish, or acrylic finish, as well as engineered flooring. We also have equipment for polishing stone, tile, linoleum, and vinyl flooring.

Can you seal wood floors?

Yes, we do offer wood floor sealing services. This is a top coat seal that can be done without sanding.

What other advice do you have for owner of wood floors?

Regular maintenance not only keeps floors looking beautiful, it also protects them from damage. Call Sunshine Home Maintenance and Flooring today to find out how we can help extend the lifespan of your floors. Estimates are always free!

Rich, David, and Michael Paul Gilbert are the owners of Sunshine Home Maintenance & Flooring with over four decades of experience in home and commercial cleaning. To schedule your free consultation, call (415) 457-4363.

Q&A: Carpet Cleaning

How often should I get my home carpets cleaned by a professional?

A minimum of once every year. If you have children or pets, it should be done twice a year. Treating the carpets with Scotch Guard will prevent stains from getting set in and keep your carpets cleaner in between treatments.

After cleaning, how long before I can walk on my carpet again?

You can walk on your carpets immediately after treatment – just refrain from wearing outdoor shoes until they are completely dry.

How long does carpet take to dry?

On a sunny day with plenty of ventilation, carpet can dry in as little as 4-6 hours. On a rainy day, plan on 6-12 hours drying time.

What method do you use to clean carpet?

We feel that steam cleaning is the best way to get carpets clean. We begin by pre-treating stained areas with a spotting agent, then we follow up with a powerful truck-mounted steam cleaning unit. For persons with chemical sensitivity, we can use organic products or a steam-only cleaning.

What other advice can you offer?

Interior carpeting is a big investment – take care of it! Keeping to a regular schedule of carpet maintenance will not only keep your home looking and smelling fresh, but it will extend the lifespan of your carpet. Sunshine Home Maintenance and Flooring offers free estimates – if you have questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Rich, David, and Michael Paul Gilbert are the owners of Sunshine Home Maintenance & Flooring with over four decades of experience in home and commercial cleaning. To schedule your free consultation, call (415) 457-4363.

Q&A: Is it Worthwhile to Scotch Guard Carpet?

An interview with Rich Gilbert of Sunshine Home Maintenance & Flooring

Is it really worth it to Scotch guard carpet?

In a word, yes. Although it has been mis-sold as a “magic bullet”, it really does help in protecting your carpet. Scotch guard works as a soil retardant – stains will come out quicker, making cleaning your carpet easier the next time you do it.

Does it leave a strong odor?

No. The product we use is made of liquid Teflon (plastic) that has been diluted. We apply it to carpets after steam cleaning, while they are still wet. The product lays on top of the carpet, and there is hardly any odor.

How exactly does it work?

While you can apply scotch guard to carpets at any time, we have found the best method is to apply it right after steam cleaning. It can also be applied to brand new carpets.

What does it protect against?

The big two enemies of carpet are children and pets. But it also protects against coffee, soft drinks, food spills, and normal wear and tear. However, it does not protect against pet urine. Certain red wine spills will stain regardless, but Scotch guard increases the likelihood of at least lightening the stain to make it less noticeable.

Basically, stains on carpet follow the same principles as stains on clothing – only Sunshine extracts the stains from the surface instead of churning the carpet in a washing machine.

How long does it take for it to set?

Almost immediately. If applied immediately following a steam cleaning, by the time the carpet dries, the Scotch guard is set.

It is important to note that Scotch guard is a topical treatment, not an impregnating treatment. Some carpet manufacturers will dip carpet fibers so they are immersed in a soil retardant, but Scotch guard sits on top of the fibers, and so does have to be reapplied periodically.

How soon can I walk on my carpets?

Almost immediately, as long as you are not wearing shoes from outside.

Is it only for light colored carpets?

No, it is good for any color of carpet.

Why do you feel it is worth it?

While we definitely recommend the Scotch guard treatment, we leave it up to each client to decide for themselves. If you are the type of person who doesn’t get their carpets cleaned on a regular basis, it is more beneficial because it keeps your carpet looking fresh for a longer period of time.

How long does it last?

Depending on the amount of wear your carpet gets, it can be 6 months to a year and a half. The treatment will last longer in areas without children or pets, and if you don’t wear your shoes inside. Sunshine recommends reapplying Scotch guard each time you steam clean your carpets.

Why should I hire someone to Scotch guard my carpets versus doing it myself?

You can certainly apply Scotch guard yourself, just as you can change your car’s oil yourself. Most consumers will try and treat their carpets with an aerosol can, but this is not the proper way to apply it to carpets. Also, people who clean their own carpets using consumer-grade steam cleaners will find the Scotch guard needs to be reapplied more often. The advantage of hiring a professional like Sunshine Home Maintenance is that we have years of experience, we won’t leave residue, and we have the proper equipment.

Rich Gilbert is the owner of Sunshine Home Maintenance & Flooring. He has over four decades of experience in home and commercial cleaning. To schedule your free consultation, call (415) 457-4363.

Q&A: Durable Wood Flooring

An interview with David Gilbert of Sunshine

What is the most durable type of wood flooring to use?

In my experience, I’ve found wood flooring with an oil finish to be the most durable. This can be purchased pre-finished, or it can be installed, sanded, and then finished on site. The main thing is that an oil finish is used, not polyurethane. Oil doesn’t just sit on top of the wood – it actually seeps down inside it, which makes it more durable.

The most common variety of wood flooring is oak, but an oil finish can be applied to any type of wood.

Aside from finish, what can you tell us about the natural durability of different types of wood?

Brazillian cherry is a naturally hard wood that is quite popular in flooring. Oak is mid-level in hardness. Fir and pine are considered softer woods, but are still decent flooring choices.

What if someone has kids or pets?

They will definitely want to use an oil finish on whatever variety of wood they choose. The Copenhagen Airport in Denmark has solid wood floors with an oil finish. They never sand them. They just keep applying oil. This hides all the scuffs scratches, which is amazing since it is such a high-traffic area!

What solutions does Sunshine offer for wood flooring?

I usually recommend my customers go with pre-finished oiled wood flooring – this avoids the extra time and mess that results from sanding and oiling the flooring on-site. I work with pre-finished flooring products that come from a local provider. We have access to their showroom, and can arrange private showings for our clients.

Is this economical?

Yes, based on cost per square foot. The price currently ranges from $6/square foot on the low end to $12/square foot for premium products.

Why should anyone pay more for a higher grade of wood? Is there any advantage beyond cosmetics?

If you want a wood floor with less “character” or flaws, a higher grade of wood is the answer. “Select” grades of wood are usually cut from the center of the tree. This means that they are free from any knots or defects that could compromise the integrity of the grain. However, other people don’t care about naturally-occurring flaws in their wood floors. It really comes down to choosing a floor that suits your style and then using a finish that will keep it looking good for years to come.

David Gilbert is the owner of the Wood Flooring division at Sunshine. To schedule a free estimate, call him today at (415) 457-4363.

Wood Floor Hallway - Before

Wood Floor Hallway – Before

Wood Floor Hallway - After

Wood Floor Hallway – After

Living Room Floor - Before

Living Room Floor – Before

Living Room Floor - After

Living Room Floor – After

Before & After: New Floor Joists and Red Oak in Belvedere

This residence required the installation of new insulation and floor joists in the hallway. We installed new prefinished 3″ wide red oak flooring over the top.

Before

Before

After

After

Before & After: White Oak Floor in Greenbrae

The following photographs show the dramatic transformation that resulted from the installation of new prefinished 4″ wide white oak with a walnut stain.

Before

Before

After

After

Brazilian Cherry Floor in Kentfield

This project in Marin involved sanding down the surface of a  Brazilian cherry wood floor and then finishing it with a walnut stain.

A technician sanding down the surface

A technician operating the refinishing equipment

Dark walnut finish

Dark walnut finish