In both commercial and residential properties, it’s not unusual to see discolorations in the flooring that is located in a small area. No matter what the size and color of the area, it’s up to a flooring inspector to figure out the cause and come up with a solution to prevent it from happening again.
There are 5 steps that a flooring inspector should follow when trying to conduct a thorough inspection on discolorations in a small area.
- Photo document the spots. In order to retain physical evidence of the area in question, getting photos can help preserve the initial appearance and help document whether it is getting worse over time or whether clean-up efforts are working. Photos can provide contrasts of the flooring condition between inspections as well.
- Get a thorough use and maintenance history from the owner. How the flooring is being cared for and cleaned can provide a lot of insight for the flooring inspector. Even the best of intentions can end up causing more problems when it comes to discolored flooring. A good example of this is a maintenance crew that doesn’t fully clean the flooring, then reseals it with dirt and grime underneath the top layer. Another example is a cleaning crew using the wrong type of cleaner, which causes discoloration.
- Attempt to clean the area. Using industry and manufacturer recommendations, the flooring inspector can try to remove the discoloration. Some causes of discoloration are easily treated like a spill stain, while other causes have actually changed the chemical composition of the flooring, like exposure to UV rays or heat.
- Examine entire floor to determine if the areas are localized or widespread. The size, location and intensity of the discolorations can provide a lot of clues as to the cause and the cure. Stains in high traffic areas only may be the result of asphalt tracking, while a stain around the perimeter of a room may be from mold or moisture.
- Rule out potential causes. As the flooring inspector attempts to discover the cause of the flooring discolorations, the investigation should cover a lot of different theories as to the cause. As the investigation proceeds, many of these theories will be debunked as the flooring investigator focuses in on the most likely origins of the problem.
Flooring inspectors must act like detectives in discovering clues about what is causing discolorations in the flooring and why it is happening. Once the inspector understands what is going on, they can work with the owner to implement the proper solution.