Bill Luallen

Bill Luallen is the Director of Technical Services for XL North, a division of Textile Rubber and Chemical Company. He is the current IICRC CCMT TAC Chair and also the former Vice Chair of the RFMT. He participates on many panels and boards including the CRI 204/205 Carpet Maintenance and Cleaning Standards. When Bill is not traveling to work with customers or talking on the phone, he spends all his down time with his wife Cynthia of 30 years, outside enjoying this beautiful world.


The recent ‘Top 250 Design Survey 2023′ from Floor Focus magazine ranks poor maintenance as the second top issue in flooring, as noted by 16% of design firms. Although floor care providers might seem solely responsible, the entire flooring community has opportunities to address this challenge. Starting off 2024, let’s call for a unified, collaborative approach that spans from manufacturers to maintenance providers, encouraging a shift towards collective responsibility and the development of innovative solutions to elevate maintenance standards and practices across the industry.

Effectively addressing challenges in commercial floor care and tackling poor maintenance issues takes various stakeholders who are open to adopting solutions related to their industry role, including:

Poor maintenance ranked as 2nd top problem on The Top 250 Design Survey 2023 published in Floor Focus, October 2023
Flooring Manufacturers

Allow your technical departments to accurately communicate the maintenance needs of different flooring types, providing detailed guidance rather than oversimplifying maintenance requirements.

Chemical Manufacturers

It’s vital for you to (1) understand the true cause and effects of your chemistry on materials they’re promoted to clean and (2) communicate these effects clearly.

Chemistry Distributors

Focus on offering the most effective cleaning products instead of those with the highest profit margins, ensuring quality over quantity.

Equipment Manufacturers

Understand that faster isn’t inherently better. Efficiency in cleaning is achieved through the effectiveness of the equipment, not merely its speed. This means focusing on the quality of the cleaning process to ensure thoroughness and durability.

Maintenance Providers

All team members (owners, sales reps, ops managers, and technicians) should receive comprehensive education on the types of flooring they work with and the specific maintenance procedures each type requires.

Industry Associations

The role of various industry associations is pivotal in shaping an ideal consumer experience. Associations such as the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and the Resilient Floor Coverings Institute (RFCI) play a crucial role in establishing standards and communicating guidelines for manufactured flooring materials. Additionally, organizations like INSTALL, CFI (Certified Floorcovering Installers), NTCA (National Tile Contractors Association), and FCICA (Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association) are essential for ensuring proper installation of these materials. Once installed, the maintenance of these floors is crucial, necessitating training and certification from organizations like IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) and ISSA (The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association).


Finally, the design community’s role is crucial. As I’ve emphasized for nearly three decades, products aren’t inherently designed, engineered, or manufactured to fail. It’s often the professionals in the flooring industry who fail the materials. Specifically, for designers, this can occur due to “ramifications of specifications,” where quality flooring products are mistakenly placed in unsuitable environments, leading to their underperformance or failure.

It’s crucial for the flooring industry to work together to solve maintenance challenges. This means manufacturers, distributors, equipment makers, maintenance providers, industry associations, and designers all playing their part to improve practices and standards. By taking joint responsibility and focusing on effective solutions, the industry can make significant strides in floor care.