Acoustical tile and wall cleaning operations manual

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There is no one in the acoustical ceiling cleaning industry as advanced in technique, knowledge, and product as Caltex International Ltd. We are years ahead of our competition. Caltex International Ltd. has cleaned ceilings for many years, in many states, while most other acoustical ceiling cleaning product manufacturers were not even involved in this industry yet. In fact, most of them didn’t even know this industry existed. All of the products that we manufacture have been designed, engineered and tested by our own acoustical ceiling cleaning company which has specialized in acoustical ceiling cleaning since 1985. This equipment has been refined and constantly improved. Yet, we are constantly researching for faster more efficient ways and methods of cleaning ceilings. Acoustical ceiling cleaning equipment, however, has little to do with the end results. The chemical solutions are what actually clean the ceiling. The equipment, however, does make a great difference in the amount of personnel and the amount of time required to complete a job. This is why our equipment is superior to others. Our equipment is designed to be time and labor efficient. Money invested in good equipment pays for itself on every job from day one. Poor equipment, on the other hand, only continues to cost you additional labor and expense every time you use it.
No one will ever know what pains and hardships we endured before we developed our Odorless Acoustical Dry Cleaning Chemicals for cleaning acoustical ceilings. Caltex International Ltd. employed experienced chemical engineers, microbiologists, and chemists to help us develop a quality product for our own use. Investing both money and out vast experience into research with the help of our scientists, we proceeded to develop hundreds of different formulas. Each formula needed to be tested on many different types of ceilings. This was done as we serviced many customers’ ceilings that were in many different types of environments. Every ceiling cleans in a little different manner than the other. Because of this, we wanted a chemical solution that would be capable of cleaning as many different ceilings as possible. This research and testing took several years as well as thousands of ceilings that were cleaned. Throughout this process of testing, we continued to improve and perfect the product. A solution that was easy and safe to work with was finally found. Before we began to market this product, however, we used it in our own acoustical ceiling cleaning company on thousands of different jobs. Along with this use, we continued to improve the product until we felt there could be no better solution for acoustical ceiling cleaning. Today, this product is Caltex’s Odorless Acoustical Dry Cleaning Solution. This product is safe to use and provides an excellent job of cleaning acoustical ceilings. You are not on trial and error basis with our products. You can and will feel confident when using our products. Like all products, good basic training is required to use these products correctly. A sound foundation of knowledge is necessary to enable you to build upon your experience. This training is the first step in your success in the acoustical ceiling cleaning industry.
Caltex International Ltd. wants each and every one of our product users to be successful. Their success is our success. We are the front runners in the acoustical ceiling cleaning industry and we fully intend to stay there. We are not trying to sell everyone in the cleaning business our products. We believe that properly trained quality product users will provide us all the success desired. Remember that success breeds success, it is only a direct result of people and product. When a company represents our products to a customer, it is a direct reflection on Caltex and its products. We hope that each and every customer serviced with our products is a success story. This success helps all of us using these products. It provides credibility to each and every user of Caltex products. Our hope is that some day customers will request their cleaning company to use Caltex products by name. This recognition can only help every company using our products..
Quality Control
We all know that the most important part of any service is the quality of service work performed for their customers. The training you receive in our Caltex ceiling seminar is the best in the industry. You receive from us years of acoustical ceiling cleaning experience, but it is you who has to be sure your customers are receiving the best possible service available. Being good enough is not what most customers want. The want the best possible service at a competitive price. You, as a Caltex product user, become a direct reflection on the acoustical ceiling cleaning industry and on Caltex products. It is up to you to maintain the highest quality of ceiling cleaning in your area. It only makes sense that your customer will use your company again and again and refer others to your company if you provide a very good cleaning job. To make a mistake and not provide your best job only opens the door for your competitors to take business from you. The training you receive from this manual or from the Caltex cleaning seminar is only as successful as you make it.
Knowledge not used is of little help when trying to provide quality service to a customer. Having a thorough knowledge of acoustical ceiling cleaning is the first step in being able to provide a quality job. The second step is having a quality chemical cleaning solution. Step three is having a well trained service crew. The fourth step is having quality equipment designed for acoustical ceiling cleaning. Giving second best to any of the above only lessens your ability to provide the quality of cleaning service your company should be capable of producing. Knowledge is by far the most important requirement. Knowing how to provide quality service helps the experienced person select chemicals and equipment required to provide quality service. How clean is clean?
Is the ceiling capable of being cleaned? What results can be expected? How much time should each job take? How many service personnel do you need? Where to start? What to do first? Only knowledge and experience will provide these answers. Learn from every job and build your knowledge further each day. Let’s face facts, if your chemical solution is not capable of cleaning ceilings well, your knowledge is worth nothing. Knowledge can help you see problems before they arise. It can also help you overcome problems. The fact still remains that you are limited by your product. There is no chemical solution that will clean every ceiling no matter how dirty. Learn the limitations of your products. Don’t try the impossible. It’s better not to provide cleaning service than to provide a second rate cleaning service. Customers never remember what a good quality cleaning jobs costs. They never forget the cost of a poor cleaning job. What I am saying is, a low price for poor results will never make a customer happy. Refuse to clean an overly dirty ceiling before losing a potential good customer. Be honest with yourself. If the ceiling should have been cleaned three years ago, do not expect the chemical solution to do the impossible. The chemical solution should be capable of cleaning an average amount of dirt from the ceiling. Some dirty ceilings are better than others. The chemical solution along with your knowledge is the key to quality acoustical ceiling cleaning. Personnel that have received training are important to job quality. The best chemicals and equipment are still limited by the people using them. Your cleaning crew should know the basics such as how to use extension poles, fixi clamps, in addition to vacuum and spray equipment. They should have an understanding as to the importance of each step of the cleaning operation. Of course, experience is one of the best methods for training your personnel.
The dictionary defines a ceiling as the overhead interior lining of a room. This lining can be composed of many different materials. there are thousand of different ceiling types and styles within building structures today. It would be impossible to describe each one of them to you. It is not necessary to know each and every one of them in order to clean them. However, you do need to know if they are porous or non-porous in order to clean them. Without this knowledge it would be impossible to teach you how to clean the thousands of different ceiling types and styles. Knowing if the ceiling is porous or non-porous is the first step in cleaning a ceiling. The dictionary defines porous as having or full of pores. The dictionary describes pores as any minute surface opening or passageway, The fact is, porous surfaces absorb liquid, Non-porous surfaces do not absorb liquid. Many surfaces appear to be non-porous but almost all surfaces have some pores. Example: Is a common rock porous? If you wet a common rock and wipe it off with a paper towel, in most cases you will see that the rock is still damp. The rock has actually absorbed some liquid into it. Is the rock porous or non-porous? The fact is that the rock is semi-porous. This means that the rock is capable of absorbing some liquid, we know it will absorb gases as well. Ceiling surfaces are broken down into three distinct classifications: porous, non-porous, and semi-porous. No matter what the ceiling is made of, it falls into one of these three classifications. Before cleaning any ceiling or wall surface, you should know the composition of the surface.
This manual has been written for instructing you on how to clean commercial and residential ceilings. Following the basic knowledge provided in the manual, you should be capable of cleaning most ceilings properly. But, it is you who have to expand upon the basic foundations that are provided within this manual. Learn from each job performed.
Commercial ceiling are usually found in commercial buildings. The most commonly installed commercial ceiling is the suspended acoustical ceiling. A suspended ceiling is constructed of metal grids or metal strips and ceiling tiles or panels. These are suspended in the building by the use of wires that come down from above the ceiling. You do not see these wires because they are above the suspended ceiling and are attached to supports. The suspended acoustical ceiling was developed in the early 1950’s. Although the designs of the metal grid, tile and panels have changed over the years, the basic concept is still the same. They provide acoustical value, light reflection, architectural design, besides covering pipes, wiring, air ducts, and many other items above ceiling. (Not all suspended ceiling provide acoustical value.) The acoustical value comes from the ceiling tiles or panels that are installed into the metal grid system.
Residential ceilings normally are fixed ceilings. These ceilings are normally fixed permanently to the building structure. The most common ceiling in residential use is made up of dry wall (sheet-rock) with some type of coating for design and color. The most common coatings are latex paint, spray or popcorn texture, and plaster. The coatings are usually sprayed or painted dry wall surface. The textured surface is usually very rough or bumpy looking, which makes it almost impossible for an inexperienced person to clean or paint them. For us, these ceiling are normally faster and easier to clean than suspended ceilings. Most motels, hotels and apartment buildings use these textured ceilings. You will find fixed ceilings in commercial building, but they are not as common as suspended ceilings.
Ceilings are really very basic. Although there are thousands of different styles and types (approximately 2,500) they fall into one of the three classifications (porous/non-porous/semi-porous) and they are suspended in or permanently fixed to the building. Suspended ceilings use a metal grid system for supporting the ceiling tile or panels. There are (2) basic metal grid systems, exposed and concealed. The exposed grid is the most common and all of us have seen them. When you look at a suspended ceiling and you see metal strips around each ceiling tile or panel, you are looking at an exposed grid system. When you look at a ceiling that has 12” X 12” tile in a commercial building, the tile is usually suspended by a concealed grid system. The exposed grid system is made up of three main components; the main tee, cross tee, and wall molding. The first piece to be installed is the wall molding. This L-shaped metal is 12’ long and is cut to size before mounting to the wall. The wall molding provides the edge for the ceiling. It is not designed to hold the weight of the ceiling tile, it is simply for appearance. Wall molding comes in many different colors to match the other components of the grid system. The second piece of ceiling grid to be installed is the main tee. The main tee provides the support strength suspending the ceiling. The main tee is 12’ long and will be cut only at the end next to the wall. The wires are attached above the ceiling area are tied to the main tee about every 4’. Main tees are spaced every 4’, running parallel to each other, main tees also come in many different colors, the most common two colors being white or black. The last piece of metal ceiling grid to be installed is the cross tee. The cross tee is 2’ or 4’ long. A 4’ cross tee is connected to the main tees every two feet. This creates a two foot by four foot section in the grid system. At this time you could install a common two foot by four foot ceiling tile or panel, you would need to install a two foot cross tee in the middle of this section, attaching it to the four foot cross tee. Then there would be two, two foot by two foot openings. Place two, two foot by two foot tile or panels in theses openings would complete the ceiling. Exposed metal grid is most commonly made of steel with a painted metal cap attached to the surface. These metal caps come in many different colors and this is what determines the color that you see after it is installed. The structural strength of the grid comes from the upright position of the grid. not the cap. Grid systems are also made from aluminum and stainless steel. There are two fire-ratings given to commercial grid systems. These fire-ratings are very important for the safety of the people within the building.
Class-25 is the standard fire-rating and UL is the superior fire-rating. UL fire- rating is usually required by law to protect people in public places, such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc. Class-25 is usually found in office buildings, restaurants,

malls, and other places where people can move about freely. These fire codes are set by Federal , State, County and Local Governments. These codes vary from town to town and really don’t concern us as ceiling cleaners. It is important to know, as customers sometimes need advice about repairs, etc., and you can give some quality advice to the customer. Commercial ceiling tiles and panels also have these two fire-ratings. However, don’t assume that all grid and tile made has a fire-rating. Normally, only commercial ceiling products have a fire-rating. Ceiling components that you find in local stores are designed for residential use and have no fire-rating. To obtain commercial ceiling tile, you normally have to find a ceiling products distributor. You can find them in the phone book under the heading of Acoustical Materials and Ceiling Materials. Purchasing products from local distributors is usually not hard to do. Most sell ceiling grid by the pieces or by the case. It’s cheaper to purchase by the case, than by the piece. Ceiling tile or panels are sold in case lots only, although there are some tiles that can be purchased by the piece. Ceiling products are made by a small number of companies in the United States. There are only about six major commercial grid manufacturers. Each manufacturer makes grid that looks like the others, but the method of attachment is different. Because of this, you can not mix the different grids together and use them. The manufacturers change the methods of attaching the grid together every six-ten years, so that you cannot match the new with some of their old product. However, an experienced acoustical ceiling installer can attach the old and new together using special tricks of the trade.
Concealed grid systems are very similar to an exposed grid system. They are suspended by wire and installed piece by piece. Almost every concealed grid ceiling is made of 12” X 12” ceiling tiles (12 inches square). You do not see the metal ceiling grid because there is a groove cut in the side of the ceiling tile, which the metal grid fits into. The first component of a concealed grid system is the same as an exposed grid system, the wall mounting is installed first. The wall molding is the only piece in a concealed grid system that is painted or colored. It is the only piece of grid that you will see when a ceiling is completed. The structural strength is provided by a Z-bar that is ten feet (10’) long. The Z-bar is suspended by wire from above and serves the same purpose, for strength, as a main tee in an exposed grid system. The Z-bar is not painted or finished. You will not see this grid once the ceiling is completed. The cross tee for a concealed grid system are two or four feet (2’ or 4’) long. These cross tees attach to the Z-bar providing a resting area for the ceiling tile when installed. Because the concealed grid system uses 12” square tile, the ceiling has a 12” metal spline also. This spline is made of very thin metal and is the last piece of grid to be installed around a tile. As with exposed grid ceilings, the concealed grid ceiling, when completed, has a lot more grid in it than an exposed grid system. The concealed grid system requires a more experienced acoustical ceiling installer to install or repair it. The tiles are much more expensive than tile for an exposed grid ceiling. Concealed grid ceilings, because they are difficult to repair, present many problems for building managers who have them. However, they are the easiest suspended ceilings to clean because they have only the metal wall molding exposed.
Commercial ceiling tile or panels are manufactured in approximately 2000 different designs and styles. They come in many different colors with the most commonly found being white. White is used most often because it provides excellent light reflection and it looks so clean and bright when installed. White ceiling tiles are mass produced, which makes them less expensive than colored ceiling tile or panels. Commercial ceiling tiles are usually acoustical. Acoustical ceiling tiles are designed to control noise and sound waves in the building or room. Non-acoustical commercial ceiling tiles are designed to provide ceilings for use in areas where special conditions exist. Acoustical mineral wool fiber-board tiles and panels are by far the most common. Some others are fiberglass, metal, plastic, aluminum, and sheet rock (dry wall). Although there are thousands of different styles and designs, they will usually be composed of one of the above compositions. Commercial ceiling tiles or panels are class-25 or U.L. fire-rated. The most common size is 24” X 47”, next 24” X 24”, and then 12” X 12”. There are other sizes manufactured, but they are not very common and, in many cases, are a special factory order. Mineral wood fiber-board tiles or panels are the most commonly used commercial ceiling. The mineral wool fiber-board ceiling tile or panel is commonly called an acoustical ceiling tile or panel. The porous tile or panel provides acoustical wave value to the building or room because it will absorb the sound waves. These tiles are designed to absorb sound waves from inside the room and keep sound waves from outside from entering the room. An acoustical tile has a double role. It keeps noise waves out and absorbs noise waves within the room or building. When you look at a miner wool fiber board ceiling tile or panel, you see a design or pattern on the surface. These designs are for architectural style and also for acoustical value. These crevices help breakup the sound waves into smaller waves while absorbing some of them. The rougher the ceiling surface, the more effective this sound wave breakup is. The density of the tile or panel determines the ability of the tile to absorb the sound waves. The density and porous ability of the tile determines how much dirt it can absorb. If an acoustical ceiling can absorb large amounts of dirt, films , or sound waves, it will absorb more cleaning chemical than a tile that absorbs less dirt and films. Density is not easy to measure. One method that we use to determine the density of the tile is to rub the edge of your fingernail across the surface of the tile and by feeling and watching, you will be able to tell if the surface is soft, firm, or very firm. The firmer the surface of a ceiling tile, the less porous and the lower the acoustical value of the tile or panel. This also tells you that the tile has not absorbed dirt films as deep into the pores as a more porous tiles. This tile will absorb the chemical as deep into the pores as a more porous tile. As you can learn from above, the more porous the tile, the deeper into the pores the chemical will clean. Mineral wool fiber board tiles and panels are manufactured by the six major companies.
There are several steps in the manufacturing process of acoustical wool fiber board tiles or panels. First, they make a very large tile, about 20’ wide and 40’ long. A mixture of waste paper products, liquids with binding agents, and other ingredients are used to make what looks like a soup or stew. This mixture is used to form the mineral wood fiber board tile. This tile is almost always five- eighths (5/8”) of an inch thick. As the large tile moves along the manufacturer line, the moisture is drawn from the tile so that the tile starts to become more like a wafer board. As the moisture is being removed, the design is put onto the surface. We call this fissuring. These designs are created in many different methods. The most common methods of creating fissures are rolling, pressing, shaking, and punching. This depends on what design or surface appearance is required on the end product. A large roller with knobs and bumps on it rolls over this large tile pushing down the fiber in many different places. By pressing a shaped plate on the surface another type of fissuring or design is formed. Shaking is usually used to form a very rough looking surface, commonly called a designer tile. Punching the tile provides holes or fissuring. The fissuring provides the design on the tile. The most difficult type of mineral wool fiber board to clean is the eroded surface tile or panel. The eroded surface is created by a method much like sand blasting. A certain pattern is eroded onto the surface of the tile and this eroded area has many tiny fibers hanging loose in this eroded area. These tiny fibers act like fish hooks and catch the loose lint and dirt that passes by them. This is most common near the air diffuser. After the fissures or pattern is created on the tile, the tile moves along and the next step is either to paint or cut the tile to size. What happens first depends on what type, style, or size the tile will be when finished. Most 24” x 48” and 24” x 24” lay in tiles are painted at this point. The finish is applied to the surface while still damp. This allows the color to absorb into the tile or panel in a wicking method. This wicking method allows color to be not only on the surface but in slight depth as well. This is so that small dents and scratches do not show the natural color of the tile without destroying the acoustical value of the tile or panel. While the large tile moves under the paint spray tips, the special value of the tile or panel. While the large tile moves under the paint spray tips, the special paint is sprayed onto the surface of the tile. These paints are mixed in batches. The batches are not always the same and will vary from one to another. There is always a lot number on the outside of a ceiling tile package. This lot number tells you which batch of paint was used. When installing a new ceiling, all packages of the tile should have the same batch lot number. After the large tile is painted, kit moves along to be cut to size. The tile passes through saw blades that are set to cut the tile to the correct size. After the tile or panel is cut to size, it is sealed with a special moisture inhibitor that will help prevent the tile form absorbing moisture from the air after it is installed in the ceiling. If the tile absorbs moisture after it is installed in the ceiling, it will cause the tile to warp. This special moisture inhibitor does not prevent the tile surface from absorbing sound waves, gases, dirt, film, or liquids. After the tiles are completely dried, they are packaged in a paper cover. Slight variations to this flow take place depending on the size style of the tile or panel being manufactured.
Twelve inch square tile and tiles or panels with revealed edges are usually cut first and painted after they are cut to size. Then they are sealed with special moisture inhibitor and packaged. A 12” square tile is always cut to its true size. It is a twelve inch by twelve inch (12” X 12”) square. Remember that a concealed grid system uses a true 12” square tile. All other tiles or panels are cut just a little smaller so that they can fit into exposed grid system. These tiles are called lay-in tiles or panels. They lay into the exposed grid system. Because of the T-shape of the grid, there is not enough room for a full size tile. The grid always measures correctly, the tile is cut smaller so as to fit into it. Example: a 24”X48” tile or panel really measures 23 3/4”X47 3/4”.
We call a 24”X48” tile a two foot by four foot (2’X4’) panel or tile. A 24”x24” square ceiling tile will measure 23 3/4”X23 3/4”. We call this a two foot by two foot tile because it lays into the metal grid system. We install the tile by pushing it up through the opening in the grid system, we lower the tile into the fitted opening in the grid. The tile now rests on the edge of the grid system without laying below it. A revealed edge panel fits into the grid system in the same manner. The difference is the revealed edge panel is lower that the metal grid system. it allows you to see the edge of the panel or tile. This is called a revealed edge or panel. Because you see the edge of this panel after it is installed, it is painted after it is cut to size. These panels are usually three quarter (3/4”) of an inch thick. They do make these panels in five-eighths (5/8”) of an inch thick, but they do not have that defined individual look after they are installed into the grid system.
Standard tile/panel sizes: 12” x 12”, 2” x2”, 2” x 4”
Standard tile/pale edges: straight, beveled, revealed.
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