FOREVER NEW FURNITURE

by ALAENA HOSTETTER / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS 

Fiber-Seal’s protective treatment and cleaning services keep fine home furnishings in top shape.

WHETHER IT’S A LEATHER SOFA, velveteen drapes, a silk rug or outdoor canvas furniture, Fiber-Seal has been the trusted go-to source to protect home furnishings in South Carolina for the  past 10 years.

Fiber-Seal’s services are two-fold: safeguarding furnishings with a proprietary protective treatment plus in-home cleaning services, should spills occur.

The backbone of the business is “Waterpel,” developed nearly 50 years ago by a chemist in Dallas. The technology has since expanded across the United States to protect not only homes, but vacation rentals, luxury hotels, corporate offices and more.

The solvent is like dry-cleaning solution, according to Fiber-Seal’s director of operations, Stephen Duggan. After it dries within a couple of hours, it’s left inert and releases no VOCs, he assures. “It’s safe for all fabrics, even sensitive fabrics, like silk,” he says. “The neat thing is that it doesn’t change the integrity of fibers. You can’t tell the difference between a fabric that has been treated and one that hasn’t by look or by touch.”

Waterpel works like a stain repellant, making fabrics easier to clean. However, homeowners won’t have to worry about lifting a finger to do the cleaning themselves. Fiber-Seal offers one- and two-year service plans to clean rugs, carpeting, furniture and more for clients, should they have a spill or just want to freshen up high-traffic areas.

“We’re definitely a service-based company that people trust with their high-end furnishings—$20,000 sofas and $50,000 rugs,” says Chappelle Manning, who now owns Fiber-Seal’s Lowcountry office with Duggan after joining the company in 2009. “Most cleaning companies in the state won’t touch this level of furniture.”

 

 

In fact, Fiber-Seal has built such a reputation for protecting and cleaning high-end furnishings that much of its business comes from interior designer referrals, as well as furniture wholesalers who contract the company to protect their goods.

“We’ve definitely bailed out designers when installers leave fingerprints all over an expensive sofa,” says Manning. “We get a lot of those panicked calls.”

That’s perhaps the best part about Fiber-Seal—customers can rely on the company in a crisis. One such client called in a pinch after their dog had an accident all over the carpeting right before they were hosting a party that evening.

Fiber-Seal made an emergency house call and hours later the place was spotless. “We had it all cleaned up and smelling fresh for the party. The clients thought it was the most amazing thing ever,” says Manning. “We get a lot of praise for being great communicators and working with a sense of urgency. If you call us, we’re going to be there.”

 

 

Even items homeowners believe are not salvageable can be as good as new with the Fiber-Seal touch. “We tell them to just give us a chance when they’re about to throw away something that’s perfectly usable,” says Duggan, as in the case of one homeowner who was about to get rid of the cushions for their patio set because of some discoloration. “We’re very successful at turning it around and basically making them brand-new.”

Whether it’s cleaning a visible spot or a courtesy walk-through to make sure everything is looking great, Fiber-Seal’s maintenance plans come in handy for primary homes or barely used vacation rentals, as well as professional offices. “In those commercial spaces, floors really need to be cleaned every three months,” says Duggan. “Oftentimes, people are too busy to notice their floors, so the pre-scheduling offered in the maintenance plan is especially helpful.”

Catering to the rich and famous as well as to the everyman, it’s reassuring to know that with Fiber-Seal your investment is well protected.

“We’re your guys if you want to keep your furniture looking good—whether your sofa cost $1,000 or $20,000,” says Manning. “We want everybody to live that worry-free lifestyle.”

 

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Alaena Hostetter is a content strategist, editor and journalist who writes about art, design, culture, music, entertainment and food.