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Tile Cleaning with Challenger Nightmare

I finally decided to accept a tile-cleaning job. I was cleaning some carpet yesterday and the client asked if I could clean the tile for her.

I had practiced once before on my kitchen floor and wasn't too impressed with it. But I thought I would give another shot I bought a grout brush and thought it might come out better.

I used my challenger with tile and grout attachment, grout brush, shop vac, Vipor Venom and 3 gallon pump up sprayer with water to rinse.

A couple of minutes after I got started the release lever Challenger handle wouldn't work, it wouldn't lock in place. So I had to lay the machine down so that I could get the pad driver to remove the brush and mop up the rinsed floor..

I was switching from Challenger to pump up sprayer to shop vac and screwing around with the pad driver. This got old real quick I wasn’t seeing the results I was happy with and I got completely frustrated and decide just to give the floor a power mop and call it a day. I let the client know I was having equipment problems and that I wouldn't be charging her for cleaning the tile.

The next time I do a tile job; it will be with a porty with auto fill and auto dump, a spinner and Oxyblaster. It took me 2 hours to clean 3 bedrooms and 15 stairs of carpet. This tile fiasco wasted 1.50 hours of my time.

Has anyone ever had and problems with the Challenger handle no locking in place? Any assistance would be appreciated. Thanks.

Re: Tile Cleaning with Challenger Nightmare

I did a job yesterday consisting of a ceramic tile with grout floor, and a stone with grout floor, in the same house. I used my Challenger with T&G brush, and touched up some limited areas of still grey grout lines quickly with a spray bottle of hot water, a grout brush (hand brush) and a small stair pad to absorb the little bit of liquified soil produced by this part of the job. The tile and stone portion of my work at this house took about 3 hours, and was worth just under $400 of the $645 of the entire invoice. (The other work was a
12' x 15' oriental rug (at .95/s.f.) and 10 dining room chairs (at $8.50 each). Total job time: approximately 5 hours.)

It's always possible to experience a mechanical glitch with any piece of equipment. I've found that moving the Challenger up and down flights of stairs one stair at a time, over time will create from play in the locking mechanism, and eventually the locking mechanism will give way altogether. A replacement part from Challenger, and any local metal working shop, will easily and inexpensively remedy this problem. I now tend to carry my Challenger up and down stairs with the handle near the motor, instead of rolling it over each individual stair, and haven't had this problem since.

I think it's a little unfair the way you headlined your post. "Nightmare" is one of those "scare people away" kind of words, and I don't think it accurately describes your aborted tile cleaning effort. I sympathize with your feelings of frustration based on your Challenger's one-time inability to perform. But to my mind the Challenger remains a very capable tile floor cleaning tool - and one which lets me frequently add serious $$$ to my job invoices.

Re: Tile Cleaning with Challenger


I apologize for the use of words on the subject line. I didn't mean that the using the Challenger was a nightmare. I love my Challenger and I would recommend the Challenger to anyone that is interested in purchasing an OP machine.
The client was completely satisfied with the carpet cleaning job and that is the norm with all the carpet cleaning jobs that I do.

I didn't use the Challenger on the stairs; I used my drill driver and attachment.

I purchased the machine last September. The last time I was at a job and the machine stopped working because the connecters at the handle disconnected. The folks at Challenger were extremely helpful and it was a really easy fix. I mentioned the problems with the machine not to discourage anyone from buying it, but to help improve the already reliable Challenger.

All mechanical devices will have problems, but I like the fact that the folks at Challenger stand behind their product and are there to help. I would buy another Challenger if I needed another machine.

But was all due respect, I still feel that cleaning tile with the Challenger has its limitations and that there is a more efficient way of cleaning tile & grout.

Re: Tile Cleaning with Challenger Nightmare

My opinion is that an OP machine with a grout brush is an excellent way of providing the necessary agitation for cleaning tile and grout, but without a TM or portable to provide hot water under pressure for a rinse, you're going to get so/so results.

Re: Tile Cleaning with Challenger Nightmare

Please pardon the intrusion, I do not generally post on the forum, however, when I read "Challenger Nightmare" in a title I feel I need to put in a word.

I really appreciate Mark's comments, and Mo's later clarification. Mo did not contact us until after he had posted, but he was good enough to send us pictures of the foot pedal causing the problem for his upright handle. The pictures appear to show abnormal wear where the pin blew off the end of the foot pedal. The pictures show a hardened piece of metal... fractured.

We have not encountered this situation before but a new foot pedal is even now winging its way to Mo and will solve the problem. We heard about it today. We solved it today. The repair part and shipping, cost Mo nothing. We would like the participants of this forum to know that we stand by our products 100% each and every time we ship out.

We want only happy customers!

Re: Tile Cleaning with Challenger Nightmare

You have one happy customer here. Not just because of the superior carpet cleaning ability of the Challenger but of the folks like Lee and Chris that stand behind their product. Thank you.

Re: Tile Cleaning with Challenger Nightmare

I had a similar issue with the kickstand on my challenger a bit over a year ago, and the Watson's stepped up to the plate big time for me too. He led me through step by step on the phone as I installed the replacement, and it's been running 100% with no issues ever since... oh, and yes he shipped it to me for free too.

Re: Tile Cleaning with Challenger Nightmare

Hey Admiral (or anyone), have you ever tried doing tile and grout with your CRB with stiff brushes? How does that work compared to OP?

Re: Tile Cleaning with Challenger Nightmare

Having two machines really takes care of the problem. One machine with brush and another with regular pad holder. Spray your cleaning solution then go over tile with the brush under the machine, then use other machine with a pad you won't believe how dirty the pad will get. Move stuff and put it right back. Floor is only wet where you are cleaning. Pads really clean the tile also, has a polished look.

Re: Tile Cleaning with Challenger Nightmare

Hey Grant:

Yes, I have used my GLS to prescrub tile many times. It does just as good as the OP. I just normally have the OP on the truck, so it gets used more often.