After creaky floorboards kept waking up his newborn daughter, an exhausted dad invented a unique spray that managed to silence his whole house – and it is now helping other sleep-deprived parents has well.
45-year-old Paul Lanzarotti reckons that he has helped thousands of weary parents with his floorboard tonic, which is made from the same lubricant on Teflon pans, but is safe, and nontoxic, categorized as a “food grade” coating by the UK government.
He came up with the idea after his brand new Italian laminate floor shrank in size due to underfloor heating. With the flooring laid throughout his entire house, it squeaked every time he took a step.
Lanzarotti and partner Tracy McCreary put up with the squeaking until they welcomed their newborn baby daughter Sienna.
Every time they put Sienna to bed, they were forced to perform a Mission Impossible-style escape. Just walking out of her bedroom would wake her – and the creaks were so loud, little Sienna would hear them from any room in the house.
“It was incredibly infuriating,” said the self-employed digital innovator from Hendon, London. “We were exhausted and it was a nightmare. Our house wasn’t fun to live in anymore.
Lanzarotti said flooring experts told him that the only solution for the creaking was to rip up and replace the floor for the whopping cost of £5,000 ($6,300).
So the “obsessive problem solver” decided to take matters into his own hands and spent hours trawling the web for a solution.
He learned that the noise was caused by friction, which could be stopped if properly lubricated. Lanzarotti also found out that a safe chemical compound found in Teflon was one of the world’s best lubricant elements.
The determine dad eventually discovered that mixing the Teflon compound PTFE with an acrylic fluid could be used to spray the flooring and stop the creaking. He then called a chemical engineering company and commissioned them to manufacture the spray into a product which he called “Stop Creak”.
Upon using the spray on his floors, he was stunned by its success.
“I tested it at home and just couldn’t believe the result. I sprayed it in Sienna’s room first and the floor was immediately silenced,” said Lanzarotti. “Eight months later, it is still silent.
“It felt like a huge relief. When Tracy saw the difference for the first time, her face just lit up.
“You can treat a couple of rooms in an hour and it was such an easy product to come up with. To be honest I have no idea how long it lasts for,” he added. “But I’m baffled there was nothing like it before. It was such a simple problem to fix.”
Manufactured by the respected chemical company that makes WD-40, the ingredients used in the product are “pure Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and Silicon.” PTFE is known to be stable and nontoxic at lower temperatures, though it begins to deteriorate in cookware in high heat about 260 °C (500 °F). The controversial chemical used in the creation of Teflon pans, which has raised safety concerns, is PFOA. PTFE, on the other hand, is often used as a valve oil to lubricate musical instruments, in other aerosol lubricant sprays, and in Gore-Tex, an insulating material incorporating a fluoropolymer membrane with micropores.
Having nailed his invention, Lanzarotti arranged for a batch of Stop Creak to be shipped out to him so he could share cans of it between friends and family.
When they were just as “amazed” by the result, they suggested he try to sell it online. So Lanzarotti built a website, designed product labels, and listed the cans for sale on eBay for £19.99.
Sales were slow at first, and in the first couple of months, Lanzarotti only sold a handful of cans each week. Eight months later, he now sells up to 130 cans a week, and he has so far made a gross revenue of around £37,000 ($47,000).
He reckons he has collectively sold between 8,000 and 10,000 cans, and his financial projection predicts that he may end up hitting £100,000 in sales by the end of the year.
With orders flying in, Lanzarotti says he has had to put his full-time job on hold in order to manage Stop Creak.
“It started out as a side project just because we really needed a good night’s sleep,” said Lanzarotti. “But now I’m just really happy to be helping other people. I thought there must be other people who are being driven mad by creaky floors.
“It’s a no-brainer for any parent with squeaky floors, but a lot of people just live with it. It is a living nightmare for people, but it doesn’t have to be,” he added. “People don’t realize the difference it makes. It’s life-changing.”
As an “Amazon Prime” merchant, StopCreak had to pass the safety checks required by Amazon to sell to their customers. They are also required by UK law to provide a data sheet to accompany the product, which states the product should be applied in a well-ventilated area and user should avoid contact with skin and eyes.
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