February 17/24, 2020: Volume 35, Issue 17
By Ken Ryan
Today’s carpet offers the latest in soil and stain resistance, protection from gnarly pet spills and hypoallergenic properties. For that, you can thank a demanding consumer who desires a cleaner, healthier home.
“A healthy lifestyle is more important today than ever,” said TM Nuckols, president of the residential division of The Dixie Group. “We have spin classes on stationary bicycles connected through the Internet. We have watches and cell phones that measure our footsteps and heart rate. Our consumer cares about her family’s well-being, and that factors into her purchase decisions for her household. While stain and soil resistance in carpet have been important since the first wall-to-wall carpet was installed, the industry’s ability to innovate and develop new ways of delivering stain and soil resistance has been driven by her desires [for a cleaner and healthier home.]”
Lisa Lux, director of product development at Anderson Tuftex, agreed, adding: “We expect the things we surround ourselves with not only to look and feel good but to be good for us and the environment. We want to trust that the products we put into our homes will stand the test of time.”
Following are some of the latest innovations in stain and pet protection.
While great advances have been made over the last 10 years with carpet fibers such as polyester, nylon is still regarded as the most versatile. To that end, Anderson Tuftex is one of the few mills that primarily uses nylon in the styling of its products.
“With our product offering, the consumer has a wide range of design options from which to choose, each one constructed with the best stain protection in the industry,” Lux said, citing the company’s selection of Stainmaster branded nylon carpets.
One of the biggest growth categories for Anderson Tuftex has been in the pet market. Its lineup of Stainmaster PetProtect products are constructed with SuperiaSD nylon—the first yarn system created specifically for the pet lover’s home.
The Dixie Group
For great stain protection, The Dixie Group’s nylon 6,6 fiber has a tighter molecular structure and is harder to stain than nylon 6. The Dixie Group is also a provider of Stainmaster PetProtect, which is inherently stain resistant and combines Invista’s SuperiaSD fiber with a high temperature heat setting process in The Dixie Group’s yarn plant. “Our white dyeable products, including Stainmaster Luxerell and our EnVision66 nylon, are treated for stain resistance using stain chemistries especially designed for nylon 6,6 fibers,” Nuckols explained. “Over a year ago, we did transition to a fluorine-free soil chemistry on all of our carpet products. This chemistry provides great soil resistance and a healthier, cleaner home for the consumer.”
Winners of a Best of Surfaces award for sustainability, PureColor is a premium, solution-dyed fiber that will not bleach from spot cleaning, fade from sunlight exposure or wear in high-traffic areas. What’s more, it can also resist some of life’s harshest stains. PureColor’s environmental attributes are equally impressive. The proprietary SD fiber uses 30% less energy, 42% fewer greenhouse emissions and 87% less water than traditional carpet manufacturing. With the omittance of fluorocarbon in its residential carpets, Engineered Floors’ responsibility continues even after the carpet is installed in the consumer’s home.
The company’s traditional Stainmaster carpets are treated with a proprietary topical stain protectant that stands up to messes including pet urine accidents. But that’s not all; Stainmaster PetProtect is unique in that the carpet does not retain pet hair. “The technology in this carpet helps release pet hair, making vacuuming more effective,” said Jeff Dill, director of mill sales and product strategy. “Then there are the odors that go along with owning a pet. Our carpet helps prevent pet odors from sticking around when paired with one of our cushions. Across all of our carpets, we recommend using our Stainmaster cushion which has a breathable moisture barrier. The benefit here is that it provides protection against stains getting into the carpet cushion while also allowing moisture from the subfloor to evaporate through the carpet.”
Consumers today are more environmentally conscious, and they are concerned about what impact their purchase has on the environment as well as their personal health. With that in mind, Mohawk has consumers covered with SmartStrand, EverStrand Soft Appeal and Air.o. SmartStrand features permanent stain protection and Nanoloc technology that encapsulates the carpet fiber, making it easier to clean. EverStrand Soft Appeal is produced with Mohawk’s Continuum—a process that creates a cleaner product along with an innovative odor-reducing technology called ForeverFresh. Air.o is a soft flooring product engineered to give consumers peace of mind by providing them with a hypoallergenic, easy-to-clean, VOC-free carpet solution.
At Surfaces, Phenix Flooring disclosed that virtually all of its existing SureSoftSD Polyester carpets and its new SureSoftSDN Nylon offerings with built-in stain protection come with the added protection of Microban antimicrobial technology. Inherent in the manufacturing of the carpet, Microban will last the lifetime of the product and protect against the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. “The consumer wants security in knowing that her investment is protected and can guarantee the ultimate in performance and durability,” said Jason Surratt, senior vice president, product development and design. “With the surge of innovative flooring solutions, new technologies like the enhanced feature of Microban within the carpet can deliver the consumer that ease of mind.”
For over 20 years Shaw Floors has been committed to producing sustainable flooring products that improve the performance and material health profile of the flooring. That legacy continues in 2020 as Shaw has expanded its LifeGuard offerings with Caress and Bellera. All new Caress styles will have a LifeGuard backing standard and all 2019 styles will have LifeGuard as an upgrade option. All new Bellera styles will continue to have the LifeGuard backing standard, which offers the complete carpet solution for pet parents. “Our latest innovations within our Bellera collection gives pet parents what they need: ultimate durability plus spill-proof backing with the warmth and comfort underfoot,” said Teresa Tran, director of soft surface portfolio management – residential.
The company introduced 11 new indoor/outdoor styles in the fourth quarter of 2019 and followed that up in 2020 with the addition of 14 new styles, all offering anti-stain properties backed by Stanton’s Stainsafe warranty. The introductions are fabricated with solution-dyed, UV-stabilized yarn and thus sup- port the heathy home trend. These yarns are superior in colorfastness and include anti-stain properties to resist moisture, bacteria and mildew (naturally anti-bacterial properties). According to the company, these products are ideal for area rugs, wall to wall carpet, runners and stairs. “The trend continues to move toward more indoor usage as the quality of the fibers develops and the designs become more intricate for these high-performing styles,” said Jonathan Cohen, CEO.