By Ken Ryan In the age of COVID-19, homeowners are no longer just asking for stain and soil resistance in their carpet purchases—they are demanding it. As such, mills are tasked with developing new processes and technologies in their quest to deliver a complete cleanliness solution for soft surfaces.
“The wellness real estate market is nearly $200 billion, and now—more than ever—it’s important for RSAs to be able to have meaningful conversations with consumers about these topics,” said Nina LoCicero, vice president, residential marketing and digital commerce, Shaw. Following is an overview of recent advancements in pet- and child-proof protection.
Anderson Tuftex recently unveiled its new Pet Perfect Promise, a pet performance platform created specifically for independent retailers and promising leading performance with carpets designed intentionally for pets and pet homes. Additionally, A/T Pet Perfect carpets provide responsibly made products designed for active lifestyles, while supporting healthy home principles.
The Dixie Group
With the sale of PetProtect from Invista to Lowe’s, TDG will transition its pet-friendly products to its new EnVisionSD Pet Solutions brand. “We have been developing the EnVisionSD Pet Solutions platform for many months, and we are excited to offer the market a variety of new products to meet the needs of today’s consumers,” said T.M. Nuckols, president of the residential division of TDG. EnVisionSD fiber is a solution-dyed, type 6,6 nylon that offers inherent stain resistance, locked-in color fastness and can be cleaned with strong cleaners to take care of pet stains. “As type 6,6 nylon, these are the most durable products on the market, so they will look beautiful for a long time,” Nuckols said.
Standout EnVisionSD products for 2021 include Dixie Home Colter Bay, a striated pattern with fresh colors and heavy face weight.
All Engineered Floors’ soft surface products are made with its proprietary SD PureColor fiber system to ensure its stain, fade, bleach and cleanability story stays consistent. As well, all EF products offer a lifetime stain, fade and pet stain warranty.
“PureColor carpets are made with built-in stain resistance, delivering superior protection even after multiple cleanings,” said Joe Young, soft surface category manager for Engineered Floors. “All of our carpets are also made with built-in bleach resistance, so spot cleaning with a bleach solution can take out virtually all stains with ease. On top of that, PureColor carpets are made with built-in fade resistance, so the color stays vibrant even when exposed to harsh sunlight or high-traffic areas.”
In response to the healthy home trend, Mohawk/Karastan has sought to raise the performance bar in achieving pet- and child-proof protection, starting with its All Pet Protection & Warranty, which covers “all pets, all accidents, all the time.” The fiber boasts an Oeko-Tex Class 1 Certification, which means it can be safely used in infants and toddlers clothing. New offerings in this space include the venerable is engineered to perform with a built-in stain resistance and a coil-like spring for resiliency, which gives the carpet exceptional durability,” said Jamie Welborn, vice president of product management, soft surface for Mohawk. “In addition, the superior softness makes SmartStrand ideal for extraordinary living.”
The Mohawk Chic Influence collection, for example, comes with SmartStrand Forever Clean protection so the carpet will stay fresh for years. The protection gives carpets permanent stain resistance, spill and soil protection and also offers long-lasting durability. The extra pet- and child-proof carpet protection is designed for busy households with pets and kids.
Phenix has incorporated Microban antimicrobial technology on virtually all of its SureSoft portfolio, including polyester and nylon. The technology is said to protect 24/7 against the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew that can cause stains and odors. Surfaces with built-in Microban technology are said to remain 99% cleaner from bacteria and odors than untreated surfaces.
The company recently introduced a new fiber platform in the solution-dyed category: SureSoftSDN solution-dyed nylon. The company said this SD nylon fiber provides inherent stain and soil resistance, thereby maintaining superior protection for the home. One of the featured products in the collection is Desire, which showcases a natural stria enhanced with tonal highlights.
In addition, Phenix is rolling out its new FloorEver PetPlus line of products boasting enhanced pet and stain and soil protection. All Phenix Stainmaster carpets sold at specialty retail are being rebranded to FloorEver PetPlus. The FloorEver program features both SureSoftSD, solution-dyed polyester and SureSoftSDN solution-dyed nylon fibers.
As interest in pet- and child-proof protection grows, consumers want to better understand how the products they buy support their goals for a healthy lifestyle, according to Shaw’s LoCicero. She said Shaw’s “Made Smarter, Live Better” platform is a resource designed to help retailers tap into this growing consumer interest. “The five pillars of Made Smarter, Live Better—material, moisture, sound, air and clean—outline top healthy home priorities for consumers when shopping for floors,” she said. “Simple, informative videos explaining the significance of each can be found on our branded websites as a reference for consumers and RSAs alike.”
LoCicero said Shaw’s soft surface products uphold these five pillars while offering superior pet- and child-proof protection. She cited Bellera as an example of a style that features high-performance PET fibers, R2X stain and soil treatment, ColorGuard fade-resist technology and LifeGuard spill-proof backing.
Stanton offers built-in stain protection with its StainSafe guarantee. StainSafe pet- and child-proof carpet is designed to protect from difficult stains, including pet and child mishaps. Solution-dyed fiber with StainSafe offers the promise of texture retention and fade resistance while the color stays locked in the fiber to preserve its original beauty.
According to Stanton, with proper care and maintenance, the surface pile of StainSafe carpets will not sustain more than 10% fiber loss through normal wear for the duration of the warranty under residential use. StainSafe is backed by a 25-year warranty that covers all food and beverage stains, soiling, pet stains, abrasive wear, texture retention and fading.
Two standout styles include Aspire Waterfall and Legend Maze. Aspire Waterfall is offered in five neutral colors and features a subtle texture that works with a variety of design sensibilities and is versatile in application. Legend Maze features an all-over diamond pattern and is available in six color choices. It is being positioned as the right solution for adding pattern with a geometric foundation and lends itself to traditional, transitional and modern styling.