Here’s our September 2016 Client Newsletter.
The Carpet Fiber of the Future?
Imagine a carpet that resists staining, fading and wear better than any other you’ve ever experienced. Now picture that carpet being soft and luxurious underfoot. If that wasn’t enough, this synthetic carpet fiber is made from a renewable, natural source. Almost sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? In the world of carpet, things change all the time. New combinations of styles, colors, textures and patterns are introduced every year.
As tastes change, so do carpets. One thing that rarely changes is the selection of fibers used to make carpet yarns. In fact, since the 1960’s, there have basically been only 3 synthetic carpet fibers available; nylon, polyester and olefin (polypropylene). Things changed in 2009 when a new kind of fiber became available to consumers.
Polytrimethylene terephthalate or PTT is generically known as triexta. The fiber is marketed under the trade name Sorona by DuPont and SmartStrand Carpet by Mohawk Industries. Triexta promised a superior combination of cleanability, colorfastness and durability than any one of the other synthetic carpet fibers could.
Interestingly, the process of making the fiber now known as triexta was invented in 1941 and was considered to be another form of polyester (polyethylene terephthalate or PET). Polyester carpets have been around since the 1960’s. Remember shag? The problem with polyester PET is its lack of resilience, allowing it to crush down and distort in traffic areas.
The fiber producer and carpet manufacturers realized the difficulty of convincing the public that PTT overcame the limitations of polyester and made a petition to the Federal Trade Commission to create a new designation for PTT polyester. After 3 years of careful review and due process, the FTC agreed that the characteristics of triexta were unique enough to grant PTT a new designation as a subclass of polyester. The generic name triexta was applied to this previously underappreciated polymer. So what is so great about triexta? According to carpet manufacturers and the fiber producer, triexta is virtually stain proof. It is also extremely colorfast, resisting color loss from sunlight, UV light and even chlorine bleach.
But the same things can be said of polyester. It is the improved resilience of triexta that makes it superior to polyester. How does triexta compare to nylon? In the category of resilience, nylon is the still the winner. But in the category of colorfastness and stain-resistance, triexta is the clear champion. Olefin is also colorfast and stain resistant, but it lacks resilience, tending to crush in high traffic areas. One additional feature of triexta is the softness of the fiber. Carpets made with triexta feel softer and more luxurious than any other synthetic fiber. This is surprising in a carpet that is expected to last 20 or more years in normal use.
What about cleanability? We have observed that carpets made with triexta clean as well as polyester and generally easier than nylon. However, some oily soils form a bond with the fiber and can be more challenging to remove. Typical soiling and food and beverage spills are removed fairly easily. Products that would stain nylon are no problem for triexta; they clean out readily. So is triexta a miracle fiber? Only time will tell. The jury is still out since these carpets have only been widely available for about 6 years now. It definitely shows promise. No matter what kind of carpet you have,Professional Carpet Systems has the training, equipment and expertise to keep it beautiful for a long time.