Soft-Handed, But Hard-Performing!!!

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; CMG

SHAW5478_Environmental chart_v4.inddNow you’re talking!  I mean that literally.  We are getting some great questions and comments on FaceBook from you, our readers–and everybody at FloorTalk loves that.  It lets us know that you are really out there, reading, thinking, and understanding how important floor coverings are to your design.  We’ve had a request to address soft-handed carpets and the pros and cons of these styles.  All of the major fiber producers have a version of a soft-to-the-touch yarn system that equates to comfort and luxury underfoot.

Shaw Industries’ Anso (Type 6) nylon, is one of the best on the market.  The Anso Caress brand was a pioneer in this area.  Introduced in 1999, it has a proven track record that “soft” can also interpret to durable.  There is a mistaken conception that the softness of a carpet has something to do with a finishing rinse on the yarns.  That is not the case.  The denier (thickness) of each fiber that makes up the yarn is ultra fine. Shaw then adds a tight twist to each yarn bundle and tufts it into carpet.  The twist builds in the performance while the fine-denier yarn system provides the soft hand.  Ultimately this combination provides the best of both worlds for the consumer. The Anso Caress brand offers a 5-year limited texture retention warranty, 10 years for soil and stain resistance, and 10 years for abrasive wear resistance.  The texture retention warranty addresses the overall appearance of the carpet, which gives this product a lot of credibilility.

Another brand leader from Shaw Industries is their EverTouch. Here’s what Shaw has to say about EverTouch:

 It’s exactly what carpet was meant to be – wonderfully soft and exceptionally durable. EverTouch carpets are crafted with fine-denier filaments.   The smaller denier, which is a weight-per-unit-length measurement, produces the supple touch, while advanced yarn engineering accounts for the superior durability.  In contrast to their softness, EverTouch carpets are tough enough for any room in the home. As with all Shaw carpets, each style is rigorously tested and given an appearance-retention performance rating. Test results confirm that EverTouch styles perform as well or better than comparable products made from traditional nylon fiber systems.

In early 2006, Mohawk Industries and DuPont filed a joint petition for the FTC to establish a new generic fiber subclass name under the “polyester” classification.  That is significant because it means their Triexta fiber has performance qualities above and beyond regular polyester carpet fibers.  Triexta is the “ingredient” used in Mohawk’s SmartStrand and SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona carpets.  Not only is this fiber type totally renewable, the soft-handed comfort is exceptional.  Mohawk has good reason to be proud of their patented Triexta.

Anticipating growing consumer preference toward an even softer carpet experience, in January of this year Beaulieu Carpet Mill created its softest Bliss collection ever—–Bliss by Beaulieu “SoftSense”.  The line offers 48 solid colors and another 14 berber colorations.  Beaulieu loaded-up their new SoftSense collection with an impressive array of standard features. For the first time in Beaulieu’s history, the company offered a Lifetime Stain – No Exclusions Warranty. Additionally, 3M Scotchgard Protector is also standard on every SoftSense carpet. These soft-oriented carpets are made from 100% nylon and multi-colors are solution dyed polyester. 

The technologies that brought soft-handed carpets to the marketplace are among the best of this decade.  We like to “live” on our floors–playing with the kids, watching TV, enjoying video games—it’s all more fun on plush, silky-soft carpet.  Marrying technology to performance has moved “soft” to the top of our shopping list as carpet consumers.  Performance, durability, and comfort–now we can have it all.

For more information on flooring visit the World Floor Covering Association’s Consumer Carpet & Flooring Guide.