Solution-dyed carpet to change the game
It’s no secret that polyester has taken the majority of the market share in home carpet in recent years, accounting for an estimated 65%-70% of the volume sold. And within polyester, mass-dyed carpet (SD) has become dominant, now representing about 65% of the company.
As Mike Sanderson, vice president of marketing for SD leader Engineered Floors, explained, “Solution-dyed carpet delivers a level of performance that is hard to match with traditional methods.”
Unlike nylon carpet, which has external paint spots and is prone to staining, PET carpet has no external paint spots and therefore protects against stains. The solution dyeing results in the color being integrated into the fiber and thus more resistant to fading.
Emily Harris, senior brand manager for Southwind, said that mass-dyed PET covers the four main areas a homeowner looks for, whether she knows it or not:
- Fashion: Color, style, textures and pattern finishes at multiple price points.
- Lifestyle Preference: Pets, Kids, Teens, Personal Cozy Spaces, Home Workspace.
- Quality: Guaranteed protection in key areas including abrasion, fade resistance, texture retention and manufacturing defects.
- Household care and maintenance: top quality guarantee.
Other plant managers also see the benefits for homeowners. “As consumers move to softer-handed carpeting, solution-dyed products enable consumers to purchase comfort without compromising the longevity of their investment,” said Chet Graham, president of Marquis Industries.
As a leader in this segment, Engineered Floors uses its own manufacturing techniques to produce fibers such as PureColor. This solution dyed fiber is designed to be inherently fade and stain resistant and pet resistant for the life of the carpet. “One of the main benefits of the PureColor fiber solution dyed is that the color permeates through the entire fiber, so customers don’t have to worry about issues like side adjustment if they need to replace a piece of carpet,” explains Sanderson. “This also allows for subtle color variations that allow for more style and design options in the home.”
Of the big three, Shaw and Mohawk have added solution dyed to their repertoire, but they remain committed to other processes. “Traditionally, solution-dyed products are naturally more bleach and fade resistant; but our ColorGuard technology allows us to design products in both directions and still achieve the same level of resistance,” said Brad Christensen, director of Soft Surface at Shaw Floors.
For example, Mohawk has added mass-dyed polyester products to its commodity segment, which defines it as 25-ounces and under. “We will be 100% mass-dyed fiber in raw materials by the end of the year,” said Jamie Welborn, vice president of residential carpet product development.
For Welborn, the biggest advantage of solution paint is the water and energy consumption, which is lower with SD than with other methods. “With solution dyed there is no wet process like with continuous dyeing,” he said. “You still use energy in solution dyed, but you don’t have to go through a paint line, so if you have large runs, it is more economical to use solution dyed.”
SD also withstands high traffic areas well, another benefit that resonates with consumers. “Other fibers can lose their luster and wear in the long run,” said Christine Zampaglione, senior director of marketing at Stanton Carpet. Fading under furniture or sun-exposed areas can occur with other fibres, while solution dyed ensures that color and performance characteristics are embedded throughout the fiber and not just on the surface, resulting in more vibrant colors and confidence in the consumer is increased, as their carpets will maintain the integrity of the aesthetic for many years to come.”
Mills of various sizes will fill the product pipeline with SD offerings in 2022. Engineered Floors added Davos and San Lucas to the mix. Davos is a soft, subtle pin-dot pattern that shows off striped colors accentuated by a warm earth tone.
Mohawk’s solution-dyed introductions include Detail Comfort, a 100% SD loop that provides a premium wool look; and Bold Option, a 100% SD “really sturdy, heavy-handed carpet,” Welborn said.
Marquis continues to make capital improvements to the extrusion and yarn process, enabling updated styling without sacrificing wearability, staining or comfort. “Our high-quality flooring is the standout feature of our product range,” said Graham, citing Simply Awesome as an industry success story. “This product offers incredible softness with the current color trends. Dealers can distinguish themselves with this high-quality styling as homeowners continue to demand this product for the beauty with comfort underfoot.
Phenix Flooring has received positive feedback from its SureSoftSDN cationic solution-dyed nylon, which is designed to repel acid-based stains. Phenix’ FloorEver PetPlus carpet is made from solution-dyed fibres, it is pet friendly and extremely durable. It comes with Microban technology for 24/7 protection against bacteria, mold and mildew. This carpet is also guaranteed for stairs for added peace of mind and performance.
For Shaw Floors, the clear winner this year was the anchor product for its new Pet Perfect platform: Yes You Can. It’s available in 12 and 15 foot sizes with 45, 60, and 70 ounce options for a good, better, best upgrade story. “This product is the more advanced successor to the highly successful Because We Can franchise in 24 beautiful barber pole thread-ups,” Christensen said. Manufactured using high quality Anso fibers, Yes You Can is resistant to bleach and fading.
Stanton’s new products, including all LION (Luxury Indoor Outdoor Nylon) introductions, are UV stabilized SD super soft nylon with key performance features.
Southwind’s best-performing new introduction is LuxMax Ambience, a BCF PET fiber that “responds to the emotional drivers of exceptional style and design options with the softness of the hand,” said Harris.
Tarkett Home offers impressive resistance to stains thanks to the Primus PET fibre, which offers a lifetime guarantee against stains and pets. Tarkett’s pot-dyed PET colors and designs are all developed in-house and made from pot-dyed PET fibre. The latest Lifetime Style collection offers a variety of products with patterns, textures and loops that reflect the latest color and design trends. Papyrus offers a textured surface of 100% SD Primus PET fiber that reflects the appearance of a natural chenille fabric.