February 18/25, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 19
By Ken Ryan
The broadloom industry has gone to the dogs—quite literally. Pet-friendly flooring is helping to drive the carpet segment, according to executives, as mills jostle for the lead position in this burgeoning subsegment with the newest in stain- and soil-resistant offerings aimed at pet owners.
“When Stainmaster launched the PetProtect campaign at the beginning of 2014, it really struck a chord with consumers,” said T.M. Nuckols, president of The Dixie Group’s residential division. “There was finally a carpet designed specifically for pet owners and their needs.”
Chet Graham, president of Marquis Industries, said pets are being embraced in our society like never before. “Consumers will search for a flooring product that will fit into their lifestyle with owning a pet.”
With the stain- and pet-protection market going full throttle, companies are stepping up to stay current with the latest trends.
For 2019, Anderson Tuftex has introduced a comprehensive assortment of Stainmaster PetProtect products called the Unleashed collection. The offering is a sophisticated mix of 12 styles including cut and loop patterns in both solid and mixed yarn constructions, four designed patterned loops and textured cut piles in both tweeds and solid colors. Lisa Lux, director of product development for Anderson Tuftex, said Unleashed provides consumers with a range of style options—all color coordinated—at great price points. The collection is constructed of Invista’s SuperiaSD nylon, a fiber system designed specifically to resist pet stains. “We separate ourselves by offering well-appointed, crafted design with all the features and benefits SuperiaSD nylon has to offer.”
The Dixie Group
PetProtect has been a great program for TDG over the past five years after Stainmaster launched the marketing campaign. “We have continued developing new PetProtect styles each year since 2014,” Nuckols said. “Our focus in recent years has been in creating differentiated and unique styles for this category. We have seen success in taking our PetProtect offering to the higher end of the market by making heavier, higher-quality products for the market.”
For 2019, The Dixie Group is launching 11 new introductions of PetProtect styles, blending yarns and colors to make products from cut piles to patterns and loops.
PureColor solution-dyed fiber is the company’s preeminent innovation in stain protection. The color goes all the way through PureColor fiber as opposed to traditional piece-dyed where the color only sits on top of the fiber. “Wine, pet stains and mud—all common household stains—are not an issue with PureColor,” said Mike Sanderson, vice president of marketing. Engineered Floors also provides added protection for pets through a lifetime pet warranty on all Dream Weaver carpet products.
All of Foss’ soft surface products are constructed of 100% post-consumer drinking bottles that are stain resistant, hydrophobic and feature the company’s patented DuraLock technology that warranties against products from fraying, unraveling or zippering. Foss’ carpet tiles also feature a peel-and-stick adhesive that is VOC free. “These tiles are all fiber from top to bottom, and they are extremely pet friendly,” said Brian Warren, executive vice president, sales and marketing.
Understanding the customer is an important part of product development and marketing. To that end, Invista has invested in its consumer insights, which has enabled the company to create products like Stainmaster PetProtect and Stainmaster LiveWell carpet that speak to specific needs Invista has uncovered.
To that end, Invista uses a proprietary, stain-blocker formula that is optimized for performance on nylon 6,6 fibers. This topical provides exceptional stain performance not only initially, but after repeated cleanings. Further, Invista offers its SuperiaSD fiber in its PetProtect branded carpets. This fiber features a modified nylon 6,6 polymer with built-in stain performance that allows for more aggressive cleaning on tough spills and pet accidents.
Ultra-soft, solution-dyed polyester fibers has been at the core of Marquis’ styling. “All of our running line carpets, including our new nylon products Posh and Breathtaking, are produced using solution-dyed fibers,” Graham said. “Carpet produced using solution-dyed fibers have superior colorfastness and can be more aggressively cleaned compared to traditionally dyed carpet.”
In SmartStrand, Mohawk already had a lifetime, built-in stain protection engineered into the fiber. Then came SmartStrand Forever Clean with Nanoloc. This spill and soil shield allow for moisture absorption to reduce pet odors, thereby making the carpet much easier to clean. Forever Clean comes with an All Pet Protection and Warranty to cover all pets, all accidents, all the time.
As the trend toward cleaner homes grows, Mohawk introduced Air.o, a hypoallergenic soft flooring that is 100% PET, is VOC free and 100% recyclable. “Airflow is key,” said Jamie Welborn, vice president, residential product management, noting that Air.o’s construction allows 50% more airflow, which releases more particulates when vacuumed. “In Air.o, we created a high quality, sustainable, hypoallergenic soft flooring.”
As one of Phenix Flooring’s newest introductions, Aficionado emphasizes any room with its intricate pattern and design while also resisting stains and odors with built-in Stainmaster PetProtect technology. At Surfaces, Phenix introduced eight new options of Stainmaster PetProtect, including Aficionado.
Also, for 2019, Microban technology will be included in all of the mill’s new polyester carpet introductions at no additional cost. Microban, a leader in antimicrobial technology, is exclusive to Phenix among carpet mills. It is also used in its Cleaner Home collection.
Shaw Floors’ extensive research found that consumers will buy flooring specifically for the love of their pets. The company’s response was LifeGuard, a spill-proof backing that has won rave reviews (see sidebar). The patent-pending backing provides a moisture-resistant barrier, keeping 100% of spills and pet messes
contained. “A lot of consumers buy specifically for the love of their pets, and to be able to give them a solution is really powerful,” said Teresa Tran, Shaw’s director of soft surface portfolio management-residential.
Stanton recently introduced the Four Seasons and Tropix collections that include 11 new indoor/outdoor styles providing superior anti-stain properties that are backed by Stanton’s Stainsafe warranty. “When considering modern healthy home initiatives and busy lifestyles, we understand the consumer’s need for easy-care features,” said Jonathan Cohen, CEO. “These products offer exceptional performance attributes. For example, an indoor/outdoor rug is easily cleaned by taking it outside and hosing it off.”