Tag Archives: carpet

Nylon vs. Polyester Carpet: Part II

 smartThe answer is SmartStrand!

In our last blog on this topic, we reviewed the pros and cons of nylon and polyester because each fiber has different strengths and limitations.  Nylon carpet fiber is inherently stronger and more durable while polyester fibers tend to be more stain-resistant and colorfast.  But, what if I told you there is a new type of carpet fiber that gives you both?  There is and it’s called Smartstrand.

SmartStrand (aka triexta) is a new carpet fiber that was developed seven years ago by Dupont.  Today it is one of the fastest growing carpet products because it delivers all the benefits you could ask for in a carpet – it has softness, resiliency, stain resistance and “green” qualities that you never thought you could get from one carpet alone.  How does SmartStrand do it?

Lifetime Stain Protection

Most food and beverages are acidic and unfortunately, traditional carpet fibers are attracted to acid-based stains.  SmartStrand is NOT attracted to acid-based stains and so stains don’t penetrate the fiber.  As a result, you often only need to use water to rinse the stain off the fiber instead of using harsh chemicals to draw the stain out.  Even difficult stains like red wine and mustard clean up easily with mild soap and water.

Additionally, SmartStrand’s inherent stain and soil resistance will last for the life of the product.  So there is no need to apply topical anti-soiling treatments to the carpets ever.  So if you’re concerned about indoor air quality and off-gassing, you can rest easy knowing that you won’t have to use harsh chemicals to keep your carpet clean.

durabilityExceptional Durability

Smartstrand fibers have a unique “kinked” structure (pictured right) which allows them to bend easily, rebound quickly and resist the crushing and matting that can occur with other carpet types.   To see SmartStrand’s durability & built-in stain resistance for yourself, watch the SmartStrand Zoo Challenge and see how the carpet stands up to 10 zoo animals!

If SmartStrand carpets can survive that kind of punishment, imagine how well it will perform for the most active home and family!

Better for the Environment

Other than wool, SmartStrand is the most “natural” carpet you can buy.  37% of SmartStrand fiber is made from renewable resources like corn sugar instead of the petroleum-based ingredients that are used to make other carpets.  This reduces our dependency on foreign oil.  In addition, the production of SmartStrand requires 30% less energy and produces 67% less greenhouse-gas emissions. So you can feel good about buying SmartStrand!

soft carpet… and the Softest Carpet You’ll Ever Touch! 

When SmartStrand was first introduced, it boasted a significantly softer feel than nylon and polyester.  Last year, Karastan one-upped itself with the introduction of SmartStrand Silk, which claims to be the world’s most luxuriously soft carpet.  One touch of SmartStrand Silk’s softness and you’ll be sold.  (Imagine getting out of bed in the morning and sinking your toes in the world’s softest carpet – heavenly!)  The best part is that SmartStrand Silk is every bit as durable and stain-resistant as its predecessor.  So now you can have the softest carpet ever in your home as well as the performance that only a SmartStrand carpet can deliver.

Consumers seem to agree with all of the press.  SmartStrand has the highest consumer satisfaction rankings in the carpet industry.  In fact, 98% of SmartStrand customers say they would buy it again. 

Key Takeaway:  Karastan SmartStrand Carpets are -

  • The ONLY carpets with built-in stain & soil-resistance that never washes or wears off
  • Have a tightly woven structure that offers more resilience & durability
  • Constructed of 37% renewable materials, reducing energy use and emissions
  • “And the softest carpet you’ll ever touch!”

Decorating With Kane Carpet

“Your home should tell YOUR story. It should look just like you. It should be an interesting and smart backdrop for your life. There is nothing worse than an impersonal room!” 

Celebrity Designer, Thom Felicia

We couldn’t agree more!  So when decorating a room, start with something that inspires you – like a piece of artwork that speaks to you or a gorgeous patterned carpet or area rug that you fall in love with. That piece can then guide the design of the rest of the room – from paint colors to furniture to fabrics.  That’s why we’re so excited to introduce you to our new Kane Carpet Collection!  Kane does not produce your ‘run-of-the-mill’ beige plush carpet.  Kane Carpets feature gorgeous designs, colors and textures that are elegant and lend a one-of-a-kind look to your home!

kane-display-resized-600How Kane Carpet is Different

There are three main types of broadloom carpet construction in use today – machine woven, tufted & hand knotted.  Kane Carpet is machine woven carpet.  Machine woven carpets like Axminster and Wilton (named after the English cities where these weaving processes originated) are made by massive looms that weave together ‘bobbins’ of carpet yarn and backing. The finished result, which can be intricately patterned (see the Kane Carpet display, right), creates a floor that provides supreme underfoot luxury with high performance.

Since 1947, Kane Carpet has been an established trend-setter in the broadloom carpet industry, producing fashion-forward carpets of superior quality.  These carpets will last 20 to 30 years and are extremely popular in areas where longevity and design flexibility are a big part of the purchasing decision. In fact, you’ll find Kane Carpets in some of the world’s finest hotels, including The Plaza Hotel (NYC) and The Bellagio Hotel & Casino (Las Vegas).  Many homes also use woven Axminsters to make design statements.

stair1Decorating with Patterned Carpet

Patterned Carpets add an unexpected “wow factor” to any space.  Foyers and hallways are normally areas that people just pass through.  Adding a patterned stair runner is an inexpensive way to add punch to any entry way or hallway.

Jazz Up Your Neutral Interiors

But what if you’re not ready to make a bold statement with your carpet?  You can still use tone-on-tone patterned carpets to add to texture, warmth and visual interest to neutral decor.

Coordinating Your Design Elements

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Obviously, when you’re introducing new patterns into your space, you have to make sure it complements the elements of your decor in terms of color and scale.  It’s okay to use  different patterns in the same room as long as they are in the same color family and you strike a balance with their scale.  Most designers follow the 60-30-10 Rule when working with pattern and color.  For example, in this bedroom, there are three patterns.  But note they are all done in the same color family; they vary in terms of their size and they are balanced with solid colors. For example, in the photos below, the large patterns take up 60% of the space, the solid colors take up 30% of the space and the smaller patterns make up the 10%.  Using patterns of different sizes keeps the room from looking like a circus.  Instead, you have an artfully coordinated design scheme.

decor1

decor2

Patterned Carpets Work with Any Decor

Whether your style is traditional, transitional or contemporary, patterned carpets add a sophisticated, one-of-a-kind look to your home.

Key Takeaway:  Kane Carpets use intricate designs, colors and textures to add a “one of a kind look to your interiors.  Stop in to one of our three locations and our design consultants will be happy to show you to use patterned carpets to make a statement in your home.

Flooring That Can Survive Flooding

adura-elements-resized-600

Due to the wet weather we have had in NE Ohio in recent years, many homeowners (including us) have run into problems with flooding (usually basements).  It seems like this year has been particularly bad.  In fact, our Berea store flooded this summer for the first time due to the unusually heavy storms we had.  We can’t control the weather, but let’s look at some practical flooring options that can help homeowners who live in a flood-prone area.

Carpet

Carpeting is a popular choice for basements because it is so warm & insulating and makes your basement areas more liveable.  But carpeting can be a real challenge after a flood.  The good news is that it can be saved , IF you act quickly!  The problem is actually the carpet pad, which absorbs a lot of water.  Water underneath the carpet creates the perfect breeding ground for mold. Once mold develops, it’s over.  So, your best move is to call professional cleaners ASAP (but no later than 24 hours).  They have powerful equipment that can quickly extract water, remove the carpet pad and dry the carpet ASAP.

However, if your carpet did not make it and you still want carpeting in the basement, you might consider carpet tile.  It is easy to install and is very family-friendly.  In case of flooding (or spills, pet accidents, etc.), simply remove the affected tiles, have them cleaned and re-install them.   The great news is carpet tile is becoming more popular today and is available in a variety of styles & colors.  It’s not just for offices anymore!

Wood & Laminate Flooring

We wish we had better news for you here.  Because they are porous, wood & laminate floors are often permanently damaged in the event of flooding.  Engineered wood & laminate flooring CAN be used in basements because they are less dense and more moisture-resistant than solid wood.  However, we would not suggest installing these floors in your basement if you live in an area that is flood-prone.

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile

No problem here. Because they are made of stone, these tiles only absorb about 1-2% of standing water, making them one of the most waterproof floors available.  Plus, they are fantastic solutions in southern climates because they keep homes nice and cool.  If you live up north like we do, you might consider installing radiant heating underneath the tiles; or you can try…

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

This product is one of our favorites and is especially good in any area where moisture is a concern.  They are waterproof (if installed with waterproof adhesive) and can handle standing water for a limited time.  If any of the tiles are damaged, simply cut the damaged tiles out and replace them with spares.  Plus, LVT is extremely durable, easy to clean and warmer and softer underfoot than ceramic.  If that weren’t enough, LVT tiles are gorgeous and available in a variety of realistic wood and stone looks (check out Mannington Adura, pictured above).

Key Takeaway:

Coming home to a flooded basement is no fun (we know).  Homeowners can mitigate the damage, cost and stress by choosing flooring that is not only durable and low-maintenance, but water-resistant and easy to replace.

Nylon vs. Polyester Carpet: Which is Better?

carpeting_image1When shopping for carpet, a lot of people naturally focus on carpet fiber and often assume that nylon is always better than polyester.  However, carpet fiber is only one of the factors that you need to consider.   Equally important are carpet construction factors like density, filament type and twist level.  All of these elements together determine how a carpet will perform and what it will cost.  When shopping for carpet, it helps to have a general understanding of these factors in order to make the best decision.  In this week’s post, we’ll look the difference between fibers and next week we’ll talk about carpet construction.

Carpet Fiber: Carpet’s Basic Ingredient 

The four basic fibers used in carpet today are nylon, polypropylene (Olefin), polyester and wool.  Since synthetic fibers make up 99% of the fiber in the US carpet industry, we’ll focus on them.   Each type of fiber has its strengths and weaknesses which determine how it can be used and constructed.  Keep in mind there is no perfect fiber and carpet is a fabric that is subjected to incredible abuse – foot traffic, accidental spills and environmental contaminants.

Nylon

Durable, Resilient & Versatile

Nylon is more expensive than other synthetic carpet fibers and is the most commonly used carpet fiber today. Nylon is the most versatile of all fibers, providing flexibility in creating a variety of carpet styles – from sumptuous plush to fashion-forward patterns to low-maintenance loop (Berber).  Its strengths include good resiliency, good yarn memory to hold twist, good stain resistance with stain treatment applied, good soil hiding ability, and good abrasion resistance. It is the strongest fiber, making it an excellent choice for heavy traffic areas, active households or commercial facilities.

Be aware that there can be considerable cost differences even between two similar-looking nylon products. Nylon, for example, may be branded or unbranded and, as we mentioned, carpet construction greatly influences value, price and performance. You really can’t judge a carpet by appearance or fiber weight alone. As an example, Shaw’s Anso nylon is a branded, premium nylon and comes with some of the strongest warranties in the industry, including Lifetime Stain and Soil Resistance (even pet urine stains!).  Anso nylon carpets cost more, but you’re getting a premium nylon with excellent construction properties and the warranties reflect this.  What you care about is that your carpet will look newer longer.

If you are looking for value goods, unbranded nylons offer a considerable benefit for the money. These products may have fewer features and less robust warranties, but you’ll still get the inherent benefits of nylon (durability and resiliency) at a lower price.

Polypropylene (Olefin)

Color Fast, Naturally Stain Resistant, Economical

Olefin is one of the most colorfast fibers on the market.  Unlike the other fiber types, polypropylene will not absorb water and must be solution dyed to impart color.  Solution dyeing is a pigmentation process in which color is actually built into the fiber when it is formed, thereby becoming an inherent part of the fiber.  The color will not fade, even when exposed to intense sunlight, bleaches, or other harsh chemicals.  However, since it is not as resilient as other fibers, polypropylene is better suited to low-profile loop (Berber) carpets in which there is less need for superior resiliency.   The one exception to this is a type of olefin called “Comfortouch” by Shaw.  This new fiber is softer to the feel because it is scoured three times during production. Then the fiber is treated with Shaw’s R2X, a patented Stain and Soil inhibitor for enhanced protection against spills and tracked-in dirt. The result is a fiber that feels like cotton, resists soil and stains, and wears better than other olefin carpet.

Olefin carpets work well anywhere you need fade and stain resistance – in rooms with strong sunlight, indoor/outdoor rooms, kitchens, children’s bedrooms & playrooms, and basements.

Polyester

Exceptionally Stain & Fade-Resistant, Soft, & Budget-Friendly

If you need stain-resistance, this is your carpet!  Just to give you an example, we know a customer who spilled hair dye on her 6 month old polyester carpet. Although hair dye is on the list of stains that are NOT warranted, this customer got the stain out with laundry detergent and water. Now that’s impressive!

While not as inherently resilient as nylon, polyester carpets will perform well if constructed well.  So choose a polyester carpet with a higher pile and medium-high density to ensure maximum appearance retention and long-term wear.  You can also refer to the durability ratings on the back of carpet samples to help you assess how a carpet will stand up to traffic.

If you’ve never considered polyester carpeting before, you might want to look at Shaw’s New ClearTouch carpets which are made of a new type of polyester called PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate).  This new polyester “ups the ante” in terms of performance.  ClearTouch carpets feature:

  • exceptional softness
  • natural and permanent stain resistance, including pet urine stains
  • improved strength and better abrasion resistance
  • excellent appearance retention and long-term wear
  • 25% recycled content from recycled soda and water bottles

The new PET polyester carpets pack in a lot of performance for the money! They are a great choice for children’s bedrooms & playrooms as well as for people who don’t want to put a lot money into their carpet.  We highly recommend you choose a PET polyester with a higher pile and medium-high density to ensure maximum appearance retention and long-term wear.

Key Takeaway:  The type of carpet fiber you want really depends on your priorities and needs.  A family room and hallway in an active household may require a better-grade nylon carpet.  Some people simply like the peace of mind that nylon’s strong warranties provide.  Rooms that are not frequently used may not need a high-performance nylon.  For folks on a budget, a tightly twisted, medium dense PET polyester carpet that is multicolored to help hide traffic and soil may be all that you need.  As with any large purchase, do your homework, read your warranties and be sure to communicate your needs and wants to your decorating consultant so that he or she can help you make the best choice for your home and family. 

The Best Flooring For Pet Owners

J&B-resized-600None of us at Pucher’s would trade our pets for anything (see Jake & Bodhi, left and Jesse & Emma, below right).  But we admit, our four-legged friends can be tough on our homes.  So when it’s time for new flooring, you have to think about which floors will stand up to claws, dirt, fur and the occasional accident.  Here are some flooring options for pet owners to consider.

  • Ceramic/Porcelain Tile – certainly durable, stands up to claws and cleans up easily.  The downside is tile can be cold and hard to walk on, especially during a Northeast Ohio winter (unless you install radiant heating underneath).

jesse2-resized-600

  • Hardwood Flooring – Choose hardwood species that are inherently hard, like North American Hickory and the exotic hardwoods, especially 6-year old Moso bamboo (younger bamboo will be softer).  These hardwoods will resist scratches better than others.  See how various hardwoods rank on the Janka Hardness Scale.  Take a look at the new distressed, wire-brushed or hand-scraped styles which offer a practical solution.  Any scratches will be less noticeable and may even add to the “weathered charm” of the floor.  Always clean up accidents ASAP and use a hardwood cleaner (not Murphy’s).
  • Vinyl Tile – We like vinyl tile because it’s warmer and softer to walk on than ceramic, quieter than laminate and less expensive than hardwood.  It is so tough and durable that some vinyl tiles can be used in commercial applications.  It is very scratch-resistant as well as water-resistant (assuming it is installed correctly).  Clean up is easy with a hard surface cleaner.
  • Laminate – One of the most economical choices for pet owners.  It is scratch- and water-resistant. Some of the newer laminates feature such realistic stone and wood looks, that it’s hard to tell the difference between laminate and the real thing.
  • Carpet – Nothing adds warmth and softness to your home like carpet, but it can present challenges for pet owners.  You’ll want to look at carpets that are treated to resist pet urine stains, like Shaw’s Anso Nylon and Clear Touch carpets.  It’s also a good idea to upgrade your carpet pad to one that has a moisture barrier and contains enzymes that neutralize odors.  For spot cleaning, we recommend using an enzymatic cleaner that removes stains and odors.  You also might want to avoid higher-pile styles like shags or frieze which can trap pet hair.

Key Takeaway:  Choose a floor that is inherently hard with a tough, durable finish, especially if you have large dogs.  Keep your pets’ nails trimmed and clean up accidents ASAP. 

We’d like to hear from you about your experiences with flooring and pets – what’s worked and what hasn’t.   For more information, visit our Flooring section or stop in to one of our three locations.