Into the Pile: Antron’s Secret Ingredient in Sustainable Carpet Design
Why fiber matters in sustainable carpet design.
Antron® carpet fiber comes in a variety of colors and deniers.
All photos courtesy Antron®.
“Carpet can often be forgotten about,” says facility manager Ralph DeGruttola, reflecting on a recent renovation. “But if the carpet looks bad, the entire facility looks bad. It is the single most important decision in commercial interiors specification.”
Yet that important decision depends on something that’s typically considered even less than carpet: the fiber that makes it. It is, after all, the fiber that determines a carpet’s durability, texture, pattern, and aesthetics. This is why INVISTA, the manufacturer of Antron® carpet fiber, hopes that designers specifying carpeting, consider fiber: carpet’s essential ingredient.
Commercial carpeting is usually constructed of Nylon 6 or Nylon 6,6 polymer. Understanding the chemistry differences between the two makes a big impact on the durability, longevity, and texture retention you can expect during the carpet’s life. Kristin Stallings, an Antron® product designer, simplifies the science: “The difference is in the molecular structure. Nylon 6,6 has a tighter molecular structure that helps it to resist matting and crushing as well as staining, making it the higher performing fiber.”
Stallings, with a background in carpet design, now focuses her expertise on designing the fiber itself. She carries out global market trend research to learn which colors are influencing design in different end use segments. “Just because a yellow might be trending, we wouldn’t design new carpet styles exclusively in yellow. We would perhaps find the complementary neutrals and use the trending color as an accent,” she says. Unlike other interior elements like furniture, lighting, and paint, carpet cannot be replaced as easily and as often and thus needs to remain relevant longer in terms of its color, texture, and pattern.
This emphasis on longevity points to the sustainability agenda embedded in the DNA of the Antron® brand. “In the commercial interiors industry, recycled content products are often seen as sustainable, but that’s only part of the story. We take a big picture approach to understanding a product’s true effect on our lives and the environment,” says Scott Patton, Business Development Director at INVISTA. By reducing waste and conserving the resources required to replace carpet that wears out too quickly, a longer life cycle plays a significant role in reducing the environmental footprint.
It is this focus on sustainability that drives the Antron® R&D team to constant innovation. In a recent addition to the product line, the brand introduced a fluorine-free anti-soil treatment, further reducing environmental impact without sacrificing the performance of the fiber. “Although we have always applied a topical soil resistance treatment to our fibers, we saw market value in introducing a fluorine-free offering, strengthening our commitment to sustainability,” says Patton.
Similar to other soft furnishings like upholstery, rugs, and textiles, carpet engages us on a tactile level, offering a kind of warmth and comfort. But this feeling, as the team at Antron® makes apparent, comes less from the carpet itself, and more from the tiny, high-tech fibers with which it is woven. The message to designers and facility managers looking to make a lasting impact on the floor is clear: Do not overlook fiber. As DeGruttola says, “Replace carpet because you want to, not because you have to.”
Antron® fiber can help carpets look better year after year.
Picking the right fiber for carpet—specifying polymer type, thickness, and color—will have a lasting impact on any interior.
Article developed in partnership with Antron®, an INVISTA brand.