SmartStrand is the brand name of a revolutionary carpet yarn developed by Du Pont, the company who researched and created Nylon back in 1935. Manufactured by Mohawk in the USA and distributed in Europe by Lano Carpets there is unnecessary mystery and confusion around the fabric.
The actual yarn itself is called Triexta, Sorona being the brand name it was given by Du Pont, and SmartStrand the name given by Mohawk and subsequently Lano. All these names can and are often used interchangeably, but none of these really explain what the yarn is and what its benefits are.
SmartStrand is actually a form of Polyester. Perhaps a lot of the mystery and marketing jargon associated with the fabric comes from the negative perception some have of Polyester. In short, the original Polyester yarn (PET) was petroleum based and had low resiliency, it was cheap to produce and provided cheap carpets that were easily dyed, producing vivid colours and a soft pile but at the expense of durability. Later, a new form of Polyester was created (PTT) which had much better resiliency however at a high cost and again lacking in green credentials. This is where Du Pont stepped in and after many years of research created Triexta Sorona, known as SmartStrand. SmartStrand is a PTT yarn that is highly renewable, made largely of corn, that has all the benefits of Polyester but very few drawbacks.
Every carpet material has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Wool has great anti-crush characteristics, can hide soil well but once stained can be extremely difficult to clean, it is also the most expensive of all mainstream carpet materials.
Nylon is also expensive, has a level of absorption meaning that pet urine and other stains and spills can be partially absorbed by the fabric, chemical stain treatments are required to keep stains away, this coupled with the makeup of the fabric means the yarn is not particularly eco-friendly. It has great strength and resiliency and takes on colour well but suffers from UV fading and needs to be regularly cleaned.
Polypropylene is tough and has decent stain resistance, it can be cleaned using fairly harsh chemicals and is cheap, however it flattens easily and attracts oil based stains and soil, often leaving it feeling matted after use.
PET Polyester is vibrant, soft, has great stain resistance but poor resiliency in terms of “bounce back”. The fabric has good fade resistance and is cheap, but performs like a cheap carpet and is not suitable for high traffic areas.
Finally, PTT (Sorona, Triexta, SmartStrand) has all the benefits of PET, being silky soft, taking on colour well, with excellent stain resistance and low moisture absorption due to its closed cell construction, while also being hard wearing, having excellent bounce back ability (with some warranties lasting up to 25 years) and strong sun-fade protection meaning it can be used in any area of the home. The manufacturing and materials used mean that SmartStrand is a highly renewable, green and eco-friendly material. SmartStrand is more expensive than most other synthetic fabrics and is in line with Nylon in terms of cost, equalling all the positive factors, but removing many of Nylon’s drawbacks. It is expected to be the carpet yarn of the future.