With all of the buzz surrounding triexta these days, one of the most common questions I am asked by my customers is: is triexta better than nylon? In order to answer this question, we examine the two fibers in detail and see how they compare to each other.
The first point to note is that both nylon and triexta are available in carpets of many different qualities. Thus, carpets made with one fiber are not going to be unilaterally better than carpets made with the other fiber.
When comparing a nylon carpet to a triexta carpet of equivalent quality, there is a little overall difference in durability. It is worth noting that nylon is more resilient than triexta, meaning that it bounces back from compaction more quickly.
According to Mohawk, the manufacturer of triexta carpets, triexta is as strong as nylon and will perform as well as, or better than, a nylon of equivalent quality. The difficulty in making a true comparison between the two fibers lies in triexta’s relative youth. Nylon has been used in carpeting since the mid-1950s, so it has several decades of use to support its reputation of durability. At this point, triexta does not have the same experience, so it is difficult to say whether it performs as well as nylon.
A note regarding my own experience with triexta: I have been selling triexta carpet for several years, and, as of the time of writing, I have not received a complaint regarding the performance of triexta installed in the home. Additionally, I have a triexta carpet installed in the showroom of my store, where customers walk with their shoes (and sometimes, in this northern climate, snowy boots!) on. After more than two years, it still looks and feels great.
To date, triexta does appear to perform very well, standing up to high levels of traffic and cleaning up well.
In terms of the warranties offered on the two types of fibers, triexta typically comes out the winner. Obviously, warranties vary depending on the quality of the carpet and the manufacturer (some manufacturers tend to offer longer warranties on similar-quality carpets than others). But overall, triexta warranties are generally longer and more comprehensive than nylon warranties on carpets of similar quality.
For example, an entry-level triexta in the Mohawk SmartStrand collection offers a texture retention warranty of 25 years and a lifetime stain and soil warranty, whereas a nylon carpet of equivalent value will usually carry a texture retention warranty of about 10 years, and likely a stain warranty of 10 years or so as well. Thus, for dollars spent, triexta typically offers increased warranties over nylon.
Generally speaking, triexta is less expensive than nylon. Once again, that is not to say that all nylon carpets will be more expensive than triexta carpets. However, the nylon fiber itself is more costly to produce than the triexta fiber. That translates to a more expensive nylon carpet when comparing it to a triexta carpet of equivalent quality.
The vast majority of triexta in the marketplace currently is sold under Mohawk’s SmartStrand label, which features rapidly renewable corn glucose in place of petroleum (up to 37 percent). This benefits not only the outside environment but also your indoor environment, as there is less off-gassing of VOCs from the carpet.
Nylon does not feature renewable resources, but some nylon carpets are made with recycled content, which obviously is beneficial to the environment. In addition, more and more nylon carpets can now be recycled back into carpet, thereby reducing waste in landfills.
So both nylon and triexta can be considered eco-friendly, although each is unique in the ways in which it benefits the environment.
Triexta is much more stain resistant than nylon. Nylon must be treated to resist stains, and stains that do penetrate that treatment can be difficult to remove. Triexta is inherently stain resistant, as the fiber itself is hydrophobic (meaning it does not absorb easily). Triexta fiber can often be cleaned with just water – which could be seen to add to the environmental benefits of triexta, as it reduces the potential use of chemical-laden spot treatment products.
The bottom line is that really, it is too soon to tell if carpet made of triexta will outperform carpet made of nylon. To make a true comparison, we need another five to ten years to allow the first triextas to complete their life cycles. Based on the information available currently, though, I feel confident recommending triexta as a viable alternative to nylon.