Shaw ClearTouch Review

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Cheryl Simmons

The ClearTouch collection is a line of PET polyester carpets from Shaw. Originally introduced in 2005, ClearTouch was revitalized in 2009 when it began to contain recycled content. It now features fiber made from recycled plastic bottles. ClearTouch is made with continuous filament (BCF) fiber, which decreases shedding and fuzzing. (Learn the difference between BCF and staple fiber.) It offers a range of carpet styles, including berbers, saxonies and friezes.

Durability

According to Shaw, ClearTouch features “optimum” twist levels and density, which translate into better resiliency and performance.

Although ClearTouch has not been around for very long, it does appear to be much more resilient than traditional polyester. It is part of a newer generation of polyesters, which feature higher resilience and durability than previous generations of polyester. Typically, nylon has always been considered to be a superior fiber to polyester, with better performance and durability. However, due to several advantages of polyester such as a lower production cost and environmental benefits, manufacturers have worked to bring polyester up to the nylon standard.

See a comparison of polyester and nylon carpet fibers.

Warranty

Shaw is so confident in ClearTouch’s durability that it offers a 10-year texture retention warranty on the entire product line – previously almost unheard of for a polyester carpet.

In addition, ClearTouch features a lifetime stain warranty and a 15-year soil warranty. (Learn the difference between staining and soiling.) It also carries a 10-year abrasive wear and quality assurance warranty.

ClearTouch features Shaw’s SoftBac Platinum backing – a flexible fabric backing that helps to eliminate wrinkles in the carpet and stretches more easily during installation.

SoftBac Platinum backings carry a 10-year no-wrinkle warranty.

Finally, ClearTouch features Shaw’s 30-day Customer Satisfaction warranty. With this warranty, Shaw will replace the carpet in question within 30 days, no questions asked (labor costs are excluded). So, this means that if you decide, after your carpet is installed, that you don’t like the color you chose and can’t live with it, Shaw will replace the carpet with one of equivalent value – you just have to pay the labor charges to replace it. This is a bonus “insurance policy” on your carpet that is a nice feature, especially if you are making a big change and have a hard time envisioning the end result of your renovation.

Stain Protection

ClearTouch features Shaw’s R2X Stain and Soil Resistance System. According to Shaw, the system is different from other manufacturers’ stain protection treatments in that it protects the entire length of the fiber, as opposed to only treating the surface. Shaw states that this “total fiber coverage” offers protection from wicking, which occurs when a stain that has penetrated the carpet backing travels up the fiber to the surface.

On a personal note, I have carpeting with the R2X stain treatment system installed in my own home.

After living on the carpet for quite a while (just over eight years as of the time of writing this article) I am impressed with the system. My carpet looks great with no noticeable stains, despite being subjected to regular spills and the everyday wear and tear of a busy family with pets.

While polyester is a naturally stain-resistant fiber, the R2X treatment offers an additional level of protection against spills and soiling. The result is a highly stain-resistant line of carpeting.

Softness

One of the most notable features of ClearTouch is its softness. It is much softer than traditional PET polyester, thanks to the fact that the fiber strands are very fine (thin) -- much finer than traditional polyesters. Additionally, many of the ClearTouch styles feature long, thick piles, which provide a very luxurious feel.

Soft carpets may require a certain type of vacuum. See tips for choosing the right vacuum for soft carpets.

The Bottom Line

The ClearTouch line offers good quality carpets at very reasonable prices, with an added bonus of being more environmentally friendly than traditional polyester carpets. Because it is less expensive than nylon -- it usually ranges from about $1.50 per square foot for the lower grade to around $4.50 or $5.00 per square foot for the top of the line -- it appeals to the budget-conscious, and yet still offers a decent quality.

All things considered, ClearTouch would not be my top choice of carpet for high-traffic areas such as stairs or family rooms. For such areas, I would prefer to recommend a high-end nylon or triexta, both of which typically offer longer warranties and better overall performance than PET polyester.

The ClearTouch line is, in my opinion, best suited for medium traffic areas such as master bedrooms, basements and dens. With its high level of stain resistance, it would do great made into an area rug in a dining room or installed in a kids’ playroom. In these areas it should look good for years to come.