Yesterday at The International Surface Event (TISE), Mohawk demonstrated its new Airo carpet—a product that Tom Lape, Mohawk Residential president, calls “a new category in soft flooring” for both its unique construction and simplified installation.

Partnering with Netherlands-based sustainability technology firm DSM-Niaga, Lape added “USF, or Unified Soft Flooring, is a new product platform that marries installation ease with a host of consumer benefits.”

Josse Kunst, DSM-Niaga’s general manager, stated the creation of Airo took four years. “We had to ask, ‘How do we redesign carpet in such a way as to use the purest materials that can be recycled over and over again, while also being easy to install?’”

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Lape added, “Carpet has been made the same way the last 50 years. Half of the weight of the carpet provides no value except for holding the product together. The face fiber does all the work and sees all the wear. With Airo, the face fiber, binder and backing are all polyester, fusion-bonded together. The result is a product with tremendous strength, flexibility and dimensional stability. And since it’s made of 100% PET, It can also be fully recycled into new backing and fiber.”

He said Airo’s dimensional stability will keep the knee kickers, power stretchers, tack strip and seaming irons stored in the back of installers’ vans and off the job site. “All you need to install Airo is a cutting tool, double-sided tape and a T-square. Because this product has total dimensional stability, it has no tension that needs to be removed.”

This feature of the product leads to other installation shortcuts, too. “Airo can very easily wrap around edge nosing on stairs. And in the common bird cage with bannisters, one simply needs to trace cut and lay the product right around the edge. Also, you can patch this product easily. Essentially, the more complex the installation, the easier Airo’s technology makes it.”

Lape noted that the product also requires no acclimation time and is not affected by humidity. “It can be folded, bended and rolled and it will naturally drape back to its original shape. You can store it in a warehouse at 75 degrees, drive it over on a truck in 28-degree weather, and it will still lay right down. We’ve had it from high humidity to no humidity in projects in Georgia. There has been no delamination, no yarn loss, no complaints and no movement.”

He added that the product can be installed over any type of substrate, including gypcrete, wood and concrete. The company is currently evaluating whether the product can be used with underfloor radiant heating systems.

When asked by FCI if the installation ease of the product will make carpet a DIY purchase, Lape noted, “I can’t see a consumer wanting to take the risk of installing their own carpet. Most consumers don’t want to make a bad cut or move their own furniture. And not a lot of consumers will want to put down a 40 to 65 oz. product on their own. It’s still a do-it-for-me product, not a do-it-yourself one.”

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