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What to Know When Buying a Rug

There are three types of rugs made today. Knowing the features and benefits of each one will help you make the right decision when choosing a rug.

  1. Machine-made – these rugs are made with three types of materials. What they share is that they are all tufted or woven by machine.
  • Polypropylene – the most reasonable cost-wise. Good stain protection if you have pets or messy people, big or small.
  • Nylon – more expensive than polypropylene; but it will look better with time and after cleaning.
  • Wool – the best material by far. More expensive than either synthetic. BUT, don’t be fooled into believing all wool is created equal. Lower quality wool (not long-staple wool fiber) will cause the rug to shed quite a lot. All wool rugs shed; but high quality wool will shed much less.

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    • 2. Tufted – these rugs are not knotted. Some people market them as handmade, as they are made by hand, using a punch tool to push the yarn through the back of the rug through to the front. You can always tell a tufted rug when you see one – there is a cloth backing on the rug. The yarn is held in place with latex and a backing is added to protect the glue (latex) and yarn. The lifespan of a tufted rug is usually no more than three to five years. Latex comes in many qualities and is often cut with other materials. No matter the quality, it will eventually dry out. When that happens, you will either find dust under your rug or it will crack when you try to roll it or bend it. If you are looking at a tufted rug to purchase, walk away if it isn’t pliable or if there is a fine dust under it.

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  • 3. Hand-knotted – the most expensive of all the types of rugs available. Each knot is done by hand, sometimes 300 knots in a square inch! They take a long time to make and are very costly. Not all hand-knotted rugs are created equal, however. The quality of the wool or silk used is one of the biggest factors in determining quality. Also, a lot of faux silk (bamboo silk, viscose, etc.) is used in hand-knotted rugs. Faux silk does not clean or wear well.

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If you keep these benefits and features in mind when looking at rugs, you won’t be unpleasantly surprised by what you take home.