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Rugs 101

Rug Materials
Area rugs are made from a variety of fibers.  Most of the rugs featured at Rugs A Bound are made from natural fibers.  You can "go green" with natural fibers, a feature that is becoming increasingly important to many consumers.

Natural Fibers Include

  • Cotton:  Cotton rugs wear well and have a natural feel. They should not be used in areas with high-traffic since cotton collects dust and dirt.
  • Jute:  Jute is a popular rug material that is made from natural fibers.  Jute rugs are made from the jute plant, which is also used to make twine and burlap.   Jute is not as durable as sisal because it is softer.  Its luster determines quality; the more it shines, the better the quality.
  • Sisal:  Sisal is derived from agrave plants in Africa.  Like Jute, Sisal is used to make many different products, but only the highest quality sisal is used in area rugs.  Sisal does not trap dust or build up static.  These rugs are not recommended for areas with direct sunlight or high traffic. 
  • Wool:  Wool is strong, pleasing to touch, abundant and is easily dyed, which makes it a popular rug fabric.  Most synthetic fibers attempt to imitate the look and feel of wool.  Wool is static and stain resistant, but will shed a bit initially.  Most of the rugs featured at Rugs A Bound are wool.

Synthetic Fibers

  • Acrylic:  This is a synthetic fiber with a lightweight wool-like feel.  It dyes very well and has excellent colorfastness. It is durable, retains its shape, and resists shrinkage and wrinkles.
  • Blends:  Wool is often blended with synthetic fibers such as nylon to increase durability. Blended wool yarns are extensively used in production of modern carpet.
  • Polyester:  This synthetic fiber has a wool-like appearance and is available in a range of vibrant colors.  Polyester rugs are soft, stain-resistant, and affordable, but not as durable as wool.
  • Polypropylene:  These rugs wear well, clean easily and are suitable for areas with heavy foot traffic such as offices. Outdoor rugs are usually made from polypropylene since it is mildew and stain resistant.

 


Weaves Used to Make Rugs
The majority of the rugs at Rugs A Bound are hand made by skilled artisans, while some of the rugs are machine made.  In this section about weaves, you'll see the word pile mentioned a few times, it refers to the soft raised surface on a rug which is made by the yarn loops.

Hand Made Rugs

  • Hand-Knotted Area Rugs:  Hand-knotted rugs are generally made with wool or silk.  A hand-knotted rug takes the longest to make, which makes them the most expensive.  In the construction of a hand-knotted rug, weavers string cotton threads, called warps, on a frame which is the foundation of the rug. The pile yarns are looped around cotton threads individually. The cotton yarns are woven side to side through the warps.  These threads are tied off on the sides which make the decorative fringes that are a part of almost all hand-knotted rugs.  These rugs are usually finished with a special wash to add softness and shine.
  • Hand-Tufted Area Rugs:  Hand-tufted rugs are made with many different fibers. They are high quality hand made rugs but are generally less expensive than hand-knotted rugs.  A cotton canvas is put on a frame to form the foundation of these rugs. A pattern is drawn or stenciled onto the canvas, and then weavers use a hooking tool to push yarns through the canvas to make a loop.  These loops are cut to give a plush or cut pile surface.  In most cases today, a latex coating is used to hold the piles of yarn in place, which is then covered by a second piece of canvas.  A Hi/Lo hand-tufted rug features a combination of cut and loop pile, which makes a 3-D effect.
  • Hand-Hooked Area Rugs:  Hand-hooked rugs are made like the hand-tufted rugs with one major difference.  Instead of a heavy canvas backing, these rugs have a mesh backing which is light-weight.  These rugs usually have a short looped pile instead of a thick cut pile.
  • Flat Weave:  Flat weaves are made with cotton warps like hand-knotted rugs.  The yarn in these rugs is threaded back and forth covering all of the cotton warps like a blanket or tapestry, which creates a very flat pile.


Machine Made

  • Machine Made:  Machine-made area rugs are produced with a power loom and are made by people, machines and computers.  These rugs have become increasingly popular due to affordability and availability of sizes, colors and shapes.
  • Woven Jute:  Jute rugs are woven with natural plant fibers. These rugs are woven in loop or flat constructions, and are then dyed or have printed designs.

 

Rug Care and Cleaning
Click here for more info about caring for your area rug.


Choosing a Rug Size
Click here for help choosing the perfect rug for your space.