Shopping and caring for rugs can be pretty intimidating. You can go insane (dealing with rug dealers) or you can go broke (dealing with department stores) if you are not an informed consumer. The following is a list of frequently asked questions and their answers, of course, that may help you in your future carpet capers. If a concern of yours has not been addressed, please email us, as your question may be a future reader’s query.
Q: What is the difference between hand-woven, hand-tufted, hand-hooked, and hand-knotted rugs?
A: Knowing the difference between these types of rugs is very important when you’re in the market for one because this is usually where the difference in price comes in… So, hand-woven is a blanket term used to describe all the other types I listed above. Hand-woven is a good word, but it can also be misleading. It can make you think that all hand-woven rugs are of the same quality and worth which could not be more wrong. Hand-tufted and Hand-hooked rugs are essentially the same. They are made using a grid-like backing, and the yarn is looped and tied in patterns on the grid. Afterwards, to prevent the pieces of yarn from unraveling, the back is then glued and sometimes covered with a piece of canvas. The difference between the hand-hooked and the hand-tufted is that in the final stages of production, a hand-tufted carpet is shaved on top so that instead of loops, you see a pile much like that of any other kind of carpet. Tufted rugs can be a good choice when shopping for more contemporary styles, as they can sometimes be less expensive because they aren’t made to outlast the trend. Hand-knotted rugs are generally what people are thinking of when they think “hand-woven.” These rugs are tightly knotted by hand so that there is no need for glue to hold the carpet together. They last anywhere from 25-125 years depending on the quality, and some of the traditional, well-made types are great investments. Since they take about 50 times longer to make than the other types of carpets, they are generally more expensive per square foot than you’re average area rug, but sometimes branding and designer preferences can change this.
Q: How often should I get my rugs cleaned?
A: A good, professional cleaning is recommended every 5-7 years in order to maintain the health and beauty of your rug. Even if a rug doesn’t look dirty, you should have it cleaned in order to remove all settled dirt from the foundation of the carpet. Rugs in high traffic areas such as family rooms and foyers should be cleaned more often, and, of course, it is always a good idea to wipe up spills immediately in order to prevent staining.
Q: The fringe of my rug is slowly disintegrating. What should I do?
A: The fringe on a rug is purely decorative. It is an extension of the warp (up and down strings on the loom) of the rug. Beyond the knot that holds the pile in place, the fringe serves no real purpose but to get tangled in your vacuum cleaner and high heels. Like your tires on your car, you will probably replace the fringe a few times during the lifetime of your rug. It doesn’t affect the rug’s value, and you shouldn’t feel bad about needing a fringe replacement. If your fringe is having some issues, you should keep an eye on it. When the fringe is completely gone, you leave the edges of your rug exposed, and this is where you can run into unraveling problems. Don’t let your fringe get that bad, and have it replaced when it starts to look a little grungy.
Q: What can I do at home to take better care of my rug?
A: Vacuum! It is the best thing you can do. A good vacuuming (don’t forget under furniture) will prevent moth damage and keep the pile nice and fluffy and clean. Vacuuming the back of the rug every so often will help it greatly as well. Vacuuming the back produces the same effect as beating the rug. It will get out the dirt that has settled in the foundation of the rug.
Q: What is the difference between silk and art silk?
A: Silk rugs are made of natural protein fibers obtained from the cocoons of silkworm larvae. Art silk is short for “artificial silk”, and this type of fiber is made from mercerized or chemically-treated cotton. Often times, art silk is passed off as real silk to unsuspecting buyers. Art silk does not and should not cost as much as real silk. It usually is a third to half of the cost of real silk. If you are in the market for a silk carpet, it is important to be educated and to buy from a reputable dealer. Do not purchase silk rugs from overseas, as this is quite often the most likely place where you will get taken and will have no recourse.
Q: If I am starting a brand-new decorating project, at what point should I buy my rug?
A: When decorating, you should always start with the rug. Not just rug dealers, but decorators will tell you this as well. Hand-knotted rugs come in a multitude of colors, styles and sizes. Finding one to fit into your room after you’ve picked out every other detail is quite difficult, but starting with the rug and working with the color palette in it is much easier. Having a knotted rug custom made at the end of your decorating project may blow your budget and lengthen your timeline by anywhere from several months to several years, so this is another good reason to start from the floor up. Additionally, hand-knotted rugs are made to withstand decades of use, whereas paint colors and fabrics may not last nearly as long. So, with that being said, you want to make sure the rug you pick is one you will love forever instead of one that just happened to match what you had at the time.
Q: What is the best way to store a rug?
A: The best thing to do with a carpet that you don’t want to use for a while is to loan it to someone that will keep it open in a home and vacuumed regularly. This is the best way to prevent moth damage. If you don’t have a friend with bare floors, then the next best thing is to take your rug and have it cleaned or vacuumed thoroughly front and back several times, then roll it up with a hefty amount of moth flakes and wrap the rug up in heavy duty trash bags and shipping tape. Every three months or so, unwrap the rug, vacuum it and replenish the moth flakes (they evaporate). Store your rug in a cool place (pick the basement over the attic) because moths thrive in the heat. Make sure your rug is never store directly on a concrete or cement floor, as this may cause moisture damage.