Rug Buying Guide: Construction Types

The most prestigious, well-known rug construction and best seller at FurnitureCart is hand-knotted rugs. They are the most expensive and have highest quality due to the labor intensive process and quality of fiber. However, the majority of business done in the rug industry nowadays is with less expensive constructions and most people are interested in other construction types that are within their budget.

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Common Construction Types:

1. Hand – Knotted

Hand-knotting is the most intricate, labor-intensive rug weaving process in use today. The quality of a hand-knotted carpet is determined by the number of knots per square inch. Higher knots mean better quality. A complex pattern can require very dense knotting and it can take a long time to produce. An average weaver can tie about 3,000 knots per day.

A weaver sits behind a loom and hand ties individual knots onto the vertical strings seen on the backside of a rug.

The back of hand-knotted rugs shows individual knots and the overall design and colors of the rug’s surface.

Durability: Longest lasting. Good ones will last 10-25 years. Great ones can last 100+ years.
Shedding: Shed less than a typical hand tufted rug.

2. Hand – Tufted

A hand-tufted rug is made by punching strands of wool into a canvas which is stretched on a frame or with help of a hand-operated tool. After piling with wool, the rug is removed from the frame and a scrim fabric is glued to the back, while a fringe is added by either sewing on or gluing.

A nearly unlimited variety of patterns, colors, and textures can be used in a hand-tufted rug.

A canvas backing is applied to hand-tufted rugs with an adhesive to hold the yarns together.

Durability: Lasts 3-10 years depending on use.
Shedding: They will shed, but this will subside over time. Shedding usually depends on the quality of wool used, and density of the rug. Cheaper hand tufted rugs will shed more than higher-end hand tufted rugs.
Manufacturing Time: 4-5 months

3. Hand – Hooked

Hand-hooked rugs go through the same process. Tufted rugs have a cut pile surface while hooked rugs have a looped (rounded) pile surface. Rug making is now combining both cut and loop techniques.

Hooked rugs are made by tufting loops of yarn or fabric through a stiff woven base such as burlap, linen, or rug warp which has been stretched over a frame. The design is printed on the base fabric, and the loops of yarn are pushed through the fabric (similar to the process for hand-tufting).

A nearly unlimited variety of patterns, colors, and textures can be used in a hand-hooked rug.

Larger looped rugs create a plush, heavily textured rug while smaller loops allow for greater detail in pattern and interesting texture.

Durability: Lasts 3-10 years depending on use.
Shedding: Will shed less than hand tufted rugs, but this will subside over time.

4. Hand – Loomed Shag

Hand-loomed shag rugs are handmade on a hand-operated looms with hundreds of plush, twisted, and slightly felted yarn. A team of weavers use a long steel rod and shoot the fiber across the vertical strings that run the lengths of the rug. Fiber can be as long as 6 inch.

Durability: Lasts 2-8 years depending on use.
Shedding (wool): Moderate shedding for an extended period of time. Shedding will subside over a long period of time.
Shedding (polyester): Minimal shedding
Manufacturing Time: 4-5 months

5. Hand – Loomed Flat Weave

Flat weave rugs are woven on a loom, rather than knotted. These products are made of cotton or wool, flat woven on a loom, ensuring a truly hand-crafted all-natural product. They tend to be much thinner than knotted rugs, making them generally less insulating. The thinness of the rug can be an advantage as it makes it highly versatile.

Durability: Lasts 3-10 years depending on use.
Shedding: Moderate, but subsides over time.
Reversible: Can extend life by flipping the rug.

6. Hand – Loomed Wool

Hand-Loomed rugs are handmade on a hand-operated looms using different types of yarn. A team of weavers use a long steel rod and shoots the fiber across the vertical strings that run the lengths of the rug. In this construction, rugs can be all cut pile, cut and loop pile or all loop pile. Rugs are also hand-carved to see more texture and design.

Durability: Lasts 2-8 years depending on use.
Shedding: Moderate, but will subside over time. Shedding usually depends on the quality of wool used, and the density of the rug. Cheaper hand loomed rugs will shed more than higher end hand tufted rugs.

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7. Machine – Made

Large machines have hundreds of spindles of fiber that are mechanically woven into a thin mess backing. The machine would run continuously to maximize efficiency. A computer dictates the pattern so there is little chance of error.

Common fibers in machine-made rugs include synthetic yarns like polyester, polypropylene, and nylon.

Like hand-knotted rugs, you can see the design/colors on the back of a machine-made rug, but has coarse latex backing that secures it in place.

Durability: Lasts 2-6 years depending on use.
Shedding: Machine-made polyester rugs will not shed. Since most are made from synthetic fibers, the pile will crush with heavy traffic.

8. Braided

The fibers are braided together by hand or machine to create a rope. The rope is then sewn together with machines to create the actual rug.

Durability: Lasts 3-10 years depending on use.
Shedding: They will shed, but this will subside over time.
Reversible: Can extend life by flipping the rug.

9. Outdoor

Rugs are made completely of synthetic fibers for outdoor use. They are mold and mildew-proof and the fibers are infused with UV inhibitors to prevent the fading. These rugs can withstand up to 300 hours of direct sunlight.

Durability: Lasts 1-5 years in outdoor use and 2-8 on indoor use. Leaving the rugs in direct sunlight will severely limit the life of the rug. Leaving them in standing water will severally limit the life of a rug.
Shedding: None
Manufacturing Time: 3-4 months

Rugs may have a history rooted in ancient times, but modern advancements in technology have introduced new construction types. Due to these recent advancements, rugs have become more affordable, fashionable, and complex in texture, design and color.
Rugs and accessories tie a room together visually, so browse our online catalog to find the rugs that will fit the color scheme and the style of your room.

With help from Surya Rugs.

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