Rug Types & Construction
Hand Knotted Rugs
Hand-knotting is the most intricate, labor intensive rug weaving process in use today. A higher number of knots per square inch typically translates to better quality. A complex pattern can require very dense knotting and takes a long time to produce. An average rug weaver can tie around 3,000 knots per day. These rugs have a low pile and each rug made in a one-of-a kind piece.
DURABILITY: Longest lasting construction. Good rugs can last 10 to 25 years. Great rugs can last over 100 years!
Hand Tufted Rugs - Standard & Premium
Generally less expensive and easier to construct than hand-knotted rugs, hand tufted rugs are made using a hand-operated tool to punch strands of wool or other fiber into canvas stretched on a frame. After tufting, the canvas is removed from the frame and a heavy canvas backing is applied. The final step is to shear the loops so all are cut, creating a cut-pile. This cut pile may then be carved, depending on the style of rug.
DURABILITY: 5-10 years (Premium), 3-6 years (Standard)
Hand Hooked Rugs
Hand hooked rugs go through the same process as hand tufted rugs. Hand-tufted rugs, however, have a cut pile surface, while a hand hooked rug has a loop pile surface giving the surface a rounded look. Often both hand-tufting and hand-hooking techniques are used together on one rug. If you have cats (or dogs) that scratch on rugs, we do not recommend a hand hooked rug.
DURABILITY: 3-10 years, depending on use
Hand Woven Shag Rugs
Hand woven shag rugs are made on hand operated looms with hundreds of plush, twisted and slightly felted yarns. A team of weavers uses a long steel rod to shoot the fibers across vertical strings that run the length of the rug. Each fiber can be as long as 6". Polyester fibers have minimal shedding while wool fibers will have moderate shedding that subsides over time.
DURABILITY: 2-8 years, depending on use
Hand Woven Flat Weave Rugs
Often referred to as dhurries, or kilims, flat weave rugs are often woven on a loom, rather than knotted. They are typically constructed from wool, cotton, or synthetic materials. In most cases, the pattern on the front of the rug can be viewed clearly from both sides, making these rugs reversible.
DURABILITY: 3-5 years, depending on use
Hand Loomed Rugs
Hand-loomed rugs are made on hand operated looms by a team of weavers who use a long steel rod to shoot fibers across vertical strings that run the length of the rug. In this construction, rugs can be all cut pile, cut and loop pile, or all loop pile. In some cases, the rug may be carved to accentuate texture and design. Less expensive hand loomed rugs will shed more than higher end hand-loomed rugs. These rugs have low or medium pile.
DURABILITY: 2-8 years, depending on use
Machine Made Rugs
Machine made rugs are produced by large machines that have hundreds of spindles of fiber that are mechanically woven into a thin mesh backing. The machines run continuously to maximize efficiency. A computer dictates the pattern, minimizing the chance for error. These rugs are the lowest cost, and are made of synthetic fibers on a coarse backing. The edges are bound and it can take time for these rugs to lay flat. Because of the use of synthetic fibers, the pile on these machine made rugs will crush with heavy traffic.
DURABILITY: 2-6 years, depending on use
Indoor / Outdoor Rugs
Indoor / outdoor rugs are made solely with synthetic fibers- including olefin, polyester, polypropylene, and PVC- that have been infused with UV inhibitors to minimize fading. These rugs are mold and mildew resistant and can withstand up to 500 hours of direct sunlight. Indoor / outdoor rugs can be hand-hooked or machine made and typically have a latex, rubber, or vinyl backing which enables them to withstand the elements.
DURABILITY: 1-5 years (direct sunlight), or 2-8 years (indoor use)
Hair on Hide Rugs
Hair on hide rugs are hand crafted of natural hides to create a myriad of designs. They may be dyed in a number of colors, or the natural coloration may be used. Due to the innate differences among hides, subtle variation in dye lot, color, and pattern can be expected. Hair on hide rugs have a felted or leather backing.
DURABILITY: 5-10 years depending on use
Types of Rug Materials
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Wool: Wool is the most commonly used material for rugs because of its durability, ability to insulate, and resiliency. Wool rugs are water and stain resistant, and will hold up in high-traffic areas such as a living room, den, or dining room.
Sisal, Jute & Seagrass: These natural fibers are naturally sustainable, can add a lot of texture to a space, and are usually free from any chemical processing. The fibers are generally very strong, but can be hard to clean due to the coarse textures.
Viscose: Good quality viscose rugs provide bright, clear colors and patterns and have a silky texture underfoot. They have a sheen that enhances the color and clarity but are not as durable as natural fibers such as wool. These beautiful rugs are great for areas without high traffic such as an office, formal living room, or bedroom.