Refining Your Area Rug Choice

By: Tasneem Mirza

As a Managing Partner of www.exquisiterugs.com, the question I am often asked, 'What determines the quality of a rug?' While the question posed seems relatively simple it is broad in scope and indeed more complex. There are a number of factors that need to be addressed to answer this question accurately.

The rug industry is inundated with an extensive variety of area rugs. Unlike the past, today, there are rugs targeted toward specific market segments. Therefore, before furnishing a definite reply, I inquire, 'Are you shopping for an inexpensive rug or a high end hand knotted piece'.

If budget is the primary criteria, there are abundant choices. For the price conscious consumer, there is an array of options. Machine-woven rugs are most popular in the mid to low price level segment, with modern machinery producing rugs beautifully simulating hand-made versions at affordable prices. One of the reputed machine made rug manufacturer, Shaw Group has a vast selection of area rugs from contemporary to traditional and floral to nautical. One strong highlight of this company is the price range, rugs retail from $49.00 - $2000.00. Most of the collections are wilton woven with polypropylene or nylon material thus controlling the price.

At www.exquisiterugs.com, our top seller, the Antiquities collection boasts traditional Persian designs that are machine made with 100% wool. The intricate designs replicate hand knotted rugs along with offering the softness and shine. An added advantage of Wilton weave is that it is extra strong, and produces an incredible number of pile textures.

If you have decided to purchase a hand knotted rug, consider three important elements that profoundly impact the value of the rug. There is no doubt the quality, look and feel of hand knotted rugs far exceed any other construction. Created by hand, this category can include hand knotted, hand tufted, hand hooked, needlepoint, Aubusson and hand loomed rugs.

Three important factors determine the quality of hand knotted rugs.

The first factor, the quality of wool, which constitutes to shine is essential. Rugs made of wool have become increasing popular for two reasons; they last longer and are able to withstand high traffic. Look for 100% semi worsted, New Zealand wool.

The second stage - the weaving - is central to the quality of the rug. The number of knots per square inch is pertinent in determining the quality of the rug. The higher the knot count, the tighter the weave and generally the more expensive the piece. The finest carpets have from 400 to 700 knots per square inch. Most rugs, on average, have from 90 to 250 knots per square inch. A 9'x 12' rug takes anywhere from three to six months, depending on the quality of the rug and the number of people weaving it.

Finally, the third factor, the wash constitutes to the value. The rug first undergoes a chemical wash and is then rinsed with water to give the rug a final cleaning. The chemical wash softens the yarn and gives the rug a silky feel. The rug is then set out in the sun to dry.

The next time you are shopping for rugs first refine your choice, is it a hand knotted or machine made rug you desire? If you have determined a hand knotted rug is the ideal choice, incorporate the three elements to make an informed purchase

Home Improvement
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