Alexanian's Area Rug Buying Guide
- Fibre -
One of the biggest questions when shopping for rugs is how to choose a rug material. Today’s rug marketplace includes a variety of possibilities. The most common tend to be wool, cotton, polypropylene or silk; each one has its advantages.
Choosing the right rug material for you depends on where you’ll be placing the rug and texture preference as each material offers different levels of softness, stain resistance and durability. Read on to learn the difference in rug materials to help you choose the most functional and fashionable piece!
Rug Types by Fibre
- Shop by Fibre - Natural -
One of the most durable natural rug materials available, wool is a versatile fibre with enduring appeal. Easily dyed, it makes a wide range of designs and styles possible. Wool holds up to heavy traffic, feels soft underfoot, is naturally water-resistant and comes in various weaves.
More affordable than wool, cotton rugs are another natural material with impressive durability. They tend to be more casual than wool rugs, and they are often machine-washable. Like wool, cotton is easy to dye and available in a wide range of rug designs.
Stiffer than jute and incredibly durable, sisal comes from the leaves of the Mexican agave plant. Spun into a sort of yarn, it’s one of the strongest natural fibres in the modern marketplace. Sisal rugs work beautifully in high-traffic areas of the home.
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- Shop by Fibre - Synthetic -
One of the most popular synthetic materials for rugs, olefin (polypropylene) is durable, stain-resistant, soft and affordable. It makes a more budget-friendly alternative to wool, and it works well in high-traffic areas of the home.
Affordable and fairly stain-resistant, polyester is a manufactured fibre with a lot of durability. Because it’s hard to dye, it comes in more limited designs than other materials. Further, while it is resistant to bleaching and fading, it is not resistant to oils, meaning they can permanently stain these rugs.
Strong and durable, nylon is a man-made material that is easy to clean and able to hold up to heavy traffic. It comes in almost limitless colours and often showcases an attractive sheen.
Faux silk rugs are created from various materials, such as rayon, also known as viscose. Because it is a synthetic material, it’s typically inexpensive. At the same time, it’s not made to last long. When you choose a faux silk rug, you can expect it to weather and yellow fairly quickly, leaving you to replace it.
Rug Types By Construction
- Construction -
Rug construction refers to the way in which a rug is made. A rug’s construction determines how your rug will feel, look, and hold up in the years to come. There are many ways to construct a rug. Below are the most common types explained to help you make the most informed decision:
In a hand-knotted rug, wool yarn is hand-tied around the warp threads of a weaving loom to form the pile of the carpet. It can take many months to produce one rug. Developed in Persia, it is the same process that has been used for hundreds of years. These rugs are programmed, which means there are similar designs and colours available in different sizes.
In a hand-tufted carpet, the yarn is applied to a woven base by hand, using a tufting tool to form the pile of the rug. The back of the rug is then sealed with latex to secure the yarn, then backed with a woven cotton material. The carpets are hand-surged and sometimes hand-carved. A tufted carpet takes less time to produce than a knotted rug.
Machine-made rugs are woven on electronic computer-assisted looms. The pile is created through a sophisticated machine process. Synthetic yarns are most common, but some of the finest machine-made rugs are wool, and are often difficult to tell from handmade rugs. Colour and design variations are often programmed into the designs, and hand-knotted fringes can be added for a more handmade look.
Sisal has been used in rug-making for thousands of years. It is a tough, durable, natural fibre, which stands up well to traffic. Sisal is finer and easier to bleach and dye than seagrass, making it a good choice if you're looking for a more neutral rug. There are also synthetic sisal rugs available.
- Pile -
Pile references to the density of the rugs fibres, while pile height references to the thickness of a rug measured from it's surface to its backing.
Pile heights vary from, less than 1/4″ (low); 1/4″ to 1/2″ (medium); 1/2″ to 3/4″ (plush) and shag rugs may be even longer.