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How to Identify a High-Quality Rug

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  • February 18, 2019
How to Identify a High-Quality Rug

Rugs, rugs, rugs! We all know finding a perfect area rug for your home is overwhelming — especially when you’re on the hunt for a high-quality, long-lasting one. But, fear not! We are here to offer you the ultimate guide on how to identify a high-quality rug, perfect for your home decor!

What is the Quality of the Material?

Empress RugEmpress Rug


When searching for a high-quality rug, you’ll first need to identify the type of material used to create the rug. We’ll be real with you — material is 
everything when it comes to rugs! It’s best to know your stuff when it comes to synthetic and natural fibers before you spend that hard earned cash. Since not all fibers are made equally, a great way to test the material is by rubbing the carpet fabric between your fingers. If there is a lot of shedding, back away instantly… if your fingers can cause that, just imagine what feet would do.

If you’re not too familiar with synthetic or natural fibers, here’s a little run-down to help familiarize yourself.

Synthetic Fibers

Viscose- It’s a non-static, high-sheen material with a silk-like texture, giving it a luxurious look which makes this synthetic fiber relatively expensive. The downside? It has very poor stain-resistance which might have you searching for a new rug way too soon.

Olefin (Polypropylene)- This synthetic fiber is soft like wool, stain-resistant, and mildew-resistant. Sadly, it is a non-resilient fiber so if crushed, the rug will not bounce back to its original beauty. Not to mention it’s sensitive to heat and friction — don’t even think about dragging furniture over it. All in all, olefin rugs are not a good idea for high-traffic areas!

Nylon- It’s durable, easy to clean, and the most sustainable out of all the synthetic fibers. This fiber is also extremely strong so you won’t have to worry about your rug turning into a flat pancake. But beware: this fiber is prone to static electricity, so watch out for those kiddos!

Polyester- This synthetic fiber is soft to the touch, durable, anti-allergenic, stain-resistant, and fade-resistant — almost the whole package. The “almost” comes from the fact that it is prone to shedding and can look worn much faster than other higher-priced fabrics. Luckily, it’s easily washable!

Synthetic fiber rugs tend to require more cleaning since the soil has nowhere to hide except on the outside layer of the fibers — say hello to a dull carpet that yellows swiftly (sad, we know).


Natural Fibers

Katy Wool 550Katy Wool 550

Wool- Wool is truly the most vibrant and resilient fiber to walk on. Wool has “pockets” in its construction which gives the fibers breathing room, plus the ability to bounce back. While it is a higher-end material, wool is not at all delicate. Wool is also extremely durable and has great color retention — perfect for high-traffic areas. In addition to all that greatness, wool resists water-based stains and repels dirt and liquids by shielding the inner part of the fiber. Even better, wool is environmentally friendly!

Cotton- Cotton rugs are usually braided or flat-weaved and are fairly durable. Cotton rugs are typically machine-washable and are static and heat resistant. Cotton does stain easily and browning can occur over time, so watch out.

Silk- Silk is a very expensive fiber (obviously) which makes for beautiful, luxurious looking rugs. It’s also lightweight, flame resistant, and extremely stretchable (cool fact: it can stretch up to twenty percent of its length). The downside is that silk is highly sensitive to chemicals, so beware if you go with a silk rug.

While you can find high-quality rugs in both synthetic and natural fibers, it’s best to be aware of this information ahead of time so you don’t end up regretting your rug choice later.

Is it Handmade or Machine-made?

It is important to know if a rug was hand-knotted or machine-made since lifespans do tend to vary. Hand-knotted rugs typically have a higher life span compared to machine-made rugs, but don’t let that deter you from machine-made rugs — most machines can produce high-quality rugs!

Darad Hand-Knot RugDarad Hand Knot Rug

Hand-knotted rugs are made from a specially designed loom and are knotted by hand — both ancient arts which should be highly treasured and admired! Hand-knotted rugs are usually much more expensive since so much time and effort goes into both the process and the intricate design. To be honest, hand-knotted rugs top the list for quality and can last many generations if they are properly maintained.

Machine-made rugs are made by huge machines called “power looms” which are controlled by computers and can quickly make rugs out of wool and synthetic fibers. Machine-made rugs are sold at a lower price compared to hand-knotted rugs and usually have a lifespan of 20 years or less all depending on the type of fiber used.

Which Dyes Are Used?

Elixir RugElixir

In the olden days, dyes were produced from objects found in the environment such as flowers and bugs — but that’s not the case nowadays. Synthetic dyes have quickly taken over because they are easier to use and cost less. Both have their pros and cons, so many factors go into determining which dye is better. Some things to consider are the cost, environmental sustainability, safety, and intensity of color.

Most people tend to prefer natural dyes since they offer a glow that synthetic dyes lack. Natural dyes also have the ability to coordinate with other natural dye colors, whereas synthetic dyes can create a harsh contrast when not paired with the proper color.

No matter what you choose, every dye will fade over time since neither synthetic or natural dyes are resistant to sunlight. The best way to prevent sun damage to your rug is by rotating it every six months. When thinking about dyes on your hunt for a high-quality rug, it all comes down to your preferred lifestyle and how long you want the rug color last.

What is the Length of the Pile?

High or low… that’s the million dollar question. When identifying rug pile height, look closely at the fibers of the rug. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice that each yarn is looped and woven into the rug’s backing — those cute, tiny loops are what we call the rug pile. It all boils down to your preferred density. The higher the pile, the softer it gets.

Pros and cons vary when it comes to the length of the rug pile, so here are some insights to help you out.

Katy Murano RugKaty Murano


Low Pile Rug

Need a rug for a high-traffic room? A low pile rug is the way to go! While these rugs are short and dense, they are still extremely soft to the touch and much easier to clean and maintain. Low pile rugs are perfect for living rooms, kitchens, kid’s rooms, and any room in a household with lots and lots of traffic! They also offer a better view for intricate designs since the fibers are tight and allow those beautiful colors to shine through. Even better? Since the fibers are lower to the ground, the chance of tripping over loose ends is lower. No boo-boo’s for you, or the kiddos!

Mid Pile Rug

Mid pile rugs are perfect if you’re looking for the coziness of a high pile rug and the tight feel of a low pile rug! The appearance offers just enough height to give it a shag look while maintaining enough density for easy cleaning. With a mid pile rug, you get the best of both worlds. Yay!

High Pile Rug

High pile rugs are typically referred to as shag rugs (hello, ‘70s)! These rugs are best for rooms with low-traffic, such as guest rooms and offices. Because they are very difficult to vacuum, dirt tends to sink into the rug’s dark abyss. So, if you’re looking into a shag rug, keep that in mind!

Although a lot goes into identifying a high-quality rug and finding the right match for you, you now have the knowledge needed to find the best, longest-lasting rug that will fit you and your decor perfectly! Always remember: a high-quality rug all comes down to the material and dye used, how it was created, the height of the rug pile, and where you’re want the rug to reside.


Looking for a high-quality rug?

Cosmo Amir Kars RugCosmo-Amir Kars


Whether you’re searching for a modern or traditional rug, look no further! We are proud to offer a wide selection of high-quality rugs, perfect for any type of decor. From cool tones to vibrant designs, Brumbaugh’s has it all! To browse our selection of beautiful and unique rugs,
visit us here.

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