Rug Information and Care
General Rug Sizes
Floor Rugs are available in all sizes starting from a small entrance mat to the largest to suit an activity room or large family room. Rugs are available in round, rectangle, square, set length hallway runner rugs or available by the meter or centimeter, and custom cut from the roll. Certain ranges may be available in all sizes and shapes while others limited to 1 or 2 sizes.
The smallest area rug size is a for the likes of a double door or kitchen mat and is usually 67x120cm or 80x150cm. The 110x160cm size is suitable for near the sofa, under a coffee tables or a small lounge room rug or under office chairs.
The most popular size used for the family area is either the 160x230cm or 200x290cm, which will vary slightly from brand to brand. These 2 sizes are ideal to suit the setting of the family room with the seating around the rug. You will also find the greatest selection of designs and colours in these sizes of floor rug.
For the dining room, a suitable size is a 200x290cm floor rug, it allows the chairs to still be on the rug as they are dragged outwards to sit on. This applies if the dining suite seats 6 people.
For extra-large full room size floor rugs, the sizes are usually 240cmx340cm, 280x380cm or 300x400cm. These are used for the larger family room, activity room or under an extended dining table. These very large sizes however are only available in limited designs and colours.
Some hallway runners are manufactured in continuous rolls and have a width of 67cm up to 80cm wide, with a limited few at 1m wide. The lengths vary from 20-25m with some up to 30m long. The finished or set lengths vary, generally 67cm-80cm wide and the lengths can vary from 230cm, 300cm, 330cm, 400cm and a few 500cm long.
The hall runner rolls mentioned above can be cut to any length, over-locked or fringed and are available in many designs and colours, with rubber backng or in a machine woven construction. Some can also be matched with room size rugs.
Quality of Rugs
The quality of the Rugs will depend on the type and quality of fiber used on the pile, the number of shots of fiber in a given square meter (see below how to compare the quality), the weave type and the process of construction.
Machine made rugs are made of woolen, synthetic or a combination of the two fibers. At present most machine made rugs are made using a heat-set Polypropylene, Polyester and mixture of man-made fibres. There are of course other natural fibres used in rugs such as cotton, silk and jute; but these are not as popular. However the jute rugs are becoming more in fashion as a flatweave rug. Synthetic fibres have come a long way in recent years, and are usually hand loomed or hand made in construction.
Do you have a Question about the quality of a Floor Rug
The quality measurement for a woven rug is calculated by the number of fibers in a given area of one square meter.
For example; a Traditional Design Rug that has the amount of 400,000 points of fiber per square meter in a heat-set, is a reasonably Good Quality Rug.
Question; How to compare the quality of one rug to another?
Low quality is a BCF or Standard Fiber rug which are usually 100,000 - 250,000 points of fiber per square meter.
Starter for a Heat-set Polypropylene Rug is usually around 250,000 points of fiber per square meter.
Low to Medium quality is usually around 250,000 - 400,000 points of fiber per square meter.
Medium to Good quality is usually around 400,000 - 600,000 points of fiber per square meter.
Good to High quality is usually around 600,000 - 800,000 points of fiber per square meter.
High quality is usually around 800,000 - 1,000,000 points of fiber per square meter.
Very High quality is usually around 1.000,000 Upwards to 2,000,000 points of fiber per square meter.
One last thing that helps the quality characteristics of an area rug is the Denier of the fiber, or in lamens terms the thickness of the fiber used.
For example; if a rug you can see falls into the Good Quality category although it is 400,000 points of fibre, it means the the denier is approximately 2200.
This means that its feels like a 600,000 point rug as the denier is thicker, making this particular brand of rug good Value For Money, although some rug conosieurs wouldn't agree.
Different Fibers used in Floor Rugs
Polyester Fiber Rugs
Polyester yarns are a fiber used in floor rug construction usually in conjunction with other fibers. As a fiber alone, polyester is usually shiny and is finer than polypropylene in most instances, it is very good for cleaning spills and vacuuming of fluff and pets hairs. This is due to the fiber already absorbing all the colour during manufacturing, and the fiber being so soft and having no problem with static. Polyester fiber produces some of the most beautiful colourations available. It is extremely fade resistant and provides excellent resistance to stains. However, it does have poor resilient properties and thus is susceptible to crushing. Polyester is usually combined with other fibers for rug construction, providing the best of both characteristics. Avoid high pile heights with low-density construction, as polyester tends to flatten. Many of the latest polyester fibers have come a long way in methods of improving durability with technology, however. Also look for high twist levels rather than "blown" yarns. Loose twists (blown yarn) tend to untwist and the yarn tips tend to fuse together creating a matted appearance. Most consumers like to dig their fingers into the pile and if it provides a luxurious feel they believe this is excellent quality. This is referred to as "perceived" quality. True quality exists when it is difficult to insert your fingers into the pile. This is a true test for all rug constructions, but it is a necessity for some (polyester shag Rugs).
The only real downfall is with the wear and tear. It's not quite as good in performance as the heat-set polypropylene or nylon fibers, but not far off either.
Standard Polypropylene Rugs
Standard polypropylene rugs are the cheapest quality rugs known as BCF, meaning continuous fibre. These are good for a limited time as the fibre tends to flatten easily and becomes hard to vacuum and maintain. A simple rubbing of the fibre should indicate that if it leaves a bit of a oily feel on your skin then it's a BCF fibre rug.
Heat Set Polypropylene Rugs
Polypropylene Rugs in a heat-set fiber means that the yarn has been processed to remove oils, making the fiber softer and much easier to maintain, plus more resilient to wear and stains. Heat-set fibers are easy to vacuum as they are anti-static, so fluff and animal hairs don't adhere to them, and are generally available in a twist pile or plush cut pile.
The twist frise pile acts like a shock absorber to prevent it from flattening and provides great wear properties. It is less prone to showing foot prints and has a slightly open surface, whereas the plush cut pile is a smooth surface with no real gaps.
There are many qualities of heat-set polypropylene rugs in the market and the quality depends primarily on the density of the weave and the thickness of the yarn, among many other factors. Generally, the thicker the yarn the lesser the quality. The finer the yarn the more points or shots are required to cover the surface of the rug and therefore the rug has more density and is more stable and longer lasting.
Acrylic Rugs can also be of high quality. The acrylic yarn doesn't have the sheen that the polypropylene rugs produce and generally shed fibers. Acrylic rugs feel and look like wool but don't wear as well and are generally cheaper. But beware of some acrylic shaggy rugs as they can shed or moult; you can rub your fingers back and forth quickly through the pile to test for this.
Natural Fiber Rugs
Manufacturing of viscose starts with wood pulp, such as bamboo. The wood cellulose is treated with caustic soda, then allowed to age, before being treated again with caustic soda and carbon disulphide. The material is then spun through various mechanisms and washed in water baths or similar methods, then extracted out of one or more slits to produce threads. As it begins with wood, it is not a synthetic material. Since the development of viscose, many people can enjoy a wide array of quality textiles without paying a lot of money for a luxurious look etc.
Jute/Hemp rugs are Anti-static, durable, environmentally friendly, and tone in with many decors and are generally suitable for high traffic areas like hallways, entries and family rooms. However, be careful with spills, as these rugs are not very easy to spot-clean. The use of Scattermats Rug Guard may be a good idea for peace of mind for these Jute/Hemp rugs.
Wool Rugs are a lot warmer and have their own quality classification that dictates their quality. The T3 classification is the cheapest woolen machine woven rug. T4 is better and T6 is the highest quality produced. There are also a lot of hand tufted woolen rugs on the market today which are generally thicker than the machine woven, but lower in quality, and are mostly modern type designs. One advantage of woolen rugs is that they won't burn easily, however they do have the potential to shed or moult as they are a natural fiber
Hand Tufted Rugs
Hand tufted rugs from India and China are easily recognizable and relatively inexpensive. Generally, they use wool or acrylic fibres in this category, although now that shaggy rugs are back in fashion polypropylene and polyester are now being introduced. You will always be able to distinguish between hand tufted by looking at the back of the rug where a plain colour cloth covers the glue that keeps the yarn stuck on the base. However, many hand loomed rugs have a cloth backing adhered to them for added strength. The majority of these are heat-set but there are some cheaper brands available that use different construction methods. If possible, ask or feel the fibre and if it feels slightly sticky then it will have anti-static problems (hard to vacuum).
Machine Made Flatweave Rugs
Flatweave Rugs are made with the fibre running horizontally rather than vertically. This has many advantages.
Cleaning spills is quite easy and they don't have static problems, plus they are very hard wearing as there is no pile to flatten.
The only disadvantage of flat-weaves is that they are not soft to sit on and don't look plush. Placing a rug pad underlay on the underside of the rug can increase the general softness of the flatweave rugs.
Shaggy rugs are currently in fashion and the advantages of these is that some do wear well and are great for sitting on and don't show fluff or dirt. Only disadvantage is that they will eventually need to be hung up over something and hit to remove debris, sometimes causing the pile to flatten. The best fibers for shaggy rugs would be the heat-set polypropylene or polyester in a twist construction.
Hand Knotted Rugs
The back of the hand knotted rug reveals the design that is on the front. They are basic in design and are primarily available in soft earthy tones. One advantage is that the fibres are woven into the backing and therefore the fiber won't fall out. The downside is that they are usually more expensive.
Special Requirement Areas
If you are searching for a rug for sound problems (echoing) I would recommend any thick type rug as they will absorb sound extremely well. For a dining room table or games room, a flatweave is a really cheap practical option but remember they don't look plush.
How to: Cleaning and Caring for Your Floor Rug
Whatever the method used for cleaning, treat all floor rugs gently. Shaking and hand beating are not recommended, unless the rug has become extremely gritty or if it's a designer shaggy rug and the pile is so deep that a vacuum cleaner can't remove the debris.
Always vacuum your area rug regularly but never use a power bristle on shaggy rugs.
Thorough cleaning should be conducted at least every 6-12 months.
Machine made woven rugs that have Jute in the weave on the back should be dry cleaned by a professional. These rugs can become warped and damaged if they absorb too much moisture.
One method for cleaning is to use soap and water to spot clean them. Preferably use mild wool liquid laundry detergent with luke warm water. If you are unsure, try cleaning a small area in the corner first to make sure no colours run. Sponge gently the spot to be cleaned. Blot dry with a dry cloth. With a cloth, rinse with vinegar in luke warm water, and sponge gently over the cleaned area. Blot dry with a dry cloth and when dry, vacuum.
Remember cleaning mistakes cannot always be taken out and done over, so be careful and if in doubt call a professional.
When moving area rugs or removing them for the season, they should be rolled and tied securely but not too tightly and stored away. It is best to roll them face down to prevent strain of the backing. A covering of plastic canvas will be enough to keep them clean. Never fold them, or use as a pad for other household objects, unless the investment they represent is no longer important.
Hope this has been helpful.
Author: "Neville Barnes"