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Buying Guides

Rugs & Mats Buying Guide

What type of rug or mat are you looking for?

The look, feel, durability and value of a rug have a lot to do with the rug materials used in making it. If you want a rug that meets your needs for now and are not concerned with how long it may last, then any rug will do. However, if many years of use and even an heirloom quality rug are important to you, then certain materials are a much better choice. You can choose from a large range of sturdy and practical door mats in both natural and synthetic materials in our shop. We also have a large selection of rugs in a variety of materials on display.

Types of Materials

There is a variety of different types of rug materials commonly used in making rugs. Just as the characteristics will vary between the types of rug materials, so will the cost.

There are two groups of rug materials:

Natural: – Animal Fibers including wool and cotton.
Synthetic: – Man-Made material such as viscose, rayon, nylon, acrylic or polypropylene/olefin.

Wool is widely used and it is the main component of higher quality pile area rugs. Most wool comes from sheep, but it can also come from goats, llamas or alpaca. Wool is a resilient material and it has greater durability than synthetic material. Wool absorbs and retains dyes amazingly well. It is naturally resistant to fire, water and stains. Wool area rugs also naturally resist dust mites, which is important to people with allergies, because dust mites can aggravate allergies.

Cotton is a natural fiber that is strong and durable. Area rugs made of cotton can easily absorb and retain a wide variety of dyes, which provides the user with a multitude of color choices. In rug making, cotton is often used in conjunction with wool. Area rugs made with the cotton-wool blend have a nice feel, especially on bare feet. Cotton-wool rugs usually cost less than all-wool rugs, but people should be aware that cotton has a tendency to wear out sooner than wool.

Silk is a natural fiber that may be used on its own or included in higher quality rugs, such as Persian and Oriental rugs. The silk is added for its luster and shine. Silk is the most expensive rug fiber and even a little bit of silk added as an accent can raise the price of the rug. Silk rugs should be handled with care and should only be cleaned by a professional rug cleaner.

INFO : there is also something called faux silk or “false silk.” It is usually a synthetic, made from polyester fibers such as viscose/rayon. Mercerized cotton can also be used as a look-alike for real silk. Faux silk, also called art silk is most often used as small accents or in the construction of a short, dense pile rug.

Viscose is made from wood pulp, is a shiny, silk-like fiber. Viscose is susceptible to matting when it is used on its own. However, when used as an accent or in a blend it becomes an excellent replacement for real, and higher-priced, silk.

Rayon is a synthetic material that has a resemblance to silk. Rayon is derived from wood (made from cellulose found in trees). Although it is similar to silk in its look and feel, rayon will melt if it is exposed to open flame.

Nylon is another of the synthetic rug materials, is widely used in rug making. Nylon rugs have great characteristics such as uniformity and strength as well as stain and soil resistance. Nylon area rugs come in an unlimited variety of colours and they can be easily cleaned. The resilient nature of nylon rigs makes them a good choice for placing under furniture and for areas of heavy traffic. The cost of a nylon rug is usually less than that of rugs made from natural materials. However, nylon rugs do not hold their value as well as a quality wool or silk area rug.

Acrylic is another synthetic material, can be blended with other fibers to produce a rug that has the look of a wool rug, but at a lower cost.

100% Decolan fiber with anti-static, wool-like, non-sheer finish.

Leather rugs deliver a unique texture, and eclectic signature to your decor. The hand woven strands of soft, suede leather add a modern style in several warm colors. Leather area rugs are handsome accents for low-traffic areas.

Chenille rugs are made of a lush cotton or synthetic fabric, creating comfortable durability. An excellent choice for active lifestyles, many chenille rugs are reversible. Chenille is available in a wide array of colors and a variety of styles from braided to shag.

Polypropylene or Olefin fibers are petroleum-based products that are derived from propylene and ethylene gases. These fibers are strong, colourfast, quick drying, abrasion resistant, mildew resistant, along with soil and stain resistant. Rugs made from these materials are at the lower end of the cost scale, making them more affordable than some other types of rugs. Olefin, which has a soft wool-like feel, is one of the more widely used synthetic fibers for machine made rugs. Polypropylene can be heat-set to give it more durability and less sheen, for a look that is more like wool. Polypropylene/olefin rugs are popular but because they are lightweight, they may not be the best choice for areas with high traffic.

Bulk Continuous Filament (BCF) is the name given to synthetic yarns that are made by a mechanical process to fluff them out before the yarn is used for tufting or weaving.

Natural fibers are used in both hand-made and machine-made rugs. On the other hand, synthetic fibers are used exclusively in commercially produced (machine-made) rugs, no matter which country they come from.

Some of the most popular rugs are blends, where two (or more) types of rug material are combined to make a rug that has the characteristics of one material enhanced with those of another. It might be a wool rug with silk highlights, a wool and cotton blend or a mix of natural and synthetic materials. The result can be a rug that has a more desired look or feel, along with more durability and/or value.

Caring for your Rug

Synthetic Rugs

  • Vacuum regularly. Just like carpeting, synthetic area rugs should be cleaned by vacuuming on a regular basis. Vacuuming prevents matting and removes dirt particles that can wear down the the fibers.
  • Spot clean as needed. All synthetic area rugs can handle a bit of spot cleaning to prevent stains from setting.
  • Wash or dry clean at least once a year. Most synthetic rugs are made of nylon, polypropylene, viscose or acrylic to mimic the plushness of wool. While the nylon blends can handle being washed at home, synthetics such as high pile acrylics or polypropylene must be sent out for dry cleaning instead.

Natural Rugs

  • Stains and spillages should be blotted, not rubbed and only cool water should be used on them.
  • Turn rugs regularly if they’re in a sunny patch of the room to help prevent uneven fading.
  • With hand-spun yarn, the rug may shed early on. Light vacuuming will help resolve this.
  • Loop pile rugs are best beaten - just turn them face down on the floor, beat gently, and then vacuum up the grit and dust from the floor rather than the rug.
  • Rughold underlay prevents rugs from slipping, and the transfer of vegetable dyes on handmade rugs.

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