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Types of Rugs: Materials and Construction

Updated: 2019-10-25

There are many types of rugs and rug construction to choose from, but there’s nothing quite like finding the right rug to pull a room together and define the space. There are many types of rugs out there, but they can be classified by materials and weaves. Learn why rug construction matters and choose your perfect rug here.

Rug Types: Materials and Construction

The main types of rug construction include various methods of creating rugs by hand and a general category for machine-made rugs.

  • Hand-knotted rugs are created by wrapping yarn around each warp thread and then knotting it – a labor-intensive technique that results in the longest lasting rug construction. A hand-knotted rug can be folded in both directions, rather than rolled, and is unlikely to shed. In general, a higher knot count corresponds to a heavier rug and higher quality.
  • Hand-tufted rugs, which often have a higher pile height than hand-knotted rugs, are made by pulling individual yarns through the rug’s backing material and then cutting the loops to create a smooth, cut-pile surface. A backing material (usually canvas) is glued to the back of the rug to hold the yarn in place.
  • Hand-hooked rugs are created with a process similar to hand-tufted rugs, except that the loops of yarn are left uncut. The process takes slightly less time than hand tufting. Hand-hooked rugs also have a fabric applied to the back of the rug with adhesive.
  • Handwoven rugs are created from plush, twisted, and slightly felted yarns in materials like wool or polyester. A team of weavers works together to shoot the yarns across a vertical loom with a steel rod. The result is a luxuriously deep pile rug.

Other specialty rugs can also be handcrafted. Examples of these types of rugs include custom pieced cowhide rugs, which are long-lasting, authentic and unique enough to draw attention to its construction.

Machine-made rugs have been loomed on large machines that weave spindles of fiber into a thin mesh backing, which is then backed with a coarse latex coating. Machines enable rug manufacturers to create some of the most unique patterns and effects. They also are able to feature beautiful, vibrant colors that are able to be showcased due to the technology in the machines. These types of rugs are manufactured from a range of materials, including wool, jute, and synthetic materials for long-lasting wear. However, the pile may be low and may crush more easily. Machine-made rugs include power-loomed rugs with intricate patterns, at a moderate price point. Occasionally, more modestly priced rugs may begin to show wear earlier or may tend to curl up at the edges due to the weaving technique.

Why Rug Construction Matters in the Big Picture

What if you like a type of rug because the colors are right, and the size works well? Or what if you’re swimming in options and have to choose one? This is why rug construction matters. A rug's construction and materials affect more than longevity, although that’s certainly important – it also affects how the rug looks and feels, as well as the overall quality of the rug. A rug that requires a long time to construct by hand, like a hand-knotted rug with a high knot count, will be one of the most luxurious and valuable.

Whatever the rug’s construction or material, it’s generally a good idea to choose a rug pad sized to accompany it to protect your rug, your feet, and your floors. Rug pads provide a boost of extra cushioning underfoot and increase safety by decreasing the chances of a rug slipping. Rug pads also enhance the lifespan of your rugs, by enhancing air circulation to keep mold and mildew at bay. And although a high-quality rug also has a protective rug backing, a rug pad further protects your floors from scratches and dyes.

Bassett Furniture’s rug collection includes the finest quality examples from a range of rug construction and material types. Whether your room could use a patterned rug or a solid rug, shop Bassett Furniture’s rug gallery for the rug that will enhance or define your room’s style. 

Shop All Rugs
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