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Choosing the Best Material for Your Rug

"What type of material should you choose for your rug?"

This is one of the first questions that you should ask yourself when looking for a rug for your home or office. The look, feel, and performance of any area rug is generally dependent on the materials used for its construction. Every fabric and fiber has its own distinctive advantages and it is important to pick the material that fits your needs. Will the rug be in a high traffic area? Will it be underneath furniture? Do you have kids or pets that will live in the area where the rug is placed? These are all important factors to consider when choosing an area rug.

Acrylic

Acrylic is a man made substance, similar in appearance and feel to wool. A plastic fiber made from acrylonitrile, acrylic became a substitute for wool in a number of carpets after the 1950's. Acrylic rugs have some advantages. It is typically less expensive than wool, resistant to mold and mildew, easy to die with bright colors, fast drying, and fairly stain resistant. Acrylic Rugs do tend to wear out more quickly so it may not be the best choice if you want to put your rug in a high traffic area.

Chenille

Chenille is a tufted velvety cord or yarn. Chenille yarn is quite thick, soft, and fuzzy. Chenille area rugs are known for their softness and the range of colors that the fabric yields. However, because of its softness and gentleness, Chenille fabric is not typically recommended for high-traffic areas.

Cotton

Taken right from the cotton plant, this natural fiber is both soft and strong. Cotton area rugs can easily absorb a variety of dyes, allowing for many color options and designs. The fabric also makes a great backing material, helping the rug keep its shape and lie flat against the floor. Cotton rugs are typically easy to clean, machine-washable, and biodegradable. However, Cotton rugs have been known to attract dust more easily and are best used for lower traffic areas.

Leather Rug

Leather

Leather Rugs come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, whether cowhide or suede. Leather rugs are typically very durable, easy to clean, and durable - they are great for high traffic areas.

Nylon

Nylon rugs are known for their durability and range of use. Most Rugs capable of being used outside are nylon based rugs. The fabrics are able to stand up to a lot of wear and tear, meaning the nylon rugs are great for High Traffic areas and for use as accent decor under furniture. Furthermore, Nylon Rugs are typically quite easy to clean.

Olefin

Olefin is the most stain and fain resistant material available. It won't shed and will not fade, and is typically very easy to clean. Olefin is a petroleum byproduct and is dyed while in the liquid state, meaning the color won't run or fade.

Polyester

Polyester fiber produces some of the most beautiful colorations available, and it is extremely fade and stain resistant. However, it is not the most resilient material and is better suited to lower traffic area.

Polypropylene

Polypropylene is the most stain and fain resistant material available. It won't shed and will not fade, and is typically very easy to clean. Polypropylene is a petroleum byproduct and is dyed while in the liquid state, meaning the color won't run or fade.

Rayon

Rayon has a silky appearance and feel, and also has the ability to breath in a manner similar to cotton. While Rayon has a pleasing feel and breathes like cotton, one of the big disadvantages is that it will wrinkle more easily than other fabrics, meaning that more maintenance is required.

Silk

A natural protein fiber, silk is often blended with other rug fabrics to produce a distinctive softness and sheen. The fiber's unique structure refracts light at different angles, giving it its shimmering appearance. Because silk is created from harvested larvae cocoons of silkworms, the production process can be tricky and time-consuming. Silk Rugs are known for their softness as well as their strong and distinctive sheens. However, silk is a more difficult fabric to clean, and has been known to show footprints a little more easily than other fabrics.

Synthetic

Synthetic fabric is fabric that is man made. In area rugs, these materials are often used to mimic the characteristics of natural fibers. For example, polypropylene is often used an inexpensive, but comparably soft substitute for wool. Synthetic fibers are typically strong, stain resistant, and great for high traffic areas.

Viscose

Viscose has a silky appearance and feel, and also has the ability to breathe in a manner similar to cotton. While Viscose has a pleasing feel and breathes like cotton, one of the big disadvantages is that it will wrinkle more easily than other fabrics, meaning that more maintenance is required.

Wool

Produced from the fleece of sheep, wool is a natural fiber that is highly regarded for its strength, durability and luxurious softness. Wool fabric, knitwear and rugs are made from a wide range of wool types. This means that wool gives designers endless potential for their creations - from delicate fabrics to rugged outdoor wear. Different sheep breeds, each with their own unique fiber characteristics provide manufacturers with different wools for an even wider range of products. Blending various wool types in different ways adds further to wool's versatility. Higher-quality wools tend to come from New Zealand or Tibet, where sheep produce high levels of lanolin, a natural substance that enhances the fiber's strength and texture. This fiber sets itself apart from other fibers with it's resistance to moisture and dirt, making it a great choice for families and clumsy individuals. Other perks associated with wool are it's fire resistance, static resistance and ability to insulate against noise. While the fabric is easily dyed and known for holding up well against wear, color have been known to fade on wool rugs at a faster rate than other fibers.

Natural Grass Fibers

Jute, sisal and coir are common examples of natural grass fibers used in area rugs. Extracted from their respective plants, these fibers are generally flat-woven to produce extremely strong, durable rugs. And, since the fibers are processed without the addition of harsh chemicals, the production of these rugs is also environmentally friendly. Natural Fibers are very strong and durabl.


Other Notes:

  • • Coir is a Natural Fiber
  • • Exellan is a type of Polypropelene
  • • Favriel & Fleece are also considered a type of wool or cotton carpet
  • • Modacrylic is another type of acrylic.
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