Choosing the best type of rug for you

Now that you have determined the size of rug that you need, we can move forward and figure out what type of rug you need.   There are three major types of rugs available on the market today: hand-knotted, hand-tufted, and machine made.  Each rug type will have strengths and weaknesses in durability, cost, and value.

Hand-Knotted Oriental Rugs

Hand-knotted rugs are the finest of the three main types.  A hand-knotted rug is constructed the following way:

1) A loom is set up with cotton, wool, or silk strings running north and south (this is called “warp” and will also eventually become your fringe.)

2) Rows of knots, somewhat similar to what you tie your shoes with are tied onto the warp threads moving east/west.  There are different types of knots and the acceptable materials are either wool or silk. The different colors of the individual knot will eventually create the pattern of the rug.

3) Strings similar to he warp are run east to west inter-weaving with the warp (this is called weft.)

4) The process repeats until the pattern is complete.

The hand-knotted rug with often be slightly more in price than the other types. This is due to the cost of materials, and the shear amount of time it takes to complete a rug. An average quality 9x12 will take at least 6-9 months from design conception to woven completion.  Higher quality hand-knotted drugs can take years to complete. The hand-knotted rug is often value for your money in comparison to the other types. More skilled labor and artistic reference went into making the rug. Hand-knotted rugs are also the most durable of the three major types.  A hand-knotted rug will last on average 70 years, and if properly maintained will last over 120 years! The most common forms of damage can be repaired (note: this is not always cheap depending upon the repair work being done.)  And the real kicker- hand-knotted rugs increase in value with use and age!


You can see why we are able to offer a lifetime 100% Trade-In-Policy on our hand-knotted pieces.  They last a lifetime, and they actually get better with age.  They look better, feel better, and increase in value.

Tufted Rugs

Tufted pieces are often referred to as “hand-made” but are not hand-knotted rugs. These pieces are still an amazing value, but have a completely different value set than hand-knotted or machine-made rugs. A tufted rug is usually made by hand, but is created without tying any knots onto a foundation. Instead, a tufting gun is used to push wool or acrylic yarn through a canvass backing. Latex glue is then applied to hold the tufts in place. A final cloth backing is then applied to cover up the backing and to protect your floor.

Because there is no knot being tied, and a tufting gun is used, this method is much less time consuming than knotting a rug. This shorter production time keeps prices low. To a tufted rug’s credit, it still takes a high level of skill and craftsmanship to efficiently and accurately portray intricate designs.

As with all rugs, there are many varying grades of tufted pieces. Your highest grade tufted rugs will be extremely durable and will last decades. They are easy to maintain, but major damage is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to restore. Lower grade tufted rugs tend to shed the pile fiber and can suffer delamination (the glue or latex in the backing deteriorates) which will significantly shorten the life span of the rug. Lexington Oriental Rugs is very discerning when deciding which tufted rugs to offer to our clients. We only carry the highest grade hand-tufted rugs that conform to our Lifetime 100% Trade-In Policy.

Machine Made Rugs

The third main type of rug is machine-made. These are the least expensive, are the fastest to make, and are often essentially replaceable.

There are multiple processes for machine made rugs. The highest grade machine made rugs are “woven” by machine. Individual fibers are wrapped around foundation threads and pressed together. The finished selvedge and false fringes hold the foundation and pile in place. High-grade materials such as New Zealand wool are often used. These rugs can be extremely durable and will often be hard to discern from hand-knotted rugs. The biggest concern for this type of rug is the ability to be repaired. If damage such as cuts or tears occur, full restoration is often not possible.

The lower grade machine made rugs are constructed a machine that injects yarn through a plastic screen. Rugs may also be “heat set” to keep pile materials in place. The materials are often not wool, but are instead synthetic fibers. There is usually no backing on the rug. These rugs can take a matter of hours to complete, and are very affordable, but the value is very low. They often do not last more than 1-2 years and cannot be repaired. Cleaning is determined by the type of rug and materials used.