How to Judge Rug Quality

Surya Rug

What truly makes a quality rug? The design, the materials, the weight, and the size are all just parts of what goes in to the finished product.  With so many types and styles of mass-produced rugs, it is often difficult to tell what makes a quality rug.

  • Man-Made vs. Machine-Made. There is one feature more than others than can drive up cost, man-made or machine made. When a rug is man-made, whether hand-knotted, tufted, or simply hand dyed, the price will be higher than a machine-made rug.  Usually you will also get the details that give a rug its “true” character.
  • Print. These rugs are considerably less expensive and only feature a pattern printed on top of the threads.  Meaning, the design was not woven or knotted on the back of the rug.
  • Woven Rugs. Rugs that are woven will show greater depth of color and by simply flipping an edge of the rug over you will be able to tell if the pattern is visible on the back of a rug. In hand woven rugs, a term often used is “knots per square inch or square foot.”  The more knots, the higher the price.  Usually, the more points of yarn used, the higher the price will be.
  • Pattern Design. Intricate patterns are a sign that more threads were used per inch in a rug, which is a great sign that the rug is quality and will withstand wear and tear.  Less expensive rugs may use denser threads to appear fuller, but in actuality have less threads per square inch.
  • Weight. Weight is important for several reasons.  The first is from a materials standpoint.  The more dense the rug pile, or how closely the yarns fit side by side on a rug, the more the rug weighs.  So whether using silk, wool, bamboo, or a synthetic, more weight means higher cost. Weight also is important to consider if your rug is a custom order or is being shipped directly from a rug market.  The rising costs of shipping have added an extra charge to the larger and heavier rugs.
  • Wool Mark or Fern Label. One of the highest signs of quality and craftsmanship for wool rugs are the Wool mark and Fern label.  If you see these, it means that your rug contains the Wool Bureau’s minimum amount of wool (min.900grams/sq. meter of surface yarn) and has the highest levels of international quality and craftsmanship.

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