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Rug and carpet fiber properties

Nearly all of materials used for rug and carpet construction are in their face-fiber and backing. It is usually the face-fiber material that gets most of attention and consideration. This is because the rug/carpet fiber forming its face is most exposed, both, visually and physically. Hence it is the main determinant of appearance quality and retention.

However, quality of backing materials, including the latex layer - if present - directly influences how long and well a rug will serve.

Same goes for area rug padding - not an inherent part of a rug, but definitely a highly recommended one.

Rug and carpet face-fiber can be natural or synthetic. Synthetic fibers are used by far most often, in particular nylon, followed by olefin (polypropylene), propylene and acrylic. Main reason for it is in their generally good physical properties, combined with their lower cost and availability.

Among natural face-fibers used in area rug construction, wool is the preferred choice, followed by sisal, jute, hemp, seagrass and bamboo. Main reason for the wool not being used more often is in its higher price. The rest of natural fibers have limitations related either to some of their physical properties, or availability.

Carpets are almost always made of synthetic fibers.

In general, the difference between natural and synthetic fiber is that the former are more moisture absorbent and more chemically and pest sensitive but, on the other hand, better fire retardants and insulators. In practical terms, synthetics require less care and maintenance.

Rug/carpet backing doesn't need to meet as high quality demands as its face fibers. Still, quality of its structure and materials, including the latex layer, determines how long a rug, or carpet, will stay flexible and functional, with its shape, face-fiber count and uniformity preserved.

Finally, rug/carpet pad of optimum material and thickness is needed to protect area rug from the consequences of its use, as well as from interactions with flooring and the micro-environment it is exposed to. Padding materials include felt, rubberized felt, foam rubber, sponge rubber and urethane, prime or bonded.

Carpet and rugs terminology - This sounds like a school class - but this is the one you don't want to miss. An educated buying decision translates into a buying success, and that is your goal. Certainly, understanding carpet and rug terminology is something you need for enjoyable, successful shopping.  And it is not as simple as it may seem at first...

Construction - Simply put, rug or carpet construction is a particular way of putting it together. Whether produced by hand, or by machine, they are made in a certain way. This includes all that is done to come up with a finished product: from tufting or weaving the yarn to dyeing and applying chemical or other treatments...

Environmental effect - Most materials, natural or synthetic, have some environmental impact, and those used for carpets and rugs are no exception. Health hazard comes mainly from rug and carpet being outgassing potentially toxic fumes, as well as from rug and carpet mold (mildew) infestation...

Label and warranty - Rug/carpet label and its warranty can give important information and indications in regard to its quality level. Getting familiar with their contents is time well spent. Here's what you should look for...

Area rug size and shape - In somewhat different ways, area rug size and shape have both, functional and aesthetic aspect. At first, one would say that area rug's size is pretty much determined by dimensions of the space it is intended to. In reality, the decision on how large area rug will be, and whether it is to be square, round or of some other shape, should come after careful consideration of not only room's size and geometry, but also typical traffic patterns, form and arrangement of other objects and decor elements present, as well as the intended use of the room, or space...

Colors and Patterns - Color of your rug, or carpet, creates certain visual effect, emotion, and an atmosphere. Individual perceptions vary, but most of us will be affected similarly. Here's a brief overview of what are out typical responses to colors and patterns. It may help you decide what rug color and pattern type is best for your room...

Design style - Possible variations in the visual characteristics of the rug/carpet face - its design - are literally countless. They come from visual rug/carpet attributes created by both, fiber coloration, and its dimensional appearance. Luckily, all this immense variety is being channeled, fairly efficiently, into a few main classifications...

Carpet and rug buying checklist - The two main aspects of every rug or carpet are (1) its aesthetics and (2) practicality. Once you find the one that has the right looks, the next step is to check out how appropriate are its materials and construction type to its intended use. In other words, what is its quality level. The following checklist will help you figure that out...

Rug and carpet care tips - From the moment a new rug or carpet enters your home, certain steps and procedures should be followed to ensure its functionality and appearance retention. They are related to placement and installation, as well as carpet or rug care and maintenance. Here are the main pointers.

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