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Tufted rug or carpet

Tufting has become the most common rug and carpet construction form, due to its production efficiency and resulting lower price tag. Tufted rug and carpets are produced by pushing or punching yarn through the cloth foundation attached to a frame (the latter is called needle-punched). It is done either by a hand-tool, or by machine, nowadays usually computer controlled.

If hand-made, a pattern is drawn on the cloth foundation (also called "primary backing"). If made with computer aided machine, the pattern is woven out of computer's memory. The yarn is wrapped around the warp threads and hooked on the top side. It is secured from falling out by applying latex coating to the backside. A canvas backing is added to cover the latex, and give to rug/carpet more of a dimensional stability.

After that, the top loop pile may be sheared, to produce a flat lose-end pile surface, similar to that of hand-knotted area rugs. Alternately, the top yarn can be left in loops, for a loop-pile rug, or carpet. Or the two can be combined, with areas of loop and cut top pile creating textured patterns surface appearance.

Given fiber material, durability of a tufted rug or carpet's face depends on its fiber style. In general, loop-pile rugs and carpets are more durable than those with lose-end pile, with the exception of those frieze-constructed. Frieze fiber style has very tightly twisted fibers, with the individual pile often not pointing upward. The more tightly twisted the pile, the more durable carpet/rug face. That makes Saxony more durable than plush (velvet).

Also, short-pile rug/carpet is generally more durable than a long-pile one, given pile density. That makes shag rugs and carpets - which also have only a weak fiber twist - unsuitable for high-traffic areas. On the other hand, needle-punched rugs and carpets, with the face fiber and backing compressed into a thick, dense layer, will stand well intensive use.

Pile density is another important factor for any rug/carpet construction, but probably matters most with the cut-pile rugs. The lower density, the weaker pile, more vulnerable to wear and crushing. High density starts at about 8 tufts per inch. Density also can be indicated by a face pile weight, but keep in mind that pile length directly affects this figure. In terms of pile weight, pile density goes from low at about 20 ounces per yard, to high at about 60, or more.

While tufted rugs and carpets can be just as plush and full bodied as quality hand-knotted rugs, they require considerably less time to manufacture, which makes them more of a bargain - especially if made out of synthetic materials, as opposed to wool and silk commonly used for hand-knotted rugs. That is why over 90% of rugs and carpets on the market today belong to tufted varieties.

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...

Materials - 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...

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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