Hand Made VS Machine Made Rugs
Although the term Oriental rug gets thrown around pretty liberally, aficionados will tell you that an area rug needs to be handmade to truly qualify for the title of a genuine “Oriental rug”. A machine-made rug simply cannot add the same type of precision and detail that a skilled rug weaver can.
Unfortunately, many carpeting stores and retailers will oftentimes call all of the Oriental rugs they have on display for sale as “Oriental rugs”, without differentiating between their hand-made and their machine-made models. Even more disturbing, many employees are not even aware of which rugs have been handmade and which are machine-made, as they do not have any specialty oriental rug studies. Their ignorance might come from a lack of passion for the beautiful and unique oriental rugs, which is certainly not the case with the H&S Rug Cleaning and Restoration team who is truly passionate about these gorgeous works of art.
Is there a way of knowing for a fact that the rug you are about to put a lot of money in is, in fact, a genuine and original hand-made oriental rug? Definitely. Here are some tips and guidelines that should help you get a deeper understanding of the two different types of rugs.
Hand-Made Rugs VS Hand-Knotted Rugs VS Machine-Made Rugs
To the untrained eye of a regular rug owner interested to make the distinction between a hand-made oriental rug, a hand-knotted model, and a machine-made one, the process might seem impossible. However, having some knowledge in the field could help you make better inspired shopping choices next time you are in the market for a new rug. It could also help you limit any potential damage to your rugs because of using improper cleaning products and techniques.
How to Recognize Hand-Knotted Rugs
These rugs are made on looms with a particular design and they are manually knotted and they are normally made of cotton, silk, wool, jute, and other natural types of fabrics. The procedure is a form of art originating in ancient times. The loom’s dimensions will depend on the actual desired size of the rug, while the weaving is executed starting from the bottom and working the way to the top. The weaver puts the knots inside the foundation and manually tied them, thus creating the so-called pile. The procedure itself is very time-consuming and requires a lot of attention to detail and patience. At times, silk is added in the making of a wool rug in order to beautifully accentuate the patterns.
A hand-knotted 12′ by 15′ rug can be manufactured in a few weeks, months, up to a year for a high-quality rug that is covered in complex intricate patterns and designs. This would explain their larger price tags, and the need to only work with professional rug cleaners who will not risk damaging such precious and valuable rugs. Maintained properly, a hand-knotted rug can stay in the family for many generations and it can also make for an excellent collectible piece for rug lovers.
How to Recognize Hand-Woven Rugs
Flat-woven rugs are a distinct category of hand made rugs and they are rugs are basically rugs that have been woven by hand in flat weave patterns. The pile is missing and the rugs does not have an actual height to it. Some of the most popular types of hand-woven rugs are kilim, Dhurrie, and Soumak, as well as braided rugs. Keep in mind these rugs will almost always require the addition of a rug pad beneath to keep the rug in place and offer some extra cushion.
Machine Made Rugs
These rugs are manufactured with the help of power looms that are electrical and fully automated rug manufacturing machines that are managed using computers. This means the necessary time for completing such a rug is considerably shorter compared to the making of a hand-made rug. These rugs are usually made from synthetic fibers including nylon, polypropylene, art silk, polyester, or acrylic. Wool is sometimes added to them as well.
They are more affordable compared to the original hand-made or hand-knotted options and their lifespan usually expands for around two decades, but no more than that. It all depends on the type of fibers and materials used in their making and their quality. High-quality machine-made rugs made from wool will usually last for a few decades with the right kind of maintenance. However, most of these rugs will not be able to withstand centuries like the case of some antique hand-made rugs made by traditional weavers in different parts of the world.
This means a machine-made rug will not usually be of much interest for a passionate oriental rug collector. While Karastan rugs are quality machine-made in the United States for a few dozens of years, not all machine-made carpets have similar designs and top quality.
How to Recognize Hand-Tufted Rugs
These models of rugs also belong to the same category of hand-made rugs and they are manufactured with the help of special tools that resemble drill guns used to place the pile inside foundations made of cloth. This will help create the loop pile. When sheared, the loop pile will turn into a cut pile. When the loop pile is not sheared, the resulting rug will be a hand-hooked one.
There are also some rugs that feature both the cut pile and the loop mixed together, in order to trigger a special dimensional effect. The tufts are held in place by applying a latex coating to the rug’s back, followed by the application of canvas over this coating made from latex.
While hand-tufted rugs might have beautiful aesthetics that might create the impression of expensive rugs, in reality, since they are created with the help of special drill guns, the manufacturing time is significantly shorter. For example, a hand-tufter rug could be finished in no more than a day, while a hand-knotted model with the same size could require up to 14 months to finish. This will automatically lower their price.
Hand-tufted rugs are of no real value for collectors or people interested in buying these rugs as an investment in their homes.
Quick Ways to Differentiate Between Hand-Made VS Machine-Made Rugs
A hand-knotted rug will have uneven knots and weaving, whereas a machine-made rug will have a particularly perfect, even look. Also, the fringes on a machine-made rug are normally sewn on the rug and used as finishing touches, whereas fringes on a hand-knotted rug are an actual extension of the foundation.