When deciding whether to use area rugs or wall to wall carpet you will want to understand the difference between Tufted Carpet vs. Woven Rugs

When you have decided that floor-covering is a must (whether you need a replacement, or new), you may choose between wall-to-wall, or with an area rug with bound edges. The tufted rugs usually last between 5 – 7 years. Woven rugs may last 20 – 30 years, but will cost much more.

There are styles of pile (the material that makes up each carpet). “Pile is sheared for "cut pile" or left intact for "loop pile". A combination is called "cut-and-loop pile." (http://www.marthastewart.com/271016/what-to-know-before-buying-carpet )

Pile heights are short velvet piles or longer plushes. The shorter pile is easier to care for when cleaning, but the plushes feel softer and more luxurious. Their individual labels will tell what material each carpet/rug is made of. In the United States, the majority of carpet-pile-materials are nylon, polyester, polypropylene (olefin), triexta and wool. Carpet and rugs are often priced per square yard. If you need a square-foot number, then divide the price by nine.

Sometimes the actual carpet/rug is a slightly different shade than what you would have delivered to your home. You may ask for a “roll cut sample” to take back home with you. Carpets/rugs made with sisal or jute have a tendency to fade, so the carpet at the store may be a slightly different color than what you receive.

Tufted Rugs

These rugs are made with three basic layers. The top layer is wool yarn, the middle is what the yarn is stitched through/to, and the bottom layer is added with adhesive.

The middle layer of Tufted rugs is made of synthetic or jute material, and the bottom layer is usually made of cotton, like a canvas. This bottom layer may contain specialized treatments for anti-static, anti-stain or anti-microbial. Many people comment that the rugs smell for a while, and this is caused by the adhesive used to bond the second and third layer together. One huge good thing about wool rugs is that they are very long-lasting if properly cared for.

Woven Rugs

Woven rugs are much different from the Tufted Wool Rugs. As I read through the information, I picture a Native-American-Indian hand-weaving a rug. The more dense the weave, the more sturdy the rug, and of course, it will increase the price of this rug because of the time involved in making them. The patterns created could also be numerous, or even infinite! The types of rugs created by this method are velvet, Wilton and Axminster.

These rugs should feel smooth across its top, and lay smooth without puckering. Karastan is a company which makes machine-woven rugs. There are many other “cheap rug knockoff rugs made with polypropylene or mercerized cotton (imitation silk)”. (http://www.steamsweepers.com/tufted-rug-vs-wool-rug )

Types of Rug Fibers

  • Wilton is one of the best woven rugs. “It is made on a jacquard loom and can have cut, loop, or cut-and-loop pile.” (http://www.marthastewart.com/271016/what-to-know-before-buying-carpet )
  • Sisal is made from the agave plant fibers from East Africa. There are actual plant-fiber carpets, and then there are fibers that imitate Sisal. It is very strong, but fades in sunlight and stains very easily.
  • Saxony has a soft twist or curl, and is often cut on an angle. It is not as textured as frieze, but still conceals marks, so is popular for families with children.
  • Velvet carpet fibers are short, uniform and dense. It will hold up well, but will easily show indentations.
  • Frieze is a cut-tile carpet with twisted yarns. Does not show footprints or vacuum marks, and is great for informal rooms.
  • Shag has yarns so long that the pile cannot stand up. Also great for informal rooms, although yarn pieces can get caught in vacuum cleaners
  • Axminster, nicknamed “pub carpet”, is a woven and cut pile that is used in restaurants and hotels. It is long-lasting and has many colors available.
  • Berber is a loop-pile carpet, and has no exposed tips. It is ideal for high-traffic areas.
  • Ribbed carpet may either be cut-and-loop carpet, or cut-yarn carpet. It may be trimmed to create designs, and may also have several colors. It is ideal for high-traffic areas.
  • Plush is cut to a smooth, level height and is soft to walk on. However, it easily makes indentations. It may be made of different types of fibers, which will determine its longevity.
  • Wool: strong, static-resistant, resilient, naturally stain-resistant, and flame-retardant. It’s the fiber that manufacturers strive for in all other fibers. Its only drawback is its price.
  • Silk is mostly produced in India, China and Turkey. It is soft and luxuriant, dyes better, and is longer-lasting than any other fiber. Because of its high price, it is often blended with wool.
  • Cotton carpets are now almost exclusively made in Belgium. It wears well and feels good to the touch. However, it attracts dust and dirt, so should be used in low-traffic areas.
  • Linen carpets are made in France and Belgium. It will help absorb humidity, but is expensive, and reveals wear-areas with age.
  • Jute is strong, as is silk, but stains easily by liquids and fades with sunlight.
  • Coir is made from the outside hairs of the coconut. It’s durable, wiry, and mildew-resistant. Great for doormats!
  • Sea Grass – obvious where this comes from! Has a greenish tint, is durable, but not absorbent. Costs less than sisal and jute.
  • Paper carpet is strong and absorbent, although you should wipe up spills quickly.
  • Polyester is soft, strong, looks like wool, has many colors, and is absorbent. However, it will pack down quickly in high-traffic areas.
  • Olefin is soft and sold in many colors. It is water- and stain-resistant, may be used outdoors, but the fibers will quickly crush.
  • Nylon is durable, resilient, stain-resistant, comes in many colors, and is one of the more expensive fibers. It has many colors, and is colorfast if it’s labeled as solution-dyed nylon. It is the most popular carpet used in America.
Different padding for your carpet/rugs may withstand different types of wear. Remember to ask your professional carpet person what will work best for the floor-covering you are purchasing. To install an area rug is easy – just lay the padding down, then place the rug on top of that. However, installing wall-to-wall carpeting can be trickier. Leave this to a professional installer. Your carpet specialist can tell you if your carpet choice will “seam well”.

Make sure to check how your carpet should be cleaned, and how often. Many will just need vacuumed once a week, or when heavy soil happens. But some carpet/rugs may need a vacuum without a rotating head.

You will occasionally need your carpet cleaned professionally. Most of the woven rugs will be cleaned with a total-water-immersion method, but not all. Some dyes may “bleed”, and also other rugs made after 1979 may have other issues. Tufted rugs should not be immersed in water, but must instead be cleaned only on the top, using an oriental foam shampoo. It is best to have a trained rug-cleaner inspect your rug before any cleaning starts.