The phone rings on a Monday morning at the shop and it’s someone asking if we can get a specific stain or smell out of their rug. It’s normal and happens all the time, and our first response is always the same “what type of rug do you have?” It helps a true rug cleaner to know the foundation type of a rug an owner has, to be able to steer them in the proper direction for cleaning.
Most rug owners aren’t exactly sure what type of rug they own and it’s perfectly understandable. When someone is looking at purchasing a rug, a lot of times the sales person doesn’t know what type of rug it is either. After spending time with many of our customers I typically get the same response, “We wish you were with us when we were picking out our rug so we know what we own!”
With this in mind, I thought it would be beneficial to all involved to go over a few things to look for in determining the foundation, or type, of rug you own. There really are only a handful of foundation types that we typically see here in North Carolina and they are: hand knotted, hand woven, tufted and synthetic.
Yes, there are others but these are the “norm” with most of our customers. We’ll break it down and you’ll see how easy it is to know what you have. Let’s look at the tufted rug first. Most true rug cleaners will gain more knowledge looking at the back of a rug than the front. So what we tell most people on the phone is to turn one corner of your rug over so you can see the top of the rug and the back at the same time. With a tufted rug, you will not see the same pattern on the back as you will the front. What you will see is a tan or grey “canvas” backing. This is attached to the face of your rug by a layer of latex glue. So it can’t be cleaned the same way as a hand knotted or synthetic rug.
Ok, that was easy enough, but what about the synthetic rug. If you flip a corner over and this time you can see the same print as the top without a fringe, it is almost always a synthetic rug. Another give away is scratching the back of the rug. If you scratch it and it sounds like your scratching plastic, that is a synthetic rug.
Hand knotted and woven are basically the same, you see the same print on the back as the front. Also, it typically has a fringe (tho not always) and when you scratch the back it sounds like your scratching a piece of cloth.
Again, these are just some of the basics in determining your rug foundation type. If you have further questions, please feel free to call us!