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FAQ - Oriental Rugs - Coral Gables Florida

Frequent and general questions on Oriental Rugs:

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Question: Natural vs. Synthetic Dyes

Answer: Dyes made from natural substances such as roots, vegetables or fruits have been used in Oriental rugs for virtually thousands of years, or they were until about World War Two. By that time, synthetic dyes had almost entirely taken the place of natural dyes. Starting in about 1980, natural dyes again began to be used in the more traditional and/or antique reproduction collections of rugs. Today both natural and synthetic dyes are used in Oriental rugs. A general rule is to use synthetic dyes in more sophisticated "City" designs where the color needs to stay constant whereas in more rustic designs or "village" pieces the use of vegetable dyes can actually add character to the general look of any given rug.
Question: What is a Kilim?

Answer: A Kilim is a flat-woven Oriental rug, made much like Navajo rugs, without pile. They don’t last as long in floor-use as a knotted carpet—perhaps an average of about 35 years—nor do they cost as much. Many collectors value kilims because often they retain the oldest and most traditional designs and colors.
Question: What kind of a rug is a Gabbeh?

Answer: Gabbeh means unclipped, the term is used to refer to long pile tribal and village rugs. Often times weavers would weave fine tribal rugs for sale and long pile coarser rugs for their own use. Typically the design is less commercial and the pile is longer. Knot counts tend to be low. They seem to have gotten commercially popular in the 1980s the oldest of the commercial varieties were simple geometric shapes in un-dyed wool. Gabbeh rugs generally lend themselves well to the minimalistic modern look of today’s interiors and the soft gradation of colors that is often found in many pieces is once more popular amongst interior designers.
Question: How long does it take to make a rug?

Answer: Completion time for a rug depends on the finesse of the knots as well as the degree of complexity of any given design. As an example, a 9'x12' Persian rug that has 500 knots per square inch would take 3-4 artisans working about 6-8 months to complete! More minimalistic and modern designs can now be completed in about 4-5 months.
Question: How do I give my rug a major cleaning?

Answer: Most rugs will not need major cleaning for at least 5-10 years. Do not use harsh chemicals or cleaners on the rugs as the chemicals may react with the dyes and the natural PH of the natural wool. This is especially important for natural dye rugs. Although most clients will prefer to come back to us and have us arrange the pickup, cleaning and installation of their rugs but if you feel adventurous enough you could probably do it yourself!! A quality hand-knotted Oriental rug can be washed in your own driveway with regular soap. Using very little soap (regular clothes detergent, hair shampoo, etc.), scrub down the rug with your fingers or feet and hose it down with water. Rinse very thoroughly as soap that is left in the carpet makes a very stiff pile. Squeeze the pile with your hands or with the side of a dustpan to remove excess water. Before washing, take note of the direction your rug pile is laying. After washing, with your hand, brush the pile down in the direction it was laying before it was washed. The rug needs to be dried on a flat surface. Once the rug is dry, with your hands or with a vacuum cleaner, raise the pile by stroking/sweeping in the opposite direction. Our staff has also found a home-use carpet steam cleaner to work very nicely, using the approved cleaner soap.
Question: What determines the price of a rug?

Answer: In today’s market the cost of a given rug is based as much on the desirability of the design and the relevance of its colors as it is on the labor involved and the raw materials used in it. Although more traditional patterns generally offer higher complexity and detail of design, some of the finer modern rugs with more minimalist patterns, high number of knots per square inch as well as high percentages of silk, linen or hemp are now highly in demand and bear higher prices.
Question: What are the differences between “hand-knotted” rugs, “hand-made” rugs, “tufted” rugs, “machine-made” rugs and “wall-to-wall” carpeting?

Answer: Hand-knotted rugs, be it contemporary design or more traditional type, are the only true Oriental rugs. Industry standards insist that for a product to be labeled as "hand-knotted" it must actually be knotted by hand. Many other rugs are labeled and advertised as "hand-made" or "hand-tufted", including hooked and needlepoint rugs. "Tufted" rugs can be made by hand or machine. The pile yarns are punched into a fabric (usually cotton), the face pile is clipped and a cotton material covers the back of the tufted rug. "Machine-made" rugs, as the name suggests, are made by machine - not by hand. "Wall-to-wall" carpeting is not as durable as a hand-knotted rug, because its backing is glued to the foundation; knotting does not occur.
Question: Should I accept noticeable “flaws” in a hand-made rug?

Answer: As with any other hand-made item, hand-knotted rugs are sometimes less than precise and this may add to their appeal. However, what may be a tolerable imperfection to one person may be unacceptable to another. For example, one rug may have crooked edges, white knots or contain areas of abrash. These conditions are not necessarily "flaws", and what may be considered a flaw in one type of rug may be considered characteristic of a different type of rug. Only you can determine whether a rug will be suitable in your home, given any minor imperfections that may exist.
Question: What are those bands of uneven color in my rustic oriental rug?

Answer: A change in color in the field and/or border of your rug is called "abrash" and is due to differences in wool or dye batches used in the weaving of your rug. The color change extends across the rug, left to right, following a weft yarn. Rather than view abrash as a rug flaw, many rug admirers value this condition as an artful hallmark of a hand-woven rug. Many machine-made rugs are now emulating this abrash effect to give the appearance of a hand-made rug.
Question: Why are the fringes of my Oriental rug falling apart?

Answer: Owners of hand-knotted Oriental rugs often ask why the fringes of their rugs begin to easily pull away. Most often, this occurs due to normal foot traffic and vacuuming. The fringes on hand-knotted rugs are an extension of the foundation warp yarns of the rug. Because the fringes lie directly on the floor they are not protected from foot impact and abrasion like the pile of the rug. Also, a common practice with many modern Oriental rugs is the "chemical washing" of the rug after weaving is completed. The rugs are saturated with a chlorine bleach solution to mute the colors and/or give the wool a shiny appearance. The rug is then rinsed with an acid solution to prevent yellowing. This procedure is repeated several time until the desired effect is achieved. This process does some limited damage to the wool pile but has a harsher effect on the fringe, actually weakening the fiber. This pre-existing fringe damage is often not noticed until after the rug has been cleaned and pieces of fringe are noticeably absent. Prior to cleaning, a build-up of soils can act like an adhesive to hold broken pieces of the fringe in place until the cleaning process removes the sticky soil residue. The small, broken fibers are then free to slide apart and the fringe sheds rapidly. If you gently tug on the fringes of your rug before cleaning, you may find the fiber comes apart easily. At this point the only remedy is to replace the weakened fringe fiber by weaving in new, untreated and undamaged fringe yarn. When you have a rug repair concern, call us for a free repair evaluation.
Question: Is my rug vulnerable to sun fading?

Answer: Almost every interior textile will lighten in color or "fade" over a period of time. The extent of damage depends on the item's location, exposure to light and elements, color, intensity, type of dyes and the dyeing method used. The sun (and other sources of light and fumes) may fade the colors of your specialty rug, especially if the rug is placed in an intensely bright location. To minimize this problem, prevent prolonged exposure to intense sunlight by keeping the windows covered or treating them with a protective coating that filters out the ultra-violet (UV) rays of sunlight. You may also wish to simply rotate your rug every three months.
Question: How do Oriental rugs get their name?

Answer: The names of Oriental rugs are often difficult to pronounce and confusing to many. They conjure up images of faraway lands and exotic locales such as Sarouk, Kashan, Kerman, Bokhara, Peking, Samarkand, Heriz and Tabriz. The names originally referred to the cities, villages or nomadic tribe which specialized in a specific rug weave, pattern or quality. But using the cities to identify specific rug styles is no longer a rule of thumb since many patterns are now woven in cities - and countries - other than their origin. The names are now more useful in describing a pattern than discovering the area where the rug was made. Today, many rug names include a prefix that identifies their country of origin. For example, the rug name "Indo-Kashan" describes a rug with a Kashan design made in India, whereas a "Sino-Tabriz" is a Tabriz design made in China
Question: Why does my Oriental or specialty rug look different from one end to the other?

Answer: Each rug has a "light" side and a "dark" side, depending on whether one looks into the nap or with the nap. The color intensity you see from one end of the rug may be vastly different from what you see on the opposite end. This results from the weaving process as each knot is hand-tied and pulled down. This creates the nap of the rug with all of the fibers laying in the same direction. Once you have your rug in your home, examine it closely from both ends, since you may wish to turn it 180-degrees to ensure the best possible effect.

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