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Carpet and rug quality 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.


1 - The rug fits closely into your pre-determined size/shape optimum

2 - Rug/carpet color and pattern attributes produce desired visual effect, create desired atmosphere, or make your specific personal point

3 - Size/shape and color/pattern attributes combined make rug/carpet either dominant, or complementary, or passive decor element, according to your pre-determined goal


1 - Choose quality face fiber - it will determine your rug or carpet's basic performance: durability, wear and crush resistance. Wool and branded nylon are best choices. Importance of quality materials increases with the amount of traffic the rug is to withstand.

2 - Make sure that the face fiber density is at least average, or better. For tufted rugs, quality starts at about 8 tufts per inch (1/8 gauge). In terms of pile weight, it goes from low at about 20 ounces per yard to high at about 60 or more (keep in mind that the weight also depends on pile length, with longer pile having as much lower density). Woven rugs require less of face fiber weight, due to their tighter construction. Hand-knotted rugs are considered dense from about 300 knots per inch up.

Given fiber quality, higher density translates into better appearance retention and longer lasting rug/carpet. Also,

3 - With cut-pile rug or carpet, look for those with heat set twisted face yarns, such as frieze or textured plush, if your rug/carpet will be exposed to a significant foot traffic. This fiber treatment makes it stronger and more resilient.

4 - Check out if the rug has anti-static, soil, stain, microbial, or other treatments. Non-branded nylon w/o treatments may have poor soil, stain and fading resistance.

5 - Chose a rug/carpet with a quality synthetic backing over jute or cotton - it does better job and lasts longer.

6 - Try to get info on the rug/carpet VOC (volatile organic compounds) emission, for rugs especially if they contain adhesive latex mid-layer, or have been extensively chemically treated. A CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) Green or Green Plus Label, or other certification of that kind, indicates that it meets at least the basic safety standards in that respect.

7 - Get the spec's from the rug/carpet label; also, pay close attention to what the warranty says - it often times indicates the overall area rug quality. It should be for at least 5 years and, preferably, carpet/rug property-specific: wear, stain resistance, color or texture retention, etc.

8 - Chose synthetic rug pad - preferably foam rubber type - over jute, or other natural (moisture absorbing) materials. Avoid too thick/soft, or too thin/dense pads.

If the rug scores satisfactorily, or better, at each of these 8 points, it is a good buy in regard to its overall quality and practicality.

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...

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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