How to Pick the Right Material for Your New Rugs

How to Pick the Right Material for Your New Rugs

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Rugs are pricey. I love the way the look, but I hate they way they make my wallet feel. It’s one of those items that I feel like shouldn’t cost as much as they do. So, when I am buying a new rug, I like to make triple sure I’m making the right choice.

There are a lot of different materials that rugs are made of, and you should pay attention to them when you’re purchasing a new rug. Not all materials hold up to traffic, water, or stains as well as others. So it’s important to consider both the type of material you’re considering and the location you’ll be using the rug in when you’re shopping.

If you’re thinking about replacing your rugs soon, here’s what you should know about the different materials you have to choose from and how to take care of them so they’ll last longer.

1. Wool

Natural wool ages gracefully, continually renewing itself and developing a rich patina as years pass. While synthetic fibers will become scratched, scarred, and dull over time, wool carpets and rugs remain vibrant to the eye and supple to the touch, especially if you use proper stain removing techniques for your wool rug.

Wool carpets and rugs also provide peace of mind and body by being fire safe and absorbing contaminants in the air, improving the indoor air quality and helping you breathe easier.

2. Sisal

A favorite of interior designers, sisal originates in Central and South America, and is derived from the leaves of agave plants such as sisalana and henequen. It is the strongest and hardest wearing and is ideal for high traffic areas in both residential and commercial applications.
In its natural state, sisal is a creamy white, but readily accepts dye, and is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Sisal wears well, is easy to maintain with a vacuum cleaner, and hides dirt.

3. Seagrass

Seagrass is a durable, economical plant fiber derived from tropical grasses. It is only available in its natural color, which has an organic, green cast which will become less green over time. When woven into rug materials, a rich texture is created, which will often have more variations than seen in other natural fiber flooring materials. Seagrass is great for large spaces, and is one of the most stain resistant fibers.

4. Jute

Jute is a plant fiber, harvested from the stalk of the jute plant, which is native to India and Bangladesh. The natural color of jute is our Light Cocoa, and over time, bleached or dyed colors will gradually shift closer to this color. Jute has the appearance of wool, but not the durability.

While jute is fine for rooms with light to moderate foot traffic, is not recommended for areas with direct moisture contact (such as bathrooms) and should not be installed on stairs. Jute is not recommended for areas where it is likely to become stained.

5. Coir

Coir is a beautiful, casual material, woven from coconut husk fibers, and is likely to have variation in the weave. Coir floor coverings are latex-backed, but should be placed over rug pads to protect the floor or carpet beneath. This fiber will dry quickly and is great both indoors and in protected outdoor areas, such as screen porches.

Coir is coarse, and is not recommended for areas where people walk frequently in bare feet. While it can withstand some moisture, coir will shrink slightly when it comes in contact with water.

6. Nylon

It is the most popular and represents two-thirds of the pile fibers used in the United States. Wear-resistant, resilient, withstands the weight and movement of furniture, and provides brilliant color. Ability to conceal and resist soils and stains. Generally good for all traffic areas. Solution-dyed nylon is colorfast because color is added in the fiber production.

7. Linen

Linen fibers are spun from the flax plant, which was one of the first plants to be domesticated by humans. Like jute, the fiber is found in the stalk of the plant. Linen yarns and fabrics are strong, durable, and resistant to abrasion, yet they are more lustrous, flexible, and pleasant to the touch than other rug fibers.

8. Cork

Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, a beech tree that is found in Western Mediterranean countries. Cork is a unique product that provides many natural benefits:

  • Insulation: Because 90% of cork’s tissue consists of gaseous matter, the density of cork is extremely low giving the material wonderful insulating properties, thermal as well as acoustical.
  • Resiliency: When cork is subjected to pressure, the gas is compressed and volume decreases considerably. When released from pressure, cork recovers very rapidly to its original shape, giving cork flooring a wonderful cushion underfoot feel.
  • Impermeability: The presence of Suberin, a natural waxy substance, renders cork impervious to both liquids and gases. As a result, it does not rot and therefore may be considered the best seal available.
  • Hypoallergenic: Cork does not absorb dust and consequently does not cause allergies.
  • Durability: Cork is remarkably resistant to wear, as it is less affected by impact and friction that other hard surfaces because of its cellular composition.
  • Fire Retardant: A natural fire retardant, cork does not spread flames and does not release toxic gases during combustion.

Hopefully this guide will help you to know whether or not that cute jute rug you’ve been eyeing is really a good idea for your bathroom remodel.