One of the beautiful things about rugs is that there are so many designs, materials, and styles from which to choose. But this wide array of options can lead consumers to buy rugs that they don’t end up enjoying over the long term. It’s easy to fall in love with a piece in a showroom and then discover that it doesn’t hold up well to use in the home. Hand tufted rugs, which have an interesting texture that can look and feel quite nice upon initial inspection, often fall into the disappointing category. Here are a few of the most common complaints about these lower quality rugs and how they differ from high quality woven rugs.
Doesn’t Hand Tufted Mean Good Quality?
The process of creating a tufted rug may be done by hand—using a hand-held power tool that pushes the fibers through a matrix to create the characteristic textured surface. However, this is a far cry from the meticulous, highly skilled labor that goes into hand knotting a real woven rug. If you look at the back of an authentic woven rug, you will see that the pattern is the same as the front. With a tufted rug, this is not the case. Instead, the back is coated with a latex adhesive to keep the rug in one piece. A canvas backing may also be added to further protect the rug and to keep the latex from messing up the floor as the adhesive disintegrates over time.
A Tufted Rug May Not Pass the Sniff Test
A hand knotted woven rug may begin to smell if it has gotten wet and grown mold or other microbes. Otherwise, it should not have a noticeable odor. However, a tufted rug may have an offensive stench even when it is brand new. This is typically due to the cheap latex materials used in the backing. Some of these rugs actually come with a warning label that they should be used in well-ventilated areas. Noxious fumes are something you shouldn’t have to worry about with a rug!
Tufted Rugs Are Not Made to Last
Tufted rugs tend to wear out fairly quickly—they certainly don’t stand up to decades of use like woven rugs can. As the adhesive wears out or becomes damaged by spills, the rug may begin to buckle and become discolored. Tufts of fiber may also come loose making the rug look uneven. Unfortunately, stains and damage on tufted rugs are not easy to fix. The overall cost of repairing or replacing tufted rugs can end up costing more than simply choosing a high quality woven rug.
Should You Ever Buy a Tufted Rug?
Of course it’s fine to purchase one of these rugs as long as you have realistic expectations. Look for a rug that doesn’t release a bunch of fibers when you rub your hand on it. The rug should not have a rubbery or offensive smell. Place the rug in a fairly low traffic area where it won’t suffer too much from foot traffic or spills. Finally, be prepared to enjoy your rug for as long as it lasts and then replace it when it wears out.