Technical Terms for rugs from A-Z
Surely you have different outfits for different occasions, like for festivities or for your free time, but also for different seasons like winter and summer. The selection of rugs is similar to these selection criteria of clothes. The better you know your requirments, like where you want to place the rug, how much will it be used, is it more functional or more decorative, the more you will be able to choose the right rug with the right criteria. Not every material is suitable for every type of usage: Some rugs are not adapted to humidity whereas others are very sensitive and should not be used for nurseries, for example.
Especially for this reason, we created this small glossary of materials to help you find the right rug. If you do have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our customer support team. If you need help with the maintanance, have a look at our category care instructions.
Natural fibres are divided in two categories, those of animal provenance and those of herbal provenance. While silk, new wool and leather rugs are of animal provenance, rugs made of cotton, jute, sisal and hemp are of herbal provenance. Viscose is in a special category since it is of herbal provenance but is produced synthetically.
Rugs made of natural fibres have become very popular, especially since critical consumers are agitating for environmental auditing. In a time where recources are running short, renewable resources are getting more important and which is the reason why natural fibres are so popular, they are not only available naturally, but can also be recycled. This results in a combination of modern design with sustainable resources.
Wool is still the most important yarn in the production of rugs and is used in almost every range. One differentiates between new wool that is exstracted from living sheep and of a higher quality, and tanner´s wool that is exstracted from dead sheep and is of lower quality. Even where an animal lived, tells something about the quality of wool. Highlands wool extracted from animals that live in the mountains is, for example, particularly resistant and of high quality.
The advantage of lowland wool is the good proportion of softness and the economic and fair cattle breeding. It so comes that the major part of lowland wool is from New Zealand where the animals graze on green plains and hills in a unique climate of an island.
Wool rugs are of timeless vogue because of their positive attributes. Not only because they create a warm and comfortable atmosphere, they are also tough and flame-retardant. Thanks to the natural grease of sheep wool, rugs made of this material are insensitive to dirt and water and work antistatically, so that they do not tighten dust as some artificial fibers do.
Since wool fibres can be stretched up to 30 per cent of their fiber length and are able to contract again, rugs made of wool are also insensitive to pressure marks. Their characteristic to store air in the gaps, has the positive effect of sound insultation,heat insulating and the regulation of the indoor climate. Wool is not only a classic among the materials used for rugs which has always been used by people for the production, it is also regenerating raw material that also enjoys a great demand among environmentally conscious consumers. Therefore, it is not surprising that you can find wool in nearly every living quarter.
Whoever buys a rug, should consider: wool is and remains a natural product and therefore retains certain characteristics. For instance, wool has the positive feature to adjust the indoor climate, but at the same time it is not suitable for damp areas as baths, since constant humidity causes decomposing of the material. In addition, wool must be protected against moth damage.
The silk rug belongs to the luxury class of rugs and that is absolutely justified. However, the production of silk is very complex and highly complicated and therefore very expensive. About 3000 silk cocoons are needed to get 250 gram of raw silk. The natural product silk is one of the strongest and toughest materials brought out by nature. It is the ideal material for rugs because of its soft and tough structure. Because of fine structure of silk, the knotting density is particularly high for silk rugs. In comparison, wool rugs do not require a high knotting density to cover the gaps between the knots. The motifs and designs of silk rugs appear more precise and more noble. Also the precious glow of the silk rug is special, in this regard you call it silk gloss. The texture lets the sides appear darker on the inside than on the outside. Because of this texture, silk rugs do have another appearance depending on the exposure to light. While you have to use different yarns for synthetic rugs to achieve this effect, silk has this appearance naturally. Especially oriental rugs of high quality, that are designed with extensive patterns, are often woven from pure silk.
Silk rugs are smooth, soft and fine with a very high knot density, made with great effort and accuracy, they are not a mass product, but often unique and vertus, making them worth paying a high price. Besides that, silk benefits from being the most precious and finest of all the natural fibres. But there is something to keep in mind: silk rugs do not bear humidity and are tender to water. Those who treat silk rugs according to their value, will rejoice it for a long time.
Cowhide and leather rugs
In this case individuality can hardly be exceeded, because if you decide to purchase a cowhide rug, you will get an unique piece of nature! No skin and no coat exists a second time. This is a beautiful product of nature, that has been used by mankind for over 5000 years, and it does not only set accents, it also creates also a luxurious atmosphere. Furthermore, it also corresponds to the spirit of time in terms of sustainability. Although it is one of the toughest materials and more persistent than leather, it remains a natural product nevertheless and is degradable compared to synthetic fibers.
Top designers like Arte Espina and Papilio, but also benuta offer rugs made of cowhide and leather rugs. Whether it has a black-and-white, brown or natural finish, or even has creative patterns and graphic designs, discover the variety of individual rug designs! Still an insiders´tip that has a great effect on every style of interior design!
Rugs made of cotton are classics in the production of rugs with natural fibres, as cotton is the second most important yarn besides wool. In addition to its quality of creating a langurous and pleasent atmospheric environment, it is also thermo-regulating thanks to its ability to absorb humidity like new wool. But other than new wool, cotton is not suitable for permanently humid rooms, like bathrooms.
Cotton is a renewable natural product that is persistent, solid and guaranteed tensile strength, even suitable for people with an allergy to animal hair. Cotton is and always remains a timeless classic, no matter if it is used for traditional oriental rugs or modern rugs for kids in various colours.
Many people do not know that hemp is not only a cultivated plant since pre-Christian times, but also a popular material used for textiles.
For instance, ropes for shipping of sailing boats and also for mountaineering were traditionally made of hemp for a long time. The reason was its feature of resistance. Using hemp for the production of rugs is not a new trend and since natural fibres are getting more and more popular, also hemp is becoming more up-to-date again. Since hemp rugs are more robust than wool rugs, they are also more durable and therefore ideal for extensively used living areas.
Sisal and jute rugs
Products made of natural fibres like jute and sisal rugs enjoy great popularity.
While jute is made of the high caulis of the corchorus plant that can grow up to 4 metres, sisal is made the carnose leafs of the sisal agave and is used only since the beginning of the 19th century.
Since sisal and jute rugs are natural products, they influence the current spirit of time of sustainability thanks to their environmental balance. Just like cowhide rugs and leather rugs, they biodegradable after extensive and long use. Besides that, they do not dust due to their antistatic properties, are easy to clean and usually immune to moth damage.
You can find designer rugs made of sisal or jute in the product lines of Arte Espina, benuta or Schöner Wohnen. As their material, the colours are also mainly natural like beige and brown, but depending on the type of designer rug, they can be differently and more eccentric.
Even if natural fibres have become more popular, synthetic fibres are still the number one material.
This is due to their availability for every type of living, since it is possible to treat them tailored to the market need. A good example is that you cannot use rugs made of natural fibres for constantly humid rooms or such that are occasionally get wet. Rugs made of synthetic fibres on the other hand can be used in many different areas, including bathrooms and aerospace, it is just convertable.
Already developed in Germany in 1942 - parallel to the USA - polyacrylic fibres were used in the textile production since 1954. It was especially famous for its modified version, being used as flame-retardant clothings for children.
Rugs made of this synthetic fibres are particularly long-lasting in their intensity of colours, since polyacrylics exhibits a high stability in relation to light. In addition, it is considered to be resistant against moth damage, but at the same time has a soft structure similar to wool. It does not tend to crease thanks to its high flexibility, making the rug keep its texture even if it is used extensively for a long time of time. Polyacrylic fibres are considered to be easy-care and fast drying so that they are preferably used as a material for rugs and furnishings that are strained a lot, no matter whether it is a modern designer rug or a shaggy rug.
Polyacrylic fibres are also often used for kid's rugs, since they are not only particularly robust, but also easy to clean due to their high resistance to dirt. Besides, have the positive feature to provide a good thermal insulation.
The easy-care fibre of polyester was developed during the 1940s and is now the leading sythetic fibre all over the world. In 2011, the BRD produced 198.000 tons of polyester fibres with the process of yarn melting.
Similar to polyacrylics, polyester is also very robust and long-lasting, which makes it a material that is used for rugs and upholstery fabrics, no matter what kind of a rug. The high resistance to light helps to maintain the quality of the colours and the joy with the product. The low addiction to crease and its high flexibility cater for the preservation of the form even if it is used extensively. Due to its capacity of absorbing humidity, it is able to dry quickly. This feature makes it suitable for bathrooms and for the whole household.
Among the sythetic fibres, polypropylene is the lightest commercial fibre which is also water-repellent. Due to this feature, polypropylene cannot be stained conventionally. By spray painting/ staining, the colours become extremly fadeless.
The high elasticity of the surface renders a polypropylene rug particularly sturdy, so that polypropylene is also used for outdoor and sport clothing. Another benefit is that rugs made of this material have a special impact on sound insultation and thermal insulation.
These benefits are the reason why this material is used for all kinds of rugs like shaggy, modern, designer, oriental, rugs for children and especially robust outdoor rugs - it is a true all-rounder.
Viscose is a natural synthetic fibre, that is extracted from wood, bamboo and banana fibres and cocooned during the wet method. It possesses similar characteristics like cotton, but can be processed more subtly. Therefore, viscose rugs are often knitted more dense than rugs made of cotton, making them more smooth and velvety.
Most often, viscose rugs have a silky glamour when exposed to light and accentuate the colours beautifully. Therefore, viscose is used as a convenient replacement for silk but it is not as heavy duty as silk itself.
Also, viscose enjoys a good reputation as a natural material that grows again, but it is less flexible and less heat regulative than for example cotton or new wool. Viscose is particularly suitable for people that have an allergy against animal hair.
The variety and creative possibilities in the production of rugs do not just apply to designs, colours and shapes of designer rugs, but also to their materials. Most rugs are made of synthetic fibres like polypropylene, polyester, polyamide, or natural materials like sisal, wool or cotton.
But also other materials can be used to design a rug, like jeans and old clothing in general, or even wood, gum or felt. It is worthwhile to keep your eyes open for these great pieces of art.