A hand tufted rug is typically a much higher-quality rug than one made by a machine, but, when compared to a hand-knotted rug meticulously created by an artisan, it is less durable and less valuable. They aren’t completely unique works of art, but they are much closer than other weaves since it is created by a weaver, and not on a weaving or looming machine, without a human to guide the pattern or yarn.
Some hand-tufted rugs can be mistaken for hand-knotted rugs. They are often made of wool, and, depending on the manufacturer and materials used, they can last for up to 20 years. Hand-tufted rugs aren’t made on a loom but are created with a tool called a tufting gun. Additional patterns can be carved on the rug with a tufting gun.
How are Hand-tufted Rugs Made?
A textile worker or artisan creates a hand-tufted rug by placing strands of wool or yarn on a frame and punching the strands with a tufting tool. This process takes less time than hand-knotting, and anyone can learn it and make a hand-tufted rug without much training.
The process begins when a weaver makes a backing with a design. A textile worker or weaver uses the tufting gun to inject yarn or cotton into it. When all the yarn or other material has been injected into the pattern, another piece, called a scrim, is placed on the rug with latex glue to keep fibers intact. The weaver then shears the carpet loops so the rug becomes flat and suitable for foot traffic. The edges of some hand-tufted rugs are bound to make them stronger.
Look at the back of a rug to determine if it is hand-tufted. You’ll see the applied coating that secures the tufts covered by canvas or another type of material.
Hand-tufted vs. Hand-knotted Rugs
Hand-tufted and hand-knotted rugs are made by hand, as the names imply, but that’s where the similarities end. Both methods can create beautiful rugs, but there are differences in cost, appearance, and durability.
A hand-knotted rug may take a long time to produce, depending on the pattern. A higher density of knots means better quality – and a higher price. A complicated pattern requiring many knots can take a long time to weave, even when a textile worker ties 10,000 knots a day.
Since hand-tufted rugs are produced at a faster pace and without the detail of hand-knotted rugs, they don’t have the same artistic cache, nor the same physical quality to last for generations. However, they are sturdier than mass-produced, machine made rugs. A new hand-tufted rug may give off a chemical-type smell due to the latex backing.
Value and Longevity
A hand-knotted rug lasts longer and typically has a more unique pattern than any other rug weave. It can be passed down from grandparents to parents to children, and last for many generations.
If you are on a budget or have too many daily risks such as children or pets to feel comfortable buying an expensive rug, hand-tufted rugs will give you your money’s worth. These rugs are more affordable than hand-knotted rugs and make it possible for you to own multiple rugs to decorate different areas of your home. They do wear out sooner but will last at least 10-20 years if they are properly maintained.
Not all hand-tufted rugs are of equal quality. The latex inside some rugs may give off a petroleum type odor and break down over time or even emit latex dust. When you clean a tufted rug that has this problem, the latex dust may cling to the rug surface when it dries causing the rug to develop a yellowish tinge.
Hand-tufted rugs can be placed on hardwood floors as an accent piece. Always think about if your rug will be placed in a high-traffic area. A busy hallway entryway can shorten the lifespan of your rug. When decorating, hand-tufted rugs can be placed under sofas, chairs, or even dining room tables.
Large tufted rugs may look good in lofts or other industrial-looking spaces. You can also add a small, “fluffy” tufted rug to the vanity or dressing area in a bathroom.
There are no hard and fast rules for where to place a tufted rug, but remember that the more footsteps, sunlight and spills the rug endures the sooner, you’ll need a new one.
Caring for a Hand-tufted Rug
Vacuum your hand-tufted rugs at least once a week to get rid of all dirt and dust. If you want to eliminate excess fibers from the rug, vacuum it daily or until the extra fibers are gone. Rotate the rug every so often to regulate the amount of sunlight and foot traffic it receives.
Don’t shake or beat a hand-tufted rug as it will damage the fibers. If the rug becomes stained, scrape the stain as soon as you discover it, and vacuum the remains.
Use a cloth and lukewarm water to remove wet stains. Dampen the stain and soak up the water and repeat until you’ve removed the stain. Avoid using too much water, as it can loosen the glue that secures the yarn, and don’t rub the stain.
A hand-tufted rug may shed because the backing (glue) and the piles deteriorate. Use a rug pad or lightly vacuum to prevent the rug from shedding, or move it to a low-traffic area.