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We are happy to help our walk-in clients also, however, we are often out on area rug deliveries and may not be available if no appointment was made.  

Prescott Valley AZ – How Can You Tell a Hand knotted Rug Apart From a Tufted Rug?

Prescott Valley AZ – How Can You Tell a Hand knotted Rug Apart From a Tufted Rug?

Persian rugs and Oriental rugs can get pretty confusing. Adding to the confusion is determining what type of rug you have. Many folks seem to be confused over tufted rugs, believing that because the rug tag on the back of the rug says it is hand made from a foreign country they automatically believe they have a fine imported rug.The biggest indicator of a hand knotted rug versus a tufted rug is that tufted rugs have a piece of fabric covering the back of them to where you cannot see the pattern through to the back.  But why?  It’s rather simple once you get down to it and it has to do with the way that the rugs are made. I’m Ruthie and often folks call or stop by our rug washing facility, Arizona Oriental & Specialty Rug Care here in Prescott AZ with their tufted rugs thinking they have a truly valuable hand knotted area rug. However, read on as I’ll explain a bit more.

Hand knotted rugs are, as the name implies, made by hand by weavers that create knots around foundation fibers.  These foundation fibers, called warp and weft yarns, are made from either wool or cotton.  Taking good care of these rugs can mean that they can last through many generations, especially if they are well-made. The more knots a weaver weaves into his design, the denser and higher quality he achieves. Take a look at the back of a hand knotted rug. Lay a ruler down and see if you can get an approximate count of how many knots to each inch in the width of the rug. Now count the knots in an inch using the length of the rug. Multiple these two counts together and you’ll have a good idea how many knot per square inch this rug has.  Very fine rugs can have hundreds of knots and fine silk can have as many as 600 knots per square inch.

Tufted rugs are not necessarily “cheap” rugs but they do lack the structural integrity of a hand woven rug and do not last nearly as long as a hand woven rug.  The difference in the creation of these rugs is that, rather than being knotted, the yarns are punched through a web foundation with a tufting tool. Usually the rug maker is following a stenciled on design (similar to a paint by number craft). When the desired design is completed, latex glue is then applied to hold all the tufts of wool in place and a piece of fabric is laid on the backside to give it a finished look.

Latex glue isn’t meant to last forever and it will dry up and crack within about 10 years of use.  If you find a white powder that’s sitting beneath your rug, this is an indication the glue is breaking down.  At this point, the rug’s glue will continue to break down and you will have two options available to you – replacement or restoration.  To restore the rug, the backing is removed and the dried latex glue is scraped off.  A new layer of glue and a new piece of fabric are then put on the back.  If you can’t (or don’t want to) find a replacement rug and would rather continue to enjoy the rug that you have loved for years, Arizona Oriental does offer the repairs necessary to restore your wool rug. I hope you now have a new found appreciation and understanding of the differences between hand knotted and tufted rugs. Consider these differences when you are purchasing a rug and factoring in the cost of the rug. You should expect to pay more for hand knotted and of course less for the tufted rug that will last a decade as opposed to generations.

Till next time, enjoy your beautiful art for your floor and remember a clean rug is a rug that will last much longer than a neglected, highly soiled rug.

Arizona Oriental and Specialty Rug Care serves Prescott, Prescott Valley, Sedona and much of the Northern Arizona areas. We meet the highest standards in professional cleaning of area rugs with rug wash specialists having earned the highest training which includes certification as WOOLSAFE FIBRE CARE SPECIALISTS through the WOOLSAFE ORGANISATION. Such extraordinary certification ensures the area rugs of our client’s receive the utmost in care.

If you are looking for more information about the difference between tufted and woven rugs call Arizona Oriental for additional information and quotes at 928-445-1718, visit our website at, or stop by Monday through Friday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at our rug washing facility at 565 EZ Street, Prescott, AZ 86301 (pick-up and delivery also available). 

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The Difference Between Tufted and Woven Rugs