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Important Terms about Carpets & Rugs
Rugs and carpets are very frequently used in a wide range of residential and commercial settings. They are valued for their aesthetic qualities as well as their practical functions. Despite this, a lot of people tend to be confused by the terminology used in the field of rug and carpet sales, so let's define certain key phrases often used by dealers in this business.
Pile - The uppermost layer of a rug or carpet, it is composed of a dense layer of natural or synthetic fibers. Piles come in several different varieties. A level loop pile is one where the fibers are all the same length, creating a level surface. In a patterned loop pile, the fibers are different lengths, and often form an elaborate design.
Oriental Rug - A handmade type of wool rug, originating in various areas of Asia and the Middle East. The well-known Persian rug is considered a type of Oriental rug.
Runner Rug - A type usually placed in a home's doorways and stairways, intended to protect the carpet or floor beneath from wear.
Shag Carpet - A type of carpet with a thick pile, giving it an unruly look. The unorthodox appearance of shag carpets can help give a home a unique character.
Carpet Tile - Small squares that are attached to the floor. Unlike conventional rolled carpeting, carpet tiles are fairly easy to install and can often be attached without professional aid. They also have the advantage of being easily maintained, as a damaged or worn tile can be replaced with a new tile or one from a low-traffic or out-of-sight area of the room.
Underlay - The thin padding placed underneath carpeting to provide insulation and help reduce wear. An underlay is often made of foam or felt.
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Many folks think the terms "carpet" and "rug" are interchangeable. This is not true. Carpets cover floors from wall to wall, giving the area a plush place in the home for folks to stand on. Rugs only cover a certain amount of space, are often more décor related, and fit over already established harder flooring, like tile and hardwood.
Carpeting can be dated all the way back to 6000 BC in central Asia. The weaving of these fibers became a highly regarded craft over time, with Persian products being made as early as the Bronze Age. It wasn't until the 18th century that the industry came to the United States and in the 19th century, China started exporting "oriental" rugs all over the globe. Because of the increasing western influence on China, "oriental" products started to be manufactured with more modern, contemporary art-deco designs. The US imported these products until proper simulations could be made in this country.
These floor coverings became mass produced in the US for commercial and residential use in the early 20th century. Around 1950, makers started seeing new fibers and weaving techniques, custom colors, and more contemporary equipment for products to be made. Homes and offices started seeing shag mats and woven table runners as well as custom area rugs for sale. More house interiors became carpeted or at least had several floor coverings over preexisting tile.
The simplest way to purchase these products is through a dealer. Since they often work directly with manufacturers, they may be able to get you the styles you prefer at a discounted retail price.