These days many different materials are used to make rugs. These can be grouped into two broad categories: Natural & Synthetic materials. Below we have listed the common ones.
- Wool (Rug Quality: High-Very High)
- Silk (Rug Quality: Very High)
- Cotton (Rug Quality: Low)
- Hides and Leather (Rug Quality: High)
- Jute & Sisal (Rug Quality: Low-Medium)
- Polypropylene (BCF) (Rug Quality: Low)
- Heat-Set Polypropylene (Rug Quality: Medium to High)
- Frese or Shinny Heat-Set Polypropylene (Rug Quality: Medium)
- Viscose (Rug Quality: Medium-High)
- Polyester (Rug Quality: Medium-High)
- Microfibre (Rug Quality: Medium)
- Artificial Silk (Rug Quality: Medium)
Wool is the best yarn for making rugs but can be expensive. Being a natural fibre that feels warm and soft underfoot. Wool rugs do shed, and the amount of shedding depends on the origin of the wool, length of its fibre and diameter of the fibre and its processing into yarn. Wool has some fire-retardant qualities. Note that some people can be allergic to wool.
Silk is used to produce fine ornate highly patterned rugs as a highlight for modern or traditional rugs. Real silk is produced from silk worms and can be spun into very fine (thin) yarns. Silk is the most expensive yarn used to produce rugs and Persian and Turkish Silk (Hereke) rugs are world famous. An alternative to expensive Silk is Bamboo Silk which similar in shine and softness.
Cotton is a natural fibre and cheap alternative for making everyday rugs. Used for making bath mats flat weave (no pile) durries. Cotton is soft but does not have pile strength and usually used to make flatweave rugs.
Leather and PU & Hides
Real Leather and imitation leather or (PU) is used to make rugs. These are usually remnant of full piece skins sewn together to produce varying qualities of rugs. Cow hides are animal skins which have gone through a similar processing and tanning and make great floor covering
Jute & Sisal
These are natural fibres grown in the sub-content (India and Bangladesh). Dried and processed this material can be used to make flat weave simple rugs and are very fashionable. They are suited for high traffic areas but ideal for Beach or modern living.
Polypropylene, or Bulk Continuous Fibre Polypropylene (aka BCF)
Bulk Continuous Fibre” (BCF) Polypropylene or “Polypropylene” is used to make low-quality Rugs. Polypropylene rugs are thin, difficult to vacuum and sticky under-hand. Flat weave rugs (without pile) are made for both indoor and outdoor use and they are easier to keep clean. RugSpot does not sell BCF rugs because they are poor quality and do not meet our stringent quality standards.
Heat-Set Polypropylene (aka HS polyprop., HSPP)
Not to be confused with the poor quality Polypropylene (aka BCF), “Heat-Set Polypropylene” (HSPP) is a soft, durable, colourfast, non-shedding, moth proof and easy to maintain product and is a highly desirable yarn for producing machine-made rugs.
Frese is a type of Heat-set Polypropylene which is has undergone a treatment to give it more lustre and a higher twist whilst maintaining all the properties of HSPP.
Viscose is a fibre made from regenerated wood cellulose. Viscose rayon is structurally similar to cotton, a soft man-made fibre commonly used in clothes, upholstery and carpets.Viscose has very similar properties to silk, it is shiny and soft but it does not have the same elasticity as other yarns and if used in large quantity. Viscose is often mixed with wool or other yarns to give more elasticity it.
Polyester yarn is a bi-product of oil refinement and has similar characteristics to Heat-Set Polypropylene yarn. Polyester yarn can be spun thinner (finer) and has shiny (silk look) properties.
Artificial Silk or Art. Silk is a common name given to Viscose, Rayon, Polyester, and other synthetic yarns which are used in less expensive rugs to give the look of real Silk.