Hand Knotted vs. Machine Made Rugs: How Are They Different?

If you’re thinking of venturing out in the market to buy yourself a wool rug, it’s always best to do your research first. While there are many types of beautiful rugs in general, they can mainly be divided into two major categories: hand-knotted wool rugs and machine made. Of course, there are many that lie somewhere in-between, but these two are the one’s you’ll find the most in the market. Worth knowing is the fact that what exactly is the difference between hand-knotted rugs and machine made rugs?

Uneven vs. Uniform Knots

One of the most obvious ways to make sure if a rug is machine made or hand-made is to carefully appraise the knots. Since handmade rugs are made by hand over an extensive amount of time, their knots tend to be uneven. It’s not obvious at first glance and you have to take a very close look at the design to see the slight irregularity in the knots; some are larger while others are smaller.

In contrast, machine made square rugs have seamless and even weaving. This is because the entire process is carried out by a machine instead of a human hand, which ensures perfect consistency throughout the wool rug design.


Extended vs. Sewn On Fringe

There’s typically a fringe at the end of most silk area rugs and you can use it to tell the difference between hand-knotted and machine made pieces. The fringe of the hand-knotted wool rugs is an extension of the knot-work that makes up its main body – typically the warp threads – so you’ll see the threads extending all the way past the edges.

On the other hand, the fringe of machine made knotted rug is usually sewn on the edges or backing. This is because the weaving doesn’t extend all the way, and many machine-made art deco rug requires an extra backing to keep the weave from falling apart.


Check the Back

Another important tell that separates handmade rugs from machine made oriental rugs is that the former is reversible. This means that you can flip a hand-knotted rug and see a mirrored design on the back that is just as unique as the front. If one side gets dirty, you can simply flip it over and furnish with the other one.

With machine-made Persian rugs, the back is usually covered with a latex coating to keep all the weave in place. These beautiful rugs also have a canvas that blocks the latex coating from view. Therefore, you can simply flip the rug over to see if it’s hand-knotted or machine made.


Material Difference

There is a distinct difference in material between machine made and woven rugs. The hand-knotted rug is typically made from wool, cotton, or silk threads. The weave is tight and qualitative – it ages like fine wine and is easy to repair.

But almost all machine made 9×12 rugs are made out of synthetic fibers such as acrylic, olefin, and polyester. These materials are cheap, but they are definitely not long-lasting. They get easily matted and are not reversible. Nylon may be the sturdiest synthetic wool rug material and that makes nylon silk area rugs relatively expensive. These rugs area staging are basically short-term solutions and are best suited for when you’re home-staging to resale your property or are renting out a fully furnished home.


Manufacturing and Production Time

Lastly, if you’re wondering why you should invest in an expensive handmade rug instead of simply going for a cheap machine made piece, then you’ll need to understand the value of production. Hand woven rugs are a labor of love – they take 3-18 months to be fully complete and only grow in worth with age.

Machine made oriental rugs take an hour tops to completely manufacture, which is why they’re cheap and readily available.

To sum it up, we’ve listed down some of the major differences between hand-knotted and    machine made accent rugs. We hope you’re better acquainted with both styles now and know which one suits your purposes!

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