Area Rugs Guide

Area Rug PhotoLong before the term “wall-to-wall” was invented, area rugs graced the floors of human dwellings. The original area rugs may have been lion skins — and they may have done double duty as beds, but it was an area rug, just the same.

Later on, our ancestors learned to weave rushes and grasses to make mats. Once we started domesticating sheep, we learned to spin their wool into yarns and weave them.

Some time before 2000 BC, the nomadic tribes of Asia began making rugs in great numbers. The Mongols gave us pile rugs, but the Persians turned rug making into an art form. European rug weaving probably started about 1000 AD in Spain. Intrepid explorer Marco Polo influenced rug making with his discoveries of new materials and techniques in China in the late 1200s. As civilization has marched forward, there’s likely been a good rug underfoot.

Area rugs are tremendously versatile. With the appropriate pad, area rugs work on any type of flooring and in any room. The results are magical. Area rugs offer unlimited combinations of color, texture, pattern and placement. They are the only flooring product that you can easily install, then pick up and move!

Today’s area rugs are most often machine-made with sophisticated design patterns on computerized looms that can imitate the more intricate handmade rugs — but at greatly reduced costs. They are generally made out of wool, silk, (or a blend of wool/silk), olefin (polypropylene) or nylon —occasionally cotton, and even bamboo.

Wool and silk antique and modern area rugs rule the high end of the market. More moderately priced rugs are manufactured from heat-set olefin, which looks like wool and cleans easily.

Are you looking for an investment, a family heirloom, a practical room addition or a fun accessory? Whatever your need or intention, you simply can’t go wrong with an area rug.

Source: World Floor Covering Association

Bamboo Floors: Good Environmental Option

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

Rainy Asian jungles, wild monkeys and exotic birds. That’s probably what comes to mind when you think of bamboo, right?

The fact is that bamboo is a rapidly growing hollow grass (not wood) that can be harvested every 5-7 years, unlike tree wood, which can typically be harvested only every 15-100 years. When bamboo shoots are cut, their roots remain intact and new sprouts grow in their place.

As a result, bamboo flooring is an environmentally friendly product that provides an excellent alternative to tree wood. It will provide the same natural beauty and feel in your home as hardwood.

Don’t worry, bamboo flooring is panda friendly too. Since the bamboo used for flooring (commonly called “moso” in Chinese) has no leaf growth on the first 16 feet of the stem, it isn’t a source of food for the panda. The particular species of bamboo used for flooring is grown in select groves of Southern China. It’s 27 percent harder than Northern Red Oak, 13 percent harder than hard maple and can be nailed-down or floated. Not only is bamboo durable, it’s frequently favored for its resistance to fire, insects and moisture.

Bamboo comes in different patterns and plank sizes to complement a variety of decors, from casual to formal and contemporary to traditional. If you’re considering hardwood floors, consider bamboo. It’s a great environmental option and is offered in both solid and engineered construction.

Source: World Floor Covering Association

What You Should Know Before Buying Carpet

Shaw CarpetYou’ve decided on buying new carpet, but you want to shop smart. You already know how carpet is made and the difference between carpet styles, but what else is there to know before you buy? Lots.

Here are some buying carpet tips to give you the upper hand on what will soon be under your feet!

Carpet Seams

Unless your room is narrower than 15 feet, you’re going to have seams. Most carpet comes in widths of 12 feet and 15 feet — and on occasion, 13 feet. The degree of visibility of your seams depends on the texture and color you choose, as well as the lighting and furniture placement in your room.

Bending

When you carpet your stairs, its backing may show on the bends. And if it’s a looped carpet, it can snag — especially at the seams or transitions. Check the Carpet Care section for information on how to properly care for looped carpet.

Nap (Pile Shading)

A carpet’s nap runs in a single direction, making pile reversal or the shading you see from a vacuum trail, completely normal for most cut pile styles. If you’re not a fan of this, window treatments and furniture placement can minimize the effect.

Quality

Let’s face it. You get what you pay for. If you want your carpet to have a great pile density and tighter twist construction (which leads to improved durability), then you’re going to want to go with a higher quality (and more expensive) product. New carpet adds value to any home, so it’s an investment worth making.

Color

Carpet covers a large part of any room, so it’s vital that you consider some basic rules when selecting its color. First off, know that once your carpet is installed, it’s going to look lighter in color than the sample you saw in the store. Don’t ask us why, that’s just the way it is — kinda like losing a sock in the dryer.

Next, recognize that color can affect the apparent size of a room. Call it a visual illusion or a trick of the light, but lighter carpet makes a room look larger and darker colors make a room look smaller and more intimate.

If you like to redecorate often or plan to move soon, go neutral. It’s much easier to imagine furniture in a room that is decorated with neutral colors.

Stains

It’s going to happen, no matter how long you hold out from sipping wine or munching on chips and salsa in your freshly carpeted room. Stain protection is an important consideration when buying carpet. Products come with various levels of protection and warranties. As the quality of a carpet increases, so does its stain protection level and warranty coverage.

Carpet Cushion

Padding or cushion is the layer of spongy material between carpet and floor. It’s the padding — not the carpet — that determines whether the carpet feels good or great under your feet.

A quality padding can help preserve a carpet’s look and can extend its life and comfort by providing tougher protection against wear and tear.

Padding is sold using quality specifications, not color specifications. The color of the sample you see in the store may not be the same color as what’s installed in your home.

Source: World Floor Covering Association