Photos courtesy of Kalaty Rug Corporation
Wool is commonly regarded as the strongest, most vibrant and most resilient fiber choice for area rugs.
Wool is so durable that even the lowest-quality wool rugs are likely to outlast synthetic fiber rugs (nylon, acrylic polyester, etc.).
So, if longevity and durability are your goals, high-quality wool rugs can’t be beat. But, should you invest in a fine wool rug, proper care is a must for its longevity.
Stain Resistance & Cleanability
Wool fibers are naturally moisture and stain resistant, so if a liquid spills on your wool rug, act quickly by blotting with white towels or white paper towels. (We suggest white towels/white paper towels so that there is no color transfer from your towels to the rug.)
Dirt particles that accumulate in wool rug fibers can cause your rug to wear prematurely and unnecessarily, so vacuum your rug frequently (no beater-bar vacuums).
Color, Style & Pattern Availability
The natural properties of wool give it the ability to accept dyes beautifully.
Thus there are an infinite number of colors and rug styles available in the marketplace today, from patterns and motifs ranging from traditional Oriental styles to tribal and Southwestern patterns to transitional and modern designs. Some companies such as Kalaty Rug Corporation offer special custom color programs that make it possible for you to match any fabric, paint color and even a treasured heirloom or china pattern to the color rug you desire.
For visual inspiration and ideas for how to customize the color and pattern of your rug, check out the Kalaty Custom Color Program.
Wool is the only truly sustainable rug fiber choice because it is harvested seasonally from sheep that are prized and specially bred and globally sourced for the variety of fine wools they produce.
These sheep annually grow back their coats season after season and constantly replenish the supply. (Synthetic fibers, on the other hand, are often made from materials and processes that are not as kind to the environment.)
Quality & Weave Types
There are several things to know about wool quality, price points and the various weave types available:
- Because wool is a natural fiber harvested from a variety of sheep that are cultivated around the globe, some sheep naturally produce finer wools than others.
- When shopping for a wool rug, it’s important to know that not all wool grades are the same. There are good/better/best grades of wool that is used to produce area rugs.
- High-quality wool rugs are soft and smooth; lesser qualities are not as soft and often feel somewhat brittle to the touch.
- There are also a number of weave types that you should know about. Each weave type has a different look and feel to it.
- Some weave types are more traditional looking and therefore a bit more formal than others. Transitional styles are somewhat more relaxed and casual, while there are still others that evoke a clean, modern aesthetic.
- Popular handcrafted weave options include:
- Hand knotted
- Hand tufted
- High-low and hand-carved varieties
There is also the issue of price points and machine-made rugs versus handcrafted rugs. Wool rugs come in a variety of price points to accommodate virtually any budget. While there is nothing negative about machine-made wool rugs, machine-made rugs do not have the expensive high-end aura or the look and feel of their handcrafted counterparts.
And, although machine-mades may be more affordable than handcrafted rugs, the quality of machine-made varieties is just not as high as that of handcrafted and hand-knotted rugs. The bottom line on purchasing fine wool rugs is the same as when purchasing any luxury product: Because you usually get what you pay for, it’s always best to consult a reputable, knowledgeable local rug dealer who will be able to guide you in your purchase.