If you’ve been thinking about buying a handmade area rug, you’ve probably heard about hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs, but you’re not sure what the difference is. Well, they’re both handmade, but they don’t have much else in common. They’re made through completely different processes that require a different skill level.
In pictures, they might seem very similar, but on closer inspection, you’ll notice that they don’t look and feel the same. That also affects durability and cost. In this article, we will try to help you decide which one is right for you.
The most popular kinds of hand-knotted rugs are Persian and Oriental. They’re usually made from natural fabrics like wool and silk on a special loom. Hand-knotting is a time-tested but also time-consuming art that results in unique rugs. They might be more expensive, but they’re basically artwork for your floor.
The quality and price of a hand-knotted rug depend on the density of knots per square inch. Complex patterns require denser knotting and will therefore take more time to make. It can take several months to make a large hand-knotted rug, even at an average speed of 10,000 knots per day. These rugs are not only very beautiful, but they’re also durable and are passed on from generation to generation. That’s why you can buy antique hand-knotted rugs in specialized stores. You can find out more and see a wide selection of antique hand-knotted rugs by visiting LA based rug designer Lawrence of La Brea.
The easiest way to identify a hand-knotted rug is to flip it on the other side. The back should be a mirror image of the top, without any backing. Because of how meticulously they’re made, you should even be able to see each knot so you can count them. In contrast, since hand-tufted rugs are not knotted, they will have a canvas that’s glued on the bag so it can hold the rug together. Even so, you should know that hand-tufted rugs are prone to shedding, and they’re less durable.
Another difference is the fringe, which is essential to the construction of a hand-knotted rug since it keeps the rug from unraveling. On hand-tufted rugs, the fringe is usually sewn or glued on to make them look more like hand-knotted rugs, but it’s not necessary.
As we mentioned before, hand-tufted rugs are made through a different process that’s much time-intensive and doesn’t require the same set of skills as hand-knotting. They’re made by hand but with the help of a mechanized tool. A canvas is stretched on a frame, and loops of wool are pulled through it with a tufting gun. Then the loops are sheared, resulting in a flat and plush surface.
Once this stage of the process is completed, a second scrim fabric is glued to the back to keep the years in place. Afterward, fringe is added.
Because the tufts tend to loosen over time, your hand-tufted rug will tend to shed so it won’t become a family heirloom like a hand-knotted rug. However, it will still be beautiful to look at and a great way to add color, texture, and style to your home. Moreover, since the manufacturer spends less to make it, they can pass the savings on to you.
We should also mention that hand-tufted rugs can differ in price depending on what materials are used to make them. If the rug is made from high-quality wool, it will cost more, but it will also be more durable. If you find hand-tufted rugs at unusually low prices, don’t get too excited and try to find out how the manufacturer might have cut costs.
The same can be said about hand-knotted rugs. You can also find poor quality hand-knotted rugs. They’re either made from poor quality materials or made using a false knot called a Jufti knot. This reduces the time it takes to complete the rug, but it also lowers its quality and makes it less durable. If you’re thinking of investing in a hand-knotted rug, it pays to do a bit of research beforehand and learn more about the different kinds of knots and how to identify Persian and Turkish knots.
To summarize, hand-knotted rugs and hand-tufted rugs are made through a completely different process, although they might have similar designs. Hand-knotted rugs tend to be more expensive, but they’re also more durable and are usually passed on as a family heirloom.
Hand-tufted rugs are less durable and tend to shed because they don’t have knots. However, this also means it takes less time to manufacture them, so they tend to be more affordable.