Wool Fiber that has been shorn from New Zealand sheep is the best fiber for an area rug. Why a New Zealand sheep? Because they have been bred to produce "carpet quality" wool fiber. An area rug of New Zealand wool fiber will be soft on the feet and extremely durable. Most stains are not a problem; simply blot gently with clear warm water for best results. An area rugs density will play an important role in its life and performance. A flimsy cotton or olefin (polypropylene) rug or a runner without a secondary backing is nothing but trouble. A rug without sufficient density will wrinkle, warp, buckle and bunch. Not to mention the battle for possession that takes place when you try to vacuum it. The vacuum almost always wins this battle as you try using your feet to keep it under submission and out of the suction tube. I dont know anyone who enjoys constantly adjusting and straightening their rugs. If you buy a rug with sufficient pile density (or weight) it will remain where you place it and behave when you vacuum. I prefer rugs of at least 12mm. Especially if they are to be placed over wall-to-wall carpet. Buy a dense rug and let gravity keep it in position and under control.
Just because a room has wall-to-wall carpeting doesnt mean it cant benefit from a decorative runner or floor covering. Large spaces of plain carpeting can wash out furniture and reduce the impact that interior design elements have on the space. Adding bold patterns or colors to the floor can help break up those plain spaces. Dont settle for boring flooring. Add color and pattern with a decorative floor covering and enhance the impact of the rooms interior design elements.
Although cotton or jute backing is preferred, many rugs are manufactured with a secondary backing. I prefer rugs that are woven without the secondary backing. Because you can tell if it is a good quality rug when you can detect the pattern of the rug while looking at it from the back. Whether a rug is machine-made or hand-knotted it has to be woven into something. Cotton or jute is preferred, but polypropylene mesh is fine when used in the backing of a rug (but never the face fiber). However; some rugs need that secondary backing to add density and weight. Also consider how the are rug is bonded.
Single backed area rugs only need a small amount of latex to keep them bonded while secondary backing rugs need more latex to secure the backing material. If the rug maker uses synthetic latex for bonding, your nose will be happy. It will only have a new rug smell for a short period of time. If your rug maker uses a lot of real latex to secure a secondary backing, it will most likely stink of burnt rubber for years to come. Especially when the weather gets hot. Most noses and eyes are sensitive to real latex in larger doses. If you have chemical sensitivities, stick to single backed area rugs that dont use heavy applications of synthetic latex.
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