Ask the Expert

You have questions about Oriental and Persian rugs? Mansour has answers.

Why should I consider buying a hand-knotted rug instead of one that is machine-made?

A hand-knotted rug is a one-of-a-kind work of art. It was made by a skilled weaver, who used his or her practiced hands to tie individual knots of high-quality wool or silk onto a sturdy fiber foundation. Each weaver interprets the design or pattern, some of which have been handed down for generations. Hand-knotted rugs are heavy and dense. Those of the best quality contain 150 to 400 knots per square inch and, depending on size, can take years to envision and complete. The denser the knotting, the more durable the weave.

Machines produce thousands and thousands of identical rugs in identical designs. If you see a rug curling at the edges or tipping at the corners, you are looking at a machine-made rug. If you want your rug to last a lifetime, and even improve in appearance as it ages, choose one that is hand-knotted.

I have children and dogs. Isn’t a Persian or Oriental rug harder to take care of than one that is machine made?

No. Rugs made of high-quality wool are among the most durable you will find. In fact, after years of use, wool rugs take on an attractive patina, lending character and warmth to any room. And there may be no safer or more comfortable surface for you and your child to play on than the soft, forgiving pile of an Oriental or Persian rug.

How can I tell if a rug is made with high-quality wool?

The best way to determine the quality of the wool is to seek out an expert to help you. But in the meantime, it’s good to know there are three basic types of rug wool. “Live wool,” or wool which has been sheared from a live animal, is the best, and lamb’s wool is especially praised for its soft, springy texture. “Dead wool,” which has been chemically removed from an animal’s hide, can be dry and brittle with a scratchy feel. “Used wool” is a product that has been recycled from old cloth and re-dyed. An expert will be able to tell you more about exactly what type of wool a rug contains.

The rug I have now has a rubber backing. Is it handmade?

No. Some machine-made rugs are “painted” with a rubber-like material that helps secure the fibers. If you look at the flip side of a handmade rug, you will see the backs of the individual knots. A handmade rug does not need a rubber backing to strengthen its construction.

Is a hand-knotted rug the same as one that is tufted?

No. A tufted rug is made with a machine—a “gun” that pushes fibers through a backing material.

Can I use a Persian or Oriental rug anywhere in my home? What about the entryway or kitchen?

Because entryways and kitchens are considered high-traffic areas, a durable wool rug is an excellent choice. Handmade, hand-knotted rugs repel soil and may actually look better over time because lanolin, a natural oil the wool contains, rises to the surface of the fibers, “polishing” the appearance. As for the kitchen, wool is among the most fire resistant of all natural fibers, and a wool rug looks fantastic on almost any floor surface: wood, bamboo, tile or natural stone. While some kitchen floor surfaces are hard on your back, wool provides a comfortable cushion for your feet. Another plus: Kitchen clatter can be noisy and annoying. A wool rug will significantly soften harsh kitchen sounds and give the space a cozy look at the same time.

Will my Oriental or Persian rug ever go out of style?

A beautiful rug is timeless. Whether your interior design is traditional, rustic, modern, eclectic, casually elegant, minimalist or industrial chic, an Oriental or Persian rug will always be in style.

There are so many magnificent rugs. How do I pick the right one for me?

If you bring a picture of the room you are buying the rug for to Mansour’s Oriental Rug Gallery in Sacramento or Roseville, we will help you make the perfect choice. We also invite you to look through our collection and talk to us about what attracts your eye. We will find the right color, size, shape and style for you.

My vacuum cleaner made a snarled mess of my rug fringe. Can it be repaired?

Absolutely. When you have your rug professionally repaired, you significantly lengthen its life and gain many more years of enjoyment.