White Spots, Knot Heads, and Threadbare Rug Repair

knot heads visible on threadbare rug

What are the white spots on my rug?

Customer:

As my rug has gotten older I have noticed white spots on it. I have not used any chemicals on my rug so I don’t know why there are tiny white spots on it.

Rug Expert:

Here at Behnam Rugs we often hear rug owners ask about white spots on their rugs. We make sure before we pick up their rug for washing that we evaluate each rug and inform the customer there might be more after a good professional washing.

Mr. Ben “Behnam” Tavakolian of Behnam Rugs says:

There are two kinds of white spots that show up on your hand made rugs.

  1. Knot Heads
  2. Threadbare Spots
  • What is a knot head?
  • Do all rugs have knot heads?
  • Where are knot heads found on a rug?

 Knot heads happen naturally during the weaving process of a rug. The weaver pulls on the warp to make a knot with the wool to create the pile of the rug. Tension is needed to make the warp thread and sometimes the fiber will break. The wool or cotton thread will then need to be extended and this is where the new piece creates the imperfection. Each broken warp will be secured with two knot heads. The size of the head will depend on the size of warp and cotton yarn and density of the rug.

Where are the knot heads found?

Knot heads are found in all handmade rugs. Generally the weaver will hide the knot heads between the pile of the rug by using a combing hammer to comb down the pile of the rug to keep knot heads from being exposed on the surface.

Seeing knot heads is natural as the rug gets older and the pile gets shorter. They will begin to come to the surface. Proper rug padding will keep this from happening prematurely. Sharp micro dust, sand, and dirt in an unwashed rug will cause the rug to lose more pile due to friction of the grime against the rug’s pile. Other factors that make imperfections show on the surface faster depends on the type of rug, country of origin, and traffic pattern, but all will age your rug faster if not maintained.

Knot heads could be carefully removed by re-weaving areas or in most cases just by coloring them to match the surrounding knot heads.

  1. White spots can occur in threadbare spots.

When a rug is used in the same traffic area/ pattern for many years and not cleaned, rotated, or dusted the pile will wear faster. We recommend rotating your rug so that it wears evenly every year or so. White spots also can be a result of where the rug came from- its origins, its weave, and type of wool foundation, or if it has a cotton foundation or wool foundation.

Simple maintenance of rotating your rug, keeping it dusted, and on a 4 to 5 year washing schedule will help extend the life of your rug and keep the imperfections from showing as fast. Using your rug over correct padding will prevent the need for re-weaving or color touch up due to warp showing and looking like white spots also.

Finally, the biggest culprit behind white spots, besides the aforementioned causes, is improper vacuuming! Never vacuum a handmade rug with the beater brush extension. This extension can tug on the rug, bringing exposed white spots to the surface due to pulling. Most cases we see are brought in by individuals who have not properly cared for their rug. We are not surprised to find out these rug owners vacuum their rug regularly and use the beater brush.

We hope this information answered all your questions about knot heads and white spots on your handmade rugs. If you have more questions feel free to call and bring in your rugs for evaluation and inspection. Call 972-733-0400 to set an appointment.

Pick the Right Rug Padding

Rug padDoes My Rug Need Padding?

Yes, all rugs need padding. Whether your rug is on wood floors, vinyl, or carpet, when you walk on your rug, you do not want to move the foundation of it. Installing a pad underneath your rug helps the rug not to move, and it helps preserve the quality of the knots in your rug too.

When a rug is installed without a pad, its shape will distort over time. Your rug will lose its shape, be it rectangular or round, simply from being shifted and moved frequently. Padding will prevent this, and it will help to extend the life of your rug. In addition, a rug that is no longer perfectly shaped will lose some of its value.

When you walk on a rug with a pad installed, it feels softer and more comfortable under your feet. You also won’t have to worry about your rug slipping underneath you and causing an accident, and yes, this CAN happen on carpeted floors, too.

Because it absorbs some impact from furniture and foot traffic, padding can increase the life of your rug by as much as 40%. The most absorbent type of padding is felt. However, the placement, construction, and your personal preferences are what will help you decide which padding is best for your rug.

What Kind of Padding Do I Need?

Rug pad materials perform differently based on the material of the rug. Ask us to help you pick the right pad material for your rug. Our certified rug care specialists can give advice and input so that you choose the best padding for your situation. We will also cut the pad to the shape of your rug.

For many years, hair and jute based pads were the only varieties available. Felt pads are newer, and we recommend this material for most types of rugs. Felt is made of recycled, synthetic materials. Moths will not eat these fibers, and the synthetic fibers of felt are longer lasting than the hair and jute fibers.

The firmness and stability of synthetic felt also give it the advantage of being able to eliminate any ripples and bumps that can cause uneven wear when a rug lies on the floor without a pad. To be truly effective, a half inch thick pad is needed.

Unfortunately, felt pads can still slip underneath smaller rugs, even if the pad is dense. For smaller rugs, we recommend purchasing rubber padding. Be careful not to mix rubber pads with sponge or foam pads.

We do not recommend sponge or foam padding, as they are too soft and can bottom out- stressing the foundation of Persian and Oriental rugs. This is especially applicable to thin, finely woven rugs, flat weaves, or antique rugs. Sponge and foam pads can disintegrate and even stick to wood floors. If you have an antique rug, it is especially important you choose the proper padding to maintain the condition it is already in after 80 to 100 years of life.

One of the best types of rug pad on the market is a fourth-inch thick synthetic felt bonded to a thin, solid rubber backing. This type of pad can serve two purpose. First, it is excellent at anchoring the rug to your floor, preventing slipping.

Second, its felt layer helps to extend the life of your rug. As previously mentioned, a rug without a pad can slide around and cause serious falls and injuries. This type of padding is recommended for all scatter rugs and area rugs that do not have a thick foundation, such as antique rugs, needlepoint, Aubusson tapestries, and flat weaves.

Another benefit of this type of pad is that it can also be used on thick rugs. It is thinner than synthetic felt and will not add on to the thickness of your rug. You can even place this padding on top of carpet. It eliminates rippling, buckling, and adjusting, even on wall to wall carpeted areas.

If you have a rug in need of padding, call us at 972-733-0400. Our specialists will make sure you are informed of your options, their benefits and drawbacks, as well as the price. Rug padding is generally a very small investment that makes a big impact on the longevity and safety of the rug in your home.

Rubber or Vinyl & Felt
Rubber padding on the Left and “Black” padding on the right with vinyl and felt.

Rug Padding: Does My Rug Need It?

Rug on top of rug paddingWhat Type of Rug Padding Does My Rug Need?

Rug padding is essential to the health and longevity of your fine handmade rug. Time and again, customers bring in older or antique rugs that are no longer perfectly rectangular and have lost their symmetrical shape. The culprit? Not using padding underneath the rug.

So, why are rug pads so important?

It’s not just about comfort. Yes, using a pad under your rug will make it feel more plush under foot, but it’s really about extending the health of your rug for years to come. A good rug pad absorbs most of the impact from foot traffic as well as the sound.

Rugs have to endure a lot of foot traffic, and that traffic will eventually wear out sections of your rug without a pad. This always happens unevenly, so that certain areas are stretched out while others are not.

The result? A wavy foundation that no longer looks symmetrical. This can affect the value of your rug as well, especially if you are considering selling it. A rug that has been placed over a pad will sell for more than the same rug that has been walked on for years without a pad. This is because the pad helps the rug maintain its shape. A rug that has been used for years without a pad is more likely to require repairs.

In addition, there are many other reasons to use a rug pad. For one, rug pads prevent slips and falls. A rug without a pad presents a safety risk to you and anyone who walks on the rug in your home. Second, the pad protects the rug from dirt and debris trapped between the rug and the floor from damaging the foundation of your rug. This dirt can tear into your rug when under pressure from footsteps.

Thirdly, rugs are easier to vacuum when a pad provides space for air to flow and minimizes friction. This air flow also prevents bacteria and mold from breeding under your rug. And lastly, pads act as a barrier between the rug and your hardwood floors, which can absorb the tints and dyes from the rug over time as well as become scratched from certain rough backings.

If you have a new rug or a rug that you have been using without padding, call Behnam Rugs today about cutting custom padding to fit your rug at 972-733-0400. Make sure you know the exact measurements of your rug, or bring it in to ensure a perfect fit. All pads must be custom cut for your rug. The shape and size of the pad must cover all the surface of the rug that touches the floor.

Never use an old pad for a different rug if the rugs are not the same exact size. Rug pads are made out of felt, rubber, or vinyl. The question of what kind of pad you should use is determined by the type of floor you will place it on. Wood, tile, stone, carpet, or engineered wood all require a certain padding type.

Consult with us to choose the right material. We carry many styles of rug pads so you’re sure to find something you like at a price that you’ll love. Call 972-733-0400.