Sunday, June 21, 2015

What rug should you use in front of a wood-burning stove?

I have a friend who imports and sells multifuel wood burning stoves. He tells me they efficient and look superb as they glow and radiate with warmth in the winter. So, I asked him; “why don’t you have one in your home?” Apparently his wife did want one but he said no, because; “they are hard work as they need a thorough cleaning at least every two weeks”. And, there is also the constant opening and closing of the stove door to refuel.
A well covered traditional designs in man made fabric 
Prime place for rug you would think, but as you open the stove door to refuel, out spits some hot ash. And that’s another black spot on the rug! It has to said, fire and fabric just don’t mix. While it is highly unlikely that any rug would actually ignite, it will get damaged if hot cinders make contact with the pile surface. So what is the solution?

I have spoken to many customers about this very problem. Many have a sheet they lay on top of the rug before they open the stove door, while others move the rug to one side, providing it is small enough. Some even have a small rug to go on top of the large rug. But human nature as it is will mean we open that door the one time we don’t have any protection, and out spits the cinder.

Many customers will buy cheaper rugs and just replace the if it gets burnt, this often means using a rug produced with man-made fibres. Which on fabrics like polypropylene that have a very low melt rate, will burn black and turn to a consistency of hard toffee. If you choose a rug made of manmade fibre, get one with random black spots and a heavy traditional design that will hide small singes.

See how wool burns compared to other fabrics


If you choose a wool pile for your rug you will have the peace of mind that small singes will just dust off, leaving just a slight scar. It is still best to go for pattern that has good coverage. Back in the days when it was legal to smoke in public places wool was always the specified fibre for social areas such as pubs where it was likely that cigarette could be discarded in the floor.

To sum up: using wool is preferable in front of a woodburning stove as it will resist small burns and protect your fitted carpets, if you must choose manmade fibre go for a buy design.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Should you buy a handmade or machine made rug?

We all want to spend our hard earned cash sensibly, but when it comes to buying a new rug you can be faced with the dilemma of not knowing whether to go for a handmade or a machine made rug. Which is better, what will give more durability, what is going to keep its good looks longer? These are possibly just some of the questions going around your head. And to be perfectly honest with you, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a generalised tried and tested formula.

My first line of advice is to ignore how it’s actually made and start with the colour, texture and size. Once you have narrowed down the options take it to the next stage, then the next until you are happy your choice. Personally I don’t give a hoot how it’s made, if the rug is of a colour, design and texture that appeals then it goes on my floor. That being said, it also has to have the approval of my wife who will not have a rug with a harsh feeling fibre.

You are likely to have a rough budget along an image in your head of what you want, once you start to look you’ll probably be swayed by fascinating designs and captivating textures. There are some great ideas out there, but at the end of the day you will probably be brought back down to earth and choose something practical at an average price point. Which will revert you right back to the handmade or machine made dilemma. The big irony here is; that could include a cheap to medium priced handmade rug or a medium to high priced machine made rug.

As an experienced online retailer of rugs we at Rug Zone try to offer products that we consider good value for money and will not generally cause problems during use. So rather than going around in circles like a politician in a debate, let me give you benefit of thinking like retailer.

Machine Made Rugs
Machine made rugs, and I refer mainly to woven Wilton production, are definitely more predictable and consistent than their handmade counterparts. But they are often limited on colours and textures due to manufacturing techniques. Most Wilton rugs are produced using polypropylene fibre because it feels good is stain resistant and wears well. As a retailer these give us very few problems.

Handmade Rugs
Handmade rugs that fit into the popular price ranges are usually hand tufted and the majority are produced in China and India. When we are talking about wool pile surface a higher priced product will usually buy you better quality fibre and finnish.

It’s only natural to expect more from a higher priced product, you have to remember though, these rugs are fantastic value for money because they are genuinely made by hand, by individuals on extremely low wages. In general the flooring trade anticipates some small inconsistencies with handmade rugs, we tend to call them “characteristics”. You the consumer may be unwilling accept the fact that you can buy two of the same item but they have slight differences. It’s just the nature of any handmade product, however usually when you pay a slightly higher price you are also buying better quality control which means a more consistent product.

120 x 170cm Carved Wilton @ £54.99
120 x 170cm hand tufted @ £74.99 

The bottom line is, buy a rug because you like the look and texture and forget about the forepart, that's really all we do as retailers.

A quick note on hand knotted rugs
These are at the top end of the price scale and fit into the handmade Persian rug genedra. I see many rugs on offer that claim to be hand knotted but I believe many are simply hand loomed, which isn’t the same. If you are thinking of buying a new or reconditioned hand knotted rug it’s a big purchase so best visit SpongoBongo or Goodweave

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Can men aim? The big question!

Recently, a German landlord tried to sue his ex-tenant for the cost of repairs to a bathroom caused by his bad aim when using the loo. The case actually went to court but was thrown out because the court upheld a man’s right to pee standing up – the landlord had contended that it was reasonable for all property owners to insist that their tenants pee sitting down. It was hailed as a blow for male freedom and their inalienable right to do what comes naturally but at the time it divided a nation – mostly into those who pee and those who have to clean the bathroom. Bathroom rugs should always be washed at least weekly, but if there is a houseful of chaps whose aim is less than perfect, this should be more often. Bathroom rugs need to be washable at high temperatures to rid them of any germs that have taken residence and also to prevent nasty niffs. Because the bottom line is – most men can't aim!

Do aim aids work?
If the men in your house are a little … random … there are sticky gizmos you can place in the bowl of the toilet for them to aim at which are great fun and also minimise clean-up. They are often shaped as targets but you can get them in all different shapes. If you don’t feel flush enough to buy one of those, you could kill two birds with one stone and use one of the stick-on toilet-fresheners instead and leave instructions for them all to aim at that. The secret is to make clean-up easy and so some flushable toilet wipes to hand is probably a good idea. Bathroom rugs will make freshening the room easier – if you have fitted carpet (not generally recommended in a bathroom) a rug will stop too much mess on the floor which will get a bit whiffy over time.

Accidents do happen

Hopefully, when talking of accidents it is only small children who are the subject (although the elderly can also get caught short). If you are in the middle of potty-training, you may want to get a few extra bathroom rugs to put down – a plastic bag underneath might also be a plan. The thing is that if you make the child think there is something ‘naughty’ about using the potty, this sometimes very fraught stage in their development can get very tricky indeed, so keeping things as normal as possible is always best. If you keep a bathroom rug with a potty in every room (discreetly – even small children like their privacy) you can start to remove extra ones as the child’s control improves. Most people find it only takes a short while before the child is taking themselves off to the bathroom on their own. And then the fun can begin – can men aim? And if so, at what age does the skill kick in? With toddlers, only time will tell.