Updated: Aug 18
Maybe it's grandma's old hand-me-down Persian rug, tattered and forlorn by time, or a new rug used as a chew toy by a puppy, or recently discovered moth damage. At some point, your area rug needs cleaning and repair. Foot traffic is hard on rugs & carpets; here are the top questions our rug repair experts get asked about rug repair.
Can your rug be repaired, what types of rugs can be repaired, and how can you find a skilled local rug repair service?
Is My Oriental Rug Worth Repairing?
People often ask us, can you repair my rug? Before we get to this, it helps to know the value and if it should be repaired. We calculate the value of rugs and carpets in three ways.
The first is market comparisons; what do similar rugs sell for in the marketplace? We work with most local retailers and have a quick call to NW Rugs, Kush Carpets, Tufenkian, or even our competitors at Atiyeh Brothers. The point is an area rug value is based on the market's aggregate, and we work in the local Portland rug marketplace and beyond. We know what reasonable rug values are locally and nationally.
The second gauge of value is decorative; A rug may have a value that makes repair illogical, but its esthetic or decorative appeal drives repairs. The popularity of retro design rugs from the 1960-70s pushed the value of some rugs higher; it also legitimized repairs on rugs based on a vintage look outside the logic of a simple dollar value.
The third is sentimental; I can't put a price on an emotional attachment to a family rug. Some of the most valuable things we clean aren't dollar value but sentimental ones—some heartwarming and others heartbreaking. I once cleaned a carpet for an elderly Jewish man; he carried it out of Germany. His parents told him it was worth money; he could sell it for cash; obviously, he never did. The rug is one of the few physical tethers to his parents and the family he had left, once could say priceless.
Often the value of a rug to its owner is a combination of all three: collectible, sentimental, and decorative. Our goal is to get you to consider why you should repair a rug or why you shouldn't repair a rug. Sometimes it's better to put the money you'd spend on repairing a rug near the end of its usefulness towards buying a new rug.
Can My Rug Be Repaired?
The simple answer is Yes; any rug or textile can be repaired or restored if you throw enough money at it. It's possible to spend tens of thousands of dollars and repair a two thousand-dollar rug, but we don't suggest it.
Our goal is not to sell repairs. It's to distill our expertise into digestible information so you can make an educated and informed rug repair choice
Think of the Renaissace Rug repair team as rug therapists; how do you feel about your rug? What are your earliest memories of the rug? Where do you see this rug in the future? The truth is, No one answer is right when it comes to restoration
Three Rug Repair Strategies.
We can boil repairs down to three specific strategies, each wit hit's benefit and disadvantage
In conservation work, we try to maintain the textile's state as it is now while stopping or slowing further deterioration. Typically you'll hear terms like stabilizing or securing; these methods don't alter the rug as it is now; they seek to stave off further degradation. The pic below is end sewing it prevents the end from unraveling further.
While not always possible, Ideally, this type of work shouldn't be visible and adds nothing visually to the textile; it's also fully reversible if need be without damaging the rug.
Alteration often changes the look and or the size of a rug.
In the case of this Nepalese rug on the right, the client needed a smaller rug, so it was cut, and a new side cord is being built by hand to maintain the authentic look of the rug Vs. machine sewing and surging.
In the case of this alteration maintaining the original size wasn't desired, but an authentic look was desired. The only possible way to maintain an authentic look is with hand repair.
Antique rug alteration
With antique oriental rugs, cutting ends and sides and matching intricate designs can be difficult or impossible. Additionally, cutting old rugs destroys their value we often advise against it.
Restoring a carpet's original look, you will hear terms like reweaving and re-knotting. With restoration, we seek to take the rug back in time, to add back what was lost, to make it whole again.
Restoration is the most expensive repair option; reweaving holes is costly and time-consuming. We do a fair amount of reweaving of old rugs. It's not something we suggest with every rug, as it's time-consuming and expensive.
How Much Does Hand Rug Repair Cost?
Rug repair costs vary by the type of rug, type of repair, how much repair, how coarse or fine the weave, and materials needed, such as wool, silk, and viscose. Sometimes, we must spin and dye repair materials and ply or un-ply yarns to suit. Repair is often a complex set of factors. Since rugs come in many different weave qualities and structural styles, it's impossible to give a specific price.
A photo can helps get us in a to-start conversation about repair options and price range. Let me give you an example of how that conversation can change really fast; In one case, a dog chewed a five-inch hole in a rug and we quote based on photos. Once we got the rug to our shop, we found the rug was rotten and that five-inch repair was, in reality, a 2'x3' rotten area in the rug. Substantially more expensive repair than the five-inch repair we could see in the photos. It's always best for us to see the rug in person to lay our hands on it for an accurate repair cost.
Does My Rug Need To Be Cleaned Before Repair?
Yes, rugs need to be cleaned before repair. Embedded,
sandy, clay-like soils make it harder to sew into a rug. These sols are deeply embedded in the foundation of a rug as this pic shows.
Color matching. Have you had a carpet cleaned and marveled at how bright the colors are after cleaning? That's because soil hides and obscures color. When we do a repair that requires yarn, we want to match the color to clean wool, not wool tinted by soil.
Hygiene. Rug resides on floors with foot traffic; they absorb soils, dander, hair, and lint, pets have accidents, and things get tracked across rugs. Oriental rugs hide soil that's part of their charm; they didn't look dirty, but this soil was deeply embedded in the rug's foundation. Rugs can bring in moth and moth eggs. My repair personnel works for hours with hands and elbows resting on rugs and sometimes rugs in their laps.
Another cleaner just cleaned my Oriental rug.
Sometimes that's acceptable, and others, it's not. All cleaning isn't equal; having a carpet cleaner steam clean or shampoo your oriental rug at home doesn't get it clean. We require your rug to be adequately dusted and washed; we need to put the rug through a proper wash process to get embedded soils out.
Cleaning isn't negotiable; as the owner, it's also out of my own hands. I have given sole discretion and authority to my repair staff on this matter; their word or decision on the matter is the law of the land.
Finding a Rug Repair Specialist
Seeking a qualified rug repair company isn't always easy. Not all rug cleaners are trained in hand repair of oriental rugs, and not all rug repair companies do authentic hand repair. A Google search for rug repair near me or rug repair companies pull up local companies that offer repair, but that doesn't always mean they know how to fix rugs by hand properly. Terms like rug serging and binding, rug repair glue, carpet adhesives, or companies with carpet fabrication departments.
That doesn't mean a company doesn't offer authentic hand repair, much like rug cleaning; it's best to visit a rug repair shop and ask lots of questions.
Make sure the rug cleaner and rug repair people understand oriental rugs.
We see it all the time carpet cleaners branch out and offer area rug and oriental rug cleaning as a side service, but they lack fundamental knowledge about woven rugs. These cleaners might even do a great cleaning with oriental rugs, but they
lack an understanding of handwoven rugs' age, origins, values, and proper repair techniques.
Machine repair methods are often applied to handwoven rugs; cutting, glues, and adhesives are used with disastrously bad results. These cost-cutting machine methods destroy their value and ruin the aesthetics of handwoven carpets and often result in faster deterioration. The rug's owner often doesn't clearly understand the repairs until it's too late, as was the case of this Persian Sarouk rug. The ends cut, adhesives, machine serged, and a cotton fringe is sewn over the top a rug like this loses half or more of its value.
Hand rug repair is a skill that takes decades to master. It's not something learned in a short class; rug restoration is a skill set entirely different from cleaning that takes decades to master.
This picture is of a restoration workshop in Turkey; all of these workers began apprenticing in rug repair between 12-16 years of age. Good quality well, thought hand rug repair isn't a side hustle job, It's a highly skilled and specialized trade.
Does your fine oriental rug need this level of highly skilled hand repair? Maybe not, but the reality is that this level of repair isn't on the table for discussion in most cleaning companies; repair work is, at best basic and, in some cases, destructive.
At Renaissance, we work with high-level restoration companies outside the USA for larger projects and very complex projects. This isn't logical for all restoration needs but appropriate for some
Renaissance Rug Cleaning Inc. is a Portland, Oregon-based rug cleaning and registration company specializing in oriental rugs.