Trusted Service Since 1935

Your rug is hand made. What does that mean?

If you’ve read an ad for a rug sale you’ve seen terms used like hand-made, hand-crafted… hand-tufted… hand-knotted… maybe with an ‘authentic’ or an ‘Oriental-design‘  thrown in for good measure. What’s the difference?

Any manufacturing method that involves hand work can be called hand-made or hand-crafted, but identifying the way the rug is made will be more specific. Hand woven and braided rugs have no pile and can often be used either side up. Hand-hooked rugs are made in a way akin to tufted rugs, except the yarn is pulled through pre-woven fabric with a hook instead of being pushed. Needlework rugs include needlepoint and chain-stitch methods of sewing yarn into a pre-woven backing.

The most popular hand-crafting methods are knotting, tufting, and piece fabrication.

Hand-knotted rugs are traditionally thought of as Persian or Oriental rugs and having floral or tribal patterns. Today hand-knotted rugs may be made to order with custom designs and come from many countries. They are made by tying knots around the vertical or ‘warp’ yarns on a loom. Another fiber, the weft, will be woven through the warp and between rows of the knotted yarn that makes up the pile of the rug. Hand-knotted rugs take time to create; from design to finished rug may take six months or more. A well made knotted rug may last several lifetimes if cared for properly, and we can often do more to remove spots and spills because no adhesives are used.

This video shows rug-knotting as is being done in India: rug knotting


Hand-tufted rugs have typically come in one of two types:

  • Pre-made patterns, very reasonable prices and an expected life of 5 to 10 years depending on the quality of adhesive used.
  • Custom-made to your specifications, very expensive but could last forty years or more

Even though hand-tufting is faster than hand-knotting, it is still labor intensive and manufacturing will be done in places where labor costs are low. Pre-made rugs can be picked out at a rug shop, but custom-made rugs will also take months from order to delivery and can actually cost more than hand-knotted rugs.

Mechanization has moved into the “hand tufting” of custom rugs though (automated hand-tufting?) so we may see this style of rug being made everywhere and also see a blending of better quality and lower prices.

This video shows a progression from using a manual hand tool to a motorized hand tool: hand tufting

This video shows a tufting robot: robot tufting


Piece fabricated rugs are made by cutting pre-manufactured carpet to the desired shapes and sizes and reassembling those pieces using high temperature adhesive or by hand sewing. Since much of the manufacturing work is already done, this is typically the fastest and least expensive way to go from design to finished custom-made rug. Since less labor is involved, this type of construction can be done locally, and the lifespan will depend entirely on the quality of the carpet and the expertise of the assembler.

Ad Warning! D. A. Burns has the largest and best equipped carpet workroom in the northwest, with an experienced staff that cares about the quality of their work. After all, we’d like to see our rugs years later when they come back for cleaning. We guarantee our workmanship for the life of the carpet.

D. A. Burns Custom Rug Services

The back view of a Husky fan’s custom rug. A customer will choose the carpet style and colors to be used, provide a drawing or template and the finished size, and we do the rest. Here the carpet is test fitted and in this case all seams will be hand-sewn. A customer may then choose a felt or fabric backing or no backing at all.




 Customer question: Should I just throw it away?

When we see a rug that has some form of damage or discoloration that requires more than cleaning to fix, we are often asked to make a determination as to whether the rug is worth the cost of repair. The answer may require some shopping since rug values can vary from year to year, but could be as simples as:

  • Will a perfect repair cost more than today’s cost of replacement?  

Other than direct replacement value there may be other reasons to save a rug:

  • Is there a special memory attached?
  • Does the rug match other furnishings?
  • Will it be difficult to find a replacement?
  • Can it be replaced at all?

What a rug is worth to you may be more than what it would be worth to sell or replace.

The craftspeople at D. A. Burns may also be able to suggest a creative option that will make your rug usable again and fit both your budget and how much you like that rug. We’re always available for a no-cost consultation at either our Seattle or Bellevue locations.

D. A. Burns Custom Rug Services

Good Citizens

Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 in Blog | 0 comments

Good Citizens

At D. A. Burns we’re proud of our commitment to being good citizens of our community. As a company, we do more for our combination of communities than any other local firm in our industry. We go to a little extra effort and expense to provide the most favorable outcome from our services, as you can see from the list below… For health Carpet and soft furniture coverings are actually very beneficial. Soft furnishings don’t create dust; they keep it away from your lungs. Our number one concern is that our cleaning creates a more...

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Posted by on Dec 12, 2011 in Blog | 0 comments


Welcome to the D. A. Burns & Sons website and blog. The intent of this blog is to provide more lengthy explanations and other information than we could on our website and allow our customers a way to have a thorough answer to questions about anything in our knowledge base. We would also like to allow you to get to know our people. Although we invest in the best products and provide the best methodologies, we know that people are the most important component of the services we offer. Please feel free to let us know your...

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