Question

I'm looking for a 7x10 shag rug made of natural fibers. Any recommendations?

Asked by Lori
Minneapolis, MN

Can you recommend green area-rug manufacturers? I'm looking for something not made from polyester or polypropylene.

Answer

Kirsten Flynn

Answered by Kirsten Flynn

Palo Alto, CA

Sustainable Home

April 18, 2011

Any shag carpet can be made into an area rug, even if it is sold as rolled goods. You just need to have your chosen material cut to size and then bound.

  • Most carpet rolled goods are 12 feet wide, or about 13 feet if they are metric goods, so there is some waste to make a 10-foot area rug.
  • However, since your dimension, 7' by 10', is an unusual dimension (rugs usually come in 8' by 10'), it might be the only way to get a perfect-sized rug.

Consider manmade fibers for their superior stain resistance and durability

I assume from your question that you want to avoid all fibers made from petroleum, but just in case it is the performance characteristics of polyester or polypropylene that you dislike, nylon is the most common fiber in rugs.

Nylon is chosen because it is the most resilient manmade fiber, meaning that it bounces back after being crushed, a positive characteristic in rugs.

  • All manmade fibers are inert once they are spun, and I actually use manmade fibers a lot because of their superior stain resistance and durability.
  • However, I would avoid fibers surface-treated for stain resistance or fire resistance, as these treatments are often chemicals I would prefer not to bring into a home.

Shopping tips for wool carpets

I will suggest some shopping tips for wool options, since you are looking for natural fibers.

  • Wool is the natural fiber that is most resilient and durable, and thus preferred for carpets. 
  • If you are looking at wool shags, density is important. You want a lot of tufts per square inch, so you do not see the backing as the long shag tufts lie down.
  • I prefer to buy domestic wool when I can find it, as the imported wool needs to be fumigated as it goes through customs. However, much of the high-quality wool used in the world is from Australia and New Zealand.  

Wool carpet manufacturers

If you like high design, I adore the shags from Ruckstuhl. Both their Crespo shag and their Get Up shag are gorgeous.

  • Karastan is a leader in wool carpet and has several shag options, and their quality is top-notch.
  • Earth Weave Carpet Mills specializes in non-dyed wool carpeting that uses a natural rubber backing. However, I have never seen a shag in their carpet line.
  • Catalina Carpets has a wool shag, Maxwell; you can go to your local carpet vendor and ask if they carry that line. 

There are hundreds of carpet manufacturers, and carpet showrooms carry a broad selection -- see what your local carpet showroom has.

It is difficult for me to know exactly what is available in your area. If you buy from your local vendor, just ask them for a selection of wool shags. Most showrooms offer binding to your custom size.   

 

For more information:

Read "I am installing wool carpet. What type of padding should I be looking for?" a Q&A answered by Christopher Moline.

Tagged In: green carpet

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