Uncle Bobs Tips: Rug Guide

Antique Rug Restoration

Antique Rug Restoration

One of the floor facts of life is that antique rugs are rarely in perfect original condition. Inevitably, antique rugs will require some antique rug restoration or repair. Pre-1800 antique rugs and carpets almost always show wear and damage -holes, tears, fraying - that have been more or less skillfully repaired or restored at some time in the past. This article will provide up-to-the-minute information and advice on an age-old practice: antique rug restoration.

To ground you, here is the lowdown on some antique rug restoration terminology: Conservation, the mildest form of antique rug restoration, refers to the preserving of an antique rug with as little change to the rug as possible. The goal is to prevent further damage or deterioration. Restoration, the most extreme type of antique rug restoration, entails an attempt to restore antique rugs to their original condition. Repair is the middle ground in antique rug restoration. Repairing an antique rug entails an effort to copy the original materials and construction of the rug.

In the realm of antique rugs, the antique rug restoration vs. conservation vs. repair debate rages! Opinions differ as to whether antique tribal rugs should be restored or merely conserved. To summarize the many threads and weaves of these discussions, the general consensus is that when it comes to antique rug restoration, why attempt to make ancient rugs look new? The very enchantment of antique weavings is often in their mellowed colors and surfaces that naturally reflect the difficult lives of ancient nomads or villagers. Further, village or tribal antique rug repairs are an integral part of an antique rug weaving's history.

Thus, in the antique rug restoration debate, the wrap on pre-1800 antique rugs is that these antique rugs ought to be conserved only. It is considered reasonable to reweave distracting holes, however replacing missing ends or frayed fringe is deemed extreme. In the case of eroded yarns, most often browns, magentas and pale gray-greens naturally corrode by iron oxides in the dye materials, reweaving may be favored if the antique rug design is obscured.

In the instance of restoring antique rugs of moderate age, a carpet-by-carpet judgment is recommended. Hence, rugs from this group may be restored to the extent that a dealer or collector finds reasonable, recreates most of the original impression, and makes the owner happy.

When it comes down to the restoration or repair of more modern rugs, the dye is clearly cast. The consensus is that these rugs are readily restored and repaired. In fact, with late 19th or early 20th century rugs, it is critical that weak or torn areas be rewoven or stabilized immediately to prevent further damage. Unlike antique rug restoration, modern restoration work should be invisible.

In today's commerce of antique rug restoration and repair, it is essential that the restoration or repair be executed with utmost skill, and that the antique rug purchaser be informed about the extent of restoration. Many rug specialists offer antique rug cleaning, reweaving and restoration services. These services can include free estimates of antique rug restoration costs and a benefits analysis. While it is recommended that you bring your rug slated for restoration or repair in person, some rug restoration services offer you the option of a free email quote! Just email photos of the rug to be restored, at all relevant angles including close-ups of damaged areas, describe damage that is not clearly visible, and include rug measurements.

Antique rug restoration services should include period "check-ups" and occasional repairs. Upon careful examination of your damaged rugs, antique rug restoration specialists will outline in writing their recommendations, as well as estimated costs and repair time. Quality antique rug restorers will also offer guarantees of performance pertaining to each restored or repaired rug.

Common damages that might warrant antique rug restoration or repair include: water damage, mildew, rotting, moth damage, dog chews and cat scratching, stains of all kinds including pet stains, vacuum cleaner damage, chemical damage, sun damage, uneven wear, broken warps, loose knots, tears, rips, holes, burn marks, frayed or loose edges, torn or loose fringes, bleeding or running of colors, fading of color, odors, and pressure marks created by furniture.

Some antique rug restoration procedures can be performed at home. If you are repairing a rug with a hole in it, try patching the hole with extra original rug material. If you match your colors carefully and use as much of the original material as possible, your repairs should be unnoticeable. If the back of your rug is weak or has been cut, unravel some threads from a matching backing material, stuff them back into the weave and re-hook the loops. You can reinforce this with some diluted white glue. If your rug has frayed edges, remove the binding and the loose loops, attach a new backing as above, and rebind. If the rug binding is worn, using two-inch wide binding tape close to the original color, a new binding can be sewn over the old one.

In summary, the older and more rare the antique rug, the more antique rug restoration and repairs are acceptable. While extensive rug restoration work on an early antique rug will do little to diminish its value, even slight repairs on a rug from the 20th century can greatly affect its worth. Contemporary antique rug collectors are placing greater value on rug age and aesthetics, and less on rug condition.

Antique rug restoration, conservation and repair will help maintain the integrity, splendor and value of your favorite antique rugs. Mending damaged rugs while preserving their essential character is the hallmark of antique rug restoration. The results are antique rugs of long-lasting, exceptional quality and unparalleled beauty.

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