You are out at a flea market and you glance over and see it. It is perfect. It has that one hard to find color you have been lusting after. You go over and they quote you a price that you aren't so sure about. Is it fair? Is it overpriced?
One of the best ways to tell if you are getting a good price on a rug is to know if it is handmade or machine made. Obviously, if the rug is handmade, the value (and price) is more because of the skill, time and talent.
There are four types of rugs:
These rugs are made by computers and are easily identifiable if you notice the following:
The White Lines on the Back - you won't have the same pronounced white grid lines on a handmade rug.
The Fringe - Sometimes it is really obvious if the trim is sewn on. Sometimes it a bit more difficult to tell. Handmade rugs are always going to have the fringe ends be part of the yarn of the rug.
The fringe is obviously sewn on here.
The Rug Binding - In my opinion, this is where you are really able to tell if the fringe is giving you trouble. On a machine made rug, the binding on the end will be straight and very uniform. On a handmade rug, the binding may not as uniform or clean.
Same rug as above. See how perfectly bound those sides are?
Hand Tufted (Machine Made)
So, follow me for a minute. Hand-tufted rugs are not actually hand made. (I know, just when you thought you were getting the hang of this). They use this drill gun thing that puts the pile in a cloth foundation.
The same rules apply as above. They are considered machine made and have the fringe either glued or sewed on.
Hand Woven ("Flat Weave")
Now, for handmade. The techniques used for a hand woven and a hand knotted rug differ. A hand woven rug is usually a quicker process (still time consuming, don't get me wrong) than a hand knotted rug. Therefore, hand woven rugs are generally less expensive.
They are usually called a "flat weave" rug because, you know, they are flat. It can be really hard to tell the difference between a machine made flat weave and a real hand woven rug. (Did I just blow your mind again?) Since it's so difficult, if you're unsure your best bet is to take it to a professional to see if they can figure it out for you.
A few things to note about hand woven rugs:
They are flat rugs with little to no pile. The can be folded up and stored easily.
These are the super slippery rugs with no real weight. So you will definitely need some kind of rug pad to keep it from sliding and for extra cushion since these rugs aren't thick.
They are often thought to be reversible since they are done by hand, the pattern can be seen as the same from either side.
Now for the hand knotted rugs.
Do you see how you can see actual knots on the back of this one? Also, notice how the fringe is literally just an extension of the main fibers of the rug. Lastly, notice the binding on the side. See how it is thinner up top and then gets thicker toward the bottom of the picture as it gets away from the fringe?
Now that you have a basic understanding of the different types of rugs, hopefully you will be able to start identifying good deals when you are out at thrifts and fleas!