What’s New With Rugs?

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Two hot items at retail these days are Tibetan and hand-loomed rugs from India. Rugs woven with a Tibetan knot have been very popular for over 20 years, but the hand-loomed rugs from India are new to the market.


The Rug Cleaning Specialist 10 Years Later

It was 10 years ago when I first discussed with Howard Olansky, the co-founder of ICS Cleaning Specialist, the idea of doing a column on rug cleaning. He gave me the green light, and I appreciate your interest in reading "The Rug Cleaning Specialist" during the past decade.

At the time I first started this column, area rug sales were about 10 percent of the total soft floor covering market. According to a more recent study published in 2004, area rugs comprised 17.6 percent of the total market. It seems the demand for hard surfaces in homes is still on the rise. As a result, sales of area rugs will continue to grow.


Show Me The Green

Consumers and government agencies are not the only ones who are driving the interest (or requirement) of using products and systems that are environmentally preferable or "green." Look at the success of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Program. If you are cleaning Class A commercial buildings, your customer may want to quality for this program, and you will need to use green products and procedures to help them achieve that certification. 

On Aug. 4, the state of New York officially adopted their "Guidelines" for use of environmental sensitive cleaning products and procedures. This will set the stage for other government agencies. The concern, however, is this guideline was done with little relevance to actual product testing, cleaning performance and efficacy. 


So You Want To Be An Appraiser?

It takes more than a love for rugs and textiles to make the appraisal cut.


You do not need to be an appraiser to clean and repair a rug properly. However, several people have asked me what are the steps to becoming a rug appraiser. There are a few principles and procedures to follow.

A qualified appraiser has formal education in appraisal theory, principles, procedures, ethics and the law, in addition to knowledge of rugs. We’ll come back to improving that knowledge.

There are two appraisal societies that provide education and testing:International Society of Appraisers (ISA) and American Society of Appraisers (ASA). ISA specializes in personal property appraisers, while ASA also includes real estate and business valuation appraisers.

It’s necessary to complete the core courses taught by the societies in appraisal studies and pass their examinations with a passing grade of 80% or better.

The core courses cover how to start your own appraisal business, how to accurately describe property, accurate report writing, professional ethics, appraisal theory and principles, how to conduct market and value research analysis and more. These classes are definitely college level and expensive.

You must also document three years of experience in appraising or related activity in your area of expertise, submit reports to their Reviews Committee, obtain professional development points in your area of expertise, submit a log of 500 hours of appraisal experience and pass a comprehensive certification exam.

After completing all of the above requirements, you become a Certified Appraiser of Personal Property (CAPP). This will give you credibility in the business world and will allow you to expand your client base.

All appraisals are not alike. Always ask the purpose of the appraisal, i.e. insurance replacement, pre-purchase appraisal, an estate sale, charitable contribution, damage claim, etc. Ask your client as many questions as possible. We have all seen the Antiques Road Show. They all ask where and when did you acquire the item. What do you know about the item? These are perfectly legitimate questions.

Knowing when not to accept an assignment is just as important as knowing how to perform a professional appraisal. Sometimes people want to tell you what to appraise an item for, such as estate tax appraisals. They will do everything they can to try and talk you into giving a low price. Do not accept the assignment.

Being an appraiser can simply be another service that you offer in your cleaning business or retail store. If your appraisal business grows by the time you’re ready to retire, then you may choose to sell the cleaning side of your business and do full-time appraisals. However, one cannot live by appraisals alone.

For your appraisal business you will need a computer, camera, research library, association dues, subscriptions, educational expenses, telephone, fax and capital. Once you make your initial investment, it’s a fairly low overhead business that can be run from home.

So how do you gain or improve your knowledge of rugs?

The ideal beginning is working with an experienced rug cleaner or retail storeowner who will take time to teach you the different types of rugs. This only comes with years of experience, but is the best way to learn. You need to see several rugs on a daily basis.

The Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration offers an advanced rug school that spends several days on rug identification.

There are also many Oriental rug societies—47 exist in the U.S. They provide a wealth of information on old or older Oriental rugs and textiles through lectures, seminars and the American Conference on Oriental Rugs (ACOR).

The Textile Museum, in Washington, D.C. is the only museum in the U.S. devoted to textiles of the world. They have yearly conferences.

Membership or association with a trade organization is also essential. Oriental Rug Retailers of America (ORRA) conducts seminars, and the Oriental Rug Importers Association organizes one of the largest area rug and textile shows at the Atlanta Merchandise Mart.

There are also magazines that can improve your understanding of rugs and textiles HALI published by Hali Publications Ltd., Kingsgate House, Kingsgate Place, London NW6 4TA, UK is an excellent publication for old rugs and textiles. GHEREH C.s Vittorio Emanuele, 40 10123 Torino, Italy, is an excellent publication with an English language edition. Museums have exhibitions, books and lectures on oriental rugs too.

Once you start looking, there are great resources to learn or improve your knowledge of rugs and textiles. 


Rug Display Made Easy


In the last two Rug Specialist articles, we discussed some simple rug repairs. While rug display is not a repair, it will require some needlework and attention to detail that you can provide your customer.

Many textiles purchased today are hung rather than placed on the floor. These can include tapestries, silks, Navajo or Oriental rugs. Hanging a rug minimizes the potential for wear and tear, and damage from pets. It also allows the textile to be viewed as a work of art.

2002-04-15-1Never hang or place weavings in direct sunlight or over heating vents. Remind your customer that rugs hung on a wall are subject to moth damage, especially the side against the wall, as they prefer dark out of the way places to lay their eggs. You should offer some type of moth deterrent treatment to your customer. You will need to avoid a pesticide unless you are a licensed pesticide applicator.

Remember: Rugs act like filters in a HVAC system and can get quite dusty just hanging on the wall. The displayed item can be vacuumed on the wall using a suction only tool with a household type unit.

Rugs can be used in other decorative ways, such as across the back of a sofa, chair or on the top of a table to accent home accessories.

If your customer is an avid collector, they may own fragments of very old textiles or items that contain holes. These can be backed with undyed linen and mounted for display purposes.

Never use nails or tacks to hang a rug as they offer no support and can damage the rug.

Avoid using the method of display that uses metal rings that are sewn on the rug end, even if they are attached to a fabric backing (See Illustration I,). The weight of the hanging rug pulling on the rings can cause stress on the foundation and over time give the rug a scalloped look.

An alternative approach is to sew a cotton sleeve to the back of the rug. The rug is hung by a metal rod, which is passed through the sleeve. This method also is not recommended, because the sleeve will shrink when the rug is washed. It also is somewhat inconvenient to bring down the rug for a close up view by guests.

2002-04-15-2The recommended procedure is to use Velcro, which is available in one- and two-inch widths; selection depends on the weight of the rug. Velcro offers more support than the above methods as it can hold five pounds per square inch and does not need to be removed when the rug is washed.

Remember: Velcro has an adhesive backing. If the adhesive backing is stuck directly onto a painted wall, the paint will peel off when the Velcro is removed.

First, determine where your customer wants to display their rug. Then mount a thin board to the wall using screws. To the board attach the hooked, or male, part of the Velcro using the adhesive backing to hold it in place. It can be further secured to the board with staples.

Do not use the back of the textile as the female component in this system. The hooking action of Velcro is very strong and the removal of the textile will result in fiber damage.

Use a waxed linen thread and sew the female half of the Velcro to the top of the rug. Be certain to attach the Velcro in a straight line just below the rug end. Do not use adhesives or a glue gun.

The rug can easily be removed for cleaning or viewing. If the customer desires to rotate the textile then a second Velcro strip should be applied at the other end of the rug. However, a rug will show best if it is hung with the pile toward the ground as this reflects the light better.

As the Velcro is sewn in place it can easily be removed later if the owner wants the rug to go on to the floor.

This is a simple service to offer your customers and one that does not require a high level of training.


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