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Q&A: Heavy Furniture on top of Persian Silk Oriental Rugs and Carpets

We look forward to talking with anyone on questions pertaining to oriental rugs.  We are an Independent Reviewer, and will give you our opinion for any rug, new or old.  Should you have any questions you would like to submit for a blog entry response, please do so, and be sure to include photographs of your rug.  For more information, please take a look at the bottom of this page, or feel free to Contact Us at Info@rugrag.com

Question received the week of Monday, the 14th of July 2008:

Hello Rug Rag!!!

I am so thankful to you for all the information you put out in this site. I know a lot about oriental rugs now thanks to you!

I noticed that when I see oriental rugs displayed in Middle East Houses (in photograph mostly) it is usually empty (No furniture on top of it), and I wonder how much damage we do when we put heavy furniture on top of our Persian rugs, particularly silk Ghom? What is your recommendation on this issue?

Thanks!

-Anonymous


Response:

Thanks very much for your email, this is a great question and we're happy to help you out.

To answer your question, generally speaking with wool Oriental Rugs, heavy furniture rarely ever results in any permanent damages. 

Preventative measures which should be taken in most any case are as follows:  Any hand knotted rug should have a padding underneath.  Use of a pad will help absorb some of the weight and compression from heavy objects such as a large dining room table or other.  However, in the case of thinner rugs, too much padding can create stretching of the foundation, creating an abnormal amount of tension within the structure of the carpet.  This goes for not only thin rugs and carpets, but also those with delicate fiber content such as a Ghom silk Rug (also spelled Qum, Qom, Ghoum).  The most important preventative measure from having severely compressed pile is to distribute the weight with furniture "coasters," and every so often rotate the carpet and placement of furniture items every year or so. 

Corrective measures: When it comes to use and pile "revitalization," this really should be left to a professional in the cases of true silk rugs.  For a wool rug, the process would be simply a quick steaming with a clothing steamer.  This would release the pile fibers which had been pressed down to the foundation of the rug, a simple technique to spring fibers back into place with surrounding pile.  You would also have to make sure the carpet had been professionally cleaned, as small stains or dirt/grease on the fibers may become permanent with application of high heat.  In the case of a silk rug, this is somewhat more of a delicate process. 

Silk is a wonderful fiber to have integrated into the weaving of an Oriental Rug.  However, silk also has significantly less resilience when it comes to fold wear as compared to a wool piled counterpart.  In the event of severe pile compression in silk rugs due to extended periods of heavy weight furniture placement, while a steaming may work, colors tend to not be as colorfast under extreme heat such as steaming.  The silk fiber in general is more "slippery," and absorbs dyes in a different manner than that of wool.  To answer your question, while a steam cleaning may be a good option, I would have the rug professionally inspected, as steaming may be an absolute last resort.

The best suggestions we have: do not agitate or brush the pile.  Depending on the pile height and severity of compression, you may be able to carefully work the pile back up to it's original state with a slow and delicate stroke with your fingers with the direction of the pile (if the pile is high).  Hard agitation will render your pile design muddled and less detailed, as will rubbing in the opposite direction.  In the case of Ghom rugs, the piles tend to be very short, so this may not work particularly well.  The best, easiest (and slowest) method is simply to leave the rug as is, walk on it, and allow the pile to slowly release itself after the course of several weeks.  The compression from the weight of heavy  furniture on a rug is not permanent, and due to the nature of your rug's fiber, the tendency over time will be for the pile to slowly release and spring back to an original state over a long period of time. 

Again, the best thing to do would be to bring the rug to your local Oriental Rug specialist.  If you would like a recommendation for someone in your area, feel free to contact us.  Do not bring the rug to a dry cleaner, or ask for an in-home steamer service to look at it.  The best option again is for a qualified and professional Rug Expert to inspect the rug in person to decide on the severity of compression.   If the rug is clean, they may opt to simply use cold water (or humidifier-type apparatus) and careful strokes with the direction of the pile to release it.  Unfortunately, we do not have any instant-in home recommendations for this scenario.

Best of luck, and thank you for sharing your question with our readers!

-Rug Rag

 

See More From "The InBox":

Did I Pay Too Much? The Fringe is Short! Can I Make the Rug Shinier?

 

For all those interested in submitting a question to the Rug Rag Editors:  We'd be more than happy to help, please send some photographs of the reverse side of the rug very close up with a quarter placed on the knots, plus a picture of the fringe, the whole face of the rug and detail shot of the pile.  If the rug is worn, please include photographs of worn areas.  For rugs of any age, please be sure to check for dry areas, moth damage, odor, and whether or not the rug is straight/has right angles where called for.  If you have any questions about our assessment request feel free to send us an email.  Otherwise, we are looking for something similar to these images posted here

 

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Comments

October 23. 2008 11:37

Chris Hook

I have a 60 year old Superfine Persian Birjand that we have placed on wall-to-wall carpet in our den. We would like to purchase furniture to place on top of this fine carpet, but my husband is concerned about the damage caused by the furniture legs with the soft foundation under our Oriental carpet. The items I am considering placing are a reclining sofa (metal bars as legs) 2 reclining swivel rockers (36" round wood base) and coffee/end tables (4 wooden legs each piece). Do we have reason to be concerned if we rotate carpet at least twice per year? Are there any other suggestions for giving the Oriental carpet some support under these heavy pieces? Thank You!

Chris Hook

October 28. 2008 12:57

David

Hi, and thanks for the question.

I would suggest not to worry too much about placing furniture on the rug. However, do be aware that extended periods of time, as you mentioned, may flatten areas which have significant weight.

Here are the best things to do if you are very concerned about the rug:

First: Use furniture coasters, or some sort of way to distribute weight more equally throughout the contact with the rug.

Second, have an underlining beneath the rug, but don't have it be too thick! The thicker the underlining, the more give that will be allowed.

Third, if the rug does show indentations after a period of time, don't fret, usually a careful steaming will bring the pile back to life. Just be sure to have a professional attend to this. The fibers of most Oriental Rugs, specifically wool, is quite resilient. The tendency will be for it to spring back up to the original position if given the time. Most important, Don't agitate the pile!

If you want to be very cautious, every week just lift and replace the furniture a couple inches to a different location on the rug. You can do this during vacuuming, not a big deal. Let us know if you have any further questions.

Thanks for checking in

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David

November 7. 2008 21:48

Bob

WE just had our rug cleaned and in 2 days it developed bumped up spots. Now we are afraid we are going to trip on it. when we called the cleaner they said we shouldnt put it on top of new carpet. Only on wood floors. Could you respond to us?? Also the fringe is dirtier than before they took it.
Thank You

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November 7. 2008 23:55

David

Hi Bob,

I'd be more than happy to address any questions you have. Please send photographs of the rug to info@rugrag.com

It's important that we understand what kind of rug you have before attempting to answer your inquiry!

Thanks

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David


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