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Rug Repair: Odds and Ends


For those who are seriously considering repair or end refinishing, this is the article for you!  Please also be sure to take a look at our book recommendation for rug repair.  Three main options: End reduction, end refinishing/restringing and newly applied fringe. We highly recommend individuals considering any of the procedures below to see what the Rug Experts suggest for your specific application.


End Reduction:

Reverse Side of Mashad Rug - needs overcasting!End reduction, or pulling rows of knots from the end of a rug to make a straight line of weft ready for a formally finished overcast end costs in the vicinity of $20 per linear foot.  While a loose quote of $20 may be your average cost per linear foot,  the final estimate is by-the-job.  E.G. one end for a standard 9'x12' would be ~ $180 for one end give or take depending on the quality of the rug. 

Pros:  In the scope of preping a rug for use, this is a fairly inexpensive option.

Cons:  Depending on the extend to which knots may be removed, the final result may severely impact value of the carpet overall.  Making an end "even" with the above method of dropping knots is not something we suggest in all cases, especially for older rugs with marked value, unusual or in very good condition +.  If the reduction goes into the minor guard border, or perhaps even presses up against the minor guard, overall value may be adversely affected by as much as 40 - 70%. 


Re-stringing Fringe/Warps:

Often the best option for older rugs with substantial value, albeit the higher investment option for restoring.  Restringing means extending the length of the rug by a labor intensive process of adding material and adding pile.  Bring the rug to several experts to evaluate overall condition, rarity and cost benefit.  Investment for this is restoration generally goes for around $70 - $90+ per linear foot depending heavily on knot density and extend of loss.  Again, same as above, this job is by the end:  Even if only 70% of a 9' end needs re-stringing, other techniques used to finish the rug make this a by-the-job process. 

Pros: A good restoration of restringing warps to extend the length of a rug which has been reduced through wear will often maintain or increase the resale value of a rug, and certainly help the rug to have more utility by finishing ends. 

Cons: Not the best option for all applications as the full rug will need careful, professional assessment.  Also a fairly time consuming, labor intensive process with a fair amount of investment.


Re-Fringing with applied machined fringe:


Antique Kerman with Re-fringing

The process of "maintaining" the current end of rug through application of a new fringe.  A new applied roll of fringe will not seriously affect the value of a rug if done properly, however may increase labor time down the road should you opt for re-stringing in the future.  This is a touchy subject as many repair specialists sometimes use glue to reinforce, which is not a good practice as it often is non-reversible.  However, if properly done without glue, it can be a moderately priced way to temporarily forgo necessary repairs while still allowing the rug to have utility in the interim.  Again, not the best option as some loss may continue, but it is an option so long as the work done may be reversed easily.

Pros:  Utility maintained without the added investment of a full-on restoration of re-stringing warps.  Temporary fix to ends losing knots without fully compromising the originality of the end beneath.  Good option for newer rugs or carpets which do not have substantial value.

Cons:  Not the most attractive option as a good match is needed to not look too altertered.  Re-fringing needs to be carefully assessed and done properly in a reversible manner.  At a price point around $40 per linear foot (depending on quality), this is not the least expensive option.  May in some cases detract from the overall value of a rug.  If after several years you opt to have the ends re-finished, it may require added work to remove the fringe for re-stringing thereby increasing costs.


As a consumer, it's in your best interest to preserve the value and spirit of the rug.  Unfortunately, more and more nice old rugs are having the ends reduced.  In our opinion, this only makes those which have been properly cared/repaired close to original standards that much more treasured.  It's sometimes difficult to justify $800+ to finish one end of a rug.   The best thing to do would be to find out what the current market value of the rug may be, and crunch numbers backwards to see if the ends justify the means and what the your overall sentiments are about the rug.

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