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Antique Rug Repair: Should You DIY or Take It To a Professional?

rug repair

When you’re dealing with antiques, you’re dealing with something 100 years old or older. Antiques are valuable — both sentimentally and monetarily. They’re also irreplaceable.

Rug repair can be a difficult thing to tackle on your own, and when you’re trying to repair an antique rug, the stakes are even higher.

We’re going to look at some of the most common sources and types of damage that occur when handling antique rugs and discuss some of the possible DIY fixes you have to choose from. Depending on the type or amount of damage to your rug, it may be best to let the professionals handle it.

Read on to make an informed decision between DIY and professional repair!

Common Antique Rug Damage

No matter the damage, you should always act fast when it comes to rug repairs. Consider the initial damage to your antique rug to be the fault line. Any extra movement or tension on or near the problem area will lead to a wider area of damage.

Understanding the most common causes of damage will prepare you for what to look out for and know when it’s time for some repairs.

Loose or Open Sides

When we say the “sides” of the rug, we are referring to the edges that run the length of the carpet and do not have fringe. Typically, Oriental and Persian rugs are woven from length to length, and the weaver has tied off the ends somewhere along the sides.

When those ties become loose or the fibers have frayed along the sides, the surrounding areas will become loose as well. At the very least, your side might start to look like it has a bit of fringe, after all!

Stretched or Worn Ends

The “ends” of the rug are the edges that run the width of the rug and are marked by an exposed fringe. This fringe is more than just decorative, and it should be a cause for concern if it appears stretched or worn close to the rug’s true edge.

Before becoming fringe, those exposed strings served as the warps of the rug. Each individual piece of fringe runs from one end of the rug to the other, acting as the bones of the rug.

If those bones start to come apart, your rug will, too. The shape may become warped and the pile may unravel, leaving you with a barren, patternless rug.

Low Pile

Having a low pile means that the surface of your rug has become worn down or flattened in one or several spots. Unless you never place furniture atop your rug or allow any foot traffic to pass over it, low pile is inevitable.

Not all antique rug owners consider low pile worthy of repair. Unless the pile is low enough that the foundation of the rug is exposed, it isn’t necessary to have low pile repaired. So, this one is a matter of personal preference!

Are You Up to the Challenge of DIY Oriental Rug Repair and Persian Rug Restoration?

If the rug repairs you need aren’t extreme, you may be able to tackle them yourself. However, you might want to think about the potential of lost value if your repairs are unsustainable or noticeable in a bad way.

We’ll look at a few ways to repair antique rugs on your own, although we have to say, the only “pro” of using these methods is saving a little bit of money on the professional antique or Oriental rug repair cost. Remember, even cleaning an antique rug on your own can be risky (though it’s not impossible if you approach it the right way).

DIY Side Repair

Many of the tips and tricks for repairing frayed or loosened sides on your own are geared toward newer, factory-made rugs. It’s easy to see why they aren’t the best Persian rug repair methods.

Fabric glue sprays are sold that can bond loose fibers back together. You can use these glue sprays to fix small damage spots on an antique rug, but all that will do is stall a larger problem and inevitably lead to a new issue.

Rug repair experts are more likely to wrap the damaged sides with wool. They will take the time to find the right shade (often a shade that is true to the rug’s original color). They will also know how tightly the wool should be wrapped in order to maintain the rug’s integrity.

This process takes a lot of time and expertise, but it will also halt further damage to the sides. Plus, it won’t cause your rug to go down in value from a sticky, chemical-filled glue.

DIY End Repair

Some rug owners are bothered by the unevenness of their rug’s fringe after lots of wear and tear. It’s possible to trim your fringe to give it an even look again, but this must be done very carefully.

In fact, you may want to think about just how badly you can’t stand those uneven edges. Badly enough that you’re willing to risk unraveling your rug?

If you cut the fringe past (or even too close) to the knots, the knots of the actual rug will begin sliding away. This kind of damage can be difficult to repair, even for professionals.

Any further damage to the ends should, without a doubt, be taken care of by professionals. They will figure out the best stitch to keep your end intact without creating gaps between the fibers or damaging the fibers. Chances are, they’ll clean up that untidy fringe, too!

DIY Pile Repair

There are a few ways you can improve the look of your rug’s pile, but any replacement work would need to be handled by a professional.

You may move a piece of furniture for the first time in years and discover a dent or crease from the weight of the furniture. You can attempt to flatten out this dent by placing a towel over it and applying light pressure with an iron on low heat. However, too much heat can cause more damage.

To protect pile that’s already low from getting worse, you can reposition the rug so it’s no longer in the line of traffic or so that the low pile is tucked between the legs of a raised piece of furniture.

Otherwise, you will need professional rug repair.

To DIY or Not to DIY?

At this point, you’re probably thinking that DIY rug repair isn’t such a great idea. Of course, it’s your call and it depends on the extent of the damage!

If you’re still struggling to decide, ask yourself these questions:

“Do I want to keep the original look intact? Do I want to stop this damage in its tracks? Would I be upset if this antique rug went down in value?”

If the answer to any of those questions is, “Yes,” then consider contacting us today and let us help you with all of your rug repair needs!

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