How to choose the best outdoor rug.

A fabulous table set for dining on the garden patio.

A fabulous table set for dining on the garden patio.

How to choose the best outdoor area rug.

Looking for that perfect outdoor area rug to accent your deck?
Perhaps you wish to add decorative warmth to an outdoor extended living area?
Need a rug to define a patio dining area?
How about a rug to create a quaint and unique space on the balcony to enjoy your morning coffee and a book on those beautiful summer mornings?
In addition to adding colour and defining space, a strategically placed area rug serves the practical purpose of limiting dirt and grime from entering your home.
I did some research on outdoor area rugs, and I hope the following information and tips are helpful.

Outdoor rug material

Typically outdoor rugs are made of synthetic fibres such as nylon, polyester, acrylic, and polypropylene, better known as olefin. Synthetic rugs are machine made and cheaper compared to rugs that are handmade or made of natural materials such as cotton and wool.

Click the item in the table below to your most pressing question, or continue to read the entire article.

Nylon and olefin are by far the most widely used material in the construction of outdoor rugs and this article will focus mainly on these two types as acrylic and polyester are somewhat similar. Nylon is more durable than olefin, but olefin is less expensive. The next time you’re in a commercial or office building, take note of the carpeting as it is probably olefin or nylon.

Olefin

Olefin rugs can have a scratchy feel and to combat this, rugs are made with a jute foundation which means the plastic fibres are wrapped around the straw like jute. This gives the rug a nicer feel since olefin is a type of plastic and is not as pleasant to the touch as wool, for example. Also, jute is sometimes used as a backing to the rug instead of a synthetic backing such as polyester, which is preferable since jute, being a natural material, may be susceptible to mould and mildew.

Olefin rug Image source

Olefin rug
Image source

Olefin is solution dyed, which means the colour is permanently embedded through-out the fibre as it is being made as opposed to the colour being applied to the surface of the fibre. This results in a very colourfast material that offers colour stability and is resistant to staining, although it may be affected by oil-based stains, and fading, even in direct sunlight.

It can be easily cleaned using strong cleaners including bleach without damaging the fibres.

This type of material makes it very suitable if placed near pools as olefin can withstand the chemicals utilised in the water.

Olefin has a low melt point. So low in fact, that even friction generated from dragging furniture across its surface may be sufficient to fuse the fibres together.
Olefin’s greatest advantage as an outdoor rug is the fact that it is naturally resistant to water as the fibre wicks moisture toward the end of the fibre, allowing it to dry quickly. In addition to being used outdoors, olefin is perfect for basements as this ability to dry quickly discourages mould and mildew.

Nylon

Nylon fibres are flexible and robust enough to withstand crushing, making nylon very durable and able to withstand high traffic locations. Nylon fibres are also solution dyed and are naturally resistant to chemicals and oils and don’t absorb moisture.
A significant negative of nylon is it’s tendency to build a static charge which can attract dirt particles. Static charges can also reach levels that could interfere with electronic equipment. Not a big concern if used outdoors, but it is something to be aware of with this type of material. Often manufacturer’s will add a conductive coating to help dissipate the static electricity. Nylon also has a tendency to melt when exposed to high heat. Nylon rugs are certainly suitable as an outdoor rug.

Light bamboo carpet with brown edging.

Light bamboo carpet with brown edging.

Natural fibres

Although outdoor rugs are typically made of synthetic fibres, rugs made of bamboo or sisal can be used as well.

These natural materials are more pleasant to the touch than synthetic fibres.

Rugs made with natural materials may become prematurely damaged if frequently exposed to harsh weather conditions, and require extra care. It may be best to use these types under cover or perhaps stored at the end of the season. If you live in a part of the country where the weather limits outdoor living, and it makes sense to store your outdoor rug, remember to never fold a rug always roll it.

Braided rugs

Let’s not forget braided rugs as a very practical option. At least for me, when I think of a braided rug I typically think of one of wool construction which of course would not be suitable for outdoors. Many braided rugs, however, are made with synthetic fibres, making them perfect for the outdoors.

Braided rug Image source

Braided rug
Image source

These types of rugs come in three styles of braiding, giving the rug its unique look. Braided rugs are very durable and don’t require a backing as they are reversible, making them very long lasting.
Whether you decide on natural or synthetic rugs, choose colours and patterns to maintain continuity between your outdoor spaces and indoor spaces.

Outdoor rugs are available in myriad colours, shapes, and patterns to suit just about everyone’s styles and taste.
Rugs with darker tones create a more intimate space, and rugs with lighter colours make a smaller space seem larger. You may even wish to choose colours to complement the foliage or landscaping surrounding your outside living area.
Size is also important as you want a rug to be large enough to create the space you want, but not so big as to hide your beautiful wooden deck. Just as in the home, it’s more visually appealing to have all the legs of furniture placed on the rug.

Conclusion

I hope the above information was helpful. With so many styles, shapes, and colours to choose from, it’s almost a certainty you’ll choose the perfect area rug to complement and significantly enhance your outdoor living space with comfort and practicality.

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