Most Common Options for Carpet Finishing

Binding, Serging and Fringing Carpet Edges

If you are having an area rug or carpet runner custom made out of broadloom, there are several options available for how the carpet will be finished along the edges. The edges of your carpet must be finished to prevent fraying, which will occur with any unfinished carpet, or unraveling, which could occur in unfinished loop styles (such as Berbers).

The most common choices for carpet finishing are binding, serging, and fringing.

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    Corner of a bound carpet edge. Photo © Cheryl Simmons

    Binding is typically the easiest and least expensive method of finishing a carpet edge. Binding the edge of a carpet involves wrapping the strip of fabric (generally made from either polyester or cotton) around the edge of the carpet and stitching it in place. This is done by a carpet binding machine.

    Among the benefits of binding are relatively low cost and the vast selection of binding available. There is a seemingly limitless color selection in binding, meaning that virtually any color of...MORE carpet can be matched. By matching the binding to the color of the carpet, the edge of the carpet does not stand out and the binding blends in with the carpet. A contrasting color could be chosen for an accent, but generally, the binding is so thin (about one-quarter of an inch) that the overall effect is a bit bizarre.

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    Area rug featuring a serged edging. Photo © Cheryl Simmons

    Serging resembles a hand-sewn look, although it is most often done by machine. Serging resembles a thick fiber that is wrapped around the edge of the carpet continuously. It is often considered to provide a higher-end look than binding, and it is commonly seen on manufactured (pre-made) area rugs.

    Serging is also available in a wide array of colors, although many places may have fewer choices in serging colors than in binding colors. Serging is almost always more expensive than binding.

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    Fringing on an area rug. Photo © Cheryl Simmons

    Fringing is a common and somewhat iconic finishing on area rugs. Many can picture the fringe on the short ends of rugs: long tassels, usually a white or off-white color.

    In hand-knotted rugs, the fringe is necessary, as it is the edge of the “backbone” fibers of the rug. On machine-made rugs, however, fringe is only for appearance and serves no practical purpose.

    While many enjoy the look of an area rug with fringe, there are many others who find it to be a nuisance. It makes the rug difficult to...MORE vacuum, as the ends get sucked into the vacuum and tangled. Additionally, the fringe is easily stained or soiled, and usually difficult to clean.

    Fringing is usually more expensive than binding or serging.