Hand tufted rugs are generally made from wool, but other fibers can also be tufted using this process. Synthetics such as nylon or acrylic are sometimes tufted, and silk or viscose are also woven into hand tufted rugs. The later are generally blended with wool to provide a “softer hand” or a lustrous effect.
Hand tufted rugs are generally considered a more affordable option to their hand knotted cousins, but don’t have the same durability that a hand knotted rug has. Hand tufted rugs will often be passed down from generation to generation, where as a hand tufted rug will need to be replaced much sooner.
Having said that, hand tufted rugs produced by a reputable mill should provide you with very adequate service for your home. It’s also safe to say that there is more design selection with hand tufted rugs. Hand knotted rugs tend toward the more traditional designs, although there are now more producers that are producing contemporary styles.
Perhaps the greatest beneficial feature of hand tufted rugs is the speed at which they can be produced, especially when compared to a hand knotted rug. Also, the process does not require the same level of skill that hand knotting does.
Hand tufted rugs are made by injecting the yarn through a backing material with a special pneumatic tufting gun. This process also affords the maker several options that can be implemented very quickly, such as longer pile in certain areas of the rug, or looped pile instead of cut pile, again in certain areas of the rug. The operator can quickly change yarn and use a variety of needles to get the effect wanted and make very intricate designs quickly.
(The video is just over 3 minutes long. It starts at the halfway point because of duplicate content)
The latex is necessary to seal the tufts especially if the pile is a cut pile. That means the pile forms a “U” shape and if not properly sealed could be easily pulled out. For this reason most manufacturers don’t recommend the use of a beater bar on your vacuum when cleaning your new rug.
I hope you can see from the enlarged graphic below an idea of what a tuft looks like. The tuft forms a "U" shape around the scrim. It is the underside of this "U" that needs to be sealed/anchored with the latex.
Occasionally the border is hand surged with wool. My experience with this way of finishing the border for rugs in heavy traffic areas is not so good. The wool along the border tends to wear out before the rest of the rug.