Carpet Binding & Serging 101

You want to achieve the perfect look for your space. You’ve picked out the ideal carpet — one that adds all the right touches and nuances you’re after. What better way to finish it off than with customized carpet binding or serging?

In this post, you’ll find a comprehensive intro to all things carpet edging. We’ll cover the basics of carpet binding and serging, including:


carpet binding

What is Carpet Binding?

Carpet binding and serging are two kinds of carpet edging, or ways of finishing off the rough sides of a piece of cut carpet. They’ve been used throughout the history of carpetmaking.

A bound carpet has a strip of fabric or other material — like jute or leather — that’s attached to the top side of the rug and wraps around the raw edges. 

Serged rugs are finished with sturdy thread that’s stitched around the carpet’s periphery.

Why Edge a Carpet

Binding or serging does more than just turn an unfinished carpet cut into a finished rug. Carpet edging can accomplish a host of things, like:

  • Creating a signature aesthetic through the use of color, pattern, texture, and finishing technique. You’re basically building your own custom area rug or runner!
  • Making your rug more secure and durable by preventing unraveling and helping the rug keep its original shape.
  • Sustainability and preservation of value by extending the life of your rug and enabling you to refurbish carpets with worn-out trim.
  • Flexibility of style so that you can adjust the appearance or utility of your rug as the décor or function of your space evolves.

As you can see, carpet edging is about beauty as much as it’s about performance and personalization as much as longevity.

carpet edging color swatches

Things to Know About Carpet Binding

Familiarizing yourself with the many details of carpet edging is a smart place to start. After all, you’ll rapidly find that you have loads of options and several decision points during your carpet-buying adventure.

Carpet Edging Options & Finishing Techniques

Your finished rug will be a culmination of numerous choices you make along the way. You’ll need to specify edging options.

  • Binding or serging. Binding is the standard — but serging is incredibly popular, too.
  • Hand or machine. Hand serging has an authentic, artisanal flair. Machine serging is a more neat and consistent edge finish.
  • Narrow or wide. Narrow binding is the norm and can be sewn on with either synthetic or cotton tape. It shows about .25 inch on the face of the rug. Wide binding, which is between 1.5 and 3.5 inches, is used when you want to show more binding on the rug.
  • Fringe or plain edge. Fringing offers that tassel-bordered effect that suits so many tastes. Conversely, the unadorned look of a plain edge is so versatile.

carpet finished with narrow edge and wide edge

Textures & Materials

Binding fabrics come in tons of widths and fibers. You can go for the likes of:

  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Jute
  • Leather
  • Recycled leather
  • Microfiber
  • Indoor/outdoor fabric
  • Nylon

Hand serging is done with wool thread, while machine serging can accommodate synthetic threads.

carpet with hand serged edges in beige and blue

Color Scheme

You’ll have no shortage of patterns and hues! Finishing materials are available in infinite colors.

At Landry & Arcari, narrow binding is stocked in 60 colors (cotton). Wide binding (cotton) and serging thread are available in 90 colors each. Plus, thread for hand serging can be dyed to match!

When you factor in all the custom-order or self-provided fabrics — it’s clear that your palette is limitless.

carpet binding color options


With a wide bind, you have two options for how to finish the corners: mitered or folded (aka lapped).

  • Mitered corners resemble the corners of a picture frame, with the seams at an angle and a visible top stitch.

 bound carpet with mitered corners navy blue

  • Folded corners turn the finishing material over at the corners, such that the seams are parallel with the edge, and also have a visible top stitch.

bound carpet with folded corners beige

How long will carpet binding last?

It’s impossible to say because the service life of your carpet edging depends on a number of factors. Wear and tear can be influenced by:

  • How your rug was finished. Both the materials and methods used to bind or serge your carpet make a difference. Each alternative has its own unique durability profile.
  • The amount and distribution of foot traffic. A rug that’s tread on a lot will deteriorate sooner than one that’s rarely stepped upon. Plus, uneven traffic patterns may degrade a given area more than another.
  • Environmental conditions. Extreme climate — indoors or outside — can affect the longevity of your rug. Fibers tend to break down more quickly when subjected to high heat, dryness, or moisture. Exposure to dust, smoke, pets, and pests can also hasten the end of your carpet’s usability.

However, when all’s said and done, a serged or bound carpet should last several years. It’s more likely that you’ll be driven to purchase a new rug and edging because you want to redecorate — not because your current carpet’s worn out.

Considerations for Carpet Binding

With the information above in mind, you’re now well-positioned to assess these components in the context of “the real world.” This will guide you in knowing what options to choose and why — which ups the likelihood that you get your dream carpet!

So, as you’re thinking about which edging method you want, consider the following:

  • Materials. Leather is often associated with looking cool, punk, chic, or rustic. Wide binding can dress up your rug and gives it a custom look.
  • Colors. You can choose a binding color to tie in with the rug and the rest of your décor (helping it to disappear) or you can get a contrasting color to make a statement (the binding pops out).
  • Traffic. The volume and nature of carpet use are important. Hand serging is the most durable edging option. Cotton binding stains the easiest.

Carpet Binding Process

The end-to-end process for edging a carpet is fairly simple and straightforward.

Prior to the actual edging being done, you’ll need to select the finishing technique and materials you want. Alternatively, if you’re working with us, you can let our talented fabrication team choose appropriate options for you.

Then, your carpet is ready to hit the production room. For bound-edged rugs, the fabric is folded over the edge of the carpet and then sewn to the carpet with a large binding sewing machine. Serged carpets are either done by a specialized machine or painstakingly hand-stitched by an expert.

How long does carpet binding take?

The amount of time required to edge a carpet varies.

Size of the rug and binding or serging material and method are the main determinants.

  • The larger a carpet is, the longer it takes to transform it into an edged rug.
  • Special-order fabrics can delay the start.
  • Edging done by hand progresses slower than machine processing.

For bound carpets, corner type is another variable. Mitered corners are more work — and therefore more time-consuming — than folded corners.

Hand serging can take 5-7 weeks to complete while machine serging can take as little as 5-7 days’ fabrication time.

Additionally, all carpet edging projects require prep work, equipment and supplies set-up, and finalizing tasks.

As a rule of thumb, though, you can expect a smaller rug (4’ by 6’) that’s machine bound with an in-stock fabric and folded corners to take about a day or two. From there, it’s generally safe to assume that each customization or bit of complexity tacks on time.

Rug Binding Costs

Price is determined by the rug size, materials and methods used, and production costs. You’re charged by the linear foot (i.e., equal to the rug’s perimeter). Mitered corners are more than folded ones. Fancier or more exclusive fibers are spendier than simpler or standard alternatives.

To give you a ballpark impression of the cost of carpet binding and serging, let’s look at a few industry-wide averages:

  • $ Narrow binding is about $3-$5 per linear foot.
  • $$ Wide binding and serging cost about $8-$10 per linear foot.
  • $$$ Hand serging with dyed-to-match thread is $30-$50 per linear foot.

At Landry & Arcari, our prices include the cost of material, labor, etc., no matter the color.

However, we sell linen, jute, and leather binding materials separately. So, the total ticket price for your finished rug will cost around $7-$10 per linear foot (labor and overhead) + $6-$30 per linear foot (materials) + the price of the carpet.

You can also opt to buy upholstery-grade fabric and bring it to us to create a border. This is a mid-range price option ($$).

spools of carpet colors for hand serging

Where to Get a Rug Cut & Bound

Getting a high-quality rug is an investment of time and money. You’re going to live with your carpet for a long time — so it’s worth having the finishing work done properly.
If you’re in the New England area, we’re here to help you get the rug — carpet and edging — you’re longing for. Our knowledgeable staff and master craftspeople are ready to answer questions, assist in picking carpets and finishes, and fulfill your order.

For those who are outside our service area or like to shop in person, we recommend that you research the carpet sellers in your locale to find a reputable dealer. Visit their showrooms and talk to their staff. Ask for referrals from friends, family members, or local interior design firms. You can even contact us for recommendations!

Landry & Arcari, for When You’re Bound & Determined to Get the Best-Edged Carpets

Is today the day that your flooring goes from being something that’s just under foot to something that stands out? We hope so!

Now that you’re primed with the necessary knowledge to create your optimal carpet, it’s time to take the next step.

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