Natural Floor Coverings
In a tradition that dates back centuries, plant fibres have been woven into exquisite and stunning patterns to create floor coverings that are durable and stunning. Natural fibres have an appeal as they are environmentally friendly, sustainable and ideal for people who suffer with allergies from chemicals, pesticides and dyes. Although their underfoot feel might require adjusting to if you are accustomed to the gentle softness of wool carpets, the hard-wearing fibres can be remarkably comfortable and are suited to almost every room of the house. There are four types of natural flooring, discover their wonders below:
Coir originates from India and is one of the world’s sturdiest natural fibres. Coir is made from the husks of coconuts which are removed and cleansed, then softened by fresh water before being spun into Coir fibre. The fibre is then either bleached or left in its natural golden colour ready to be woven into floor covering. After weaving a latex backing is applied.
Coir is hardwearing vegetable fibre and is suitable for most domestic and medium contract locations. Coir bleached products are not recommended for high sunlit areas simply because they will lose their original colour and will fade back to a “natural” shade. Coir should last up to seven years in domestic areas.
Jute yarn comes from India and is made from the stalks of the tiliaceae plant. These are harvested by hand, tied in bundles and soaked in water. Later, the stems are pounded with wooden mallets and resulting fibres are spun into a beautiful yarn. The jute is backed with a latex backing.
Jute is the softest of all natural flooring and is ideally suited for bedrooms or in light domestic situations.
Jute should last up to eight years in a light domestic situation but will fade in direct sunlight.
Seagrass is produced mainly in China but also in other Far Eastern countries. The grass crop is flooded by seawater during its growing cycle then plaited into strands, woven into floor covering and finally backed using latex.
Unlike Coir or Sisal, Seagrass cannot be successfully bleached or dyed and therefore the colour of Seagrass can vary from a yellow green to a dark green depending upon the time of harvest.
Seagrass can be installed in all domestic areas including kitchens, stairs, and some light contract locations (except where moisture is a problem) but is not recommended for bathrooms.
Chair mats are needed under castor chairs and nosings are recommended for heavily used staircases. But remember - Seagrass is still a grass. All these products are light to medium domestic usage with a life span of up to five years given normal usage.
Sisal is obtained from the leaf of Agave Sisalana which grows in abundant supply in South America and East Africa. The dark green leaves provide the sisal fibre for ropes and twine; only the very finest and purest in colour are put aside. Having been cleaned, these fibres can be dyed to almost any colour and are then spun and woven into floor covering.
Sisal floorcovering is both durable and hardwearing making it an extremely versatile product which can be dyed easily. As with Coir and Seagrass, a latex backing is applied after the weaving process.
Sisal is the hardest wearing of all vegetable fibres and suitable for all medium to heavy domestic and medium contract use (except where moisture is a problem).
Stair nosings are always recommended for stair installations. Sisal should last for eight years in a domestic situation.