Natural floorcoverings are amongst the most popular types of floor covering around today. Their neutral shades, textures and ethnic appearance give a warm, contemporary look to any room.
Sourced from around the world, materials used include Jute, Coir, Sisal, Seagrass and Mountain grass. Even Bamboo and Paper are sometimes used. Some discretion has to be used in regard to suitability however.
For instance, whilst Sisal and Coir floorcoverings are suitable for fitting on stairs (some Sisals coming as runners in stripes) and have a ‘Heavy Domestic’ rating, Jute, Seagrass, Mountain grass, Bamboo and Paper certainly are not, and would be more appropriate for use in Bedrooms and areas with light to moderate traffic.
Natural floorcoverings are also very complimentary alongside hardwood flooring, and can help maintain a natural, organic effect where wood flooring alone would be impractical or inappropriate.
What is natural flooring made of?
Coir - obtained from the husk of the coconut Cocos nucifera, is a perrenial palm found in tropical countries. Records indicate that as far back as the 19th century coir was being produced. Coconut husks are removed by hand and soaked and softened in sea water. The fiber is then mechanically extracted. After drying, the natural fibre can be woven into a selection of designs. Whilst it is one of the ‘scratchier’ of the natural floors in texture, Coir is durable and represents extremely good value for money.
Jute - is a soft natural fibre floor. Normally light brown in colour it comes in a variety of designs, from the low-level Mini Boucle and Herringbone designs, though to the very chunky Big Boucle and Panama. Grown in India, it comes from the stalk of the giant corchorus plants. The fibres are very fine, making Jute more suitable to lightly used, rather than heavily used, areas.
Sisal - comes from the Agave Sisalana plant, and is generally farmed in Mexico, Brazil and East Africa. This natural fibre flooring is versatile and hardwearing making it an ideal choice for hallways and stairs. Tightly woven with a subtle sheen, the natural fibres come in perhaps the widest range of colours in the Natural Flooring category. Available in over 70 colour / weave / combination choices, Sisal flooring looks crisp, modern and sophisticated.
Seagrass - grows in coastal ‘meadows’ on the banks of rivers in the tropical zones of China and Vietnam,. The natural fibre is harvested by hand, dried and then hand-spun into cords before being woven into flooring. Durable and good value, Seagrass is a heavily textured floorcovering. with strongly accentuated weave patterns. It is slightly waxy by nature, and unlike the other natural floorcoverings has a high degree of natural stain resistance and is surprisingly impermeable to moisture.