Natural flooring carpets as we are familiar with them today began to be introduced to Britain in the late 1980’s. Sadly since then, their peculiarities and the necessity for particular installation techniques has deterred most carpet and flooring retailers from dealing with these wonderful products, leaving only a few scattered specialist suppliers and fitters.
Michael Metcalf Carpets can however promote and recommend them with absolute confidence, because one of our team is an installation specialist who was involved with fitting natural flooring right from the beginning. He then worked with seagrass, sisal and jute almost every week for many years for one of Newcastle upon Tyne’s leading interior design companies.
Our natural flooring expert can visit your home free of charge to survey, measure and estimate, answer all of your questions, and advise on suitability. If you order from us you can have the assurance that he will install your natural flooring personally.
We have accounts with the three main U.K. suppliers, and some of these lovely natural carpets are now available in five metre widths. They will add a distinct and unique charm and quality to your home. Natural flooring is produced from various tough plant fibres.
Many people refer to natural flooring as seagrass, but this is actually only one particular brand of this product. Seagrass was the first natural carpet to become popular. It is a tropical marine estuary plant which is now grown in sustainable paddy fields near the sea in China and Vietnam. When it gets to maturity it is gathered, dried and woven into carpet.
It is relatively inexpensive but quite hard wearing. Initially there was only one form of seagrass, but it is now available in various herringbone and basket weave designs.
Agave sisalana is a plant with sword shaped leaves found in very dry locations in Brazil and Africa, which is processed to remove the pulp, leaving only the skeletal strong fibre which is then transported to China to make sisal. This tough material used to be made into ropes and is very robust and durable, but also quite soft to the touch. It is the finest, the strongest, the most beautiful, and the most expensive of such flooring.
Coir is actually the husk fibres found on coconuts. It is the same material that has been used for many years to make traditional coconut mats. It is tough and will stand up to heavy wear, but is rough to the touch and more rugged in appearance than the alternative natural products.
Jute has a long history of being used to make the secondary backings to carpets. It is the softest and least hard wearing of the natural carpets, and is therefore usually only recommended as suitable for bedrooms. The herringbone Jute in particular is very attractive.
All of the plant fibre carpets are moisture and humidity sensitive. They will expand and contract in various temperature and humidity environments, and therefore cannot be fitted in the same manner as conventional carpets. They may require delivery and loose rolling into their new home 24 hours before installation.
A direct adhesion to the floor is possible and is also quite inexpensive, but of course this will feel hard underfoot. The underlay is adhered to the floor with a recommended tackifier adhesive, and then the flooring is in turn glued to the underlay with a permanent carpet adhesive, thus producing a dimensionally stable natural carpet that is unable to stretch or shrink. Sisal and coir are recommended as suitable for stairs. Jute is considered not hard wearing enough. And the suppliers consider seagrass unsuitable for installation on stairs.
Natural Flooring can also be factory cut to a specified size and then made into an attractive rug, with machine stitching used in conjunction with a vast array of border fabrics and colours. The samples for rug selection are held at our Morpeth showroom.