Natural Fibre Carpets
A contemporary choice
During the past ten years or so there has been a tremendous increase in the demand for the rustic seagrass, jute, coir, and sisal products. They are extremely tough, and they look terrific when newly laid; but it is essential that clients understand the essential requirements of these materials.
Care should be exercised if using seagrass on stairs. The surface of this fibre is naturally smooth, and with the additional polishing effect of use, this can prove too dangerous on stairs.
Natural pile fibres such as jute, sisal, coir, and hair - have little resistance to staining. It is advisable to choose a practical colour for areas that might be subjected to soiling. Happily, many of the 'dried dirt' colours are particularly attractive, and these are the least likely to prove troublesome. Commercial stain inhibiting sprays offers some protection, and we are able to provide this treatment at the time of fitting. Seagrass is fairly resistant to staining.
There are different types of natural fibre carpets:
We will shortly explain the differences among them.
Comes from the Sisal bush: a spiky plant reminiscent of the indoor plant that was once called 'mother-in-law's tongue.' It is reasonably soft in texture, and very hard-wearing. Includes the famous 'Tiger's Eye pattern.
Is made from coconut husk. A fairly tough, informal material which lends itself to rustic locations. It is quite 'stimulating' under bare feet, but does not draw blood as often as its detractors suggest.
From the Jute plant of warmer climes. This is much softer than other naturals and therefore not quite so tough, (not that the writer has ever seen one that is worn-out). The pale-coloured woven jute carpets are particularly appropriate for bedrooms, and make an excellent base for inexpensive hand-woven Persian kelim rugs. Prone to staining.
As the name suggests, is made from a species of grass that grows beside (not in) the sea. This is the most stain-resistant of the naturals. It is extremely tough stuff, but even more than the other naturals, requires regular vacuuming to prevent a build-up of grime in its deeply-textured surface. Seagrass seams rather obviously.
Most naturals have little or no discernible nap. This is far less prone to crushing, and it also much reduces the tendency of rugs to creep. Naturals are therefore an excellent choice for clients who need a base to show off a rug collection.
Even though naturals are almost nap-free, it is nevertheless essential to ensure that all widths used are running in the same direction. Seams in all naturals tend to be more obvious than in normal pile carpets, and wisps and sprags are a feature.
By their very nature, natural-fibre carpets tend to vary from batch to batch. The mixing of the natural fibres is not particularly scientific, and the finished product can sometimes differ slightly from the shop sample.
Installation of Natural Fibre Carpets
The main point to remember always, is that they are best when stuck direct to a dry, flat surface. These materials absorb a great deal of moisture in wet or humid conditions, and they often try to shrink or expand in sympathy with the weather conditions. Direct adhesion to the floor improves the stability of the installation enormously. We have fitted the better qualities onto special hard-rubber underlay using the Gates Contract, or Duralay Durafit systems (this system is essential for contract installations.) On other occasions a standard fitting technique, but using double grippers to improve the stretch has been successful, but it is not ideal, and not recommended by the makers/importers.
The Ideal Installation
The ideal installation would comprise:
A floor sealing coat, or on an uneven wood floor, a close-nailed 4/6 mm ply-wood layer.
The Final Cost of Natural Fibre Carpets
Properly installed, "naturals" are not a cheap option. The price of the broadloom material is modest enough, but additional fitting materials and the cost of installation are much greater than with standard carpet types.
With the improvement in modern dyestuffs, carpets are very much more resistant to colour fading than they used to be. Nevertheless, no manufacturer offers an absolute guarantee against fading in sunlight. This is perhaps more of a concern when dealing with high quality carpets which may be in place for many years. Sun blinds help.
Bound Natural Fibre Rugs
Natural fibre carpets can be cut to any rectangular size (up to the maximum width) and bound all round. Obviously, the wastage has to be paid for.
Natural Fibre Carpets at John Cooper Carpets
We have now been supplying carpets in the Lymington and New Forest areas for more than thirty years. During that time, in Lymington alone, nine other carpet shops have opened for business, then subsequently closed down. During the same time, and despite the competition, we have thrived. We believe that it is our policy of offering the best carpets at the most competitive prices, that has proved successful. We aim to give our customers good advice, and the very best value always. Our quotations note that we will not be knowingly undersold.
Intec® Stain-resistance treatment
Many clients have asked about this treatment, and we are now able to offer it as part of our fitting service. When done properly, it is not a cheap addition to the quotation, but it offers greatly increased stain and soiling resistance, and, particularly in the case of light-coloured materials, greater peace of mind. We will be pleased to quote for it as an optional extra. The fitting of most 'naturals' without additional stain resistance is a pure act of faith.