Natural Carpets - Your Guide
Natural fibre carpets such as sisal carpet or Jute are a timeless and stylish choice throughout the home.
The four main types of natural carpets are Sisal, Seagrass, Jute and Coir, all of which are 100% sustainable plants therefore making them an environmentally choice of flooring.
Natural carpets are a better option than wool for allergy sufferers too as they are less prone to trap allergens in their weave. They also have a lovely sheen and offer a different look to wool or a man-made carpet.
You do need to look after your natural carpet as they are more prone to staining than wool. Make sure the carpet is treated with a protective spray prior to being fitted, as well as cleaning up any stains quickly! They can also be challenging with pets, particularly the large weaves which can be pulled easily with claws.
If you like the look of natural fibres but are not sure if you want to have it throughout your home, most companies supply them as a rug or a stair runner too.
Sisal carpet is the most popular choice of natural carpet as it's hard-wearing and looks beautiful too. The natural properties of the Agave plant that it's made from makes it still and strong, which is why it's so hard-wearing. It comes in a large variety of colours and weaves, including herringbone, boucle and traditional weaves.
As it's so hard-wearing, Sisal carpet is a great option on the stairs and hallway. It's worth noting that some still find it slightly slippery on stairs, although it's naturally not as slippery as Seagrass. However, this might be an issue if you have young children running up and down the stairs.
Sisal carpet can stain easily, so make sure you clean off marks quickly with some soap and water. Similarly, remove any water that spills on it quickly as the water will bleach the carpet.
One of the biggest drawbacks of Sisal carpet is that it can also feel coarse underfoot, so if you want a softer feel go for "Sisool" - a mix of sisal and wool.
Sisal Herringbone Carpet by Alternative Flooring
Of all the natural fibres, Jute is the softest and most elegant. Made from the Jute plants stalk, it has a closer resemblance to wool than the other natural carpets.
As it's so soft, it should be kept for bedrooms, lounge or study as it won't perform well in areas of high traffic such as the stairs and hallway.
This soft natural carpet comes in tight weaves for a less rustic and an even softer finish. It's only available in shades of beige and brown as it doesn't lend itself to being dyed like Sisal does.
Jute carpet by Knotistry
Seagrass carpet is a great option if you want a traditional looking natural fibre with a rustic look. It's very strong and hard-wearing although it doesn't like being bent so it won't work well on the stairs; it would also be slippery on the stairs too.
The fibre has a shiny hue which gives a lovely finish and will brighten up a dull room. Seagrass is naturally waxy so it resists stains and it's also cheaper than Sisal, so it's a great option if you want the natural look and have a tighter budget.
Seagrass carpet by Crucial Trading
The coarsest of all the carpets, it's a popular choice mainly because it's the cheapest and it's hard-wearing.
It is most likely to stain and will feel the hardest underfoot, so be careful where you lay this. The choice of colour tends to be browns and it's often a popular choice as a doormat or in the hallway entrance as a runner.
How Much Do Natural Carpets Cost?
Like many products which are natural, they tend to be more expensive than a man-made alternative.
The cheapest natural carpet is Coir which would start at around £20 / square metre, ranging up to around £50 / square metre for a Sisal or Jute carpet. This does not include carpet underlay or the cost of installation.
Do You Need Carpet Underlay With A Natural Carpet?
Make sure that whatever carpet you choose that you fit it with a good quality underlay. This will help with noise reduction, improve insulation and keep the carpet looking better for longer.
Rubber underlay works best with a natural carpet such as Sisal, as it will keep the carpet firm but still provide a little cushioning.
All natural carpets should be left to acclimatise to the room for at least 24 hours before you fit it. It's worth checking with your manufacturer for their particular natural carpet, some may require longer.
Where Can I Lay A Natural Carpet In My Home?
Natural carpets are best suited to areas such as the bedrooms, hallway and lounge. As natural carpets, such as Sisal Carpet, are easily stained and watermarked, then they are best not used in the kitchen and bathrooms.
Remember it's only Sisal that is suited to the stairs as the others would be too slippery or hard to fit on the stairs.
Sisal stair-runner by Stairrunners Direct
Are Natural Carpets Suitable For Pets?
It's best to avoid natural carpets if you have pets, particularly cats who will scratch at the natural carpet.
What's The Alternative To A Natural Carpet?
You can get fake natural carpets which are 100% manmade, making them easy to clean and softer underfoot. Check out Unnatural Flooring who offer alternatives to Sisal carpet, Jute, Seagrass and Coir. It's available in a variety of weaves, including a beautiful herringbone weave. It's not necessarily cheaper but it's a low maintenance alternative, particularly if you have pets and young children.
For a softer alternative to a Sisal Carpet, you can buy "Sisool" which is a mix of sisal and wool.
What Are The Benefits To A Natural Carpet?
As well as being hard-wearing and looking smart, there are other benefits of buying a natural carpet.
They tend to be moth resistant, so they can be a good idea if you have suffered with moths eating wool carpets in the past.
Natural carpets are also sustainable options, which are biodegradable and also non-toxic.
Lastly, they are a good choice for allergy sufferers as the naturally waxy materials tend to repel dust.