Superior grade Sisal is grown on plantations in Tanzania, East Africa. This extremely strong fiber is obtained from the long, green leaves of the Agave Sisalana cactus plant. Each leaf contains approximately 1,000 fibers that are extracted, washed, sundried, brushed, graded and bailed. The remaining plant is used to produce electricity, which supports Tanzania’s economy and helps energize rural areas and to feed farm animals.
Sisal is used in many hard-wearing products, including twines for marine and bailing, ropes, plaster reinforcements and dartboards. The same qualities of strength that make the fiber preferred in these products make it ideal for floor covering.
Green Properties: Natural/Renewable/Biodegradable/Sound Absorbing/Flame Resistant/Durable/Anti-Static/Naturally Insulating
Other Sustainable Products
Sustainable Floor coverings are made of materials that are “naturally green”. These natural fibers include sisal, sisal wool, seagrass, mountain grass and jute are renewable, sustainable and biodegradable. Organic fibers are grown the same, sustainable way they have been for centuries.
Seagrass is made from the Sedge family of plants, which grow in the low-lying areas of the Asia-Pacific region. The perennial grasses are harvested from paddy fields that are flooded with seawater during the growing cycle. When the grass is mature, the fields are drained and the plants are cut and bundled. Workers twist (or ply) the grass entirely by hand and send it to be woven into carpet.
Seagrass, once thought to be an unusable fiber, has been transformed by weavers into sought-after products such as baskets, placemats, bowls, furniture and flooring. The yarn, which is strong, durable and non-porous has a naturally smooth texture, subtle sheen and warm hue that makes it a popular choice for use in carpets and rugs.
Green Properties: Naturally Renewable/Stain Resistant/Durable/Strong/High Quality/Sustainably Harvested/Anti-Static
The primary type of mountain grass cultivated for fiber is Hemp. This durable, non-porous plant has a smooth texture and a subtle sheen that helps repel liquids. The Hemp is sustainably harvested in the higher altitude slopes of the Pacific Rim. Once cut and dried, the fiber is separated from the core, while the outer skin of the stalk is retained, resulting in a stronger, and more resistant yarn.
Hemp cultivation improves the condition of the grounds, making it an excellent crop to use in rotation. The long-lasting fiber is used to make paper, fabrics and rope, in addition to beautiful floor coverings. The natural Hemp is woven in a distinct array of textures and patterns that accents its warm, rich hues.
Fitting – about stairs, gripper, underlay, adhesive and acclimatising
It needs to be understood that seagrass is fundamentally an indigenous product which would have been laid as loose mats in more basic architectural surroundings than we have in the west (i.e. huts). Western taste has demanded it be adapted to wall to wall fitting – this has been achieved quite successfully but gives rise to more care and maintainance than carpet.
Fitting natural seagrass flooring is more expensive than normal carpet fitting – there is more involved – both in labor and materials.
- Most people tend to have seagrass fitted on underlay, which needs to be the urethane type as opposed to ribbed rubber.
- Gripperods are not appropriate because seagrass is hard and therefore does not sit in the gap between the gripper and wall – it tends to arch leading to soft, raised “edge bubbles”.
- Sticking (or stapling) the underlay to the floor, then sticking the seagrass to the underlay is the preferred method of laying, and probably the only one that gets a guarantee.
- You can have the seagrass glued straight to the floor without underlay which will give a firmer feel more conducive to moving chairs upon (think home office/dining).
TIP: Use rubber mats for chairs with castors.
Overall the choice for natural floorcoverings adds to a more ethereal element of design to your space. As Beautiful as it may be, take heed in keeping your new area rug or wall to wall flooring in walkable condition with an immense amount of TLC! Let ProSource be your destination wholesaler for Natural Floors and Area Rugs.