1. Most natural flooring is made from plant fibres, which are easy to replenish and environmentally friendly, but the plants generally grow in Asia, South America and other far-flung places - which isn’t quite so eco.
Tips for maintaining natural flooring include using doormats by external doors, vacuuming regularly, putting something underneath chairs and sofas on castors, and immediately treating stains and spills. Some natural flooring has a latex backing, which helps to prevent dirt and dust building up underneath, and some can be treated with a stain inhibitor to keep it looking good for longer. Wool and cotton can be combined with other natural fibres to produce flooring offering the best of both worlds, but if you’d prefer to stick to one material, below are some of the most popular types of natural flooring.
2. Coir is generally good value and hardwearing. Made from fibres taken from coconut husks, it’s coarse and durable which makes it perfect for floors that get lots of use, such as halls and stairs. Its highly textured finish and strong fibres stand up well to wear and tear, but water can mark coir, so it’s not ideal for laying in kitchens and bathrooms.
3. Jute is fine, soft and silky, making it suitable for rooms with light foot traffic, such as bedrooms. It’s not recommended for use in bathrooms and kitchens (it can shrink after absorbing water); on stairs (it can be slippery and isn’t particularly hardwearing); and in areas of bright sunlight (it can fade too). However, in its favour, Jute flooring comes in a wide range of natural shades.
4. Sisal is a strong, versatile, hardwearing and anti-static natural fibre and can be used in most rooms, although it’s not suitable for ones prone to high-moisture levels. It can be woven into a huge range of patterns, weaves and colours and can be dyed, unlike most natural flooring, even in metallic hues: shimmering strips of sisal make a stair or hall carpet extra special.
5. Seagrass is not only hardwearing and strong, it’s also naturally stain resistant. There are often inconsistencies in its colour and weave, so don’t buy it if you want a perfectly uniform look. It has a heavy texture and is suitable for most rooms in the home, except high-moisture ones.