Seagrass is a less well known natural flooring alternative to carpet but it looks and feels very similar to coir or other dried grass matting. It’s only available in two natural colours, as it does not take dye very well, either pale brown or light green. It is known as a very natural and ecologically sound material to use for carpets and other woven products.
Flooring From Seagrass
Seagrass flooring is made by weaving a yarn spun from the dried leaves of the seagrass plant which grows in many shallow coastal waters around the world. It is not a true grass but the leaves are long, flat and blade-like so the name has stuck.
Flooring products made from seagrass are usually backed with latex to keep the whole product natural and so it is suitable for houses where families want to lower the potentially harmful emissions from man-made carpet and other materials.
Useful Natural Product
Seagrass occurs naturally nearly all round the world, wherever there are temperate coastal shallows. Up until the early 20th century it was a popular material for insulating houses as the dried blades have air holes embedded within them. This makes them a good barrier against sound and helps to keep heat in. In coastal areas of Europe seagrass was a popular thatching material as well.
As with any farming there are concerns over the seagrass beds. They provide shelter for many sea animals and micro-organisms and protect the coasts from erosion. However most of the seagrass used in carpets in the UK comes from paddy fields in China so it is not redoing the area of the naturally occurring seagrass beds. Of course there is an ecological price to pay in the transportation though.
Practicalities Of Seagrass Flooring
When looking at seagrass as a flooring material there are a number of things that need to be taken into consideration. The first is to make sure that it can cope with the use that you will put it to. It is usually rated as suitable for medium domestic use but should not be used in kitchens or bathrooms.
Although it is a durable product, certain thing such as the castors on office chairs can dig into the carpet and ruin it very quickly. So it might not be the best material for a home office, or you could invest in chair mats which provide a large surface that chairs can roll on to protect the seagrass flooring.
Other furniture on castors, such as sofas, should be alright as they aren’t moved as often, but it might be worthwhile buying some castor cups just to be on the safe side. These will spread the weight of the castor over a wider area and reduce the depth of any sunken areas. In fact, it’s a good idea to use them on any soft flooring.
Colours And Patterns
Just like any other woven product, seagrass flooring is available in a number of different patterns designs and fine or coarse weaves. Although it has a restricted range of colours it is possible to get mixed weaves of seagrass and sisal, with the more easily dyed sisal lending colour to the mix.
Having said that, the two natural colours that are available do tend to work extremely well in contemporary natural interior schemes.