Installation of Natural Fibre flooring

Installation of natural fibres.

The installation of natural fibres differs from that of carpet.

If you ask a manufacturer how it should be installed, they will tell you to stick the flooring directly to the floor.

If you contact the NICF they have their own system which whilst there is nothing wrong with the system, does, in our opinion have a few flaws. They also suggest you stick the underlay to the floor.

We have been fitting natural fibre flooring since before the inception of the NICF, so reckon we know what we are doing.

Our system differs slightly in that unlike the other systems, which recommend you leave the flooring to acclimatize for 48 hours, we have learnt, through many years of handling & fitting the stuff, that it actually takes between six to eight weeks for it to acclimatize. Now very few people have an unused area in their home where they can leave the flooring, so we have developed a system whereby we cut the flooring larger than required, so that it can shrink back naturally, we then come back to cut any excess off after 6 to 8 weeks. The fitter will explain to you what to look for, so that you can ring to arrange the return visit.

We also do not stick the underlay to the floor. The NICF recommended system was originally intended for commercial areas, but our view has always been when you decide to change the flooring, we should not have damaged your subfloor. Especially if you have a lovely parquet or solid wood floor we do not want to damage it or stain it with adhesive.

An added advantage of our system is that if you feel the need to decorate, you can roll the flooring back without damaging it. You then just need to call us back to refit it for you, so that it looks neat & tidy again.

You have probably been told by other fitters that sisal is dangerous on stairs, well, yes it can be if not fitted properly. If you fit it on gripper, like a traditional carpet, it will be very dangerous, so we use what we call our belt and braces system.

First of all, we fasten the underlay to the tread of the stair, we than cover the underlay & the riser with adhesive. The sisal is then stuck firmly into the adhesive – the belt. If we left it like that over time the sisal would delaminate from the latex backing & would become quite baggy, so to stop that happening we use very fine copper staples, both under the bullnose of each step & in the angle between the riser & tread to pull the sisal tight – braces. At the sides of the stair we will leave it a bit big, to allow it to shrink down, just as on the flat areas. This will be adjusted after six to eight weeks.

The one thing you have to remember about all natural fibres, is they are not carpets, the only thing they have in common with a carpet is they go on the floor. The finish will never be the drum tight finish you get with a stretched woven carpet, if on the day it is fitted you do have that finish, a few weeks later you will probably have a gap round the room where it has shrunk. You have to appreciate as a plant based flooring, they are all susceptible to changes in humidity & we have to allow for that in fitting.

The fitted finish of a natural fibre is very subjective, some people will look at it & say it looks untidy, others will look at the same room & comment on how well it is fitted. Our view is you do not buy a natural fibre to be trendy, you buy it because it fits in with your lifestyle.

Please note you are aware before you buy the flooring that the fitting system we use, is not recommended by either the manufacturer of the flooring, or the NICF. We stand by our system, we have been using it for over 30 years.