What is 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.
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. 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.
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.
Just like any other woven product, seagrass flooring is available in a number of different patterns designs and fine or coarse weaves. Seagrass is only available in its natural colour; this can be greenish or golden depending on when it was harvested. It has a waxy, rustic and pleasing look once laid.
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 seagrass can be used on stairs, it does secrete a natural oil which can get a little bit slippery.
Seagrass is a durable product, although certain things such as the castors on office chairs can dig into the carpet and ruin it. We would recommend 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 so long 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.