When it comes time to shop and find a rug for your home, there is a vast variety of floor coverings available on the market. Not only can you find just about any design, ranging from traditional to abstract contemporary, but you have a multitude of different fibers and textures from which to choose. Modern technology can produce floor coverings from almost every material on the planet, whether that be organic or synthetic. There is also the unique option for having a cotton canvas rug created for you to suit your decor perfectly in size and colors.
The advantages of synthetic materials supposedly lends themselves to greater durability and affordability. Yet, the disadvantages of these often brings the presence of foreign, unwanted toxic chemicals used in production. The current trend leans towards the use of natural materials in floor coverings. Some of these popular, organic materials that come straight from nature include coir, bamboo, jute, sisal, seagrass, banana leaves and traditionally, animal hair and skins.
Here is a brief overview of some of these organic materials being used in floor coverings.
Coir is made from the outer husks of coconuts where the husk fibers are softened in water and then spun into yarn.
Bamboo is made from the bark of these exceptionally strong plants with thin strips pieced together, and secured to a backing to make a very durable floor covering.
Jute is made from the skin of these sustainably grown plants, mostly from India and China, producing a durable, highly textured material.
Sisal is made from the mature leaves of an agave(cactus) plant grown in Mexico, East Africa and Brazil. Though being one of the toughest natural fibers, it is also incredibly soft to the touch.
Seagrass is made from tropical reeds grown in Vietnam and China. Their popularity comes from the range of subtle and naturally occurring colors.
Banana is made from the stems and leaves of the plant that are combed and spun into a quality fiber simulating silky rayon.
The list of natural materials used in floor coverings continues with hemp, silk, linen, cotton, wool and more.
It is important, when shopping for a quality floor covering made from organic materials, to choose one that specifies it has been made organically. This ensures the absence of toxic chemicals used in production. Even though a floor covering is made from organic materials, some manufacturers use these chemicals to preserve the life and wear of these natural fibers. A rug that is labeled “organic” means alternative, non-toxic substances were used in the production and preservation of the product. This is significant for the ever increasing issues of environmental sensitivities as well as the creation of a healthy home environment.
Among synthetic materials for floor coverings, the most popular being used today are nylon, polypropylene, polyester and acrylic. Though these synthetic materials offer some greater durability and resilience, most of them come with disadvantages.
Nylon is used primarily for its low moisture absorption and color retention, but it still tends to fade along with issues of staining and static.
Polypropylene resolves most of the issues with nylon, but it still lacks good wear resistance.
Polyester is similar to polypropylene, but it is prone to color fade and too often reveals its “synthetic” look.
Acrylic, a soft, wool like fiber, has very poor wear resistance, besides being extremely flammable.
Overall, synthetics are a poor choice. There are far better options available for purchasing floor coverings made from natural fibers. These rugs will give your home a distinctive look and feel, as well as keep your home free from toxic chemicals that can result in serious health issues.
Another increasingly popular option for floor coverings to consider in today’s market is a rug that dates back to early America called a “floorcloth”. Floorcloths were originally used to protect floors from the soot and grime produced by coal stoves. Painted with oils onto heavy canvas, these affordable cloths for the floors quickly gained popularity for a variety of uses in the home. Today, floorcloths are making a strong come back. You will only find them being produced in the studios of artists who recognize their perfect blend of art and craft. Floorcloth artists are using their talents to hand-paint colorful, imaginative designs onto the natural fiber of heavy cotton canvas. The canvas is then sealed on both sides to produce a water and stain resistant rug with exceptional long lasting wear. The result is a work of art blended with the practical use as a floor covering for the home. A simple sweep or damp mop is all that is needed for maintenance. Floorcloths are the ultimate hypo-allergenic solution, require no cleaning costs and their versatile use in the home is unlimited. These unique rugs provide you with the most decorating options as you can choose one of the artist’s creative designs OR choose to create your very own design with the size and colors to suit your decor.
If you are shopping for floor coverings, and cannot find one that suits your decorative needs, consider creating your own design with a floorcloth. Not only will you have your own special artistic creation on the floor, you will have the perfect mix of art and craft that will withstand the wear and tear of boots and paws for many years to come.