Coir matting is a versatile and sustainable flooring solution that is a popular choice for homes and businesses alike. Made from coconut fibres, this natural and eco-friendly flooring option provides a range of benefits, from excellent dirt / moisture removal and versatility to natural beauty and aesthetic appeal. In this guide, we will outline the key features and benefits of coir matting, and provide tips and recommendations for choosing the best coir mats for your specific needs.
What is Coir Matting?
Coir matting is made from the fibres of coconut husks, which are abundant in tropical regions such as India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. In these countries, coir matting has been a popular flooring solution for centuries.
Coir is popular for its durability and sustainability. Unlike synthetic flooring materials, coir matting is biodegradable and renewable, making it an excellent choice for homes and businesses that are looking for a sustainable matting solution. It literally grows on trees.
Coir matting is the term used for coir constructed floor mats. It is naturally slip-resistant and has excellent moisture-absorbent properties, making it ideally suited as an entrance matting option.
Benefits of Coir Matting
Coir Mats offer a range of benefits for homes and businesses, including:
- Durability: Coir is a naturally strong and durable flooring option, and can withstand heavy foot traffic, even in high-traffic areas.
- Performance: As an entrance mat, coir is very effective at scraping dirt and water from traffic that passes over the mat.
- Sustainability: Made from renewable and biodegradable materials, coir matting is an excellent choice for those who are looking for sustainable matting solutions that have a low negative impact on Earth.
- Aesthetics: Coir has a natural beauty. The colour is warming and welcoming. Coir can also be dyed in a range of colours to complement the décor of homes or to enhance a business’s branding.
- Versatility: Coir can be cut and shaped to fit any space, making it a great choice for entrance areas of all sizes. It is commonly used in mat wells which require matting cut to size and of a specific depth.
- Cost: Coir is often less expensive in comparison to other cut to size entrance matting solutions.
Disadvantages of Coir Matting:
The benefits are numerous, but there are some drawbacks that must also be considered, particularly for businesses considering using coir mats.
- Durability: While coir is known for its durability, it may become worn or frayed over time, especially in high-traffic areas. This can reduce the matting’s effectiveness in capturing dirt and moisture, and may also make it look unsightly. Entrance mats made from synthetic materials such as Vinyl, Polypropylene or PET for example will generally outlast coir and remain effective for longer. Natural rubber mats are another more durable alternative.
- Shedding: When you first unpack and use a coir mat you will notice loose fibres on the mat. Although this will reduce down with usage, it will save time and be more cost effective to clean these fibres when you first install the mat, to avoid the spread of these fibres around your property.
- Moisture absorption: Coir is known for its ability to absorb moisture, but this can also be a drawback. The mat can easily become soiled leading to staining. Additionally, coir takes a long time to dry which can result in the mat becoming saturated, especially when in wet weather conditions and high traffic.
- Legislation: It is important for businesses to note that using coir in an entrance area may fall foul of the Equality Act 2010. The problem is that coir matting is not wheelchair friendly. It is difficult for wheeled traffic, including wheelchairs and pushchairs, to transition over the mat. Coir is not the right solution for businesses with only one entrance and without a wheelchair friendly alternative.
- Edging: If coir is loose laid on top of the floor, a risk assessment should highlight the need to add bevelled mat edging ramps, which is a further cost. Without, the edges will likely constitute a trip hazard and will become damaged through use. Coir matting is best placed in mat wells or laid wall to wall for this reason.
- Maintenance: Coir matting requires regular cleaning and maintenance. Vacuuming or shaking out the dirt can help to keep it looking its best and remaining effective. This may be inconvenient for those with busy schedules or limited time.
Choosing the Best Coir Matting for Your Home or Business
When choosing the best coir mats for your home or business, you should consider the following:
- Quality: Businesses should choose commercial quality coir. Higher quality coir tends to have a denser pile which is bonded to a backing made of rubber or PVC to give it stability and reduce shedding. Twisted pile coir is better because it helps the pile ‘bounce back’ and resist crushing.
- Size and Shape: Consider the size and shape of the space where the coir matting will be used, and choose matting that will fit well and look good. If fitting into a mat well, then check the depth of the well is the same as the mat you plan to install.
- Colour and Texture: Choose a colour and texture that will complement the design and style of your home or business. Coloured coir can be used to enhance branding. Darker colours will help to hide dirt to maintain the mat’s aesthetics.
- Customisation: Logos, images and messages can be added to coir matting. Coir logo matting can be used by businesses for branding purposes. They are generally either printed or hand-made using an inlay technique, whereby dyed coloured pieces are cut and fitted together into a coir mat base. Additionally, coir matting can be woven into various designs and patterns, which makes it a consideration for use in decorative applications.
Can I use Coir Matting outdoors?
Coir matting is not just for indoor use, many homes in the UK use coir mats as outdoor door mats, because they are great at scraping away dirt and holding onto moisture. So, the answer is yes, coir can be used outdoors. Businesses will likely require larger mats and have more footfall, in which case an all-rubber outdoor mat would be preferable.
When choosing coir matting for outdoor use, look for a heavy-duty mat with a non-slip backing and, if it is coloured, a UV-resistant finish to ensure that it will last for many seasons to come. If the coir mat is exposed to direct sunlight, then bright colours, especially reds, will naturally fade over time.
Maintaining Coir Matting
Coir matting is relatively low-maintenance, and can be regularly cleaned with a vacuum or brush. However due to the deep pile construction of coir mats, dirt can become ingrained deep in the base of the pile, making it practically impossible for vacuuming or sweeping cleaning methods to remove. This ingrained dirt will wear away at the mat fibres and reduce the lifespan of the mat if it isn’t removed. Smaller mats may be lifted and shaken to help remove such dirt, but it is not practical to do so with large pieces of coir matting.
In high-traffic areas, it is recommended to remove dirt and debris regularly to help reduce it from becoming ingrained. This will help prolong the mats effectiveness and help restore its natural texture. If staining occurs, which is likely in wet conditions or following spillages, coir matting can be spot-cleaned with a mild soap and water solution. Some stains will be very difficult to remove without damaging the mat, due the fact coir is a natural fibre.
In conclusion, coir matting is a popular flooring choice for homes and businesses alike. With a range of benefits, including excellent scraping, sustainability, aesthetics and versatility, coir matting will remain a favourite choice as an entrance mat solution, particularly in the home.
Businesses will need to factor in legislative issues around the Equality Act and Health & Safety issues when deciding if coir matting is the right choice for them. Add to this, issues surrounding the cleaning and maintenance of coir, will likely mean there are many alternative entrance matting options that will appeal more for commercial properties.
That said, in the right conditions, and with proper care and maintenance, coir matting can last for many years, providing a beautiful and sustainable flooring solution that will enhance the look and feel of your entrance area.
This guide is part of our Complete Guides to Mats series, which includes the following:
- Entrance Mats Complete Guide
- Rubber Mats Complete Guide
- Retail Mats Complete Guide
- Anti-Fatigue Mats Complete Guide
- Chair Mats Best UK Chair Mats Guide
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