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Our first love, sisal is one of the hardest wearing natural fibre flooring products you can find.  Made from the fibres of a plant called Sisalana Agave it can last for many years especially in heavily trafficked areas such as living room, stairs & hallways.

Fully fitted sisal stair case with hall and landings.Sisal runnerHow you can use sisal runners

You may have been told that it is dangerous on stairs; our reply to that is that it is not the fibre that is dangerous, but the way it is fitted.  Fitted like carpet, sisal can become quite baggy on stairs & so people are more likely to fall if it is not fitted properly. Sisal is not a carpet, the only thing it has in common with a carpet is that it goes on the floor.

In a flat room sisal, can be fitted in a similar way to carpet, although we would not recommend that it is, but on a stair, fitting it like a carpet is dangerous, so you use a different system.

Sisal installed on a shop floor display areaSisal rugs can be made to order

Sisal, unlike carpet, reacts to changes in humidity, left edge fixed (like a carpet) it will expand & contract every time the weather changes (daily in Britain).  To overcome this you stick the sisal to something.  In many places the something is the floor, but here in Britain we like a bit more comfort, so we stick it to underlay.  In flat areas this is fine, but if you think about it, it won’t work on stairs, the movement of feet up & down the stairs would actually cause the sisal to separate from the underlay and the latex backing on the sisal would shred on the nasty gripper that holds most carpets onto stairs, so, we don’t use the gripper.  Instead we use fine copper staples to keep the sisal in place & instead of waterfalling the sisal over the nose of the stair, we actually staple it under each bullnose as well as in the angle of each stair.  This gives a much tighter finish to the installation & means the stair will not only look better, but will not become baggy over the nose of each stair.

Many suppliers will mention that sisal has to be left on site for 48 hours to acclimatise.  Well, in our many years of fitting, we have come to the conclusion that it actually takes quite a bit longer than 48 hours for acclimatisation to occur.  We also realise that whilst you may be willing to trip over a roll of flooring for 48 hours, any longer is not really going to work.

Possibly it is the British climate, but we have found especially in the north west of England, that it actually takes closer to 6 to 8 weeks for sisal to fully settle.  Now, we accepted a long time ago that most of our clients do not have a spare ballroom in which they can leave the sisal, so we adapted the way we fit.  When you first see the sisal the day it is fitted, do not panic, yes it is bubbly, yes it is up the wall.  If we cut it net (to fit) within a few days you would be ringing us up to complain it had shrunk.  Our view has always been, it is easier to return & take a bit more off than it is than to try & put it back, the fitter will talk to you about the return when he fits it, he will arrange to return & do a final cut in.  In the meantime, get the furniture in place & live on it. Sisal being lived on will settle much quicker than one left all alone by itself.  (I think it likes the company)  After the final cut in you should have many years of living together in harmony.