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A guide to buying natural flooring

Natural flooring is versatile, hardwearing and requires only low maintenance. If it is installed correctly and is maintained properly, natural timber and stone floors can last for decades. In some cases, they may even last for centuries. There is a multitude of colours and textures to choose from when buying natural flooring. This article is a guide to buying natural flooring.

Natural stone

Stone flooring finishes have been used for centuries around the world. The most common choices are marble and granite, followed closely by limestone, sandstone, travertine and slate. Natural stone floors gain their beauty from the variance in their patterning and colour. Stone floors will be scratched and become dull over time, but this is easily remedied by polishing.

Timber

Natural timber floors are hardwearing and classic options. Hard woods like Teak and Oak are popular choices. Natural timber can be installed in the form of flooring planks, in a herringbone design or in a parquet pattern. A parquet style installation is a good option if you are concerned about the environment. This is because the floor covering is made up of relatively small blocks of timber. These floors will need to be polished, oiled or waxed regularly. They may require sanding and sealing every five years or so, depending on the ware and maintenance. Bamboo has become a very popular timber-type floor finish as it is completely sustainable, hardwearing, cost-effective and can be stained to a large range of colours.

Linoleum

This is an old fashioned floor finish that is making a comeback. It is completely sustainable and is a natural antibacterial. Linoleum is made from linseed oil and wood or cork flour fixed to a canvas or burlap backing. It comes in a wide range of colours and patterns and it is cheaper than many other types of natural flooring. A good quality bonded linoleum floor has a life span of twenty five years and requires very little maintenance.

Natural carpets

There is a growing range of natural carpets, but fitted and loose. Seagrass, which is formed when salt water floods rice paddies can be used as a fitted carpet. It comes in very limited colours (exactly three) and has a life of five to ten years. Coir carpet, made from the fibres in coconut shells is another durable solution. Like Seagrass, it has a life of five to ten years and both need a simple vacuum cleaning. Sisal is made from the leaves of the Agave Sisalana. This natural carpet is hardwearing and has a life of around thirty years. These carpets can be used as area rugs too. Other materials that make good area rugs are jute, cotton, wool and leather.

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