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Is Paper Flooring a Viable Option?

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 3 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Is Paper Flooring A Viable Option?

Paper is such a commonplace material in day to day life it is somewhat surprising to discover that it is being used to make carpets. Yarn is constructed from long strips of paper spun together which can then be woven into a variety of patterns that have clear, crisp definition.

It's only in recent years that it has become easy to find paper carpet and that's almost certainly because the market for sustainable and eco-friendly products for the home is beginning to mature. Manufacturers therefore have more confidence in bringing products to that market.

The Story Behind Paper Carpet

However the use of paper in textile manufacturer has existed since the spinning technique was developed in the nineteenth century by Frenchman Emil Claviez. He took out patents in many countries and by the early twentieth century factories were producing the yarn in England and Germany and there was talk of opening them in the United States too. But although products never took off in the way that the inventor hoped they would the method is still around today.

The paper itself is made from coniferous softwoods and has a resin introduced while it is being spun in order to make it less absorbent. This is important for use in a carpet as untreated paper would absorb fluids very quickly and swell up as a result.

Rugs And Carpet

Currently there are more paper rugs on the market than carpet but there are a few manufacturers making rolls of paper carpet. With rugs the paper cloth is bordered with another material to protect the edges. This border can be of almost any material but it is usually a natural fabric, to keep the whole product natural and sustainable. Edged rugs can also be designed to be reversible so that wear can be evened out, making the rug last longer.

Cotton is common as a border fabric as is leather, which gives a luxurious look and feel. But those interested in sustainable materials would be well aware of the ecological issues surrounded both those materials and would be advised to check that they are sourced responsibly. Linen and suede are also available as well as other materials.

Design And Practicality

Being easy to dye gives paper an advantage over many other sustainable fibres and it is available in a wide range of colours and patterns. Many paper carpet manufacturers will produce carpet or rugs to a customer's design although this is more expensive than taking off-the-peg designs.

The carpet and rugs are naturally soil repellent so they are easy to clean, and they are not attractive to moths, something that is important if you are laying rugs down on a solid floor in winter but storing them during summer.

Caution In Use

Finally there are a few words of caution about the use of paper carpet and rugs. As is common with a number of other natural woven products they are susceptible to damage from furniture with castors that's moved around a lot.

This didn’t used to be a much of a problem but now that so many people have a home office or study area where there is a computer desk and wheeled chair, it is something to consider. Paper is also not suitable for use on stairs.

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