Joining and Installing Natural Floorcoverings

How to Join & Install Real Coir, Sisal & Seagrass Floorcoverings:

Real Natural Floorcoverings require meticulous detail to the alignment & joining, however they are easy to install once you master the following basic procedures.

1/ Install Architectural Smooth-edging: If domestic smoothedge is already fitted, we recommend doubling up by placing another strip behind the existing smoothedge, as these natural carpets expand & contract with atmospheric humidity, so badly nailed smoothedge may pop off the floor during installation or after a few rainy days, then you will have to return to re-nail & re-stretch the floorcoverings.

Using Architectural or doubling-up of domestic smoothedge makes stretching onto the smoothedge retaining pins a lot easier, plus it will save the installers knees trying to stretch it onto inadequate domestic smoothedge.

2/ Fit all the underlay & timber doorway reducing Strips or metal naplock reducing Strips (door bars).

We only recommend 9mm Bridgestone AirStep "Supa Blue Rubber" Underlay or the more Commercial 9mm Bridgestone AirStep "Cushion-Pad" Underlay, the latter is made with 30% Wool blended with recycled with natural textile fibres.

The Supa Blue Rubber underlay will give you the most luxurious/softest feel under feel, use Quality 50mm wide Silicon tape on hold the underlay joins together (Cowboy use clear cellophane tapes that make a noise when walked upon), simply apply the Silicon tape with pressure from the back of your knuckles, press them together, use Extra tape to go over the smoothedge, remember you should run the tape from the underlay join across the top of the smoothedge as it assist in holding the underlay in place, using a wide silicon tape for any foam type underlay is superior, SupaBlue underlay will not slide as much as inferior weighted domestic gold & black underlays. Do not latex this type of underlay to the floor as it will flatten the underlay where it has been applied, do not staple this underlay to the sub floor as it is that thick the staples will pull through the paper topping, it is OK to use some staples to the outer edges to reduce the chance of moving during installation.

Whilst Cushion-Pad underlay gives you a lot firmer under foot feel, it is better suited to commercial traffic, you can either staple (timber floor) or use latex to hold the Joins of this underlay together during installation as the textile underlay tends to get dragged more so by the carpet being moved/stretched during installation.

3/ Ascertain the carpet Runs required without having an Cross joins, cross joins are not recommended as most of these natural rope type carpets will show cross joins a lot more as their is no pile to hide/disguise the join as in modern carpets, this may mean using slightly more material to do a better job.

4/ Lay out the all runs through room(s) or area(s) & roughly overlay the pattern match to the runs if possible.

This is where you are going to cut down the Longitudinal weave in the direction that wastes the minimum amount of material, be carefully to allow for Skirting and Stretching of material around doorways & drops etc..

NB: Most Natural Floorcovering type of carpet stretch similar to an Axminster carpet, if as an installer you actually know how to Pattern match & stretch a Woven Axminster or Wilton carpet correctly you won't really have a problem with these types of carpet, correctly Cutting, Sealing & Gluing the edges prior to and during Joining is Important !

5/ Cutting the Joins: We prefer to use very sharp Shears (depending on your tools, ) or sometimes a very sharp Hook/Barnsley knife or industrial Stanley knife, if using a Top cutter use a new blade, you really need to be carefully & cut exactly to the rib, if done properly the edge should have a clean cut then it should not fray, if the material starts to fray upon cutting usually the problem lies in a blunt blade, incorrect cutting, inferior weaving or Latex backing !

6/ Joining Natural Floorcoverings: (Coir, Sisal & Seagrass)

There are several ways of joining natural fibre carpets, Direct sticking & Double bonding are Two simple ways, however we are currently only dealing with Traditional Heat taping method using an Underlay to produce a Luxurious underfoot feel.

This first method would be better for someone unsure of how to join these types of natural carpets (hereafter called sisal or carpet) as well it can be joined & stretched quicker, but it takes far more time as well as it is a messier procedure to perform, BUT this method will give you the BEST and STRONGEST join results to last long term !!!

   6a/ Sealing the Selvedges prior to Joining: Method-1

1) Cut the sisal to the thicker side of a pattern, so that both sides match the best. Once you have cut both sides of a joins and the carpet has not frayed, put the heat tape under the join (this assists in stopping the PVA glue from sticking the carpet to the underlay),

2)Gluing , ONLY apply PVA glue to the side of selvedges letting a little go onto the top & latex backing (beneath the sisal) is OK, you can do this by holding the carpet in one hand whilst applying a bead of PVA glue to only the edge of the selvage from the PVA bottle in the other hand in the direction that feels easiest (left or right hand), you can use an old tooth brush to gently work any excess glue into the material so you don't end up with shiny wet puddles of PVA glue atop the join, usually caused from to much PVA glue, now let the selvedges dry until clear, if you have done a proper job the edges will Not fray.

3) Now turn the joins over & use a narrow wire brush to push or pull the flat part of the brush to remove enough latex backing for half the width of the heat tape (4~5cm) (you can use a small Electric Planer or Sander to strip the latex off quicker) keeping the material taunt makes it easier to remove the latex backing, by kneeling, looking down the Join and placing your spare hand at distance, hold the edge working away from yourself, use either a Wire brush or Electric device to remove the top layer of latex backing (don't totally remove all the latex), when the latex is removed and sisal fibres are clean there is no need to apply any PVA glue to the back of the carpet as the PVA glue you put on the Selvages earlier will stop the edges from fraying.

NB: If the selvage is Cut, Sealed & Dried correctly there may be some latex held in place by dry PVA glue next to the selvedges, be careful to flatten or remove any loose bits with Shears, as Pulling may unnecessarily weaken the selvage.

3) At this stage keep the job tidy & vacuum up all the loose Latex of the carpet, this will stop it from being walked throughout the job.

   6b/ Sealing the Selvedges prior to Joining: Method-2 (Not as strong & takes longer to dry)

1) Cut the join as in 6.a/1), heat tape under join.

2) Gluing/Sealing, whilst on your knees (with knee pads) or on your haunches, looking to the join, cup your spare hand around the selvedges and with your spare hand apply a well/Dam of PVA glue to the selvedges and approx. 5cm to apply to the underneath in one application (smearing it in with your fingers), then let the selvedges mostly dry.

3) Folding the joins over will let the air circulate easier to assist with the drying, at this time it is advisable to inspect the selvages to see if all the ends of latitudinal fibres have been impregnated (coated) with PVA glue. (don't forget these are mostly woven carpet without a secondary backing to assist the join in holding together)

4) The heat tape will be able to adhere directly to the drying PVA glue that should have soaked into the latex and through to the backing of the sisal.

If you have the time it's far better to let the PVA glue dry naturally, as the glue will seep further into the backing & the fibres of the cut selvedge giving a final stronger bonding of the join.

Depending on the type of latex backing (frothy or firm) you may want to have two application bottles, one with straight PVA glue & one with a slightly watered down PVA glue to use on a firmer latex backing, if you want it to soak in a bit.

Also a thinner first coat of PVA on a salvage will allow further penetration into the fibre making a stronger join, experience will teach you.

7/ Joining the carpet: Prior to joining carefully inspect both selvedges for any ridged fibres that stick out a little & if so cut them off with your shears, removing small fibres will let the close the join perfectly together. Then prior to joining the Carpet apply another thin bead of glue to both selvedges, you MUST apply this second coat of PVA glue just prior to joining to actually glue the selvedges together, the heat tape only holds the backing together, just like normal carpet.

NB: Whilst Joining you should be using a long Knee Board & a Spiked Roller that pressed the Carpet down firmly into the Heat-tape whilst Hot!

Let the join Cool & Dry Totally before attempting to Stretch, the heat from the joining Iron, will assist the PVA glue Dry quicker, and the selvedges being glued together will greatly reduce the chance of the join separating &/or lifting (called Telegraphing), again, you can speed up the process by using a hair dryer or heat gun (be carefully Not to walk within 60cm of a Join whilst drying & do not overheat the glue with a hair dryer or you may cook the join as it may change the colour around the join), if possible let your joins dry overnight or until the glue is totally dry & clear.

8/ Stretching Natural Floorcovering: Once the join has been joined & totally dried you will be able to Power stretch the material & the joins should not come apart.

You don't need to over stretch these type of carpets, install them just like an Axminster, nice & Taunt.

However, if the joins have not totally dried &/or start to pull apart when stretching you have not done the join correctly, you may only have to loosen up the stretch & possibly apply more PVA glue into the join & let it fully dry, using a high volume hair dryer will assist in quicker drying.

Even after your join has fully dried & you stretch the carpet the join separates a tad 1~2mm, this may simply mean there was not enough PVA glue applied between the selvages to hold them together or someone may have walked on the join whilst it was drying, especially if installing on a Rubber or Foam underlay!

If so, this can be fixed by simply cutting strands of the same material from the longitudinal off-cuts & applying just enough PVA glue into the gap & then pushing the strands into the gap with a hook knife, if done properly it should be invisible, this is called Flowering the join or you may have to re-join the carpet again.

Remember: It is better to let these joins dry slowly & fully then the joins will be a lot stronger, you defiantly should NOT walk on or near a join whilst it is drying (especially if installed on soft/spongy Underlay) as it may move & weaken the bonding of the backing & selvages!

Page updated: 17/10/20 .