What is sisal carpet?

What is sisal carpet?

Sisal carpets are becoming an increasingly popular flooring option as we become more and more concerned about sustainability. Sisal provides a much more environmentally friendly alternative to commonly used synthetic materials like nylon and polyester, which require large amounts of fossil fuels to make. Instead, natural fibre carpets use renewable, eco-friendly materials, allowing you to create a stylish home without harming the planet.

While there are a number of natural fibre carpeting options out there, sisal is by far one of the most popular amongst homeowners. Aside from it being kinder to the planet, many prefer sisal carpet because of its earthy tones, high end look and feel, and durability.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a new carpet for your home, here’s everything you need to know about sisal to see if it’s the right carpet choice for you.

What is sisal carpet?

Sisal carpets are made entirely of natural plant fibres, which makes them very durable and hard-wearing, while staying firm underfoot. This means that sisal carpets are the ideal option for use in busy areas of your home, such as stairs, halls, and entryways.  

When it comes to selecting the best sisal carpet for you, it’s important to consider the texture and colour that’ll suit your space best. This will differ depending on room use and décor. While cream, sand and wheat colours tend to be best for a light, neutral look, mottled colours may be better for hiding stains.

Sisal carpets also come in a variety of weaves and designs. Some of the most popular sisal carpet weaves include herringbone, tiger eye, basket weave and boucle. A herringbone weave tends to provide a slightly flatter look, while tiger eye is best if you want a chunkier carpet.

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What is sisal made from?

Sisal is a long and coarse fibre obtained from the leaves of the agave plant. These fibres are strong and stiff, making them ideal for creating firmer, harder-wearing carpets.

Despite the agave plant being indigenous to the Americas, most of the sisal used to produce carpets today comes from East Africa. This fibre is better suited to making carpets as it is longer, finer and white. As a result, it can be dyed clear or with colours, and is easier to spin a smoother yarn for a quality finish.

How is sisal made?

Sisal is made by collecting the leaves of agave plants and separating the long leaf fibres out using machine decortication – a process by which the leaf is crushed between rollers. The resulting pulp is then scraped from the fibre and the fibre is washed and sun-dried. Finally, the fibres are carefully spun into fine carpet yarns. 

Sisal carpet: pros and cons

Before deciding whether a sisal carpet is right for you and your home, it’s essential you weigh up the pros and cons of sisal carpet.

Pros of sisal carpet

  • Durable – sisal is one of the most durable carpeting options thanks to its impressively strong fibres. That’s why sisal is often also used to make baling twine and mariner rope.
  • Aesthetic – sisal has a unique and attractive look that can’t be achieved with any other type of carpet. The distinctive creamy tan and beige colour that comes from the natural plant fibres create neutral tones that will fit with nearly any décor.
  • Sustainable – sisal fibres are obtained in a sustainable way which means they use fewer fossil fuels compared with synthetic materials.
  • Biodegradable – since it is made from natural plant fibres, sisal is 100% biodegradable. That means that once it’s served its purpose as your carpet, it won’t spend an eternity clogging up landfill, making it an eco-friendly flooring option.  
  • Low maintenance – sisal carpets are super easy to care for. All you need to do to keep it in good shape is hoover it regularly.
  • Anti-allergy – the natural fibres of sisal carpets are great for people with allergies and asthma as, unlike most synthetic materials, sisal doesn’t give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs). So, your carpet won’t damage the air quality of your home.
  • Absorbent – sisal is so absorbent it can act as a natural dehumidifier for your home, keeping it cooler on hot days and minimising the risk of damp and prevent moisture from hanging around.

Cons of sisal carpet

  • Absorbent – because sisal is so absorbent, it’s more prone to staining and can’t be steam cleaned. If you’re worried about stains on your sisal carpet, you can opt for a darker or mottled colour, and read our guide on removing carpet stains.
  • Firmness – while the tough sisal fibres are what give these carpets their incredible durability, this also makes them firmer to the touch than some synthetic carpet options.

How much does sisal carpet cost?

Sisal carpets vary widely in price, depending on a range of factors:

  • The thickness of the fibre
  • The pattern
  • The construction of the weave
  • The size

Our Havana sisal carpet is available in 4m and 5m lengths and comes in at £44.99 per m² and with fitting from £5.50 per m², it costs just over £600 to carpet a small (4x3m) room (that’s not including underlay, door bars, or grippers). Go ahead and browse our selection of sisal carpets online, then head to your nearest Tapi store to get a quote for your new carpet. Alternatively, if you're still deciding, why not take a look at our sisal vs jute vs seagrass guide?

Now you know everything there is to know about sisal carpets, you can be confident you’ve chosen the right flooring for your home. So, in the meantime, why don’t you go take a look at our ideas hub to get some more inspiration?

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Published: 17-08-2022

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