What is a Coconut Fiber Mat?
Coconut fiber or coir fiber mats are literally made from the thread fibers grown on coconut palm trees. These fibers are woven together in much the same way that other carpet fibers are, thus giving them a tufted look that’s also quite durable.
While some coconut fiber mats are either glued down or use some sort of vinyl backing, most of them are completely organic and thus made without the need for synthetic materials. This makes them a great option for those who are going green.
What is Coir Matting Used For?
Coir matting can be rolled out in large size cuts and used anywhere that vinyl floor coverings or carpet would be used. It’s most commonly found in sun rooms and other somewhat outdoor areas, but you could theoretically lay it down in almost any situation.
Some animals might not want to walk on it, but it does have niche use cases as well. Coir matting is often made into bath mats and it’s also a popular choice for welcome mats.
How Do You Lay Coir Matting?
Most coir mats come self-contained, but larger pieces can be installed using these steps:
- Wait for the subflooring to be warm and dry enough to install it – the weather can impact installations
- Roll out the flooring
- Allow the mat to acclimate to its new setting for at least 24 hours
- Cut the remaining material to size using a hook blade knife
- Fit the mat into place once it starts to flatten
- Rub and roll the matting to get all of the air pockets out
- Use construction adhesive along the corners to hold it down
- Apply contact adhesives to all remaining areas that aren’t staying down
- Allow the remaining material to dry
- Sweep up any debris and give the mat another day to rest before using it like normal
How Long Do Coir Mats Last?
If they don’t get moldy, then coir mats can last for many years. All organic material eventually breaks down, but coir material has a tendency to remain viable over a long period of time.
A solid 1-inch thick doormat could last anywhere from 6-10 years. Those made from all natural coconut fibers without any synthetic backing could last much longer, with some estimates going as high as 30 years.
Can Coir Mats Be Washed?
Since they can get moldy, you probably won’t want to wash coir matting in a conventional way. Instead, start by scraping off as much of the dirt and debris that’s on it as possible.
You can use a tool or blade to do so, but don’t scrape so hard that you damage the mat. Once it’s cleaner, hang it outside and beat it using a handle or dedicated rug-beater to get any leftovers out.
Depending on where you live, you’ll probably want to do this over dirt or grass since you’ll probably be beating a fair amount of sand out of it.
What Can I Do With Old Coir Mats?
Coir mats tend to have a very long useful lifespan, but eventually you might want to try one of these techniques:
- Cut any damaged areas away with a knife and reuse the remaining material as a smaller mat
- Water and seed the mat for use as part of a flower bed
- Compost it, assuming you have removed all artificial pieces
- Cut off any good pieces and use them as makeshift scrub brushes
- Use it to scrape mud off the bottom of shoes
- Fold it and use it to prop up garden fixtures
- Cover the floor in a shed or garage
- Dry it and use as packing material
- Wrap goods in it while transporting them to avoid damage
- Bury natural portions of it to create a worm habitat
Is Coir Matting Biodegradable?
Coir matting is biodegradable, but some of it incorporates adhesives and synthetic backings that aren’t. If you plan on breaking a coir mat down naturally, then you’ll need to remove all of this extra material to ensure that it’ll break down over time.
Can You Compost Coir Mat?
While you can compost a coir mat, it’ll take a long time to break down completely. Coconut fibers are very hard and stable, so the decomposition process takes more time than it would for most types of hemp rope and other comparable types of fiber.
Are All Coir Mats the Same?
Not all material is created equal, so coir mats normally come in one of four different styles:
- Brown fibers
- White fibers
- Buffered coir
This last type consists of longer fibers and closely resembles the kind of material that’s used on hard-bristled coir brushes.
Do Coir Mats Shed?
Depending on the temperature and level of humidity in your home, you might find that your coir mat starts to shed over time. Usually, this should be kept to a minimum.
If it starts to shed, then you should get rid of any of the debris it gives off. Remove any loose pieces to limit further damage.
Do Coir Mats Hold Water?
If you leave coir mats out in the rain, then they’re going to hold water. Lift yours up and elevate one side of it to shake the water out.
Those who are using coir matting in the bathroom usually won’t have to worry as much, but it’s always a good idea to clean under any bathmat to reduce the risk of mold.
Is Coir Matting Fireproof?
While coir matting readily absorbs water and is usually quite thick, these attributes usually only make it fire resistant. It might take a while to start on fire, but you can certainly burn coir matting.
Since it would make an awful lot of smoke, you don’t want to dispose of coir matting by burning it either. You’d probably have a tough time getting it to burn anyway.
How Do You Cut a Coco Coir Mat?
A good solid pair of scissors that are sufficiently sharpened should be able to get through it. You could also try tin snips, as long as they’re not the dull kind.
Many people report using steel utility knives to cut through their mats. If you try this method, then make sure to cut away from yourself.