Should I go for synthetic or natural coir matting?
How to choose between fake coir and the real deal.
If you’ve decided on coir matting for your home or workplace, you might have only just realised the level of upkeep it requires.
Browse our article on the benefits of coir, and you will see why it’s one of our favourite and most popular products. But, while natural coir matting is a certain crowd-pleaser, it does have its drawbacks.
Luckily for all our customers that couldn’t see past those drawbacks, synthetic coir mats give you the same natural look without the hassle.
To choose between synthetic and natural coir matting, you need to consider the following factors:
Factor 1: Placement
If you are planning on placing your coir mat outside, you need to evaluate the amount of rain and other water it will encounter. It will work very well outside undercover, but synthetic coir is best for outside uncovered areas.
When natural coir gets wet, it becomes discoloured. Although it is a great material for removing small amounts of water from shoes, it is not your best option in very wet outside spaces.
For outside spaces that see reasonable levels of rainfall, go for synthetic coir.
Factor 2: Maintenance
Perhaps the biggest gripe our customers complain of is the fact that natural coir fibres shed. If a low-maintenance clean floor is a priority for you, a natural coir doormat might not be your best choice.
Traditionally made coir mats have a woven edge that reduces shedding a little, but you will still need to sweep up the excess fibres every week or two. Fitting your natural coir door mat into a recess will also help to reduce shedding.
For minimal maintenance, go for synthetic coir.
Factor 3: Scraping abilities
The reason coir is used to make mats is that it’s so great at the job! It is one of the most effective shoe-scrapers on the market and absorbs water and moisture well. It
While synthetic coir is also great at scraping shoes, its slightly softer bristles don’t provide quite such an aggressive clean. Synthetic coir is
For the most hardcore scraper mat, go for natural coir.
Factor 4: Absorbency
So, you know you aren’t putting your natural coir mat outside in the rain, but which mat is best at drying the feet that pass over it? The most absorbent material of the two is polypropylene because natural coir swells as it absorbs water and other liquids.
If you expect a high level of traffic through your building, or your area is particularly wet, we recommend choosing the most absorbent entrance mats possible.
For the most absorbent coir matting, go for synthetic coir.
Factor 5: Natural style
If the au naturale look is your main motivation for buying coir matting, you might want to weigh this up against the drawbacks we mentioned previously. If aesthetics is your priority, loose fibres all over the floor are the last thing you need.
While we usually always say natural is best, synthetic coir looks almost identical to the real deal – without any of the mess.
For the ultimate natural look without the maintenance, go for synthetic coir.
Factor 6: Feel
Being such a great scraper, coconut husk fibres are very stiff. This is great for cleaning shoes, but it is not as soft and comfortable underfoot. Coir also has a very high pile, and there is no option for low-profile coir matting.
Synthetic coir matting feels much softer underfoot, which is often preferred for houses and smaller offices. There is something much more welcoming about a comfortable entrance to walk through when you arrive at work or someone’s home.
For a plush feel that warmly welcomes guests and employees, go for synthetic coir.
Factor 7: Sustainability
One of the main reasons many of our customers choose coir in the first place is its fantastic effect on the planet. Being a by-product of the coconut industry, any item that is made with coir is preventing that material from ending up in the landfill.
As well as reducing coir waste, that also means no new material is created for the mat. Obviously, synthetic coir cannot boast sustainability like that. We do source all our materials from as environmentally-friendly suppliers as possible, but nothing beats coir for sustainability!
For the most sustainable matting, go for natural coir.
The winner: this time, it’s fake.
If your main reason for buying a coir mat is that you want to save the planet, then please go ahead and do so. Coir is our absolute favourite material because of how environmentally friendly it is.
But, if you want a mat for your home or small business, you should seriously consider the maintenance and potential drawbacks of a coir natural doormat. Large companies with daily cleaning teams won’t even notice the shedding, but busy parents and office managers definitely will.
For the most absorbent, plush and fuss-free coir mats that look like the real thing, go for a hardwearing synthetic coir mat in a natural colour. You can also get these in a dyed black and grey colour – the same as the natural ones.
No matter what your application, do not install natural coir matting outside in the rain. The short explanation for this is that coconut fibre expands with water, but rubber backing doesn’t. This mismatch of materials means a sodden coir mat will ripple after getting wet.
For more information, find out why you shouldn’t put rubber-backed coir mats outside.
Want to know more about coir?
For more information on synthetic coir matting, or for a personalised recommendation, feel free to get in touch. As always, you can reach our friendly team of matxperts on 1300 628 746 or by using the chat function below.
All our coir matting is available in standard or custom sizing, and with a variety of different backings. For more eco-friendly matting options, check out this post on sustainable mat materials that aren’t recycled plastic.