Much of what I wrote about Bordered Jute Area Rugs could also be said of Sisal Area Rugs too. Therefore, I would encourage you to have a look at our Jute Article, as I’m sure you would find it helpful, especially if this is the style of rug you are considering for your home.
It’s interesting that sisal has been a part of the flooring industry in North America for many years. Going back to the 50’s and 60’s sisal was often used on the stairs leading down to the basement, primarily because of its durability. But, over at least the last decade, like many natural fibers, sisal has experienced a resurgence in popularity as a choice for an area rug.
In fact, sisal has become so popular, that the term "Sisal Wool" has evolved as a recognized term in the flooring industry, especially in the broadloom carpet sector. Of course there is no such thing as "Sisal Wool" fiber. Generally what this term means is: wool is woven in a simple boucle weave and has the appearance of sisal. You then have the look of sisal, a softer hand, and a fiber that's easier to clean.
Sisal yarn is somewhat similar in appearance to jute and the construction of the rugs is also similar; both are flat-weaves. Although jute is a very tough, resilient fiber, sisal is even more so. Jute is softer to the touch than sisal and can be dyed in hanks, where sisal is tougher and harder, and must be dyed at the fiber stage.
The majority of sisal rugs are constructed with a border in the same way that their jute counter parts are, and they will also have latex backing to stabilize the weave. The most common choice of weave pattern is again a boucle weave, but a herringbone pattern also looks very nice. More intricate versions of the boucle weave are also available, often with different yarn colors in the warp and weft to give a more interesting appearance.
There is no facsimile in sisal to the chunky hand spun jute rugs, but I have seen Sisal yarn mixed with wool yarn in special weaves to add different textures and interest to a rug.
Although sisal is very impermeable to liquid it can still stain. It’s not as problematic as jute, but it is still difficult to clean, so if you have pets or small children, or are generally concerned about spills, I would recommend a topical treatment to protect your investment.
A flat-weave, bordered sisal rug, is still a great choice for a beautiful, natural rug at an economical price point.