The Care and Maintenance of Cork Flooring
Many people think of a bulletin board when they think of cork flooring. This is not the case at all. This material is beautiful and available in a wide variety of colors and shades, from very light to dark. There is a cork floor to match any home decor. It also comes in a wide variety of textures and patterns, including marble and wood grain patterns that resemble Pergo flooring.
Benefits of Cork Flooring
Cork is a great insulating material. It keeps your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The energy efficiency helps cut energy bills in the winter. It is much more energy efficient than either Armstrong laminate flooring or discount wood flooring. Cork is also good for sound insulation. It helps cut down noise from another room or another floor.
This material is softer on your feet than ceramic tile, bellawood or any other wood or stone flooring material. It is more comfortable in the kitchen, when you may spend a lot of time on your feet. In addition, if you drop a dish, it won’t break as easily as it would on a tile or stone floor. Another benefit is that cork is naturally fire retardant.
Cork is also good for the environment. It is made from the bark of the cork oak tree – these trees grow primarily in Spain and Portugal, and not cut down. Instead, the bark is stripped away, without killing the tree. The tree immediately begins to grow back and can be peeled again about every nine years. This flooring does not contribute to deforestation, which is considered a big problem for our planet today.
Installing Cork Flooring
Installation is done by either nailing or gluing down the material. It can be installed over wood or concrete. It’s important to be sure the subfloor is completely dry. Applying a sealer before installing the floor helps prepare the surface and controls moisture. Peel and stick cork tiles are also available for easy installation.
Here are some tips for installation: spread the adhesive on the subfloor with a paint roller. Once the tiles are laid, you will hardly see the seams. A razor knife can be used to cut tiles to fit around corners or angles in the room. Once the tiles are laid, you will need to roll the floor with a 100-pound floor roller. These can be rented from most places where other tools are rented. A clear urethane can be applied over the floor for added protection.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cork is fairly easy to clean and maintain. Simply sweep with a broom to remove debris. You can also mop the floor with a damp mop as needed. The finish may begin to wear off after several years. Floor sanders can be used to sand the floor lightly. Reapply a coat of urethane after sanding to protect the floor. You can apply several coats, sanding lightly between each coat for added protection. Several coats of clear urethane will make the floor more water resistant.