Cork Flooring

Cork Flooring Material Cork flooring is a favorite resilient flooring material among homeowners. This is because of its natural beauty and superior sound and temperature insulation. Cork is comprised mainly of air, making it an excellent sound reducer between rooms. It does not conduct heat or cold as other flooring materials do.


[an error occurred while processing this directive] All-Natural Substance
Cork flooring is made from the bark of the oak tree and is all natural. It is also a natural anti-allergen. Did you know that a naturally occurring substance in cork called Suberin repels mold, termites and other pests? Many homeowners have had to replace their carpets due to allergies. Rather than keep doing this, you might want to consider installing cork.

Suitability
Cork floors do not work well in high traffic areas like entrances and hallways. This is because lots of foot traffic tends to damage the cork and leads to premature wear. However, cork flooring works just fine in other areas of the home, such as the kitchen, bathroom or family room. In fact, the kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in the home to install cork. This is because cork is composed mainly of air cells, making it very soft. One can stand for long periods of time on cork flooring without feeling fatigued (such as when cooking).

If you decide to use cork in the bathroom, the cork will need to be sealed to protect it from direct water contact. Likewise, you should not install cork in the basement because of the exposure to moisture and the potential for water damage.

Do-It-Yourself
For the DIYer, cork is the ideal product. It is manufactured in a large variety of either plank or tile shapes. Cork flooring is easy to cut and fix, meaning you can probably install it yourself. You can get pointers from a hardware store such as Home Depot; they’ll be happy to give you instructions. Below are some main points to consider when installing cork:

1. Use a water-based adhesive when installing cork flooring.

2. The subfloor should be flat, level and DRY. Use a leveling compound to fix imperfections.

3. Seal the subfloor.

4. Remove any carpet and padding from the subfloor.

5. The cork should be stored in the room where you intend to install it for at least 48 hours. This will allow it to acclimate to the room conditions, and guards against possible gaping, compression or other reaction to humidity after the flooring is installed.

Maintenance
Because cork is moderately sensitive, it needs to be kept free of dust and dirt. This is because abrasive particles will damage your flooring prematurely. You can use a broom, to sweep it clean.

For a more thorough cleaning, us a regular mop and mild detergent or specialized floor cleaner. Any of these can be found at your local grocery or hardware store.

With cork, you have to be on the lookout for any wearing or dulling of the surface. If you notice this, you should recoat the surface with an acrylic varnish. This will restore the shine and luster to your cork floor. Read our article on Cork Floor Repair for more details.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Cork Flooring
Though cork flooring requires a bit more maintenance than other flooring materials, the benefits are well worth it. Below are some advantages and disadvantages of cork flooring:

Advantages

  • Good sound and temperature insulator.
  • Very resilient.
  • Does not conduct heat or cold
  • Very soft to stand on
  • Easy to install
  • Naturally hypoallergenic

Disadvantages

  • Fairly high maintenance.
  • Requires frequent sealing
  • Not as durable as other flooring.
  • Susceptible to water/moisture damage

Other types of Resilient Flooring include Rubber Flooring, Vinyl Flooring and Linoleum Flooring.