Adding cork flooring to the equation

by Ofentse Sefolo
Adding cork flooring to the equation

Since the Victorian era, cork has been used as a flooring solution. The resurgence of cork’s popularity can be attributed to a combination of its tried and tested performance as well as new technologies and advancements in cork flooring solutions. In this feature, we look at some of the key considerations when choosing between cork, bamboo and hardwood flooring options.

With the right maintenance, cork can outlast other floorcoverings. Cork flooring is remarkably resilient and is less prone to impact and scratches. Cork floors are made from the bark of cork oak trees, mostly found in Mediterranean countries. The floors are coated with protective layers, which make them suitable for high traffic areas. Cork flooring products that have been properly sealed can be used in bathrooms and other wet areas, but it is usually not recommended for high moisture areas. Scratches are generally less visible on lighter cork flooring shades.

Maintaining a cork floor is relatively easy. Regular sweeping, mopping and vacuuming will get the job done. Excessive use of water for cleaning should be avoided and spills should only be removed with cork flooring cleaners that have been approved by the manufacturer. This flooring also needs to be recoated with urethane every 5 – 7 years.

Cork is a very eco-conscious flooring choice thanks to the way it is harvested. The bark of cork trees is obtained without cutting down the tree or even damaging it. In addition, bark that has been harvested grows back, making it a renewable resource.

Ease of installation
Cork flooring is easier to install than hardwood flooring, but accredited and experienced contractors are still recommended for the job. Click-lock cork flooring products are easier to fit than glue/nail-down ones. Cork flooring can be installed over a number of flooring materials such as tiles, concrete and wood subfloors, as long as the surface is clean, level and dry.

Cork flooring is a very affordable solution for both commercial and residential applications. The same cork that is used to make wine bottle stoppers and bulletin boards is also manufactured into this sustainable flooring option. The cost of cork flooring will depend on the quality of the material as well as the manufacturer. Cork can be more expensive than many carpet and laminate flooring options but it compares well to hardwood flooring.

Repair considerations
Cork floors will expand if they come into contact with water. Besides water damage, cork can also be vulnerable to physical damage such as dents made by heavy objects. Make sure you are investing in a cork floor that is able to withstand the type of traffic and movement that is typical of your project. Repairs are generally easy to achieve with simple spot repairs or by replacing an entire plank.

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