Cork flooring is pretty new to modern home improvement matter, so understanding the guide to natural cork flooring can give a pretty useful insight of what to expect from the floor. Cork flooring isn’t exactly new to the flooring industry, but the modern era has just opened their eyes to the floor’s myriad potential and benefits. Moreover, with the new look and appearance of the cork flooring, it is not really surprising if the floor is increasing in popularity these days, and many homeowners start turning to this flooring type.
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The Popularity of Cork Flooring
One thing that makes cork flooring special is its natural look. If you want a natural appearance that can change the appearance of the house as well as delivering comfy and homey vibe, then cork flooring would be the best pick.
When you are learning about the guide to natural cork flooring, you will learn that the floor has its own warm and cushion-y effect that is pleasant to your feet. Not only the floor is made from natural stuff, but it is also super versatile – making it perfect for all kinds of homes. The floor is also installed in residential areas as well as commercial setting. In general, cork flooring has two types of installation mechanism. In the floating floor type, it has a click-into-spot manner so you won’t need any glue, fastener, or nail for the installation. You basically only need to click the planks together and you are good to go!
Another type is the glue down or nail down type. If you prefer this type, it means you want to have a more secured installation so the floor will stay firm without moving. This type of floor is pretty ideal for kitchen and bathroom setting. Many homeowners with limited budgets prefer DIY projects so they can save a lot of money for the installation.
Making Cork Flooring
If you are into saving the environment and you care so much about the planet, then cork flooring is the perfect option. Based on the guide to natural cork flooring, cork is a renewable material that is constructed and manufactured from the cork tree. This special tree is an evergreen type, usually grown in Northern Africa and Southern Europe regions. The tree is especially grown for bark harvest, whose period usually takes place in summer.
At this time, the bark is generally loose from the trunk. Once harvested, the bark will grow back again, and it will be ready for another harvest in the next 9 years. That’s why this cork is considered an eco-friendly option. First, the harvesting process doesn’t hurt the tree. And then, a single tree can produce a lot of harvest up to many following decades. Cork flooring is made from granulated cork that is combined with resin binders. It can also be made from slices of cork.
Cork flooring is a part of hard flooring, but it has a unique soft feel to it. That’s why the floor is a nice mix of soft and hard flooring. The floor is smooth, soft, and easy on the ears and feet. It is also easy to maintain and clean. But that’s not the only benefit to enjoy from cork flooring.
Other great benefits, according to guide to natural cork flooring, are:
- Natural insulation property. The floor has its own ability to absorb noise and also heat. It is able to help to regulate the temperature inside the room, eliminating the needs of using too much heat or coolness. When you have it in your room, you won’t have to worry about the energy use and the bill too. Not to mention that the floor is quiet. When you walk on it, it is definitely quieter and less noisy when compared to laminate or hardwood flooring.
- Pliable and soft quality. If you know the cork plug for wine bottles, then you know that it is pretty soft and somewhat flexible. Well, cork flooring shares the same trait. It is plush and cushy – creating a comfortable setting even when you have to stand for a long time. And when you install the floor on the kids’ bedrooms or playrooms, it adds an extra layer of protection for the kids.
- Resilient quality. Cork has its own natural spring back quality. When it is pressed or dented, you only need to remove the objects and give it time for the floor to return to its original state.
- Eco-friendly nature. As you have learned from the previous description, cork is harvested and processed through harmless procedures. Not to mention that cork can break down when it has reached its end of the life cycle. It won’t pollute the environment and there won’t be any remaining waste that can fill up the landfill.
- Non-slip quality. Cork has a good traction quality that will prevent any slip. Even when the surface is wet, it won’t slip.
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Based on the guide to natural cork flooring, cork flooring has tons of positive benefits and advantages. However, it isn’t the strongest material in the world. One of its downsides is water. It takes extra work to protect the floor from excessive moisture and water damage.
There are also downsides of the cork flooring, such as:
- Extra maintenance and care. You will have the extra work sealing the floor. After the installation is done, you need to use polyurethane (or other protective material) to seal the surface. And this is a process that you need to do at least twice a year. Not to mention that you also need to have a regular cleaning to remove the dirt and grit. Dirt and grit are able to abrade the top surface – it can cause premature wear.
- Stain sensitive. The reason why you should seal the floor is to protect the look and appearance of the floor. Cork is easily stained by spills, dirt, and other contaminants.
- Moisture sensitive. Based on the guide to natural cork flooring, humidity is the main enemy of cork flooring. That’s why cork flooring isn’t advisable for basement, kitchens, and bathrooms. If you want to seal the floor, you need to do it several times so your floor will remain in good condition. But then again, you need to re-apply the seal periodically to maintain the condition of the floor. The action will also prevent the moisture from penetrating the floor.
- Dents possibility. Heavy objects, such as heavy furniture, will create dents on the surface. If you want to prevent it from happening, place furniture pads or protective mats underneath it. And it would be advisable to remove and rotate the furniture around – it will prevent permanent dents from happening.
Tips for Cork Flooring Installation
Cork flooring installation requires extra work and extra attention. If you follow the guide to natural cork flooring, you can do a DIY project looking like a professional finish. Here are some general tips for installing the cork floor:
- Use a premium foam underlayment on the subfloor. After all, the underlayment has different thickness. Make sure to set the (flooring) height level with other rooms’ flooring.
- Leave the planks inside the rooms (where it would be installed) and let it acclimate for some days.
- Allow expansion gap (or as instructed by the manufacturer) so the floor can expand during humid condition.
- Make sure to install a moisture barrier that is manufacturer-approved over the floor, especially on the concrete basement. And then add the underlayment that is resistant to moisture before the flooring. Make sure that the floor you have is approved for basement installation. Not all cork flooring is suitable for basement, so you need to be sure that the one you are about to install is appropriate for the basement. And make sure that it is covered by warranty.
- If you prefer cork tiles, you can install it on a smooth and dry surface having at maximum 1/8 inch variance. You can use plywood or masonite as the underlayment. But if your concrete is in perfect and pristine condition, you can directly glue the flooring tiles to the concrete floor.
- It isn’t advisable to install the flooring over the (radiant) floor heating systems. Such an action can make the adhesive loose and the tiles curl.
- When you use adhesive to install the glue or nail down the cork flooring, make sure to use the manufacture-recommended ones. It is also possible to get the planks or tiles with the adhesive already applied on the underside.
- You need to give the floor enough time to completely dry properly. Let it be for around 24 hours to 48 hours so the floor will set.
- Apply protective finish to protect the surface. Don’t forget to seal the seams between those tiles too.
In the end, each type of flooring has its own special and unique characteristics that make it different from one another. Cork flooring isn’t different. That’s why you should know the basic guide to natural cork flooringbefore doing the installation.