ALL ABOUT CORK FLOORS
Go Green with Eco-Friendly Cork
n recent years, cork flooring has become in vogue, enjoying an upsurge in popularity. Interestingly, cork has actually been used as a flooring material for over a century. Did you know that even the Library of Congress in Washington, DC has a cork floor?
Cork flooring has become a more common choice today largely because it is a “green” eco-friendly option. It is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees and the process does not harm the trees. But cork’s planet friendly properties are not the only reason why so many homeowners are opting for cork.
Cork offers an understated sophistication and a natural appeal that can complement a range of homes or offices in different styles. Cork actually offers a pretty impressive list of advantages. Read on to find out why cork may be the ideal choice for your Colorado home.
Why Choose Cork Flooring?
There are so many reasons! Where should we start?
Durable - Cork is magical in that it resists cracking and abrasions and is impermeable to gas and liquid. Cork also has a lot of give to it and it literally bounces back, so indentations caused by heavy objects or furniture are not permanent. (Even so, we recommend that furniture have felt protectors on the legs).
Longevity - Cork flooring can last 50 years or even longer when it is properly maintained.
Healthy - Thanks to a waxy substance called suberin, cork is naturally antimicrobial and resistant to mold, mildew and termites. It also does not give off toxic gasses or shed microfibers that negatively affect indoor air quality.
Comfort - Cork is cushiony and much softer and gentler on your feet, legs and back than other flooring materials. It is great for rooms where you do a lot of standing.
Insulation - Cork is known to be a good thermal and acoustic insulator, which means rooms with cork flooring are naturally warmer and quieter. The natural warmth can play a significant role in keeping your home toasty in the colder months, without having to turn up the thermostat.
Design Options - Today’s cork floors come in either tiles or planks in an array of styles, colors, and sizes. Planks can be used to create an almost seamless-looking floor, and tiles can be situated to offer a whole range of different looks.
Safety - Cork floors are naturally fire resistant and will only melt or ignite at very high temperatures.
Planet Friendly - Cork is renewable, harvesting it does not require cutting down old-growth forests or tropical rainforests, the manufacturing process does not generate much waste, and cork is biodegradable so it breaks down into the environment at the end of its life cycle.
Many Uses - Cork can also be used as an underlayment for hardwood, laminate and ceramic tiles to reduce room noise.
Refinished - A cork floor can be refinished over the years several times (depending on the thickness of the cork), much like a hardwood, to give it a fresh new look. So you can reinvent your interiors without having to rip up your flooring!
What to Look for in a Cork Floor?
Density - The density is determined by the size of the cork granules used. Larger cork granules have fewer voids to be filled in by binding agents and therefore produce a higher density cork. These high-density granules are used as the top layer of a cork floor to contribute to the durability of the floor. Lower density cork is used on the bottom layer for added thermal, acoustical, and mold resistance properties.
Finish - Cork flooring is available in two types of finishes: polyurethane/acrylic-based and water-based. Polyurethane/acrylic finishes are a bit tougher and better at protecting the floor. On the other hand, water-based finishes are more environmentally friendly, less likely to yellow with exposure to light, and slightly more costly.
The latest development in finishes is "anti-scratch" which offers an even more durable coating.
Thickness - The thickness of natural cork plays a factor in the degree of acoustic and thermal insulation that the floor will provide. A standard thickness is 4 mm for parquet tiles, while a 3 mm top layer and 2-3 mm bottom layer is considered fine for floating floors with an HDF core.
A Word About Installation & Maintenance
Most cork floors are designed to be floated. As such, they are either glued at the tongue and groove, or they are "click and lock" products. Installing cork tiles is quite simple since most tile products have a self-adhesive back. Finishing is a matter of applying several layers of sealer. In the event that an individual tile becomes damaged, you can simply lift it up and replace it. Speak to us about having an IQ Floors professional install your new cork flooring!
Cork is also easy to maintain. When installed correctly with multiple layers of a quality water barrier sealer applied to the surface, cork flooring is pretty simple to take care of and clean. Regular sweeping and vacuuming will do the trick in removing small grit and dirt, while spills need to be wiped up quickly to prevent staining.