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About Cork Flooring
Cork, a sustainable and renewable natural energy resource, is considered one of the most environmentally friendly types of flooring today. The impact of using cork flooring on the environment is low due to the fact that nearly zero waste is produced during the manufacturing process. Additonally, cork flooring can be easily installed in any room of your house, but is most commonly used in kitchens.
Source of cork
Cork is harvested from the outer bark of cork oak trees, which are grown primarily around the Mediterranean basin. This harvesting process can take place every nine years on the same tree without cutting it down. Once harvested, the date of harvest is painted on the tree to ensure maximum sustainability.
Features and benefits
Cork is made up of a small, sealed, honeycomb cellular structure and is 90 percent air. There is a comfort and softness to the material that provides natural shock absorption to the body. As an added benefit, the cellular structure of cork acts as acoustical and thermal insulation. Noise, vibrations and costs associated with heating and cooling are greatly reduced. It is this same cellular structure that allows cork flooring to recover well from any impression. And, to top it off, cork flooring lasts as long as most hardwood floors.
Cork is naturally beautiful and many manufactures offer tiles in various shades ranging from light to dark. It also comes in different colors, shapes and patterns. It can be used as both an underlayment or as a finished, tiled floor covering.
Health benefits of cork flooring
Cork is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to moisture and mold. In addition, it has a natural waxy substance known as suberin that repels insects, mites and protects the cork from decay. The flooring is completely non-toxic and safe for every member of the family, including your pets.
Installing cork floors
Cork floors can come in floating floor or glue-down applications. The floating floor planks come with specially designed edges that interlock and can often be installed over vinyl, wood, ceramic or even carpeted floors. The subfloor, however, should be level and dry.
Glue-down installation tends to be associated with higher installation costs. Cork tile repair can also be more difficult following a glue-down installation.
Maintaining cork floors
Avoid using too much water and abrasive cleaners when cleaning your cork floor. Simply use a dry or damp mop with mild chemical-free soap. Cork floors are durable and require very little outside of the standard once-a-week vacuuming and washing.
If a more serious cleaning is needed, electric buffing machines can be used. For corked floors with a wax finish, steel wool discs should be used followed by lamb’s wool pads.