Things to Know before You Opt for Cork Flooring for Your Kitchen

When it comes to choosing a kitchen floor, most homeowners look for an option that’s durable and functional. Besides traditional floorings like marble tiles, linoleum or rubber, a lot of people are now inclined towards modern kitchen floorings like cork, hardwood, and ceramic. If you’re thinking considering installing cork for your kitchen floor renovation, here’s a list of things you must know before stepping in to invest.

  1. Is Cork Flooring a Good Choice for Kitchen?

You’ll likely spend long hours preparing meals in your kitchen. Thankfully, cork is filled with air pockets that give it a spongy characteristic making it feel soft and cushiony under your feet. This makes it a very comfortable flooring material to stand on. The air pockets act as shock absorbers as well, so if you accidentally drop something onto the floor, it’s less likely to break. Cork is also a good thermal and sound insulator, making your space warm and quiet.

It’s a durable flooring option, resistant to cracks and abrasions. Indentations caused by furniture aren’t a big deal with cork as it tends to recover naturally, making it highly resilient. With proper maintenance, the life of cork flooring can extend up to 40 years or more.

Another great characteristic of cork is that it’s resistant to fire and water. Cork ignites only at extremely high temperatures. It generates less smoke during combustion. It also releases less toxic fumes when ignited, compared to other flooring types like vinyl. Cork floor isn’t waterproof but it can resist minor water damage caused by spills.

Cork also maintains a healthy indoor air quality. It’s naturally resistant to termites, mold, mildew, and microbes.

  1. What are the Different Types of Cork Flooring?

Cork flooring comes in two types of installation – Floating Cork and Cork tiles or Glue-down tiles. Both are similar in appearance, durability, and maintenance. Cork tiles are glued down to the subfloor using adhesives. The subfloor needs to be in a smooth perfect condition to glue down cork tiles.

Floating cork comes in planks that are “clicked” together by a snap lock like laminate flooring instead of adhering onto the subfloor. Floating cork doesn’t require a consistent subfloor for installation. While cork tiles are more economical than floating cork, they have less heat and sound insulation properties.

  1. What are the Different Types of Finishes Available?

There are a few types of finishes widely available for cork flooring – UV cured acrylic based, polyurethane (both water-based and oil-based), and wax finish. The most common type is the water-based polyurethane finish. It requires several layers of application for better durability. Oil-based polyurethane is easy to apply but it emits harmful gases over time.  Acrylic urethanes are cured by UV light and they’re thinner than oil-based polyurethane finishes. They’re faster to apply and takes about 1-2 hours to completely dry out. Wax finishes are fairly uncommon, are are seen on old glued-down cork floors. Note that water-based finishes are more expensive and environment-friendly.

  1. Is Cork Flooring Easy To Clean and Maintain?

Sweep or vacuum your cork flooring regularly so that sand, dust or minute gravel particles don’t accumulate. They can cause scratches and abrasions. Although cork is water-resistant, don’t forget to quickly wipe off spills. You can also mop your floor with a slightly damp mop once a week. Use rugs in high traffic areas and under the sink to minimize chances of accidental damage. Make sure to place potted plants on pot saucers or containers. If you properly clean and maintain your cork floors, you can keep the floor finish intact up to 5-10 years.

Made from naturally shed barks of cork oak trees, cork flooring is a green flooring option. However, when investing on cork floors, always make sure to go for higher density products. The denser the product, the better is the durability. Always check the labels for density and thickness from your manufacturer.

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