Examining the existing possibilities for finishing the floor, it is easy to distinguish traditional materials and very exotic textures, which appeared recently on the market. The philistine does not even know what is, for example, the cork floor, what it is made from, what technical characteristics it has.
Therefore, I would like to talk about everything in detail in this article. Highlight the preferential qualities that will allow many to discover completely different possibilities for decorating an apartment, as well as specify the features of the stowage technology.
Excursion to the history
What is cork flooring made from? Not from sawdust and shavings, as many believe, but from the bark of a unique cork oak, which grows only in African and southern European countries.
These trees existed another 60 million years ago. Today the leader in their cultivation is Portugal. It is there that the main world production is concentrated, which supplies this unique natural material.
It belongs to the category of elite, and the value of the plug is determined by the cyclic production. The fact is that you can remove the bark only with a 25-year-old tree. And do it again – not earlier than in 9 years.
What is a cork floor?
The porous oak bark consists of several internal micropores, impregnated with a special juice called suberin. After removing the bark, the material is ground and sent to special furnaces. The processed product is compressed and converted into a mixture of air and cork. This is the natural basis for the cork floor. Of course, it does not reach the consumer in this form. The mixture is reinforced with a strong layer consisting of wood dust and resins.
The final product is a multilayer pie in which the designated layers alternate. The front surface can be made of different materials: the cork itself, veneer, vinyl or other composite materials. Each such coverage has its pros and cons, which we should mention.
Advantages of cork flooring
Modern cork floor has excellent technical characteristics. It is:
- Resistant to deformation
- It is antistatic
- Environmentally friendly
- It is safe for humans, since it has bactericidal properties
Convenient cork cover does not slip, does not absorb moisture and persistent odors, in addition, such a floor is resistant to the appearance of mold and fungus. Today it is difficult to find a more versatile finishing material that could be applied indoors. Scientists, of course, are trying to create an artificial analogue, which would make it possible to reduce the cost of products from cork. But so far we can not get close to solving this problem.
Any cork floor is resistant to external influences of any kind. He is not afraid of abrasions, mechanical shocks, exposure to household chemicals. It will never leave a trace of the wheels of furniture. And such a fine quality, as depreciation, helps to avoid traces of heavy point load. Due to these properties, the cork finishing easily rises in a row with finishing materials such as parquet. By durability they can easily compete.
The described material has good thermal insulation characteristics. It keeps warm in winter and cool in summer. It is noted that the use of a cork helps significantly save on electricity. And this circumstance can easily be attributed to the primary indicators of natural material.
In addition, cork is also an acoustic material that can reduce the threshold of penetrating noise. Therefore, it is advisable to use it in finishing children’s rooms, music studios, rooms where a home theater or acoustic equipment is installed.
Only the cork has its own internal heat. So it’s so nice to touch the bare feet of her surface. Very comfortable and walk on such a floor, and sit on it, besides it’s completely safe for health.
A variety of unique textures and drawings helps to realize interesting design ideas. Anyone who dreams about exclusive projects will certainly pay attention to this material – natural, eco-friendly and very natural.
The plug is well combined with other textures. The floor from it easily fits, just to look after and maintain its purity. This is, indeed, a unique material, the existence of which can not be ignored in the design of a design project.
Disadvantages of cork flooring
For objectivity it is worth mentioning about the existing disadvantages of exotic decoration. After deformation, she “comes to life” for a long time. The smaller the area of pressure of a heavy object on the cork, the longer it is restored.
If a “clean” plug is used that has not undergone a complex industrial treatment, it will additionally need to be lacquered. Therefore, purchasing an unglazed floor, take care immediately about buying a special lacquer coating.
Kinds of cork coatings
As already mentioned, cork floors consist of several layers. The scope of their application depends on the finish coat. So, for example, cork floors with vinyl cover are used in rooms with intensive traffic and strong mechanical loads.
Vinyl layer increases the strength of the material and its durability. Manufacturers give a 10-year warranty, which is a good indicator for flooring.
The lacquered cork is ideal for living spaces. And a huge selection of textures and textures helps to create such a picture of the floor, which fits perfectly into any interior filling. Cork is very well combined with other natural or artificial materials, so professional designers are willing to use it, making out presentable and status apartments.
Glue or lock?
Cork coverings are of two types:
The first are offered in the form of special plates of different sizes, but of equal thickness. They are so called due to the technology of laying. Cork tiles are laid and glued together with a special glue, which, as a rule, is recommended by the manufacturers themselves.
Floating cork panels are individual lamellae, the basis of which is plywood. Such a coating does not stick together, but is collected in the lock, like a laminate or an engineering board. The panels themselves are placed not on the floor, but on a special cork substrate, and very quickly and simply. Anyone who owns the basic repair skills can pick up such a floor with his own hands.
Adhesive cork floors have one clear advantage over floating ones – they can be installed in rooms with high humidity. They have higher wear resistance.
The very principle of cork floor installation eliminates the discrepancy between plates, which means that there are no micro-gaps between them. What can not be said about floating cork floors. The glued cork floor is much cheaper than the floating one. But its laying requires the purchase of additional materials, for example, glue. It is best to entrust the installation of such a floor specialist, and this is additional costs.
Having weighed all the listed circumstances, it will be possible to decide and make the right choice – to give your preference to the glue or the lock.