Sooner or later, every homeowner will be asked the question of changing the floor covering. And in most cases, because of the huge variety of choices, some do not know what is best to acquire. Each manufacturer, promoting his products, paints the advantage of the goods, but in reality everything is completely different. The cork flooring has also received various responses, and if you have not heard of it yet, we recommend you read this article to the end.
Cork covers belong to the class of natural floor materials, and such are today in fashion. Also important is the issue of environmental friendliness and safety, but about this a little later.
Structure and manufacturing technology
In the production of outdoor cork floor coatings, the bark of oak is used, which is the focus of manufacturers’ attention is not at all random. The top layers of wood of this breed, are capable for long years to support the unique structure without being exposed to destruction. Microscopic pores are plugged with natural gas, which gives the material an aesthetic smooth appearance, and heat-shielding qualities.
The production of an outdoor cork floor is a combination of multistage technologies, in which wood undergoes specialized processing. At the initial stage, the crust is crushed. Then it is heated to a certain state, after which it is distributed into forms.
The output is a high-tech and environmentally friendly material suitable for flooring purposes. In the production process, it is shaped into various panels. For durability and aesthetics, the surface of the cork floor is covered with protective varnish or vinyl.
The structure of the cork floor material resembles a honeycomb. About 40 million, cells account for approximately one cubic meter of cork material. Intercellular partitions are cellulose, which protects the plug from moisture. Also, during the production, lignin, wax, suberin and other components are added to make the floor semi-cork resistant to combustion and other substances.
Advantages that need to be considered when choosing
The beauty of the interior and harmony in the design are the main criteria that all people aspire to. To meet such needs, many need a modern style floor, color and decorative component of each piece of furniture. Intricate natural patterns, and a wide choice of pleasant colors allows cork floors, implement various projects, fitting into any design solution.
Because many people want to live in the most comfortable environment, then of course first of all they are interested in the performance characteristics of cork floors. The merits include the following:
- high degree of sound insulation;
- thermal insulation;
- moisture resistance;
- ecological compatibility;
- ease of care.
This material is truly unique, thanks to a unique structure obtained from compacted chips. For example, having laid the cork floor in the kitchen, you can not worry about the safety of the coating. Even if a heavy object falls on it, the dent, due to the specificity of the material, will disappear with time, and the surface will assume its original shape.
Due to this property, another advantage of the cork flooring is highlighted – this is an orthopedic effect on the human muscle-skeletal system. Relatively elastic and slightly springy coating provides soft contact of the feet with the surface, thereby weakening the load on the spine when walking on a cork floor.
Cork flooring, completely out of the teeth bugs, woodworm, it perfectly tolerates wet cleaning and dry cleaning, but only without the use of abrasive compounds.
Glued cork floors or floating parquet – what to choose?
If you have finally decided on the choice of material, then the next question is the way of cork floor installation. Typically, for installation in living quarters, two options are used: laying on the adhesive composition or installing a floating floor.
In the first case, special compounds are selected, which are applied to the prepared surface. Cork floor tiles, using this styling technology, can be installed even in rooms of high importance, in the kitchen or in the bathroom. Manufacturers at the same time, guarantee at least 10 years of operation of this coating.
A little less can last cork tiles, the installation of which is made on a “floating basis.” In this case, the fastening is made by the type of locks of the laminate, groove in the groove, without additional fixation with adhesive compounds.
In addition, there are several advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered when choosing:
- The service life and quality of laying the cork flooring, are determined by the type of material used in production, and the degree of professional preparation of the floor surface for styling.
- In rooms with a large population of people, it is better to use a cork coating with a thickness of at least 3-6 mm. As a rule, such specimens have a greater degree of resistance to loads. Optimal choice for the house – the thickness of the material is 6 mm.
- To avoid accidentally scratching the floor surface, it is better to isolate the sharp legs of furniture, or to make felt stands for them.
- If you have animals in the house that occasionally like to scratch their paws on something hard, then additionally use a cork lacquer. Of course, it does not completely protect the floor surface, but in some way protects against large damages.
The disadvantages of using the cork floor
Ideal materials do not exist, so let’s look at the shortcomings of this cork floor covering.
Details about the cost can be found by going to the store. Prices of manufacturers offer different, but it must be said that cork tiles will be more expensive than linoleum or laminate of the middle class. In addition, you will have to purchase a specialized adhesive compound, and it should be noted that it is also not cheap, and, of course, to invest in materials for the preparation of the base. Lay cork products only on a flat surface.
Once again about mechanical damages
As mentioned above, the cork is not afraid of mechanical damage, but it is vulnerable to other actions. You can of course drop something heavy, and the dent will recover over time. But if, for example, the child is playing on the floor, and will be something sharp to scratch the surface, then the characteristics of resistance to mechanical stress are powerless.
Decorative cork in rolls
In addition to tile options, such flooring coatings are produced in rolls. They can be of different thicknesses, and are very often used as substrates for parquet or laminate. A roll plug made of natural oak bark is produced. It is environmentally safe, does not fear pathogenic organisms, mold fungi, is resistant to moisture and accordingly does not rot under its influence.
Also, such material can act as a decorating surface, but rather it is an exception to the rules. In this version, the roll plug is used to decorate the walls. It is also produced from pressed wood chips.
The wall cork material looks, in its own way, efficiently, if one approaches the design correctly. But designers are specific to him, and do not really work with him. But if you still chose it, you can count on additional soundproofing.
Floor surface protection
If you are not scared off the cost of the material, then you will be interested in ways to protect it. Usually, a cork lacquer is used here, which is applied while it is being produced. When choosing a floating floor, it will be sufficient to cover the factory floor. If you buy glutinous material, it is better to process it again. The factory varnish for cork, in this case will be considered a primer.
The characteristic features of the structure of the cork floor material make it almost imperceptible to wear out a little, and here it is possible to refrain from additional protection. But, again it must be repeated, if the coating is used in a room with intensive load, it is better to further process it.
The best and most reliable varnish for cork, this is a water-based formulation. It does not smell absolutely, and is safe for allergic people and children.
Can I use cork for the kitchen floor
If you decide to lay the cork flooring in the kitchen, it will also be a good option in its own way. On the increased resistance of cork to moisture has already been said, but where does this material have such qualities? This property is given by millions of gas bubbles contained in the composition. Therefore cork tiles are not afraid of moisture, the gas simply does not allow it to penetrate deep into the structure of the coating.
It is better not to experiment with the laying of cork floors in the hallway and corridor. This does not apply to exposure to high loads, but rather to the likelihood of getting dirt that can spoil the appearance. Fine dust particles, here are an abrasive, and can scratch the surface. In this case, even the cork lacquer does not help.
The best cork floor cover is made by Portuguese companies, many craftsmen and designers admit it. It is in this country that a large number of cork oak grows, and the first plants for processing and manufacturing of this material were built there. Cork floors are the choice of those who do not save on comfort.